All Reservations: What’s Cooking, Good Looking?

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Hello book lovers! It has been some time. My partner in this newsletter, Caitlin Fitch, has been reading avidly for the past few months. She always has new and interesting books and ideas to share with all of you. Unfortunately, I was in a slump in reading. It’s been a struggle for me to pick up a book or even play some audiobooks, and even when I do, I do it 20 minutes before my mind wanders, and I realize I need to start over. This happens to me about once every two years. I’ve learned to accept it as a phase, and the more you embrace the stagnation of reading and take a break from reading, the more it’s over.

While I don’t read traditional novels or fairy tales, I’ve been digging deeper into my cookbook collection. I not only read cookbooks, but cook from them as well – which my husband is very grateful for. Because of the recent shift in reading habits, and because we’re fast approaching the holiday season, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite things.

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I got Susan Lenzer scratch As a Christmas gift from my brother a few years ago, it is probably my favorite cookbook in my collection. This is my main inspiration when I bring the girls or do a casual dinner party. All recipes are “the inspiration for small plates and curvy meals.” Perfect for those long summer nights relaxing in the backyard, for a cocktail party, or even a stroll in the rose garden. Lenzer divides the book into three main sections: mostly chopping, a little cooking, and it’s worth the effort, so you can decide how much time and preparation you want to commit. It also lists typical menus such as “A French Affair for Many” and “Fall Supper by the Fire.” If you’re new to cooking and hosting, this book is the perfect starting point.

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Now, for those who are looking for a challenge, look no further Jelena by Travis Litt. Lett is the chef of the famous Gjelina restaurant in Venice. I have had the pleasure of eating there several times, and both experiences were very memorable. You know a restaurant is good when its dishes appear in your dreams. I hope to be back there sometime soon, but until I do, I can bring a little of Gjelina’s magic into my home with their cookbook.

Filled with stunning photographs, stories from the kitchen, and a focus on quality ingredients, Lett takes you to mind as a chef. There are a variety of recipes in this book. Some take minutes to build, while others take days. But when you love to cook, is there anything more fun than planning and preparing all week for a dinner party? I swear it tastes better.

This edition of All Booked was originally sent to subscribers via email on October 26, 2021. To receive the Literary Newsletter from Emily Cosentino Lee and Caitlin Fitch in your inbox, sign up at http://www.newsletters.

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I’m by no means a vegan, but I own quite a few vegan cookbooks—six, to be exact. I bought them all for different reasons, but I have to say my favorite is Vegetarian Mississippi by Timothy Bakron. This cookbook is thick and full of recipes that showcase the beauty of vegetables, grains, and plant proteins. Before all of your non-vegetarian readers check your noses, I challenge you to rethink your relationship with “vegetarian food.” There is so much beauty to be found in ingredients that are often overlooked. Bakron does an impeccable job of showing off the abundance and deliciousness that vegetables can provide.

If you’re interested in sampling these types of recipes, Pakron has an Instagram and blog where he posts additional recipes. Bakron is also just an amazing human being who loves gardening, cooking, and photographing his creations. I’ve been following him for years, and when he published this cookbook, I knew I needed it in my collection. I cried reading acknowledgments.

Reply to this email and let me know some of your cookbooks. I always look to expand my collection with quality recipes that either present a challenge, inspire, or, in the best cases, both.

Happy cooking!

Your beloved bookworm, Emily

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