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Books with new recipes can add spice to your cooking adventures

By Laurie Lyda
Rowan Public Library

Cooking can be a lot of fun — but it can also turn monotonous. For me, new recipes and ideas can spice up a cooking routine that has lost its flavor, and if you’re also looking for some zest and inspiration, Rowan Public Library has the resources to get you started.

One book that I can’t wait to explore is “Procrastibaking: 100 Recipes for Getting Nothing Done in the Most Delicious Way Possible” (2020) by Erin Gardner. Recipes include staples like granola bars, sweet treats like salted caramel fudge, savory bakes like cheddar-pepper corn bread, and oh, so very many variations on cookies! With simple and annotated directions that include preparation time estimates, there are many recipes I know I will enjoy baking. (There are also some, like classic croquembouche, that I know I will leave to the infinitely more capable hands of the “Great British Bake Off” Contestants — but at least now I will better understand what they’re doing!) “Procrastibaking” is part of RPL’s new non-fiction physical collection.

Through Overdrive, via the N.C. Digital Library, I can search countless sources that I can check out and explore any time, day or night, from eMagazines to eBooks to eAudiobooks. It’s always enlightening to browse through food magazines, reading about new twists on classic recipes and new culinary trends and developments. RPL’s eMagazine selection includes “The Food Network Magazine,” “Good Housekeeping,” “Clean Eating,” and “Saveur.”

New releases in Overdrive’s eBook collection include HGTV’s Joanna Gaines’ “Magnolia Table, Vol. 2” (2020), which includes recipes for a variety of dishes, from quiches to tarts to meats. Also included is Joe Yonan’s “Cool Beans: The Ultimate Guide to Cooking with the World’s Most Versatile Plant-Based Protein” (2020). Yonan, food editor of “The Washington Post,” offers creative recipes and teaches how to use beans in every course of your meals — from the main dish to dessert.

While cooking is always a creative act, some cookbook authors take extremely creative and unique approaches to framing their cooking journeys. RPL’s Overdrive includes Aurelia Beaupommier’s “The Wizard’s Cookbook” (2018), which offers recipes inspired by magical stories like Harry Potter and lands like Narnia. A search of RPL’s catalog (via catalog.rowanpubliclibrary.org) also locates Robin Davis’ “The Star Wars Cookbook: Wookie Cookies and Other Galactic Recipes” (2016). While this eBook may be available through the N.C. Kids Digital Library, all ages will find these recipes fun to prepare and amusing to share!

I also enjoy cookbooks that are a blend of narrative and cooking instruction. “Dori Sanders’ Country Cooking: Recipes and Stories from the Family Farm Stand” (2012) lives up to its title. Available through both Overdrive as an eBook and RPL’s physical holdings, the book is written by Dori Sanders, author of the novel “Clover,” among other titles, and a peach farmer on one of the oldest Black-owned farms in upstate S.C. This book includes family stories, information about specific foods (like the short section on green peanuts), and detailed recipes. I met Sanders more than 20 years ago, and my autographed copies of her books and the postcard she later sent me are among my prized possessions. If you’re familiar with Sanders’s storytelling style, it is a strong presence in this book.

These are just a few of the titles on my list, but there’s something for every kind of cook in RPL’s digital and physical holdings. Explore and find your next new cooking adventure today — and if you would like assistance in your research, contact the library for assistance. Do know that as with physical copies of a book, only so many e-copies are available at a time, so if you find yourself on a waitlist for your eBook or eAudiobook of choice, check out Overdrive’s offerings that are available now. There is always something interesting to explore in the digital stacks!

Though RPL’s facilities are currently closed to the public, items can be checked out through Curbside Services; material pick ups are by appointments only. Call RPL’s Central Line at 980-432-8670 or visit www.rowanpubliclibrary.org for more information.

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