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Book reviews: Cooking books take personal approach

Chris Painter/For Steamboat Pilot & Today
Book review
Courtesy Photo

“EveryDayCook,” By Alton Brown

This season, two delightful new titles stand out in the growing trend of “celebrity chef cooks at home” cookbooks.

The subtitle of Alton Brown’s new cookbook is, “This time it’s personal,” which, he states in the introduction, means the following.

• I believe in cooking every day.

• These are the kinds of dishes I cook every day.

• I am an everyday cook and proud of it.

As far as the third point, if you don’t already know, Alton Brown is a television and social media personality, food show presenter, actor and musician. EveryDayCook is his eighth cookbook. The recipes are what Brown eats when he’s hungry and are organized into sections — morning, coffee break, noon, afternoon, evening, anytime and later.

Brown is known for blending humor and a scientific approach to cooking. “EveryDayCook” is enormously entertaining and deliciously inspiring. Brown is unafraid to use indulgent ingredients such as “pig candy” (bacon) in his “heavenly orbs of Belgian goodness” (Brussels sprouts) and also provide recipes for healthy concoctions, such as Barley Water, which he states helps fight arterial plaque and the rise of LDL cholesterol.

I love this cookbook, because it’s just plain fun. It is fun to read and fun to peruse. Brown acknowledges that, in fact, he has carried potato chips around in his briefcase and eaten French fries in bed, all of which you can find documented in photos taken by Brown with his IPhone, no less.

“Cooking for Jeffrey,” by Ina Garten

Ina Garten’s 10th cookbook is a tribute to her husband, Jeffrey, who has been her companion and taste taster for the full 48 years of their marriage. “Cooking for Jeffrey” is her most personal cookbook in her long and successful career in food.

The book contains charming stories of their lives together through the years, as well as a list of Jeffrey’s all-time favorites of Ina’s recipes that I am eager to try out on the Jeffrey in my life, including Indonesian ginger chicken and slow-roasted spiced pork.

You can never go wrong with Garten when it comes to cooking, whether it is an elaborate meal for friends or a simple dinner for two. Her recipes are generally simple and straightforward, and her emphasis on using only the best, freshest ingredients make them stand out. The Barefoot Contessa cookbooks are tried and true, and “Cooking for Jeffrey” is no exception.

These book are available at Bud Werner Memorial Library and Off the Beaten Path.

Chris Painter is director of Bud Werner Memorial Library.


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