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LEE & LOW BOOKS celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and to recognize how far the company has come, we are featuring one title a week to see how it is being used across the country in classrooms and libraries today.
Today we are featuring one of our favorite titles: George Crum and the Saratoga Chip.This fun story looks at the history behind everyone’s favorite snack food: the potato chip!
About the book: Growing up in the 1830s in Saratoga Springs, New York, isn’t easy for George Crum. Picked on at school because of the color of his skin, George escapes into his favorite pastimes — hunting and fishing.
Soon George learns to cook too, and as a young man he lands a job as chef at the fancy Moon’s Lake House. George loves his work, except for the fussy customers, who are always complaining! One hot day George’s patience boils over, and he cooks up a potato dish so unique it changes his life forever.
Readers will delight in this spirited story of the invention of the potato chip — one of America’s favorite snack foods. George Crum and the Saratoga Chip is a testament to human ingenuity, and a tasty slice of culinary history.
Awards and Honors:
Texas Bluebonnet Masterlist, Texas Library Association
Best Children’s Books of the Year, Bank Street College of Education
Distinguished Children’s Biography List, Cleveland Public Library
Author Gaylia Taylorbegan writing for children after she retired from many years working as a Reading Recovery® teacher. Taylor stumbled across George Crum’s story while researching African American inventors on the Internet.
“I’m always looking for a story to tell, and George Crum caught my attention because his invention, the potato chip, is loved by so many people,” says the author in an interview. “I have to admit that a story about the potato chip peaked my own curiosity, because it is my favorite snack.” The more Taylor read about George Crum, the more interested she became in his life. The author says that all her research described George Crum as having a very distinct and colorful personality. “I just couldn’t let him go,” says Taylor. “I said, ‘George, we’ve got a story to tell!’”
Resources for Teaching With George Crum and the Saratoga Chip:
Pia Ceres was LEE & LOW’s summer intern. She is a recipient of the We Need Diverse Books Internship Program grant. She’s a senior at Brown University, where she studies Education & Comparative Literature, with a focus in French literature. When she’s not reading, you can find her watching classic horror movies from under a blanket, strumming pop songs on her ukulele, and listening to her grandparents’ stories about the Philippines. In this blog post, she describes a friendship she developed with a character, and highlights some of LEE & LOW’s Filipino titles.
Do you know my friend Cora? I met her this summer.
Cora is the star of the picture book Cora Cooks Pancit, by Dorina Lazo Gilmore. She’s sweet, tan-skinned with a child’s moon-like face. She dreams of helping her mother cook Filipino dishes like adobo and lumpia and pancit, and one glorious day, she does just that. When Cora sits on the floor thinking about food while licking a spoon, I know we’re meant to be.
Of course, we make friends in books for reasons other than shared cultural experience. (Jo March, you’re my day one girl.) However, it’s increasingly critical that readers see their stories in books. When the values communicated in political rhetoric and popular culture can make a child feel ashamed or threatened for their differences, reflective stories provide crucial opportunity to help reframe their experiences in an affirming light.
When Mama asks Cora what she would like to cook, Cora “scrunched up her pug nose and began to think.” Memories of being teased about my low-bridged nose came tumbling back from time. But now, where there used to be shame, or longing for a Barbie doll’s features, Cora’s story creates the possibility of pride. She has a nose like me, and she’s smart, helpful, and adorable! At last, the positive mirror I didn’t even know I was waiting for until now.
So in the hope of inspiring conversation about taking pride in one’s heritage, and also recognizing the beauty of cultures different than one’s own, I’ve rounded up a few of LEE & LOW’s other Filipino and Filipino-American titles. With hope, they will be just the start of books that capture the Filipino/FilAm experience, making these stories accessible to all children.
Readers will be captivated by lush illustrations in this retelling of Cinderella, set in the little-represented world of the pre-colonial Philippines. Abadeha’s story begins as most Cinderella stories do, but what follows is an enchanting series of events that are deeply rooted in local mythologies. Magic takes unexpected forms, and fairytale fans will find Abadeha’s ending familiar, yet entirely new.
Abadeha: The Philippine Cinderella, by Myrna Paz, illus. by Youshan Tang
A warm and whimsical Manilatown, San Francisco, is the setting for a young boy’s adventures catching a troublesome talking fish. As the slippery ectotherm whirls through the streets, townspeople join Lakas’s rag-tag fish-hunting band. The language is doubly musical, as the book is written in both Tagalog and English!
Lakas and the Manilatown Fish, by Anthony Robles, illus. by Carl Angel
When his teacher announces a contest to see who can save the most play money, a baseball-loving Filipino American boy brings his father’s alkansiya, a bank made out of a hollow coconut shell, to school. Even though the bully mocks his “old, dusty shell,” Willie is determined to win the competition and learns an important lesson about his heritage. For any reader who has brought a part of their home culture with them to school and been teased (be it a packed lunch or article of clothing), this book is a reminder that where we come from makes us special.
Willie Wins, by Almira Astudillo Gilles, illus. by Carl Angel
The quest for more diverse books never ends! Do you have any recommendations for books about the Filipino/FilAm experience? When was the first time you saw yourself in a book? Share in the comments below!
On supermarket shelves, we are given a mind-numbing array of choices to select from. Shall we have some peppercorns on our macaroni, some cinnamon for baking, or a bit of rosemary with roast pork? Five hundred years ago, however, cooking with herbs and spices was a much simpler choice.
My daughter has been encouraging me to adopt a vegetarian diet. I do make an effort to eat meatless often, but a completely vegan or vegetarian diet takes a certain amount of commitment that I've never been willing to expend. Recently, this same daughter (she is both environmentally conscious and persuasive) talked me into watching the documentary, Cowspiracy. (I challenge you to watch this and not be affected.) In any case, The Forest Feast for Kids landed on my shelf in time to take advantage of my renewed interest in vegetarianism. Good timing, Forest Feast!
From the whimsically painted watercolor endpapers and chapter title pages to the lusciously photographed finished recipes, The Forest Feast for Kids is a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach. These are recipes that are as beautiful to present as they are healthy to eat.
Contents in this generously sized book contain cookbook standards - table of contents, index, introduction, and pages of helpful hints and cooking techniques. The chapters run the gamut of gastronomic needs: Snacks, Drinks, Salads, Meals, Sweets, and Parties. Each chapter contains about six recipes, each one displayed on across two pages. The left page has a painted recipe title, simple instructions in a large typewriter font, handwritten notes offering serving hints, "cut into wedges and enjoy hot!" , and hand-drawn arrows pointing to the appropriate ingredient photo (not every child may recognize a cilantro leaf or bay leaf). Photos are not insets or bordered, they are part of a lovely integrated palette of ingredients and text. Beautiful photos of the finished dishes appear on the facing page.
Simplicity of ingredients (most recipes have only four) combined with attractive presentation make these recipes irresistible not only to young chefs, but also to harried caregivers who would love to put a healthy, attractive meal on the table, but have trouble finding the time. I know that I'll be making Strawberry-Cucumber Ribbon Salad soon!
I've never seen the adult version of the same book. I'm willing to bet that it's equally wonderful!
Happy Saturday! I've been at the zoo all day with Urban Sketchers, hence this very late post. When we first got there, it was freezing, but now, 5.30 PM, it's hotter than a New Mexico chili pepper, good weather for today's topic: Hot and Cold. What I'm talking about here are hot and cold colors, or in other words, the backgrounds to your journal designs. When I sit down to create a collage or mixed media piece, I often don't know what will be in it, or what colors I'll choose. Sometimes I just let my hand wander over my supplies until I find something that feels right. For today's piece, I seemed to have needed hot, bright red, orange and yellow. Immediately the idea of "heat in the kitchen" came to mind, meaning, I think, "If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen." I may have sub-consciously been thinking about the A-Z Challenge, i.e., if you can't handle blogging every day, out you go, LOL. But on a more serious level, I started to think about my grandmother's infamous goulash, so hot it quite literally brought tears to the eyes. And she made it all the time! In retrospect, I know I would probably enjoy it much better today than I did as a child, but back then, it was pure torture to eat. All the same, I loved watching her prepare the dish: getting out the big Dutch oven; tying up the spices and peppercorns in cheesecloth bags; the deep red of the gravy once it had simmered all day. I remember having a special fondness for the bay leaves, not quite believing that you could actually use real leaves to cook with. Today's art page is rather simple, but the kitchen and cooking theme is one I could go on about forever. If the weather today had been a little warmer, I might have gone for a "cold" page of icy blue, leading me back to those long-ago summers when my best friend and I would ride our bikes to the closest 7-11 for electric-blue Slurpees. Or the time I experimented with blue food coloring for the frosting on a batch of cupcakes, and kind of overdid the color.
There is so much you can do in an art journal based on food, so much that I sometimes think it's one of my favorite themes! For instance:
Beloved (and secret) family recipes.
Special occasion and holiday meals.
"Dream" meals and baked good you'd love to try making.
Recalling when you learned (or didn't learn!) to cook or bake.
Ethnic foods from various cultures.
Our relationships to food; the good, the bad, the hopelessly tempting.
Trying a new and healthier lifestyle: making better choices and celebrating the changes.
Must-have ingredients, and why you rely upon them.
The combination of food, art, and writing has always been special to me, starting with a workshop I took on the poetry of food, led by the poet and food diva extraordinaire, Denise Brennan Watson. Her book, The Undertow of Hunger showed me how eloquent, necessary, and astonishing food can be, from a simple clove of garlic to the satisfying feel of a warm eggplant held in one's hand. Which reminds me--I have to go make dinner! See you on Monday.
Tip of the Day: Art journals aren't always for ourselves. An illustrated journal based solely on recipes and kitchen memories makes a beautiful gift, especially for a younger friend, or member of the family just starting out and learning there's more to life than the microwave. Bon appetit!Add a Comment
I dedicated my Strathmore Grey toned paper sketchbook to draw places. Whenever I have a bit of extra time, I pick it up and make use of it. I find drawing with blanck ink, and then adding some colour with colour pencils, works really well with the grey background paper.
The cappuccino I ordered in this coffee place in Amsterdam lasted as long as my drawing time; an hour. Yup, I ended up with the last sips being really cold.
Title: Sweetness and Lightning (Amaama to Inazuma) Genre: Slice of Life, Food Publisher: Kodansha (JP), Crunchyroll (US) Artist/Writer: Gido Amagakure Serialized in: good! Afternoon Original Release Date: July 15, 2015 Crunchyroll is on a roll lately with their manga releases; this series came out in the same wave that gave us The Morose Mononokean (Kiri Wazawa) and Princess Jellyfish (Akiko Higashimura) so ... Read more
From beginning to end, this book will help you shape a super story—perhaps even a monster story that you can illustrate!
Whatever you’d like to learn tomorrow—or throughout the summer, remember a good starting place is your local library or bookstore or online sites like For Kids here on my website or at the American Library Associations Great Websites for Kids.
I’d love to hear about some of the cool stuff you’re learning!
Now Playing - Forever Young by Alphaville
MAY PARKER'S FAMOUS WHEATCAKES
Originally made by my pal Pete's Aunt May, these wheatcakes are a great, hearty alternative to the standard pancake and will get your day off to a swinging start.
1 cup Buckwheat Flour
1 cup Sifted Whole Wheat Flour
2 teaspoons Double Acting Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
The Good: I read Colwin's Happy All the Time around when it first came out -- and it's stuck with me all these years. Since I was only in early high school at the time I read it, I thought that Happy All the Time, and Laurie Colwin herself, was my book, my discovery. While I bought a new copy when Vintage did its 2010 reissues, I still haven't brought myself to read it: would it be as perfect as I remember? Would it be as meaningful?
For how I read then, in high school and later, and well, for various reasons, despite loving that book I didn't read other Colwin titles. The good news about that is that now I can read them.
Home Cooking is a like a wonderful visit with a friend, making dinner and having laughs with a bottle of wine. It makes me hungry from the recipes; it makes me feel capable, because Colwin presents them as if they were easy to make. Her first kitchen, her first resources, are small and simple, making it that much more accessible to any reader. There's also an emphasis on fresh ingredients - seriously, it's as if were written today.
I also want to track down a copy of The Taste of America by John and Karen Hess.
Of course, the best way to show how this book is like hanging out with a friend is to highlight a few passages:
"Some diehards feel that to give a dinner party without a starter is barbaric. Mellower types want to get right down to the good stuff and not mess around with some funny little things on a small plate. Some hosts and hostesses are too tired to worry about a first and a second course and wish they had called the whole thing off."
"After you have cooked your party dinner six or seven times, you will be able to do it in your sleep, but your friends will be bored.You will then have to go in search of new friends..."
Laurie Colwin: A Confidante in the Kitchen by Jeff Gordinier, The New York Times; "there is something about her voice, conveyed in conversational prose, that comes across as a harbinger of the blog boom that would follow."
Because my "favorite books" list is about when I share it on the blog, not when it was published or when I read it (technically, this was during vacation last September), this is a Favorite Book of 2015.
Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.
Barlow, Melissa Noodlemania!: 50 Playful Pasta Recipes Gr. 4–6 112 pp. Quirk Books
Illustrated by Alison Oliver. Sections named for pasta shapes (“Twisted & Twirly,” “Wheels & Whatever”) contain recipes that use common ingredients and simple techniques with the usual caveat about grown-up help. Appetizing full-color photos show final products. Pasta trivia, creative cooking tips, and “fun facts” are scattered throughout. A chart suggesting substitutions, such as ravioli instead of tortellini, is a clever addition. Ind.
Subjects: Cookery and Nutrition; Food
Elton, Sarah Starting from Scratch: What You Should Know About Food and Cooking Middle school, high school 96 pp. Owlkids
Illustrated by Jeff Kulak. Although this book includes some recipes, it’s not a cookbook. Elton explores why we cook, how our senses contribute to food preferences, how culture and history affect food choices, and more. The lively prose is accompanied by stylized illustrations, charts, activities, and other graphics. A “guide to flavor pairing” and a measurement conversion chart are appended. Ind.
Subjects: Cookery and Nutrition; Food
LaPenta, Marilyn Fall Shakes to Harvest Bakes Gr. K–3 24 pp. Bearport
LaPenta, Marilyn Spring Spreads to “Nutty” Breads Gr. K–3 24 pp. Bearport
LaPenta, Marilyn Summer Sips to “Chill” Dips Gr. K–3 24 pp. Bearport
LaPenta, Marilyn Winter Punches to Nut Crunches Gr. K–3 24 pp. Bearport
Yummy Tummy Recipes: Seasons series. Corny titles and static illustrations aside, these cookbooks are something fresh for kids. With seasonal ingredients — pumpkin and cranberry for fall, peach and melon for summer, etc. — they offer enticing and healthy dishes that are perfect for holiday celebrations and generally enjoying each season. Sidebars present health tips, and directions are simple to follow and relatively concise. Reading list. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Cookery and Nutrition; Seasons—Autumn; Seasons—Summer; Seasons—Spring; Seasons—Winter; Food; Bakers and baking
Wagner, Lisa Cool Backyard Grilling: Beyond the Basics for Kids Who Cook Gr. 4–6 32 pp. ABDO
Wagner, Lisa Cool Best-Ever Brunches: Beyond the Basics for Kids Who Cook Gr. 4–6 32 pp. ABDO
Wagner, Lisa Cool Cooking Up Chili: Beyond the Basics for Kids Who Cook Gr. 4–6 32 pp. ABDO
Wagner, Lisa Cool Game Day Parties: Beyond the Basics for Kids Who Cook Gr. 4–6 32 pp. ABDO
Checkerboard How-To Library: Cool Young Chefs series. Each volume emphasizes characteristics of being a good cook (efficiency, creativity, organization, etc.); introduces a cooking technique and safety guidelines; and includes nine not-too-difficult, kid-appealing recipes—caramelized onion dip, black bean chili, breakfast bakes, kebabs, and more—with variations. Clear step-by-step directions include helpful color photos. There is some boilerplate repetition across the useful, accessible series. Glos., ind.
Subjects: Cookery and Nutrition; Food
Walton, Ruth Let’s Bake a Cake Gr. K–3 32 pp. Sea to Sea
Let’s Find Out series. Beginning with a birthday cake baked at Grandma’s (recipe appended), this book explores the origin and processing of the ingredients: sugar, butter, eggs, wheat, and chocolate. Walton generally makes sound choices about coverage for these broad topics, along with occasional advocacy for organic, fair-trade products. Collage-style illustrations and captioned photos help clarify the wide-ranging (and haphazardly organized) subjects. Glos., ind.
Subjects: Cookery and Nutrition; Bakers and baking
From theOctober 2014 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.
With nearly 200 countries in the world, the vast number and variety of dishes is staggering, which goes to show just how diverse your food can get. Which countries’ foods do you enjoy the most? Is there a particular characteristic of your favorite food that can’t be found anywhere else in the world? Do you know how national dishes vary by region? Explore (just some) of the world’s different cuisines discussed in The Oxford Companion to Food, from Afghanistan to Yemen, with our interactive map below:
Use the promo code “cookthebooks” and get FREE postage. Offer ends 27th October Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty changed the way people cook and eat. Its focus on vegetable dishes, with the emphasis on flavour, original spicing and freshness of ingredients, caused a revolution not just in this country, but the world […]
Sometimes what is considered edible is subject to a given culture or region of the world; what someone from Nicaragua would consider “local grub” could be entirely different than what someone in Paris would eat. How many different types of meat have you experienced? Are there some types of meat you would never eat? Below are nine different types of meat, listed in The Oxford Companion to Food, that you may not have considered trying:
Camel: Still eaten in some regions, a camel’s hump is generally considered the best part of the body to eat. Its milk, a staple for desert nomads, contains more fat and slightly more protein than cow’s milk.
Beaver: A beaver’s tail and liver are considered delicacies in some countries. The tail is fatty tissue and was greatly relished by early trappers and explorers. Its liver is large and almost as tender and sweet as a chicken’s or a goose’s.
Agouti: Also spelled aguti; a rodent species that may have been described by Charles Darwin as “the very best meat I ever tasted” (though he may have been actually describing a guinea pig since he believed agouti and cavy were interchangeable names).
Armadillo: Its flesh is rich and porky, and tastes more like possum than any other game. A common method of cooking is to bake the armadillo in its own shell after removing its glands.
Capybara: The capybara was an approved food by the Pope for traditional “meatless” days, probably since it was considered semiaquatic. Its flesh, unless prepared carefully to trim off fat, tastes fishy.
Hedgehog: A traditional gypsy cooking method is to encase the hedgehog in clay and roast it, after which breaking off the baked clay would take the spines with it.
Alligator: Its meat is white and flaky, likened to chicken or, sometimes, flounder. Alligators were feared to become extinct from consumption, until they started becoming farmed.
Iguana: Iguanas were an important food to the Maya people when the Spaniards took over Central America. Its eggs were also favored, being the size of a table tennis ball, and consisted entirely of yolk.
Puma: Charles Darwin believed he was eating some kind of veal when presented with puma meat. He described it as, “very white, and remarkably like veal in taste”. One puma can provide a lot of meat, since each can weigh up to 100 kg (225 lb).
Has this list changed the way you view these animals? Would you try alligator meat but turn your nose up if presented with a hedgehog platter?
This may not exactly be news to you, but: Taste is something personal.
You like your coffee with soy milk, and maybe also a hint of vanilla? Well, I like it black. You like potato chips? I like peanuts. You like macarons? I’d rather have a piece of chocolate. But who is to say which one actually tastes better? It’s your word against mine. Same goes for art. Take Van Gogh - his paintings were hated by many, and the poor guy had to live like a bum while making art, so who would have thought back then that poor old Vincent would become one of the most famous artists of the world a long time after his death?
There are no rules for taste. Or for making art. That’s why really, you shouldn’t worry about what others think about your art. Seriously. Wether that’s writing, painting, drawing, music, poetry… You are the one making the art, and if it’s not quite like the taste of anyone who feels the need to tell you so - well, just politely thank them for the advice and send them off to get you that Soy Latte or Skinny cappuccino or whatever else your poison may be.
How’s your taste for cooking, and food? If you like food as much as I do, and if you also like to draw or doodle, then I’ve got something that might be fitting to your taste:
Today my online workshop 'Draw It Like It’s Hot’ is starting. This is a 4-week workshop, for $69, in which we doodle food (=foodle), draw kitchen utensils and illustrate our very own recipes. Sweet! Maybe you can join us in this foodie-art challenge? It'll be lots of fun! You can read all about it and join by clicking here.
In my continuing quest to recreate the Kurdish/ Turkish food I came to love while in Germany (more on that here and here), my latest cooking adventure was making hot sauce (harissa) to go with my falafel.
Evidently it’s possible to buy harissa at least a couple of places here in Charlotte, but once I found this recipe, I felt I really had to make it myself.
Basically you’re soaking dried chiles (minus seeds), then blending with garlic, lemon juice, spices, and oil. It’s not quite the same as what they served at my imbiss in Hannover, but wow, I do not care. It is OFF the hook! I’d eat it on green beans, corn on the cob, broccoli, oatmeal—–okay, maybe not oatmeal.
The recipe is not really all that hot (as a person who is usually happy with medium hotness salsas and sauces), but the flavor complexity is INSANE.
I was short on lemons but long on limes, so I used lime juice. Also, the recipe calls for New Mexico chiles, but I had what I think were ancho chiles, so I used those instead.
The picture below of falafel with peppers and harissa also stars tahini sauce, this time made with lime juice and coconut milk, which was soooooo fantastic. The original recipe is in Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian (the coconut variation is a suggestion of his). A similar recipe is here.
Speaking of which, it’s snack time and there are leftovers in the fridge. See ya!
Baking is so enjoyable, especially when putting silly faces and sprinkles on cupcakes and cookies. Created to be a hands-on experience, these recipes allow kids to have fun in the kitchen. Parental guidance and assistance is essential, since recipes may contain many ingredients or have hard preparation steps.
Yummy recipes for juices consisting of: all fruits; fruits & vegetables; and fruits, veggies and dairy/non-dairy milk or yogurt to make smoothies. This book is designed to get kids to eat more fruits and veggies in a way that tastes great and is easy to consume.
Snapshots of the drinks and snacks, as well as the kids enjoying them, accompany the recipes in these vibrant and colorful books.
It’s time for the yearly round-up of costumes, in case you need some ideas. What are you dressing up as? Last year, I was the Prancercise Lady, but it’s going to be hard to top that one. The kids want to be a diva (10 year old) and a bald eagle (7 year old). We’ll probably get started on costumes this week. This always starts with a trip to the thrift store. Our costumes are of the slapdash variety—-altered rather than sewn from scratch, with not too much (okay, almost no) emphasis on perfection.
So glad to get my copy of the Budget Bytes cookbook the other day. If you haven’t yet discovered the Budget Bytes blog, you’re in for a treat. The recipes are on the simple side—weeknight friendly, for the most part, but not boring in the least. As the title suggests, the recipes are wallet-wise, but beyond that, they’re just appealing, and in many cases, less-meatarian, which I love. Also many are gluten-free or easily adaptable to GF. I checked the book out from the library and liked it so much I had to buy my own.
Discovered another new-to-me podcast for children’s and YA lit enthusiasts. It’s called First Draft, and it’s interviews Sarah Enni conducted with authors during a cross-country road trip. Good stuff, food for thought.
There is an unquantifiable amount of different types of food across the world, ranging from lesser known edibles like elephant garlic and ship’s biscuit to more familiar foods like chocolate and oranges. In the newly updated Oxford Companion to Food, readers will discover more than 3,000 comprehensive entries on every type of food imaginable, and a richly descriptive account of food culture around the world. The Oxford Companion to Food contains facts sure to delight foodies of all ages.
Welcome to Oxford University Press’s restaurant. We’ll take your coat. It’s time to find out just how much you know about the food you eat.
We are so excited to announce the release of our latest children’s book, Ten Thankful Turkeys. This colorful autumn tale follows ten turkeys as they get ready for an important celebration. This story teaches about gratitude. There are also fun turkey facts in the back of the book. You can get the kindle version of this book for a special launch price of $.99 for a limited time or FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited. We also have paperback versions on sale now at Amazon for $8.99.
Be sure to gobble up this deal before it disappears. :-)
What have you been reading? I’ve always got several books going at once, and let’s be honest, they don’t stay on the nightstand, so every night I’m frantically looking for the three I want at the moment.
First up, we have The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall. I haven’t gotten very far yet, but so far, it’s very funny, and I’m impressed by the intricate world Udall has created and all the many characters and their complexity.
Next, Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell. I can’t remember if this was a random book I picked out or if it was recommended by a friend, but it’s a goodie I turn to again and again. It has some excellent writing exercises, which I need, because lately I’m feeling a bit depleted creatively.
On to Budget Bytes by Beth Moncel, which you may remember me mentioning before. It’s a good, solid, weeknight cookbook with lots of fresh ideas. Simple but never boring. Currently loving the chipotle black beans, which are quick enough to make myself for lunch. The author also has an excellent blog.
This may be my favorite book of the year. By Roz Chast, of New Yorker cartoon fame, it’s the story of the slow descent of her elderly parents. It’s told in handwritten journal-like entries plus cartoons, drawings, and photographs. The story is laugh-out-loud hysterical (yes, I know, sounds strange, but it works) but also sad, poignant, and above all, deeply human. It makes me want to write a cartoon journal book. Think I may have to read it again.
Under that, The How Can It Be Gluten-Free Cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen. I’m just getting into this book, but I really like the way it’s set up and the extensive research that goes into each recipe. The folks behind it test everything to death and make sure it works.
It includes a DIY gluten-free flour mix (my other go-to GF cookbook does this as well). The hubs made me a gorgeous and delicious apple pie using said flour mix and cookbook. See?
This book kept popping up on quilting and crafting blogs, and I just had to have it (thanks, mom and dad!). It is so completely gorgeous I can’t even tell you. The collection features my favorite kinds of quilts—-improvised, imperfect, and made with the materials at hand.
And finally, we have Williams-Sonoma’s Cooking Together. Sometimes kids’ cookbooks seem to be more about making cute things out of candy and junk food than about real food. This one has a really nice range of recipes and lovely photographs to help kids envision what they might like to cook. My kids like to sit and plan—-but, confession, we haven’t actually made anything out of the book yet. I’m expecting good things, though, because our other Williams-Sonoma books are solid.
Btw, for kids interested in cooking, Chop Chop is another excellent resource for kid-friendly yet healthy, not-intimidating recipes.
Also, just finished Gone,Girl——totally worth a read if you haven’t yet. Can’t waaaaait to see the movie!