The food book that never was

 open books

EYB Members love to read not just cookbooks but also literary works with food or cooking as the primary subject matter. Books by M.F.K. Fisher, Anthony Bourdain, and Ruth Reichl stand alongside standard recipe-filled volumes on our bookshelves. NPR's The Salt tells us about a food book that we would have loved to read - had it ever been published.

During the Great Depression in the US, the federal government put thousands of out-of-work citizens to work in various public projects ranging from construction to writing. For the latter, a program called the Federal Writer's Project employed over 6,000 white collar workers to write books and pamphlets about the history and culture of each state in the US. In 1939, a subject of the project focused on food was started, with the stated aim of exploring "American cookery and the part it has played in national life, as exemplified in the group meals that preserve not only traditional dishes, but also transitional attitudes and customs."

The lofty project sent writers into the American countryside to chronicle the mealtimes of ordinary citizens. The essays covered local traditions that were changing during a period of great transition in the way people purchased, stored, and prepared their meals. The goal was to gather the best of these essays into a large book that would "propel food writing out from the pages of women's magazines and into the national spotlight."

The essays were due the week of Thanksgiving, 1941. After Pearl Harbor was bombed a few weeks later and the US became fully engaged in the war effort, the project was shelved, never to be resurrected. We are left to ponder how those stories would resonate with us today.

Featured Cookbooks & Recipes

At Eat Your Books we want to bring you the best recipes - our dedicated team searches out and finds online recipes excerpted from newly indexed cookbooks and magazines. New recipes from the best blogs are indexed daily and members index their favorite online recipes using the Bookmarklet all the time.

Below you'll find this week's recommendations from the EYB team.

Remember you can add any of these online recipes to your EYB Bookshelf - it's a great way to expand your personal recipe collection.

Happy cooking and baking everyone!


From websites:

Blueberry Soufflé with Maple Drizzle by Karen Burns-Booth from indexed Great British Chefs



From AUS/NZ books:

10 recipes from The Pie Project: Hot, Cold, Hand, Cheat. 60 Pies - All of Them Sweet by Phoebe Wood & Kirsten Jenkins, indexed by an EYB member



From UK books:

2 recipes from The Grain Bowl by Nik Williamson

Save 30% on this or ANY other Phaidon cookbook!
Enter our The Grain Bowl giveaway! (US, CAN, UK, AUS, & NZ)


7 recipes from  The Ultimate Sandwich: 100 Classic Sandwiches from Reuben to Po'boy and Everything in Between by Jonas Cramby, indexed by an EYB member



From US books:

10 recipes from Danielle Walker's Against All Grain: Celebrations: A Year of Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes for Every Occasion

Enter our Against All Grain giveaway! (US only)


3 recipes from  Amaro: The Spirited World of Bittersweet, Herbal Liqueurs, with Cocktails, Recipes, and Formulas by Brad Thomas Parsons

Calendar of Upcoming Events


5 recipes from  Better Baking: Wholesome Ingredients, Delicious Desserts by Genevieve Ko

BBC announces new cooking show

GBBO books 

Fans of The Great British Bake Off who were disappointed that the show was leaving the BBC now have something to look forward to watching. The network has just announced that it will be producing a new reality cooking show begininng in 2017.

Called 'The Big Family Cooking Challenge', the program will follow multi-generational family teams of amateur cooks, who will participate via their home kitchens, each facing a weekly culinary challenge. One by one the teams will be eliminated until one family stands as the winner. Twelve episodes have been ordered for the show, which has not yet cast any judges or started filming.

It's not clear whether this is the program hinted at last month that would star Mary Berry, Mel Giedroyc, and Sue Perkins. Last week, the BBC announced it had struck a development deal with GBBO winner Nadiya Hussain, so GBBO fans also have that to console them.  

Sweet Sugar Sultry Spice - Malika Ameen

Malika Ameen, the author of the newly released, Sweet Sugar Sultry Spice: Exotic Flavors to Wake Up Your Baking, won me over with her first line, "If I were a spice, I would be cardamom." I love using warm spices to add something special to my baking and cardamom is one of my favorites. 

Malika's debut offering is overflowing with bold, interesting recipes that have me longing for more. Is it too soon to ask if she is working on a second book? The chapters are titled after the characteristics of the spices: Spicy & Warm; Floral & Aromatic; Bright & Fresh; Savory, Earthy & Nutty; Complex & Mysterious which I found intriguing.

Luscious Pineapple and Honey Squares, Rose Latte Marshmallow Knots, Earl Grey Pavlova with Silky Chocolate Cream, Roasted Peach and Custard Borek and Lemon Verbena Chiffon Roll are just a few examples of the recipes that will have us rethinking how we approach desserts. Savory aspects in desserts have always appealed to me as a baker and Malika has delivered a collection of recipes that will keep me coming back for more. For those in the Chicago area, Read It & Eat is hosting a book launch party on October 29th - I wish I could be there! 

Be sure to enter our contest offering five copies of this book to our U.S. Eat Your Book members and note the special giveaway over at Roost Books. 

Malika and Roost Books were kind enough to share her recipe for Perfect Pumpkin Pancakes to liven up our Fall breakfast menu. 

Perfect Pumpkin Pancakes

With the warm and comforting flavors of cinnamon, ginger, clove, and nutmeg, these pumpkin pancakes are the epitome of a cozy fall breakfast. They are a weekend favorite in my home. The trick to tender pancakes is to avoid overmixing the batter. It's okay to have small lumps in the batter, and overmixing will make the pancakes tough. Serve these hot from the griddle with butter and maple syrup.

ACTIVE TIME: 20 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 40 minutes
Serves 4

1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground Vietnamese cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1¼ cups buttermilk, at room temperature, divided
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¾ cup pure canned pumpkin 

Preheat the oven to 250˚F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cin­namon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup of the buttermilk and the eggs, butter, and vanilla. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and whisk until barely combined. In another medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin and the remaining ¼ cup of buttermilk. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the pumpkin mixture into the batter.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly grease the skillet and cook the pancakes in batches. Spoon about ¼ cup batter onto the pan per pancake. Cook until golden brown on the bottom and slightly dry looking and bubbly on the top, 2 to 3 minutes. Use a metal spatula to flip each pancake and cook on the second side until cooked through, about 1 minute. Transfer the pancakes from the skillet to a baking tray, cover with aluminum foil, and keep warm in the oven while you cook more.

From Sweet Sugar, Sultry Spice by Malika Ameen, © 2016 by Malika Ameen. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO

Cookbook Giveaway - Sweet Sugar Sultry Spice

Sweet Sugar Sultry Spice: Exotic Flavors to Wake Up Your Baking by Malika Ameen is sure to be a highly sought after baking title this Fall. Malika is a classically trained pastry chef who will introduce us to a world of exotic spices and flavorings in her debut cookbook. 

Every level of baker will benefit from Malika's encouraging instructions and her passion for spice and flavor combinations. 78 varied recipes covering the spectrum of desserts and more are shared along with eye-popping full-page images. 

You can read more about Sweet Sugar Sultry Spice in our review and recipe post. Be sure to try the recipe for Perfect Pumpkin Pancakes that will have even the grumpiest morning riser smiling with delight.

We are pleased to offer five copies of this title to our EYB Members in the U.S. (Please note the bonus giveaway mentioned below.) One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post:

How do you feel about adding spice or savory aspects to your baked goods?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends November 20th, 2016.  Bonus giveaway: Roost Books is also giving away five copies, and you can enter here and sign up for their newsletter for future cookbook giveaways.


Appliance cookbooks

 recipe booklets

Every new appliance, large and small, comes with an instruction manual and recipe booklet. In times gone by, even trade groups got in on the act, with gas and electric associations publishing small volumes to promote their particular fuel supply. The trend continues today, with recipe booklets packaged along with ranges, toaster ovens, blenders and ice cream makers. You might think that in the internet age this practice would come to a screeching halt,  but that doesn't seem to be happening.

Flipping through a few vintage booklets, it's easy to see that the quality and type of recipes have changed over time. The booklet promoting "Gold Star" ranges - those ranges that received approval from the American Gas Association - offered instructions on how to make bacon and a recipe for "Quick Welsh Rabbit" that instructed the cook to "Combine 1 can condensed tomato soup and 1 jar quick-melting cheese in a covered sauce pan." This is not a promising start, nor was the offered variation to include a can of drained tuna, with suggestions to serve the product over corn chips. Although there is no date on the booklet, judging by the photographs and artwork, it was probably distributed in the mid-1960s.

Fast forward to 2010, and the recipe booklet for a Cuisinart toaster oven featured recipes like Moroccan Spiced Baked Chicken that included no canned soup but did call for fresh shallots. Baking recipes ranged from pâte brisée (complete with proper diacritical marks) to Caramel Walnut Tart with Raspberry and Chocolate. And the booklet was printed in both Spanish and English.

While there have been obvious refinements in these recipe booklets, they are still probably destined for the recycling bin in most households. Even though I have saved each tiny recipe booklet that has come with an appliance (in the case of  wall ovens, duly passing them along with the appliance when we moved), I haven't used one. I've just never trusted the recipes developed in these small volumes. It makes me feel a little sorry for the test kitchen staff at the appliance manufacturer. Do they know that most people are going to pitch the tiny booklet into the trash?

Perhaps I'm being a snob and am missing out on spectacular dishes because of my condescension. Have you ever cooked from the instruction manual and if so, what were your thoughts about the recipes you tried? Are there hidden gems waiting to be discovered?

Cookbooks for Brunch Lovers

Brunch is one of my favorite ways to entertain. As I write that sentence, I realize I've only hosted one brunch since we've been in Colorado and that was on a holiday morning. I will need to remedy that.

I have a thing for brunch cookbooks - I can imagine your thoughts - she has a thing for all cookbooks. I do, but they have to be unique and special to land on a shelf here. My husband hates the cookbooks, but loves the collector. While I battle daily for my right to surround myself with books I love, I also try to be selective and respect his disdain for towers of books. Afterall, I don't want to be at the bottom of a cookbook avalanche and have my tombstone read "she was always buried in her work."

Today's post shares a look at a few brunch books that I enjoy and if you have a moment, please head over to The Cookbook Junkies' website and enter the giveaway for a trio of books: Devonshire Scream (a mystery with recipes), Simply Scratch and The Love and Lemons Cookbook that contain some great recipes for brunch (as well as tea parties).

Clinton Street Baking Company Cookbook: Breakfast Brunch, and Beyond from New York's Favorite Neighborhood Restaurant by Dede Lahman and Neil Kleinberg is a keeper. If it is a New York based brunch or baking book, it needs to be mine. Those pancakes on the cover are everything -- so good. The famous blueberry pancakes and warm maple butter, along with recipes for desserts, pastries and their award-winning buttermilk fried chicken are also included. Sometimes books contain editing errors, no one is happy about it - not the authors, the publishers or the consumers, but it happens, so be sure to check out the errata information on Clinton St. Baking's site.

Brunch @ Bobby's: 140 Recipes for the Best Part of the Weekend from Bobby Flay is deliciously good. As I will never, in this lifetime or any other, be invited to Bobby's - this book will have to do. The Orange Ricotta Pancakes were stellar - I think I am seeing a pancake addiction developing here. Crab Cakes Benedict, Hang Town Fry (an omelet of bacon and oysters), Carrot Cake Pancakes, and Biscuit Sticky Buns are other examples of the varied dishes in this book. The chapters on Coffee, Tea and Cocktails as well as Spreads and Syrups are great ways to turn simple items into something spectacular and offer more options for your guests.

Sarabeth's Good Morning Cookbook: Breakfast, Brunch and Baking by Sarabeth Levine is a beautiful book. Sarabeth's books are always special. Her first book Sarabeth's Bakery is a valuable resource for any baker (and shares some wonderful brunch options). From the Good Morning Cookbook, I made the Provençal Quiche - and that crust with the oyster crackers was very tasty. Jam Mandelbrot, Lemon Yogurt Bundt Cake and her Popovers are all wonderful recipes that would delight your family and friends.

There are other titles in my collection that are great for those who love breakfast and brunch: The Perfect Egg, Breakfast Recipes to Wake Up For, The Breakfast Book and Dorie Greenspans' Waffles and Pancakes are just a few. What is your favorite cookbook in your collection that you find yourself heading to for brunch inspiration?


Cookbook Giveaway - The London Cookbook

The London Cookbook: Recipes from the Restaurants, Cafes, and Hole-in-the-Wall Gems of a Modern City by Aleksandra Crapanzano is a marvelous book that will be appreciated by travel, food and cookbook lovers alike. 

Nearly 120 recipes from London restaurants, profiles of the chefs that created the relatively recent surge of culinary greatness and Aleksandra's research and charming narrative make this book a must have in our collections.

Be sure to read our review and recipe post for more information on this title.

We are pleased to offer five copies of The London Cookbook in our giveaway for EYB Members in the U.S.. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post:

Have you been to London and, if so, what was your best meal while there?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends November 19th, 2016.


The London Cookbook - Aleksadra Crapanzano

London is on my ever-growing list of cities where I'd love to live or at least spend additional time. Fifteen years ago, we visited London on our honeymoon and I remember being surprised at how incredible the food was. I had heard the rumors - bland, simple and the words black pudding were mentioned. Thankfully, London's stodgy reputation in regards to its cuisine is no more.

The London Cookbook: Recipes from the Restaurants, Cafes, and Hole-in-the-Wall Gems of a Modern City came to life when author, Aleksandra Crapanzano, who frequented the famous Books for Cooks store (isn't that where all good things happen - a cookbook store?) where she would learned which meal was not to be missed or that Yotam was almost out of tahini cookies, and more food gossip. Leaving the store, jotting notes in her nearly-filled notebook was when the spark for this book took flame. Recently, she wrote an interesting piece for Food52 sharing more details - be sure to check out her article. 

In The London Cookbook, the London restaurant experience is documented with photographs, profiles of major players and almost 120 recipes, The chapters are organized by types of dishes: Light Fare; Soups; Pasta Rice and Grains; Vegetarian; Seafood; Fowl; Meat; Desserts; Chilled Desserts and ending with Cocktails (as all good things should end). Each of these chapters share recipes from various restaurants: Ottolenghi's Mung & Haricot Verts; Caravan's Corn & Chorizo Fritters with Smoked Paprika Crème Fraîche and The River Cafe's Risotto di Peperoni, for example. 

There is so much to love about this book, Aleksandra's vast knowledge of the chefs and the restaurants of London, the gorgeous photographs taken by Sang An and the recipes that are approachable to the home cook. She states that she could have easily written a 600 page tome because she had acquired so much research. Perhaps there will be The London Cookbook, Volume II in her future, I hope so.

Be sure to enter our giveaway for a chance to win one of five copies of The London Cookbook. Meanwhile, courtesy of the author and Ten Speed Press, we are pleased to share two recipes you can try now. 


They are indisputable. A fact of British life. That, perhaps, is the most important thing you need to know about fish and chips. So essential to the happiness of Brits, fish and chips was one of the only foods not rationed during World War II. Perhaps Churchill was a devotee, or perhaps he simply knew that ravaged families needed foods that offered not only comfort, but a sense of national continuity. I wonder if he knew that Jewish refugees from Spain and Portugal, in flight from the Inquisition, first introduced fried fish to England in the early sixteenth century.

Since the days of Charles Dickens and his chips with "reluctant drops of oil," there has been both much evolution and none at all. Many a chipper or chippy, as fish and chip houses are called, still serve roughly the same recipe you might have found one or two hundred years ago. But then there are chefs like Tom, who have elevated the art and craft of fish and chips while preserving the beloved tradition to a T. To my mind, his version is the best in London. And while chips aren't as skinny as their French cousins, fries or frites, they are nearly as irresistible, doubly so, with this tartar sauce. Oh, and on the subject of origins, tartar sauce has nothing to do with the Tartars, save for the French predilection for adopting exotic names for their sauces, including sauce tartare. Too bad, as it would have made for a good story.

Here are a few pointers about heat and timing, as expertise in deep-frying isn't a given. If the oil isn't hot enough, your fish and chips will be soggy instead of crispy. Be patient in waiting for the oil to heat to the required temperature and work in batches so as not to overcrowd the fryer and lower the temperature of the oil. I suggest making the tartar sauce first and refrigerating it until needed. Then prepare the batter. And finally, heat the oil and set to frying, first the potatoes and then the fish.


4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon English mustard
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 cups canola oil
2 tablespoons ice water, if needed
1 tablespoon chopped gherkins
1 tablespoons capers, rinsed
2 large shallots, minced
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley


1½ cups self-rising flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon sugar
½ cup beer, preferably lager
½ cup sparkling water
2 pounds potatoes, such as russets or Maris Pipers, peeled
Oil for frying, such as canola, safflower, or grapseseed
5 pieces cod fillets, roughly 5 ounces each
Malt vinegar, for serving

To make the tartar sauce, whisk together the egg yolks, mustard, salt, and pepper in a bowl until pale. Whisk in the vinegar and lemon juice. While whisking constantly, drizzle in the oil to form a mayonnaise-like emulsion. Only add the ice water as needed to loosen the consistency if too thick. Fold in the gherkins, capers, and shallots. Fold in the parsley just before serving.

To make the batter for the fish, combine the flour, cornstarch, salt, and sugar in a bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, then pour in the beer and sparkling water and whisk to combine. Set aside for 10 minutes, then whisk again until smooth. Set aside to rest for 15 to 20 minutes longer and then whisk again. There should be no lumps!

To make the chips. Wash the peeled potatoes and cut them into ½-inch wide batons. Rinse the potatoes under cold running water to remove excess starch.

Parboil the potatoes in abundantly salted boiling water until just short of tender. Drain and transfer immediately to a bath of ice-water.

Line a plate with paper-towels and place next to the stove. Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or high-sided saucepan to 280˚F. Working in batches, drain the potatoes and plunge them into the hot oil to blanch for 2 minutes. Remove with a spider spoon and drain on paper towels. Increase the heat of the oil to 360˚F, then plunge the chips back into the oil for 4 to 5 minutes longer, until golden brown and crispy. Remove immediately to drain on paper towels and sprinkle with sea salt.

To make the fish, line a plate with paper towels and set next to the stove. Using the same saucepan or fryer as you used to the make the chips, bring the oil to 360˚F. Working in batches, dip the fish into the batter and, holding each piece up by its tail end, let the excess drip off. Gently place the fish into the hot oil and fry for about 8 minutes, until golden and crispy. Work quickly because the beer batter is best used as soon as it's ready. Transfer to drain on the paper-towel lined plate while you finish frying the remaining fish.

Serve the fish and chips immediately with the tartar sauce and malt vinegar.

Serves 6 portions, which are always generous

2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 1⁄2 cups vegetable oil
1⁄4 cup Calvados
3 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
Pinch of ground cloves
3 or 4 baking apples, peeled and chopped, preferably Bramley or Granny Smith
1 cup walnuts, chopped
Crème fraîche, for serving

When Fergus sent me this recipe, he wrote me this note at the top of the page: "A very fine cake. What is not fine with a little Calvados!" How right he is, on both counts. I'm mad for this cake. The Calvados seems to ambulate in the background, like a haunting. The chopped apples and walnuts provide texture. The oil would keep it moist for days, were it not certain to be devoured within hours. The cinnamon offers comfort, the clove intrigue. The whole is like a perfectly conceived short story, with a dollop of crème fraîche as the final punctuation mark.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Butter a 9-inch spring form pan or a 10-inch cake pan.

Whisk the sugar and eggs together either by hand, in a stand mixer, or with electric beaters. Add the vegetable oil as you would to make mayonnaise - in a thin stream as you continue to whisk until emulsified.

Add the Calvados, while continuing to whisk. Add the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and cloves and whisk to incorporate.

Fold in the apples and walnuts. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake for 90 minutes, until a sharp knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Serve at room temperature with a generous bowl of crème fraîche.

 "Reprinted with permission from The London Cookbook by Aleksandra Crapanzano, copyright© 2016. Photography by Sang An. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random HouseLLC." 


Amazon's 100 cookbooks for a lifetime of eating

cookbook collage 

If there is one trait that sets humans apart from the rest of the animal kingdom it must be our love of making lists. We rank, rate, and organize everything. Perhaps an even more human characteristic is the inclination to disagree about what should be placed on any such list. Cookbook lovers (i.e., EYB Members) will want to check out Amazon's recently published, ripe for discussion list of 100 cookbooks for a lifetime of eating and drinking

Although there are many beloved classics on the list, like Joy of Cooking, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, and The Art of Eating, the list skews to more recent works. It even includes books that haven't been released yet, like Anthony Bourdain's Appetites and Ina Garten's Cooking for Jeffrey

The fact that books not yet released are included, along with several blogger and special diet cookbooks, begs the question about the staying power of some of these works. The Food Lab might stand the test of time, but in twenty years, will we still be eschewing grains or dabbling in molecular gastronomy? Will this release of Ina's be the one that people still turn to in a decade? Will Hello Cupcake inspire bakers in the next century? It will be interesting to see what cookbooks from the next ten years will make the inevitable update to this list.

After the list was posted, CNN interviewed chefs and other culinary experts to find out which cookbooks resonated with each of them. My Bookshelf contains several volumes in the Amazon compilation, although many of their choices won't end up in my collection any time soon. Some of my personal favorites didn't make the cut, like James Peterson's Sauces. What do you think of Amazon's list? 

Seen anything interesting? Let us know & we'll share it!