We devour books on our favourite subjects. Here are some of our most recommended:
- The Forest Feastby Erin Gleeson, 2014. I was showing a friend the amazing cookbook shop Good Egg in Kensington Market one day, and saw this cookbook. The design was like nothing I’ve ever seen before – despite my massive collection of cookbooks (starting almost 25 years ago), Gleeson manages to create something completely new. Beautiful photos of food in her cabin among the California redwoods, simple but tasty recipes, and lovely hand-painted titles and images form a whimsical but inspiring ‘forest faerie’ cookbook. Needless to say, I bought it right away.
- Girlfriends Forever by Susan Branch, 2000. Susan Branch’s hand-lettered, hand-painted books are charming, never more so than in this book where she tells stories about growing up in a large family, or the hi-jinks she got up to with her girlfriends. The recipes are more health-focused than her other books, with nutrition information for each.
- My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories by David Lebovitz, 2014. David Lebovitz says himself that he likes reading the stories behind the recipes, and this is how his new cookbook is formatted. I read through this cookbook like a novel, and the tales about friends, food vendors, provinces in France, and treasured ingredients are even more inspiring than the gorgeous photography!
- Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi
by Yotam Ottolenghi, 2011. Scrumptious photos inspire you to try the recipes that highlight various vegetables. The combination of flavours are sometimes ones that aren’t obvious to me, but are nevertheless superb.
- Pok Pok by Andy Ricker, 2013. Tomiko borrowed this Thai cookbook from the library because she thought ‘pok pok’ was a dirty word in Tagalog – alas, the word was similar but not ‘pok pok.’ The mistake ended up being a blessing in disguise, since the Pok Pok book is gorgeous and is full of amazing recipes for dishes that you would never see in a Thai restaurant in North America (apart from Ricker’s restaurant in Portland, Oregon, of course). The photos, the stories, the dishes are spectacular. Thankfully we live next to well-stocked grocery stores in Chinatown where we can pick up most of the ingredients.
- The Summer Book
by Susan Branch, 1995. Every time summer comes around, I am drawn to the light, carefree paintings and refreshing recipes in this cookbook.
- Sweets to the Sweet: A Keepsake Book from the Heart of the Home
by Susan Branch, 1998. This was my first Susan Branch book, which my cousin bought me when I was around 11 years old. As a kid I always loved books and shows about food and cooking, but my palate was not yet experienced. I basically only wanted cookbooks with sweets, preferably chocolaty ones. And this cookbook fit the bill, plus it was a cute little book perfectly sized for a kid like me! Even so many years later, I still use most of the recipes here, and the artwork is gorgeous.
- Veggiestan: A Vegetable Lover’s Tour of the Middle East
by Sally Butcher, 2013. I stalked this is in store, debating whether or not to buy it. It is filled with gorgeous matte photos of the meatless recipes, many of which I’ve tried, all of which are delicious.
- Clever Crocheted Accessories: 25 Quick Weekend Projects
edited by Brett Bara, 2012. The patterns are easy to follow, very wearable, and use a variety of yarn weights. I’ve made a hat and a scarf, and I plan on making more!
- Crochet Boutique: 30 Simple, Stylish Hats, Bags & Accessories
by Rachael Oglesby, 2012. This has many quick but beautiful patterns for cozy hats and scarves.
- Crochet One-Skein Wonders: 101 Projects from Crocheters around the World
edited by Judith Durant and Edie Eckman, 2013. It’s rare that one book has such an abundance of great designs that I would make myself. I just discovered this book recently, but have already made five designs, and I plan on making many more.
- Modern Top-Down Knitting: Sweaters, Dresses, Skirts & Accessories Inspired by the Techniques of Barbara G. Walker by Kristy McGowan, 2010. Kristy uses Barbara Walker’s technique of creating knit pieces starting from the top, unlike most standard knitting patterns. This brilliant method means that as a project is being constructed, the knitter can try on the unfinished piece and then adjust it as necessary. Apart from her inspired technique, Kristy’s designs are so elegant and beautiful!
- Custom Knits Accessories: Unleash Your Inner Designer with Improvisational Techniques for Hats, Scarves, Gloves, Socks and More by Wendy Bernard, 2012. The idea behind Wendy’s clever Custom Knit series is how to take any pattern and customize it to one’s own preference, size, or design. Her designs are also very wearable and her accessories make great weekend projects.