Cookbook-a-holic - Its a real condition

Author: Jennifer Schell  •  Date: March 11, 2014  •  Appears in: Community, Farmers, News, Recipe

Cookbook-a-holic - Its a real condition

Being a certified cookbook-a-holic, I having been gleefully pouring over the amazing selection of beautiful books that were published in 2013.  Thankfully, the cookbook world is one in particular that has kept its pages intact, so to say.  

Being a certified cookbook-a-holic, I having been gleefully pouring over the amazing selection of beautiful books that were published in 2013.  Thankfully, the cookbook world is one in particular that has kept its pages intact, so to say.  Numbers show that readers still prefer the hard copy of a cookbook to page through, drip butter on and show off on an open shelf - against the trend towards the digital book scene.  Yay!  I think there are many of us that love a stained, dog-eared cookbook – it is a sign of one that is well-loved and that obviously has great recipes.  Of course that doesn’t go for all titles, some are just too beautiful to mess up, and remain in the living room on the bookshelf to be admired without sticky fingers.

The restaurant cookbooks that have come out recently are really amazing.  I love books that contain the unique voice of the Chef – swear words and all! They also include beautiful photography.  It may sound shallow, but how much fun is a cookbook without photos?  How are you supposed to compare your creation with theirs?

Here are some of my favorite reads for 2013:

1.  I have found myself wanting to cook with as much wild game and/or friend farmed (this is the term I use when I buy from a farmer that I KNOW which is my main shopping philosophy).  Le Pigeon – Cooking at the Dirty Bird is a fabulous, hardcover cookbook. A wild ride through the culinary journeys of Andew Fortgang and Gabriel Rucker, owners and chefs of Le Pigeon in Portland Oregon, the dishes are incredibly creative and enough to get the foodie heart beating hard.  You will love these guys and feel like you know them by the end of the book journey.  Andy speaks of wine pairings, telling readers not to stress, “if the wine is good and the food is good, you are going to be okay!  So follow your gut…Or call me at the restaurant and I’ll give you a suggestion.  I mean it.” LOVE it!  Gabriel says “The number one thing to remember when using this book, or cooking anything, is to have fun.”  This is the new generation of chef – they are fun, they are hip and they are mavericks.  Page 84: Chicken-Fried Quail, Eggos, Foie Maple Syrup – need I say more?

2.  Further on the wild theme, Duck, Duck Goose – Recipes and Techniques for Cooking Ducks and Geese, both Wild and Domesticated by Hank Shaw really inspired me.  I am quite familiar with cooking with duck although I have never had the opportunity to “cook my own goose” (ha). The book refers to duck having a renaissance of sorts as it experiences a return to menus during the “marsh-to-table revolution”.  Recipes like Braised Duck with Leeks and Sauerkraut sound like ideal comfort food and I love the variety of recipes featuring the range of international flavours that duck can so effortlessly embrace. An amazing culinary reference book and hunter’s guide, Shaw includes lessons on breaking down a whole duck or goose, plucking, hanging, carving and beer and wine pairing notes.  A Duck Camp Survival Kit checklist is included and a wild duck species guide by country for hunters and enthusiasts.

3. Tara Duggan’s Root to Stalk Cooking – The Art of Using the Whole Vegetable has been called “a love song to vegetables”. From bulb to stem, from root to shoot and leaf to flower, this cookbook is chockfull of creative and delicious ways to eat your veggies – every bit of them.  Just like they used to do in the old country, scraps, trimmings, root tops and peelings are used– nothing is wasted.  I love this philosophy and find it very timely as the modern world begins its migration back to farmers markets and the days of sustainability (or as I dream it to be). The Scraps Latkes recipe that uses just that – vegetable trimmings and such left over from another recipe.  What to do with your potato peelings? How does Potato Skin Bacon Fat Chips made from potato peelings alone sound?  Your compost pile may not be too happy with the neglect, but Oma will be.  Not just veggie recipes either, there meat and fish recipes as well.

Please note: Soil Mate have received no incentive, nor have any affiliation with the books mentioned in this article.

Jennifer Schell


Jennifer Schell is a respected columnist and editor of B.C. Food & Wine Trails Magazine. She is the author of current bestselling cookbook, The Butcher, The Baker, The Wine & Cheese Maker – An Okanagan Cookbook, winner of that Gourmand World Cookbook Award for Best Local Cuisine Book, Canada and shortlisted to win Best in the World. Born and raised on an apple orchard in East Kelowna, Jennifer is a passionate supporter of BC’s vibrant farming, food and wine industry and has provided a creative lens inside the Valley’s magical landscape and its people.
Read more by Jennifer Schell

Add new comment

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.