Read the Recipe! Snoop & E-40 Write a Cookbook?!

Posted on Wednesday, December 20, 2023 by Jason Delpire

Goon with the Spoon book cover I’ll be honest, I wasn’t going to write another cookbook review. I’ve been feeling like there were few new books that really interested me and the older titles everyone already knows about.  But, as I was shelving New Books, this caught my eye: “Goon With the Spoon.” I have looked at Snoop’s other cookbook, “From Crook to Cook” (it was also surprisingly well done), but when I saw E-40 was also involved, I was sold; I listened to E-40’s “In A Major Way” a BUNCH when it came out.

From Crook to Cook book cover

First of all, this is NOT a book for everyday eating. In the name of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, please do not eat like this every day. But, if you are throwing a party or, say, watching a football game, (You know, watching a good team, like the Packers. 😂) then, this is an excellent selection of rich, flavorful items with enough variety for nearly every taste. And, the recipes are legit — not many shortcuts like you tend to find in most pop culture cookbooks. Not to be left out: a wide variety of drinks for adults. Oh, and the photos!! Bold, deep, meaty colors with minimal gimmicks. Each photo highlights the dish and lends legitimacy to the book; paging through you don’t see it as a cookbook by two legendary rappers — you see this as a handbook to throw a great food party. Seriously, these are some of the best food pics I can remember seeing. (Ok, maybe not in the same class as the books by Michelin-starred chefs, but that’s just different.)

Mount Westmore Album CoverQuick plug for the Mount Westmore release, too. I listened to it while writing this. It’s like a Westside Connection album, but with a couple extra legends. (Read: if this was released in ‘98, it would be AMAZING. Now, it’s like when that one uncle gets to talking a bit too much about when they were young.)

Some of the best looking recipes from “Goon With the Spoon” include:
Cornbread Rice, pg 159; Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Mac ’n’ Cheese Bites, pg 62 (The cook in me recoils in horror, but the cheese addict in me says to get over it.); and Kickin’ Lickin’ Collard Greens, pg 153 (This one features what may be my favorite photo in the book!).

Leftovers? No Problem!

Posted on Friday, December 1, 2023 by Sew Happy

Holiday meals are supposed to leave foods in the refrigerator for other meals. Plentiful leftovers. In my family, it’s for grazing when you come back to the same meal later to have a bit more of something and another slice of pie. The next day is often sandwiches and sides and the third day is soup with anything else left being stuffed into freezer bags and stored until it gets freezer burned and is guiltily tossed.

Unfortunately, this is frequently the experience of my daily meals as well. I’m trying to do better. How about you? Would you like to come on an exploration of our collection to find some new favorite ways to serve those leftovers? Continue reading “Leftovers? No Problem!”

Friendsgiving Baking

Posted on Monday, November 27, 2023 by Michael M

This year was my first Friendsgiving (a Thanksgiving celebrated with friends, typically potluck style). I moved to Missouri at the end of 2022, right before the winter holidays, and it didn’t work out to visit family for Thanksgiving this year. Given how much I love to bake, and specifically love to overindulge in baking, I thought I would try a few new recipes this year from books at my local library!

Author’s note: I wrote the above section before actually doing any of the baking, and oh, I was so excited, so naïve. A generally accepted rule of thumb is not to try new things for Thanksgiving, and especially don’t try lots of new recipes in a single day. I broke both those rules, and suffered for it.

Cover of "All About Cookies" by Christina TosiOriginally, my goal was to make recipes out of at least two books, but as I figured out what I would have time for, I ended up deciding on three recipes out of Christina Tosi’s “All About Cookies,” which came recommended by a coworker. I made the Chipless Wonders, the Grasshopper Pie Bars and the Peanut Butter S’mores Bars. Continue reading “Friendsgiving Baking”

Read the Recipe! Local Author Flavor

Posted on Wednesday, November 22, 2023 by Jason Delpire

Okay, a bit of a confession: sometimes even library staff are unaware of the breadth of the library’s collection.

A few weeks ago (November 4, 2023), DBRL hosted a Local Authors Open House. (This is a fun program where we give space for local authors to gather, sell their books and talk to readers. We will absolutely be doing this again so keep your eye out for the next installment.) As I was walking around the authors’ tables, I saw one of the authors had a cookbook on display. Of course, I was interested so I made a note of it. Later, I checked the catalog and found we had a copy.

For A Time Such as This by Sarah Kohnle book cover

The book was “For Such A Time As This: Flavors and Recipes of My Honduras” by Sarah Kohnle with Heidy Gissela Lanza Baca. Local author writes a cookbook and the guy writing about cookbooks hasn’t written about it? Ugh. *facepalm*

So, to rectify this oversight, I checked the book out and will share my thoughts. I was pleasantly surprised.

First, the book is bilingual! Each section of text is in Spanish and English; from the personal stories to the recipes, I really enjoyed this aspect. The recipes, covering what I assume to be the co-author’s cooking repertoire of typical Honduran meals, are mostly clearly written with good instructions for making the items. Being that the book is written by a journalist, it understandably has a feel of a long interview with the recipes included for flavor. Some minor errors in the recipes are scattered, but overall it’s a pretty good book. The dishes are devoid of much restaurant fanciness which gives them a feel of attainability. In my opinion, it is this attainability that gives the book such charm.

My one real criticism of the book? Oddly, it’s as if there is sometimes too much text on the page while also too much wasted blank space. As good as this book is, I feel it could have been even better. The photos, though not flashy, are effective and perfect. Just good photos of good food. I wish there were even more pictures, as some items didn’t have visual representation. I also wish there was more textual explanation of the dishes.

Overall, this is a good cookbook about good food!

Read The Recipe! Spooky Food

Posted on Wednesday, October 25, 2023 by Jason Delpire

The Nightmare Before Dinner by Zach Neil

As we are nearing Halloween, I thought I should look at some books devoted to creepy-themed dishes. I grabbed a few titles from our collection and tried to find something fun to make. The first book I looked at just didn’t work for me (more on that later). Thankfully, there was another book I had brought home: “Zach Neil’s The Nightmare Before Dinner: Recipes To Die For.” Continue reading “Read The Recipe! Spooky Food”

Read the Recipe! Gordon Ramsay: A Story of Excellence

Posted on Wednesday, September 27, 2023 by Jason Delpire

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay book cover A few weeks ago, I started watching the old uncensored versions of Kitchen Nightmares. This led me to finally watch the short BBC series, Boiling Point. The Boiling Point mini-series followed Chef Gordon Ramsay in his quest to be the youngest chef to be awarded three Michelin Stars. And finally, I then became interested in some Gordon Ramsay cookbooks. I knew he had written a few (lol), but they were more mainstream, home-cook fare. Though, while writing this, I did find that he wrote a book about The Aubergine (the restaurant he left before opening Restaurant Gordon Ramsay), but we don’t have it in the collection. Coincidentally, he has a new effort devoted to his first (and best) location, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay; “Restaurant Gordon Ramsay: A Story of Excellence.” (Typical Gordon Ramsay modesty.) Continue reading “Read the Recipe! Gordon Ramsay: A Story of Excellence”

Tasty Memoirs

Posted on Wednesday, August 9, 2023 by Reading Addict

various toppings for street food in bowls next to a large pot of cooked peanutsI have really been struggling with food and cooking lately. It’s not that I don’t love food (because boy do I love food!) but I just can’t seem to get the energy or inspiration to cook. Maybe it’s the heat. Or maybe I’m just bored with the same five things I’ve been making forever. But I’m hungry. And I’m not sure exactly what I’m hungry for. Connection? Community? Comfort? Curiosity? I need inspiration but I just find it difficult to sit down and read a cookbook. I need stories. So here goes my quest for food inspiration through memoirs. Continue reading “Tasty Memoirs”

Read the Recipe! Lidia Bastianich

Posted on Wednesday, July 26, 2023 by Jason Delpire

Lidia's From Our Family Table to Yours by Lidia Matticchio book coverWhen I started out as a cook, I didn’t really have any disposable income, so I couldn’t go to restaurants and sample what the local established chefs were doing. My window to technique and flavors was books and television. A few celebrity-type chefs guided me from afar: Jacques Pepin, Anthony Bourdain, Gordon Ramsay, Ming Tsai, Mary Ann Esposito, Lidia Bastianich, Nick Stellino, David Chang. If you’re about to chastise me for not mentioning Julia Child, sadly I watched her much earlier than this time I am referring to. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses, their own angle on what makes a dish, or a meal, great. (If you notice, almost all of these chefs had shows on PBS; specifically, my local station, PBS Wisconsin, Channel 38.) I would watch these shows and steal flavor combinations, learn the traditional dishes of their ancestry, watch their methods, skills and techniques. I would bring this new knowledge into my home kitchen and my work kitchen. Continue reading “Read the Recipe! Lidia Bastianich”

Read the Recipe! Summertime

Posted on Wednesday, June 28, 2023 by Jason Delpire

Summer a Cookbook book coverWe have (finally) entered the summer season and for some that means finding a sandy beach or a quiet forest to relax and keep cool. “Summer! A Cookbook: Inspired Recipes for Lazy Days and Magical Nights” has you covered for most of your eventualities. Whether that be the food and drink or all the essentials needed for comfort in the wild. This book is small enough to throw in your backpack or beach bag, but certainly is comprehensive enough to not leave you stranded for solutions. Continue reading “Read the Recipe! Summertime”

Celebrate Juneteenth With Food

Posted on Monday, June 12, 2023 by MaggieM

This Juneteenth, consider including some new-to-you foods that honor our country’s African American heritage. If you find that doing this is remarkably easy and delicious, don’t be too surprised.

book cover for Bound to the FireIn the founding days of our nation it was usually Black Americans, typically enslaved people, feeding not only most of the founding fathers but also the field hands and the entire household. The foods that came out of their kitchens were a unique blend of African vegetables and spices, ingredients available in colonial America and the preferences of the diners. While American food includes a dizzying array of influences from our diverse immigrant population, there is no doubt that the work and creativity of Black Americans in our nation’s kitchens still resonates through menus today. Continue reading “Celebrate Juneteenth With Food”