a mixed platter of literary cookbooks for holiday gift giving

Elsa Beskow (Emily and Daisy, 2009)

 

It’s November and the holidays are upon us!

And guess what? I’ve FINISHED all my holiday shopping!!!

Stop screaming, I’m just kidding. 🙂

I know this might be true for some of you super organized types out there. But alas, I’m not one of them. The problem with shopping is that when I start looking for things to give other people, I find a million things I want for myself.

Holiday shopping = Danger, Will Robinson.

Though I may be a teensy bit partial, to me the best gifts to give or receive are literary cookbooks, especially if they’re illustrated. You get the best of both worlds — good stories + tasty recipes. What better way to get families to read, cook, and eat together?

Today’s roundup includes books I’ve reviewed, several from my Wish List, and a few I’ll be featuring here in the near future — a mix of new + older titles. Hope you find something to your liking for the big or little people on your list. Sip your coffee or tea and enjoy!

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🍰 A MIXED PLATTER OF MOUTHWATERING COOKBOOKS FOR LITERARY FOODIES 🍩

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Nadiya’s Bake Me a Festive Story, by Nadiya Hussain and Clair Rossiter (Hodder Children’s Books, 2017).

Christmas is a time when families come together. This unique combination of storybook and cookbook, with all recipes and stories devised and written by Nadiya, brings families into the kitchen to share this special time of year through cooking and stories.

Go on an adventure to the Snow Queen’s palace, then make her treacle ice cream – Make and decorate cheesy-feet biscuits, then read the story about where all the odd socks go at Christmas time – Meet some very confused elves in The Elves and the Choux Maker, then bake your own lemon choux buns – Read Nadiya’s version of ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas, then cook a scrumptious nut roast.

Combining playful photography of Nadiya and her children with vibrant illustrations by Clair Rossiter, this glorious celebration of the joy of sharing food and stories is the perfect Christmas gift.

**Review coming soon!

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Nadiya’s Bake Me a Story, by Nadiya Hussain and Clair Rossiter (Hodder Children’s Books, 2016).

A unique combination of storybook and cookbook, with all recipes and stories devised and written by Nadiya herself, Nadiya’s Bake Me a Story brings families into the kitchen to spend time together sharing stories and cooking.

Make yummy butter-bean patties and, while they are in the oven, enjoy the story of Jack and the Bean-Patty Stalk

– Meet Ruby-Red and the Three Bears, then bake your Very-Berry muffins

– Join Rapunzel on an adventure, then make her carrot and nutmeg cookies

– Bake some pumpkin and spice flapjacks, then curl up with the tale of Cinderella and her pumpkins

Combining playful photography of Nadiya and her children with vibrant illustrations by Clair Rossiter, this glorious celebration of the joy of sharing food and stories is the perfect addition to every family’s kitchen!

**See my review HERE (I made Nadiya’s Very-Berry Breakfast Muffins).

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Dinner with Dickens: Recipes Inspired by the Life and Work of Charles Dickens, by Pen Vogler (CICO Books, 2017).

Dinner with Dickens celebrates the food of Victorian England by recreating dishes the author wrote about with such gusto, and enjoyed in real life. Food in the novels not only creates character and comedy, but is also a means of highlighting social issues. A grand wedding breakfast skewers ostentation in a wealthy household. A bread-and-butter tea conjures honesty and companionship. The gruel given to hungry children exposes a cruel and unjust regime.

The characters who throng Dickens novels are forever offering one another punch or seed biscuits; arranging a nice little supper of pickled salmon, salad and tea; showing concern with a roast fowl; or sisterly love with a painstakingly made beefsteak pudding. And, of course, there is the great feast of Christmas, celebrated in glorious style even by the impoverished Cratchits. At home, Dickens’ wife Catherine helped him entertain, and published (under a pseudonym) her own book, What Shall We Have for Dinner?, with pages of menus or “bills of fare” for different sizes of party and the changing seasons.

In Dinner with Dickens, Pen Vogler has fully updated recipes from contemporary Victorian cookbooks, including Catherine’s own book. Clear instructions enable you to recreate mutton stuffed with oysters, Betsey Prig’s Twopenny Salad, Dickens’ own recipe for punch, and the Dickens family’s Twelfth Cake. In addition there are features on topics such as Dickens Abroad, Shopping for Food, and Eating Out, with fascinating insights into housekeeping, entertaining, and social history.

**On my Wish List

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Dinner with Mr Darcy: Recipes Inspired by the Novels of Jane Austen, by Pen Vogler (CICO Books, 2013).

Food is an important theme in Jane Austen’s novels – it is used as a commodity for showing off, as a way of showing kindliness among neighbors, as part of the dynamics of family life, and-of course-for comic effect. Dinner with Mr Darcy takes authentic recipes from the period, inspired by the food that features in Austen’s novels and letters, and adapts them for contemporary cooks. The text is interwoven throughout with quotes from the novels, and feature spreads cover some of the key themes of food and eating in Austen’s time, including table arrangements, kitchens and gardens, changing mealtimes, and servants and service. Whether you are hoping to beguile a single gentleman in possession of a substantial fortune, or you just want to have your own version of the picnic on Box Hill in Emma, you will find fully updated recipes using easily available ingredients to help you recreate the dishes and dining experiences of Jane Austen’s characters and their contemporaries.

**I featured the book HERE and made Ratafia Cakes.

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The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook: Charming Recipes from Anne and Her Friends in Avonlea, by Kate Macdonald and L.M. Montgomery (Race Point Publishing, 2017).

Join Anne Shirley and her friends in Avonlea with the charming recipes in The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook, a recipe collection inspired by L.M. Montgomery’s famous children’s book series, Anne of Green Gables.

Have you ever wanted to sneak a sip of Diana Barry’s Favorite Raspberry Cordial or try a slice of Anne Shirley’s Liniment Cake (without the liniment!)? Now you can, with the delightful teatime snacks, mains, desserts, and more created by Kate Macdonald, L.M. Montgomery’s granddaughter.

From Poetical Egg Salad Sandwiches and Marilla’s Plum Pudding with Caramel Pudding Sauce (without the mouse!) to Gilbert’s Hurry-Up Dinner, the recipes included here are mentioned throughout the books in the Anne of Green Gables series, along with recipes from L.M. Montgomery’s own kitchen. With a lovely grosgrain ribbon, full-color photography, whimsical illustrations, and quotes and anecdotes, this cookbook is the ideal gift for all “kindred spirits” and lovers of Avonlea.

**Review Coming Soon!

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My Prairie Cookbook: Memories and Frontier Food from My Little House to Yours, by Melissa Gilbert (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2014).

In My Prairie Cookbook, Melissa Gilbert, star of Little House on the Prairie, offers fans comforting family recipes and childhood favorites. From prairie breakfasts and picnic lunches to treats inspired by Nellie’s restaurant, the 80 simple and delicious dishes—crispy fried chicken, pot roasts, corn bread, apple pie, and more—present Bonnet Heads (die-hard Little House fans) with the chance to eat like the Ingalls family.

Gilbert’s personal recollections and memorabilia, including behind-the-scenes stories, anecdotes, and more than 75 treasured scrapbook images, accompany the recipes. With answers to the most-asked questions from fans—on topics including the biggest bloopers, on-set romances, and what Michael Landon was really like—My Prairie Cookbook is a cherished memento for Little House fans and fans of simple prairie cooking alike.

**See my review HERE (I made Very Veggie Soup and Good Old Rice Pudding)

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Jewish Fairy Tale Feasts: A Literary Cookbook, by Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple (Interlink, 2013), paperback edition out December 5, 2017.

Master storyteller Jane Yolen and her daughter Heidi Stemple have teamed up to bring the magic of their acclaimed Fairy Tale Feasts to the time-honored and delicious traditions of Jewish storytelling and cuisine. Here you’ll find Yolen’s dynamic, enchanting retellings of Jewish tales from around the world paired with Stemple’s recipes for everything from challah to matzo brei to pomegranate couscous, tzimmes chicken, and rugelah, in creative versions of classic dishes that any family will delight in cooking together. And Jewish Fairy Tale Feasts is more than a collection of stories and recipes: Yolen and Stemple imagine their readers as co-conspirators. Throughout they share fun facts and anecdotes about the creation of the stories and the history of the dishes, designed to encourage future cooks and storytellers to make up their own versions. Readers of all ages will learn about Jewish folktales, culture, and cooking, all the while captivated by the humor and wisdom of these enduring stories (and ready to eat!).

**On my currently reading and hope to cook from soon list. 🙂

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The Tasha Tudor Family Cookbook: Heirloom Recipes and Warm Memories from Corgi Cottage, by Winslow Tudor (Skyhorse Publishing, 2016).

World-renowned artist Tasha Tudor charmed and fascinated fans with her sweet illustrations and simple lifestyle. This cookbook echoes the cultural and family narrative so accurately and beautifully reflected in Tasha Tudor’s art and life. The receipts (what she called recipes) also suggest Tasha’s philosophy. “In all things moderation,” she would say, then with a laugh, “except gardening.”

Tasha’s grocery list was never long. She had a robust vegetable garden, a large chest freezer, and well-stocked larder. She created countless meals over many decades, and they were all very good. When possible, Tasha purchased fresh food, the origin and method of production of which she knew. But if she couldn’t, or didn’t want to, she didn’t worry. Frugality was on her shopping list as well.

These receipts—from Tasha’s Poppyseed Cake to Shepherds Pie, Potato Soup to Chocolate Pudding—have been the mainstay of Tasha’s family for generations, and are, for the most part, from the original cookbook she began as a young woman. The simple, comforting, and delicious receipts are accompanied by her beautiful watercolors and new photographs of the food and Tasha’s homestead.

**See my review HERE (I made Lentil Soup and Applesauce Cake).

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The Star Wars Cookbook: BB-Ate: Awaken to the Force of Breakfast and Brunch, by Lara Starr (Chronicle Books, December 15, 2017).

Awaken your inner Force with 29 intergalactic breakfast recipes. Fuel up with Hans Soloatmeal, battle hunger with Admiral Ackbars, and so much more! These easy-to-make, mouthwatering recipes feature characters and scenes from Star Wars: The Force Awakens as well as from the upcoming film Star Wars: The Last Jedi. And photographs featuring Star Wars figurines re-creating epic moments from the films provide an extra helping of humor.

**On my Wish List

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The Wizard’s Cookbook: Magical Recipes Inspired by Harry Potter, Merlin, The Wizard of Oz and More, by Aurélia Beaupommier (Skyhorse Publishing, 2017).

From Merlin to Harry Potter to Mary Poppins, Aurélia Beaupommier pays tribute to all sorcerers, fairies, elves, mages, and magicians within this spellbinding cookbook.

The Wizard’s Cookbook includes magical dishes that are both quick and easy to prepare for any occasion. Beaupommier provides a beautiful spread of festive themed dishes to enchant your guests. Recipes are accompanied by beautiful full-page color photographs of the delectable food and drinks. In addition to the sustenance necessary to battle your nemesis―whether it be a dragon or an empty stomach―this book also includes recipes to prepare divine desserts and devilish snacks, as well as intoxicating potions and elixirs to quench your thirst.

Whether you’re a beginner or an expert wizard, open this spell book, grab your wand, and . . . Abracadabra! You’ll be able to create delicious, bewitching recipes that are sure to teleport you and those dining with you to another world.

**On my Wish List

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Fanny in France: Travel Adventures of a Chef’s Daughter, with Recipes, by Alice Waters and Ann Arnold (Viking, 2016).

Fanny is a girl who knows a lot about food and cooking since she’s grown up in and around the famous restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California. When Fanny’s mother, Alice Waters, the chef and owner of Chez Panisse, starts to watch her favorite old French movies, Fanny knows soon they’ll be packing their bags and traveling to France for a visit. In this sparkling book of whimsical stories, Fanny recounts some of her most fun-filled adventures with French friends and food. Join Fanny as she helps cook a huge bouillabaisse in Provence; learns how to make fresh cheese from a shepherd high up in the Pyrenees mountains; hunts for  wild oysters off the coast of Bordeaux, and discovers how one chicken can feed nine people, if served a certain way.

Fanny in France is also a beginner’s cookbook with forty simple, French-inspired recipes that encourage children and adults anywhere to cook and share delicious snacks and meals with family and friends using basic methods and the most sustainable ingredients.

**I wrote about this book HERE, and made Almond Brown Butter Cake.

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A Grandfather’s Lessons: In the Kitchen with Shorey, by Jacques Pépin (Rux Martin/HMH, 2017).

Jacques Pépin is one of the nation’s most famous cooking teachers, renowned for his knife skills. Ever since she was very young, his granddaughter, Shorey, has loved “helping” him in the kitchen. Now that she is twelve, Jacques gives his charismatic pupil a short course on preparing “food that is plain, but elegant, and more than anything, fun.” In the process, he proves himself as inspiring to her as he is to the country’s greatest chefs.

Curly hot dogs, spinach with croutons, sushi salmon cakes, skillet bread and homemade butter, raspberry cake: These recipes will become irresistible new classics for kids. Along the way, Jacques imparts lessons in kitchen etiquette, from how to set a table to how to fold a napkin properly—even how to load a dishwasher. And perhaps the most important lesson of all: that the best meals are the ones shared at home with family.

**Reading now, review on the horizon.

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Let’s Cook French: A Family Cookbook, by Claudine Pépin and Jacques Pépin (Quarry Books, 2015).

According to Jacques Pepin, “the moment for a child to be in the kitchen is from the moment they are born.” Previously published under the title Kids Cook French, Let’s Cook French, written by his daughter Claudine Pepin, is a fun, interactive, bilingual cookbook for families that introduces the art and joy of French cooking. It teaches better eating habits and the importance of culture, while providing quality family bonding time. Featuring classic, simple dishes inspired by French cuisine, each recipe is shown in both French and English and accompanied by charming illustrations. With an emphasis on fresh ingredients and hands-on preparation, dishes include traditional starters, main courses, and desserts. Your child’s creativity will be sparked, as will your deeper connection with them.

**Reviewed this one HERE (I made Almond Cake).

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Nonna Tell Me a Story: Lidia’s Egg-citing Farm Adventure, by Lidia Bastianich with illustrations by Renée Graef (Running Press, 2015).

It is a sleepover extravaganza when Nonna Lidia has her grandkids over for a night full of campfire stories and homemade food. As they all share a meal of omelets the next morning, Nonna Lidia reminisces about growing up on the farm, raising chickens, and gathering their eggs, which inspires a family trip to the local farm, where the kids can have their own chicken-and-egg adventures.

With farm-fresh recipes focused on chicken and eggs, America’s beloved Italian-American chef Lidia Matticchio Bastianich offers a variety family-friendly dishes and fun, safe ways kids can help cook. Buon appetito!

** Check out my review HERE with a recipe for Lidia’s Ricotta Cookies.

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Frida’s Fiestas: Recipes and Reminiscences of Life with Frida Kahlo, by Marie-Pierre Colle and Guadalupe Rivera (Clarkson Potter, 1994).

In the tradition of the best-selling Monet’s Table, Frida’s Fiestas is a personal account in words and pictures of many important and happy events in the life of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, and a scrapbook, assembled by her stepdaughter, of recipes for more than 100 dishes that Frida served to family and friends with her characteristic enthusiasm for all the pleasures of life. Full-color photographs.

**On my Wish List

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Chinese Fairy Tale Feasts: A Literary Cookbook, by Paul Yee and Judy Chan with illustrations by Shaoli Wang (Crocodile Books, 2014).

The fairy tales and folklore of China – like stories told throughout the ages everywhere – bring the fantastic world of ghosts and demons into our everyday lives. So it is not surprising that food makes an appearance here – each story is followed by a simple recipe.

Chinese Fairy Tale Feasts is a creative book which folds fairy tales into a cookbook of kid-friendly recipes. Most of the thirteen fairy tales included in the book have been adapted and retold from original sources by master storyteller, Paul Yee – a few are original to this text, but remain true to the spirit of the collection. They are accompanied by an introduction by Jane Yolen, one of our most celebrated folklorists. The splendid illustrations by Shaoli Wang bring the collection to life.

** I reviewed this one HERE, and made Rice Porridge.

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Shakespeare’s Kitchen: Renaissance Recipes for the Contemporary Cook, by Francine Segan and Tim Turner (Random House, 2003).

Francine Segan introduces contemporary cooks to the foods of William Shakespeare’s world with recipes updated from classic sixteenth- and seventeenth-century cookbooks. Her easy-to-prepare adaptations shatter the myth that the Bard’s primary fare was boiled mutton. In fact, Shakespeare and his contemporaries dined on salads of fresh herbs and vegetables; fish, fowl, and meats of all kinds; and delicate broths. Dried Plums with Wine and Ginger-Zest Crostini, Winter Salad with Raisin and Caper Vinaigrette, and Lobster with Pistachio Stuffing and Seville Orange Butter are just a few of the delicious, aromatic, and gorgeous dishes that will surprise and delight. Segan’s delicate and careful renditions of these recipes have been thoroughly tested to ensure no-fail, standout results.

The tantalizing Renaissance recipes in Shakespeare’s Kitchen are enhanced with food-related quotes from the Bard, delightful morsels of culinary history, interesting facts on the customs and social etiquette of Shakespeare’s time, and the texts of the original recipes, complete with antiquated spellings and eccentric directions. Fifty color images by award-winning food photographer Tim Turner span the centuries with both old-world and contemporary treatments. Patrick O’Connell provides an enticing Foreword to this edible history from which food lovers and Shakespeare enthusiasts alike will derive nourishment. Want something new for dinner? Try something four hundred years old.

**I featured this book HERE with my review of Will’s Words, by Jane Sutcliffe and John Shelley and made 1610 Rose Cakes.

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Cook Me a Story: A Treasury of Stories and Recipes Inspired by Classic Fairy Tales, by Bryan Kozlowski (Walter Foster Jr., 2016)

Welcome to the enchanted world of Cook Me a Story, where the most beloved fairy tales are retold with deliciously clever recipes for families to create and enjoy together. From breakfast adventures to evening stories, anytime is a perfect time for fairy tales and food. Join the fun as children learn to cook with familiar kitchen-time tales such as Goldilocks and the Three Pears, Cinnarella, Plumbelina, and more. Cook Me a Story combines the magic of storytelling with the fun of cooking for a truly unique fairy-tale experience that begins “once upon a kitchen…”

** On my TBR and hoping to cook from soon list. 🙂

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Cook Me a Rhyme: In the Kitchen with Mother Goose, by Bryan Kozlowski (Walter Foster Jr., 2017).

Spend a day in Mother Goose’s kitchen! Seventeen familiar and classic nursery rhymes inspire recipes and cook-along stories that will create a whole new generation of little chefs.

From breakfast to dinner, any time is a perfect time for nursery rhymes and food. Join the fun as children learn to cook with familiar kitchen-time rhymes like “Humpty Dumpty,” “Three Blind Mice,” “Hickory Dickory Dock,” and more.

Cook Me a Rhyme combines the magic of storytelling with the fun of cooking for a truly unique nursery rhyme experience.

** On my Wish List

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🎁 HAPPY GIFTING! 🎁


Copyright © 2017 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

24 thoughts on “a mixed platter of literary cookbooks for holiday gift giving

  1. Wow, Jama, what a marvelous list! I do love cookbooks with stories, often just read them, and I confess, rarely make the recipes, just enjoy the stories. There is no favorite here, but that nursery rhyme book looks very tasty! I also didn’t know about the books like ‘Dinner with Dickens’ or ‘Dinner With Mr. Darcy’. What fun they would be. Thanks for this ‘tempting’ list!

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    1. I have many cookbooks I read for just the stories, headnotes, or book excerpts. Not enough time to cook from all of them. Of course, I could hire a personal chef . . . (initials C.F.). 🙂

      Like

  2. Ohhhhhh Fantastic list! I have a couple of them but there are several here I *must* have … building my wish list! (I was traveling last week and have just found time to visit my visitors!)

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  3. What a great range, from Mother Goose to Shakespeare! Looking forward to your forthcoming reviews, especially of the Pepin. And wishing my kids were still little enough for the Walter Foster, Jr. and Nadiya books, sniff.

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  4. What a fun round up of bookish cookbooks! I have and love Frieda’s Fiestas and although I own The Jane Austen Cookbook, I am sure I will need to add Dinner with Mr. Darcy to my cookbook collection. 😉 Thanks for sharing!

    Like

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