Monday, February 6, 2012

three cookbooks

The past week has been so glorious with its clear blue skies and beautiful sun. I'm happy to trade the warm overcast days that ruled most of January for this ice-cold Siberian front (even though that bright light and cold air made me rather headache-y for a couple days) On the first day of sunshine last week I bundled up in my coat and thick turtleneck and mittens, took my one cup of hot coffee outside to the picnic table, sat there on a sheepskin fur and soaked up a few rays. The ground was slightly frozen but what did I see there shining her face on me? A tiny daisy -  basking in the sun as well.

Alas that little lawn daisy (bellis perennis, my personal little symbol of beauty and modesty and courage) has not survived the days of frigid temperatures that have followed. But I know she'll be back!

So I mentioned recently that I had cut back my coffee and since the weekend I have actually stopped altogether. I feel so great because I feel so un-addicted! And secondly, I think I was just over-doing it and feeling rather jittery. This photo is from last week and I am so excited that I captured that pretty swirl. Hope you're not tired of seeing my Ikea Christmas* napkins and polka-dot Greengate latte cup because I'm certainly not!

*actually, I think these are WINTER napkins because of the lovely Scandinavian pattern, but they are sold at Christmastime. I'm glad we haven't quite used them up yet!

On the other hand, we are looking towards spring already!

Which - thinking of new lovely green things growing - brings me to the subject of vegetables and that brings me to the topic of this post - cookbooks. My daughter's month of eating vegan is not over yet and she even used some of the Christmas money from her godfather to buy a vegan cookbook! Which it turns out I am devouring. I've even been watching internet cooking videos, which made me realize I say  "vay-gan" while the authors say "vee-gan". (How do you say it? Am i forgetting English?) I can hardly pronounce the title of my daughter's new cook book "Veganomicon". SHE thinks we should pronounce the "g" soft as in the word "vegetable". When she says "Veganomicon" she sounds like she's speaking an exotic foreign language and it also sounds very delicious!
The book is beautiful and hip and I'm fascinated by it. I truly am enjoying introducing more vegan to our family meals.

However, I have to add that after several vegan dinners we had a pizza one night that was loaded with cheese and, for the two die-hard meat-eaters in the family, plenty of salami. (Daughter was away with her school orchestra - I just would have felt kind of cruel eating that in front of her). My husband and boys were just oohing over the pizza, asking what I had added different this time. But I hadn't done anything different, it was just the few days of less dairy and meat that made us appreciate it more. So dear Gorgonzola, Mozzerella, Gouda & Gruyere (and all of your cousins)...I'm not going anywhere...absence makes the heart grow fonder!

The last cookbook I purchased was completely on another wavelength (but mothers and daughters should be that to an extent, don't you think). It was "The Farmchicks in the Kitchen"-   full of lovely pretty pictures and recipes. But not exactly high up on the scale of healthy and not really groundbreaking in ethical issues. As I can attest to, the recipe for the cinnamon rolls is perfect. Being happy is a part of being healthy, right?! My only small criticism is that one or two recipes call for ingredients that are found in American supermarkets, but for the most part, this a delightful book. It is actually much more than a cookbook, there are dozens of little uplifting stories and anecdote about the authors and their antiques business which are really fun to read. And there are lots of little kitchen craft projects too. I would not mind it if next year Santa brought me their Christmas book....
The third cookbook I thought I would mention today is actually an author that my mom discovered. This fabulous lady is Mireille Guiliano, a Frenchwoman living in New York. Since then I've purchased almost all of her books. Her French emphasis on using fresh seasonal produce is not really just French but European  - very similar to what I have learned from living in Germany. I admire her common sense attitude  - delicious healthy food, normal portions, occasional weekends or days of light eating. I consistently return to her books. She's just fun to read and has a great website, too. 
She's all about enjoying chocolate and champagne, too. I think it is funny that  there is a red wine stain on this book, which occurred in an airplane somewhere over the Rocky Mountains. Probably some dark chocolate stains somewhere too!
Somehow, I think my mom picked out the best cookbooks of all.
Hope you are inspired to make something delicious & healthy this week! 


memmu said...

I think I need take a little peek to my cookbooks too... and maybe borrow a couple from the library as well. Some days I think we always eat the SAME meals, every week... although the kids and hubby say that I'm a great cook... I'd love to be more creative in the kitchen as well. So... thanks for those reviews and for the inspiration!!!

I like those Ikea napkins... and you know, I've got some cupcake liners with that pattern too! Just used them yesterday as I baked some Runeberg's tarts (

I love the sun too... very nice and bright here today, not that cold either... around -7°C :)!

ps. Love the swirl in your coffee!!!

Monica said...

Wow, being vegan (however you pronounce it), is quite a commitment. I am trying to get my own family to agree to 1 day per week to only eat vegetarian food, and I am having a hard time. These are great books. I actually also own and Love Mireille's books, they are a great reference.
I personally also recommend Heidi Swanson's books Super Natural Cooking and Super Natural Every day. She has a lot of vegetarian recipes, and has a wonderful blog too.
And kudos for kicking that caffeine habit, I personally would die!!!

Roselie said...

I want to buy Veganomicon, along with many other vegan cookbooks, cause somehow I have only vegetarian cookbooks in my collection (and a few omni). Oh, I should say I 'm a vegan and I admire the effort your doughter makes!Eating vegan is not that hard, it just takes commitment and a clear sense of why you are doing this :) The other cookbooks are interesting too especially the last one.

koralee said...

Such lovely photos...and books! I have the Farm Chick one...Love is so pretty and fits in well with my collection of recipe books. Stay cozy and thank you for visiting me the other for you that you are coffee free...tea is my thing! xoxoxo