Cookbooks with Kiki! It’s another edition of #FridayReads with AW Staffers!

Today’s #FridayReads post comes from Kiki Schotanus, upstanding member of the Albert Whitman purchasing department!  Take it away Kiki:

Forced against my will to write a bit about books, I have chosen to write about the kinds of books I read the most – cookbooks! I love cookbooks. I love everything from the $10 church cookbooks and treasured classics like Joy of Cooking to cutting edge cookbooks like Chef Homaro Cantu’s The Miracle Berry Diet Cookbook. I have recently created a ‘Cookbook Nook’ in the back of our house where I pared down to 50 of my favorite cookbooks (shared with a bit of our Costco overflow). I go back there for peace & quiet. A feeling of comfort overcomes me when I’m amongst some of my favorite possessions in the world, cookbooks.

The Nook! (It shares the space with a little Costco overflow…)

Cookbook reading is not limited to The Cookbook Nook, though. I also read cookbooks in bed at night just to read a few more recipes before sleep.

Tonight at our house we will be celebrating our annual ‘Friendsgiving.’ We’ll be enjoying good friends and good food & wine. Of course the evening wouldn’t be complete without Catch Phrase! As for the food, all dishes are composed of seafood so as to not compete with any turkey that will be served the following Thursday. This year we’ll start the evening with Old Fashioneds and an appetizer of Clams in Broth. The first course will be Potato Fennel Soup with Smoked Salmon. The entrée will be Scallops with Apple Pan Sauce served with homemade egg pasta fettuccine and a side of Swiss Chard and Sorrel Gratin. We’re ending the evening with Chocolate Cream Pie and Nespressos.

Here are a few of my favorite cookbooks and favorite recipes:

jpeg-2Ina Garten’s first cookbook The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, check out the Parmesan Chicken – a family favorite.

The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook from 1985, see Salmon Mousse.

The Pie and Pastry Bible from Rose Levy Beranbaum has the all time best peach pie recipe.



Amy’s Bread has my go to French bread recipe.

Pioneer Woman Cooks is as an entertaining read as it is a great resource for recipes.

Homesick Texan is where a get my TexMex on!

The cookbook I plan to make more use of in the coming months is Ottelenghi’s Plenty, long live eggplant!

When I’m not reading cookbooks, I’m tasked with completing my book club selection. Most recently we chose to read Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Early in the book we learn that Theo, the protagonist, loses his mother when he is 13 years old. It is a riveting novel bringing the reader from Park Avenue to the underworld of illegal black market art selling. Tartt takes her time to develop the characters, an aspect I appreciated. Others found that she could have written this book in half the amount of pages.


I was looking forward to a lively discussion of this book and its many intriguing themes, but was surprised to find out that I was the only one to completely read all 771 pages. Sadly, good discussions were not to be had. Threatened with disbandment, the book clubbers have agreed to read all book selections going forward.

Cookbooks with Kiki! It’s another edition of #FridayReads with AW Staffers!