New Year, New Resolutions, New Cook Books…

Roy Mackenzie | January 5, 2017

Todays’ Blog Post comes to us from Araceli in the Reference Department:

We all use the start of a new year to reflect on the past and prepare for the coming months. This may come in the form of ambitious new projects or modifications of familiar habits. For me, the new year is a time to remember what is most important in my life, whether it’d be healthy habits or things I’d like to prioritize, and find new ways to make those priorities more present in the new year.

One particular subject I always reflect on is food. Now, food is an integral subject to most of us, but for me in particular…well…I’m pretty obsessed, and I have the track record to prove it.  What shaped my obsession for food–from eating it to learning its history–is that I come from a very large family of Mexican ice cream makers. It’s the family trade that my grandfather started, and our family ice cream parlor and factory has been serving the Nuevo Laredo community in Mexico for 61 years. Growing up within this food industry helped me develop a passion for food that is strongly reflected in my love for cookbooks. My own cookbook collection is composed of over 65 books (a number I consider small, but my husband considers extensive). My current internship in digital asset management and librarianship with America’s Test Kitchen–a neighbor of the Public Library of Brookline–sets me up to be “in the know” on the latest cookbooks, trends, and culinary histories.

As you can see, I find myself thinking about food a lot, so it seems inconceivable that it wouldn’t make it into my New Year’s resolutions in one way or another. With the new year, I hope to cook more at home, which will take preparation, but also a repertoire of quick recipes for the days I simply didn’t plan. On my list of resources are Make It Ahead by Ina Garten and Thug Kitchen by Thug Kitchen Staff, two books that will help me with just that. Below are some resolutions and some cookbook suggestions that I hope will help you get on the right track. With over 1,000 cookbooks at our library and many more in our system, we have just the right tools to get you started no matter what your resolutions may be!


If you want to do less dishes in 2017…. One-Pan Wonders by America’s Test Kitchen

When you think about cooking dinner, multiple pots and pans and a lot of multitasking (and cleanup) are probably quick to come to mind. Even a simple meal of chicken and a vegetable can require use of one pan for the chicken and another for the side dish. With this in mind, America’s Test Kitchen set out to streamline dinner with a fresh, modern collection of recipes make the most of your Dutch oven, sheet pan, skillet, roasting pan, casserole dish, and slow cooker to deliver dinner using just one pot (no cheating!) and a minimum of hands-on time.

Favorite recipe: Vegetable and Orzo Tian

  If you want to buy less and make more… The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila

The Homemade Pantry was born of a tight budget, Alana’s love for sharing recipes with her farmers’ market customers, and a desire to enjoy a happy cooking and eating life with her young family. On a mission to kick their packaged-food habit, she learned that with a little determination, anything she could buy at the store could be made in her kitchen, and her homemade versions were more satisfying, easier to make than she expected, and tastier!

Favorite recipe: Crème Fraîche

  If you’re watching your sugar intake, but love dessert… Baking with Less Sugar by Joanna Chang

Baking with Less Sugar is an eye-opener for anyone who loves to bake and wants to cut back on the sugar. Joanne warmly shares her secrets for playing up delicious ingredients and using natural sweeteners, such as honey, maple syrup, and fruit juice. In addition to entirely new go-to recipes, she’s also revisited classics from her famous Boston bakery –Flour– to provide you with these revolutionary recipes, making this a must-have book for bakers of all skill levels.

Favorite recipe: White Chocolate-Cherry-Almond Cookies

  If you don’t know where to start or want to refine your fundamentals….How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

Mark Bittman’s award-winning How to Cook Everything has helped countless home cooks discover the rewards of simple cooking. Now the ultimate cookbook has been revised and expanded (almost half the material is new), making it absolutely indispensable for anyone who cooks—or wants to. With Bittman’s straightforward instructions and advice, you’ll make crowd-pleasing food using fresh, natural ingredients; simple techniques; and basic equipment. Even better, you’ll discover how to relax and enjoy yourself in the kitchen as you prepare delicious meals for every occasion.

Favorite recipe: Traditional Pesto

  If you want to order less take-out….Thug Kitchen by Thug Kitchen Staff

Plenty of blogs and cookbooks preach about how to eat more kale, why ginger fights inflammation, and how to cook with microgreens and nettles. But they are dull or pretentious as hell—and most people can’t afford the hype. Thug Kitchen lives in the real world. In their first cookbook, they’re throwing down more than 100 recipes for their best-loved meals, snacks, and sides for beginning cooks to home chefs. This book is an invitation to everyone who wants to do better to elevate their kitchen game. No more ketchup and pizza counting as vegetables. No more drive-thru lines. No more avoiding the produce corner of the supermarket.

Favorite recipe: Brown Rice Bowl with Edamame and Tamari Scallion Sauce

  If you want to eat more vegetables… Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

Plenty is a must-have collection of 120 vegetarian recipes featuring exciting flavors and fresh combinations that will delight readers and eaters looking for a sparkling new take on vegetables. Yotam’s food inspiration comes from his Mediterranean background and his unapologetic love of ingredients. Not a vegetarian himself, his approach to vegetable dishes is wholly original and innovative, based on freshness and seasonality. Essential for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike!

Favorite recipe: Stuffed portobello with melting Taleggio

If you want to cut time, but not flavor… Make It Ahead by Ina Garten

If you’ve ever found yourself stuck in front of the stove at your own party, scrambling to get everything to the table at just the right moment, Ina is here to let you in on her secrets! Whether you’re hosting a party or simply making dinner on a hectic weeknight, Ina gives you lots of amazing recipes that taste just as good–or even better!–when they’re made in advance. In Make It Ahead, each recipe includes clear instructions for what you can do ahead of time, and how far in advance, so you can cook with confidence and eliminate last-minute surprises.

Favorite recipe: French Chicken Pot Pie