Reading, Loving (Mostly) Food Books

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I haven't been reading all that much this Summer, but nonetheless, a few winners have slipped into the house....and somehow they seem to be food related.  (Because, no matter how busy you may be, you have to eat, right?)  

*  Super Natural Every Day: Well-loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen

My relationship with meat is a tricky one.  I go through phases where I don't even like it much, but I don't know how to really structure a meal without it.  I'm good at making vegetarian one-dish meals (pasta, pizza, soup) but the whole main course with sides thing--it just feels out of whack to have two or three different vegetables staring up from my plate.

Which is why we've been cooking out of this book for going-on two weeks now.  There's some pasta, but even that has a different twist--e.g. the yummy soba noodles with black sesame paste, pictured above.  And--although there is some tempeh, which I'm not a fan of--a lot of the main dishes are more creative than just "take-meat-out, insert-soy-product".  We've had the chanterelle tacos, also pictured above, twice now.  So tasty, and they certainly don't leave you feeling like you're missing anything.

And, I almost forgot the popcorn!  There's an entire chapter on snacks, which includes a recipe for popcorn with herbs and mustard-butter.  We might just get through our stash of Boy Scout popcorn this year (you know, before they start selling again) and it's all due to that recipe!

*  Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing

Hopefully this isn't too contradictory, but--as we've been eating our lovely vegetarian tacos--a pork belly has been turning to pancetta in our basement.  There will be more news about that when it's finished, of course, but for now I'm really excited about this book.  It has directions for just about any cured meat you would want to make--sausages, bacon, prosciutto--and it's very not-scary and low-tech.  

(And would you all please pray for me that our defenses hold, and Moe does not end up running through the house with a half-cured slab of pancetta in his mouth?  Thanks.)

*  Feeding the Whole Family: Cooking with Whole Foods

Part of the reason I love our family doctor is because she's so laid back.  She's never said it in so many words, but the vibe I get from her is, "You guys seem like good parents.  Your kid is healthy.  So, chances of you doing something that kills him?  Pretty small."  On food, her position was, "Start him with fruits and vegetables.  One new food at a time.  And have fun with it."

And that is exactly what we've been doing.  However, although it may seem easy to just puree the entire grocery store produce section, eventually it's nice to get some outside ideas.  Like, did you know that you can make basically any grain into a cereal?  (And that toasted grain cereal tastes awesome, even if you're not six months old?)  

Plus, it's nice to have a reference book around for the inevitable questions that come up--should we start with egg yolks or egg whites?  (Yolks.)  What are easy finger foods that won't choke him to death when we're ready for that?  And so on.

I'm a little wary of it coming across as preachy, but--at least, for any mama-to-be who had already let me know she was interested in making her own baby food--this would make an awesome shower gift.

*  The Rhythm of Family: Discovering a Sense of Wonder through the Seasons

The hot-off-the-press newest SouleMama book.  This one is a lot more like her first book, in that it has plenty to make and do, but it's more about nudging your own creativity than it is a "how-to".  Maybe it's a side-effect of having my own wee-bub now, but I appreciate the bits of parenting inspiration and stories more than I have in her other books.  Curling up to read it in a quiet house with a sleeping baby and pups made for the coziest evening of reading....and it even included a few Soule family recipes, which I think makes it fair game to include in a post about (mostly) food books!