I know this sounds weird, but I read cookbooks like novels. Every season I select a few books from my kitchen shelf and take them upstairs to my nightstand for evening reading. My collection is constantly evolving, the pile is always a mix of old and new. I’ve noticed that I tend to gravitate toward certain books depending on the season. This month I’ve been clinging to my books that emphasize recipes for summer vegetables and cool foods that are perfect when it’s too hot to cook. Here are the books, some old, some new, that have been my favorite this August. What are yours?
1. Luscious Berry Desserts by Lori Longbotham: There is no better time to be reading this baking book dedicated exclusively to baking with berries. Longbotham discusses the strengths and flavors of popular summer berries, the best ways to care for them, and provides a host of delicious recipes. I started with the Blueberry Gingerbread Shortcake and think you should, too.
2. Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights by Sophie Dahl: A newer book on my nightstand, this is pure pleasure to read. The four chapters are arranged by season, giving the book a seasonal feel without being too studied. The text is engaging and lighthearted, coupled with simple recipes that would please both parents and children. Her Summer Squash with Tomato & Pine Nuts has already become a regular in my rotation.
3. Canal House Cooking Vº1 & 4 by Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hersheimer: These are the first and second summer volumes from our favorite ladies in Lambertville. Both books are already so well worn they look like I’ve had them for ages. I wrote about their tomato tart the other week – a go-to recipe for any parent with fresh tomatoes on hand – and am planning on making their Plum Galette tonight.
4. In Season: Cooking with Vegetables and Fruit by Sarah Raven: Yet another book organized by season, this one focuses exclusively on fruits and vegetables. Recipes run the gamut from side salads and main courses, to preserves and baked goods. The August chapter is particularly inspiring, Raven discusses nearly every available fruit and vegetable this season with multiple recipes for each.
5. The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten, the original: I own all of the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks and I am particularly fond of this one in the summer. Her easy salads, side dishes and desserts are all perfect for summer cooking. I swear by her Pesto Pasta Salad with Peas and my husband requests her Guacamole on a regular basis.