I love thrift stores, each one filled with the histories of so many disparate people and places. I particularly love finding cookbooks in thrift stores. Some of my most prized cooking compendiums come from the shelves of our local second-hand stores.
For me, a good cookbook is every bit as enjoyable as a good novel. My husband Peter thinks Iâ€™m crazy as a hoot owl â€“ I mean that in the best way. He always gets a good chuckle when he sees me â€œreadingâ€ a cookbook.
When I was first diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I thought I had to buy all new cookbooks. Pshaw & fiddlesticks! Just adapt, adjust. That’s all. You learn how to make changes, using different gluten-free grains and flours. You learn how to make the recipes safe. I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t own gluten-free cookbooks – I fully support authors who want to help us learn to cook healthfully. But I also want you to know that you are only limited by your imagination and your willingness to experiment.
Every week (Iâ€™m going to aim for Sunday or Monday), Iâ€™m going to blog about a cookbook from my collection. Today, I will start with two new editions to my library. I am not a full-fledged vegetarian, nor do you have to be to enjoy and reap the benefits of these two cookbooks. It’s about expanding your culinary horizons to include a lot of different cuisines and ingredients.
The first book is titled â€œThe Gluten-Free Vegetarian Kitchenâ€ by Donna Klein, published by the Penguin Group. It is a varied collection of more than 225 recipes that include appetizers, soups, salads, breads, pizza, sandwiches, entrees, side dishes, brunch and egg dishes and desserts from a number of ethnic cuisines, making it like a veritable romp around the food world. Last night, I made the Basmati Rice Burgers with Pistachio Mayonnaise â€“ a real homerun, the mayonnaise adding a cold, refreshing, surprising finishing touch to the crispness of the burgers. Particularly great are the informative notes and nutrient data for each recipe, suggested menus, and plenty of useful cooking tips. There is a metric conversion chart at the back of the book. I have sticky notes on so many of the recipes â€“ Iâ€™m not sure what to make next, but whatever I decide on, Iâ€™m sure it will be good.
The second book is titled â€œA Year in a Vegetarian Kitchenâ€ by Jack Bishop, the executive editor of the magazine Cookâ€™s Illustrated. As you can see, I left the price tag on the book. While it takes away from the beauty of the cover, I wanted you to see what a great bargain it was. This book retails for $35, but I paid a mere $5.99. I love the book SO much that I would recommend paying full price for it. I canâ€™t imagine why anyone wouldâ€™ve gotten rid of this book â€“ it is a treasure and my cookbook collection is the better for having added this to it. Beautifully laid out, it is a seasonal approach to family meals. Do you want to know what to make for dinner tonight? This book will give you the answer. The recipes are easy to make and rely on readily available ingredients. All in all, the book satisfies the authorâ€™s philosophy of â€œshop locally, cook globally, and keep things easy.â€ Each recipe includes a sidebar that shares fabulous tips gleaned from his ten yearsâ€™ experience at Cookâ€™s Illustrated.
Tip of the day: Find a local thrift store and watch your cookbook collection begin to grow!