Email me at

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Cookbook Staycation

You can create a fulfilling staycation this summer simply by curling up with a great cookbook. I enjoy cooking. But I love cookbooks. Cooking by Hand by Paul Bertolli (Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2003) is an excellent book to get you started on your culinary journey. Bertolli, executive chef and co-owner of Oliveto Restaurant, will serve you well as a resourceful and inspirational guide. Although this book does not contain photographs to accompany each recipe, the reader will not be disappointed with Bertolli's descriptive stories of his experience with food and gourmet cuisine.

"...I learned to wait patiently for the fruit of our sour orange tree to deliver on the promise of its exquisitely scented spring blossoms. I watched its color change through the summer and autumn from lime green to pale yellow, until the chill of December finally transformed its fruit to a deep persimmon. Tight-skinned and unapproachable for months, the oranges were now easy to peel; their flavor was intensely sweet and tangy at the same time. They seemed to taste of all the light they'd ever absorbed." (Introduction xi)

Cooking by Hand offers many traditional Italian recipes, but the emphasis is to discover the creative process required for mastering memorable dishes- a technique that takes the cook beyond the mechanisms of following measured-out instructions. Through his detailed guidance for selecting the perfect ingredients, determining an item's ripeness, or properly preparing meat, Bertolli creates a literary image of the dish that would make it almost too beautiful to eat. Cooking by Hand is a cookbook for the cook or reader interested in learning to appreciate the effort that goes into the creation of a delicious meal, even the most simplistic in form. This is a book of words you devour as much as the dishes.

However, if you are a cook or reader dependent on visuals. "The Food of Italy, France, Spain, India (and more)" series by Bay Books are the cookbooks for you. These books feature full-color, large-scale photographs of each recipe showcased and also provide climate and cultural information from each region of the country.

From The Food of Italy (Bay Books)

After spending time on the pages of these gorgeous cookbooks, you will feel as though you have traveled abroad and will be inspired to spend the rest of your staycation in the kitchen sharing your journey with family and friends through your culinary endeavors.

Bon App├ętit!



  1. I could pretty much spend the rest of my life reading nothing but cookbooks ... well, I'd want a good novel now and again. I don't know any of the cookbooks you featured here. Hummm.... time to investigate.

  2. Hi Beth-- I just started cooking about five years ago and learned everything from reading cookbooks. I was so excited to discover your blog and find cookbook reviews. Thanks for visiting!

  3. I have a few cookbooks that I've not used for anything other than reading and I am fine with that. Others are recipes only, no stories from the chef. Pictures are a big bonus no matter the style of book.

  4. Hi Heather-- I'd love to hear some of your favorites. Thanks for visiting!



Blog Widget by LinkWithin