Getting in the holiday cooking mood at your Summit County Library
special to the daily
Each town in Summit County looks like a Santa Claus village by now, but if you are not yet ready for the season, you can get into the mood by browsing a holiday cookbook at the library. No other books can ignite the senses of smell or taste and give you an all around good feeling like a Christmas cookie cookbook. Of course, a cookbook must have photos, and this year there are some beautiful ones.
I wish I had had “The Thanksgiving Cookbook” by Holly Garrison back when I attempted my first “Classic American Stuffing.” It will answer all your questions and give you some good ideas for your special feast – such as, 1/2 cup of stuffing per pound of turkey equals no leftovers! Since there were just two of us back then, I had enough stuffing for the whole apartment complex. Today’s new cookbooks can turn even a snowboarder with seven roommates into a holiday host.
“Autumn Gatherings” just sounds cozy, and recipes like “Hot Buttered Apple Cider,” which uses fresh ginger, will make your home smell wonderful. Soups are a Summit favorite. “Broccoli and Roasted Garlic Soup” or “Golden Cauliflower and Cheddar Soup” belongs in mugs around the fire. Speaking of gatherings, “Perfect Recipes for Having People Over” gives advice on overcoming “entertaining anxiety.” Just have the people over, it says, and make them comfortable. The author, Pam Anderson, gives us a recipe for “Chicken Mushroom Crepes” that she once followed to feed 250 people. Ten variations of “Creamy Vegetable Soup” offer the perfect first course for individual tastes.
Southern Living’s “Big Book of Christmas” is my favorite 2010 cookbook. It starts with holiday decorations. One mantel is shown with an autumn look and changes for a Christmas decor. The instructions are clear and fun. This cookbook has 12 complete menus with recipes for very fancy meals, from “Smoked Trout and Pecan Crostini” to an “English Feast of Prime Rib and Horseradish Cream.” As you go through the cookbook, it gets progressively simpler, until you reach “Kids in the Kitchen” and finally “5 Ingredient 15-Minute Meals.” Looking especially delicious is “Hot Fudge Cheesecake” or “Eggnog Pie.” “Chic Macaroni and Cheese” made with cream, blue cheese, and eggs sounds like a very comforting food!
Bon Appetit’s “Holiday” covers a year of holidays and is a great resource when you want to celebrate in a “gourmet” way by putting lots of love and time into cooking up “Classic Potato Latkes” or perfect “Cheese Blintzes” for Hanukkah. Another great gathering idea, a New Year’s Eve appetizer party, could include “Avocado Pate with Parsley and Pistachios.” The new “Sunset Cookbook” with more than a thousand recipes, can help you throw a “Sushi Party in 5 Easy Steps!”
Betty Crocker has an A+ “Christmas Cookbook” for 2010. Just a sample to get you drooling is “Gorgonzola and Rosemary Cream Puffs” and “Peppermint White Chocolate Bonbon Brownies.” There are pictures of everything in this one, including beautiful, fluffy, homemade marshmallows. As you can tell, cookbooks, which are catalogued in the 641s of the Dewey decimal system, are always going to have recipes to inspire and give you great ideas for the festivals in your family. There are “Fat-Free Holiday Recipes” and even the “South Beach Diet Parties and Holidays cookbook.” Too busy, you say? Try the “Fix-it and Forget It Christmas Cookbook.” Its perfect 600 slow-cooker recipes will let you shop, work, and read a Christmas novel while you cook.
Come look in the library for “drippingly delectable” recipes for the holiday’s “comfortable excess.” As food prices rise, let’s remember this instruction from the Shaker Manual: “Be not angry or sour at table; whatever may happen, put on the cheerful mien (manner), for good humor makes one dish a feast.”
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