At harvest season, books by and for cooks
For many of us, a printed recipe is handier than a mobile device in the kitchen, where food stains and splatters are ubiquitous. These cookbooks will help you prepare dishes to wow your guests this holiday season. Read the stories that accompany the recipes with relish.
The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook 2001-2019: Every Recipe from the Hit TV Show with Product Ratings and a Look Behind the Scenes, by America’s Test Kitchen, 1040 pages, America’s Test Kitchen hardcover, 2018
This encyclopedic compendium of almost 1,500 recipes is an essential kitchen reference work. The book includes all the recipes presented in 19 seasons of the PBS cooking show “America’s Test Kitchen.” They are easy to replicate at home. More than 60 cooks, editors and cooking specialists have collaborated in compiling its contents.
Each recipe is introduced with an explanatory “why this recipe works” followed by easy-to-understand instructions. Color photographs accompany many recipes, which are presented in large-format size. Number of servings are included with each recipe, but there are no calorie or nutrient counts nor information on prep time.
Sidebars include explanations and illustrations of techniques. Meet co-hosts Julia Collin Davison and Bridget Lancaster in an informative interview.
The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook concludes with a detailed list of recommended equipment and ingredients, including brand names. The index makes finding recipes a snap.
If you’re cooking for a crowd this Thanksgiving, choose among three stuffed turkey recipes, along with gravy, stuffing and pumpkin pie.
Every Day is Saturday: Recipes + Strategies for Easy Cooking, Every Day of the Week, by Sarah Copeland, 256 pages, Chronicle Books hardcover, 2019
Turn your everyday recipes into elegant and tasty dishes with a few tweaks. That is the premise of this ingenious cookbook. About 100 recipes are included, each photographed in lavish color.
Of them, more than 25 are vegan, 80-plus are vegetarian, over 70 are gluten-free and more than 50 are dairy-free. All are listed in a special diets index.
Recipes range from breakfast to brunch to platters, main dishes, drinks and desserts. Six recipes for cooking for a crowd are included. The rest serve four, but you can easily adjust them for fewer servings. Prep time and total recipe time are enumerated for each recipe, but there are no calorie counts or nutritional information.
Former magazine food editor Sarah Copeland espouses a modern approach. She emphasizes easy techniques to create dishes pleasing to the eye and palate. Whether you’re looking to perk up your banana bread or oatmeal raisin cookies, learn to make Johnnycakes, revamp your dressings or prepare a meal for someone with dietary restrictions, you’ll find Every Day Is Saturday a daily delight.
Creating the Sweet World of White House Desserts: A Pastry Chef’s Secrets, by Roland Mesnier with Mark Ramsdell, 255 pages, White House Historical Association hardcover, 2019
White House Executive Pastry Chef Roland Mesnier served five presidents. In this book he shares more than 40 recipes with accompanying color photographs, descriptions of the event at which they were served, as well as the calligraphed menus of the entire meal.
Chef Mesnier and co-author pastry chef and instructor Mark Ramsdell provide clear and concise directions on using a variety of molds to create spectacular desserts and how to pull, turn and blow sugar to make unique embellishments.
Bakers will find easy-to-replicate recipes for unique flavors of sorbets, ice creams, mousses and souffles. Basic vanilla cake and sugar cookies will make delicious treats for family and company.
For those experienced in the kitchen, the more intricate recipes will give you hours of enjoyment learning to master, and much deserved praise for serving.
Creating the Sweet World of White House Desserts would make a thoughtful hostess gift. Those of us who have never attended a White House function will vicariously enjoy the gracious atmosphere at the Executive Mansion.
The book may only be purchased on the website of the White House Historical Association: shop.whitehousehistory.org/bookstore. Proceeds are returned to the publications program and used to acquire furnishings and memorabilia for the White House.
Red Truck Bakery Cookbook: Gold-Standard Recipes from America’s Rural Bakery, by Brian Noyes and Nevin Martell, photographs by Andrew Thomas Lee, 224 pages, Clarkson Potter hardcover, 2018
The mouthwatering recipes in this compilation are perfectly suited for the home baker. The 85 recipes — mostly of cookies, cakes and pies — are easy to follow and include many helpful tips for preparing and serving. The recipe for Barack Obama’s favorite sweet potato pecan pie is one of the highlights.
Turning the pages is akin to reading family heirloom recipes. Calorie counts are not included, but 75 full-page color photographs accompany the text.
Brian Noyes, a former art director at the Washington Post and Smithsonian magazine, followed his baking passion into a full-time career. He has opened two bakeries in Virginia since starting out selling pies and baked goods from a red 1954 Ford farm truck. Co-author food and culture writer Nevin Martell is a resident of Washington, D.C.
Visit the Red Truck Bakery and cafe in Marshall, Virginia, off I-66 or the smaller cafe in Warrenton, Virginia. Buy the cookbook to enjoy these treats at home anytime.