A Book Club Dropout's Cookbook Reading List

I recently resigned from my book club. Taking care of two children while meeting weekly deadlines, blogging, cooking and cleaning made it impossible to ever finish, let alone start, a book. I wish I had a few hours a week to sit, sip tea and dive into an old classic. For now, cookbooks are all I seem to be reading. Currently, I’m going back and forth between three: two were presents for Christmas and one I’ve had for a few years. I highly recommend them all. They’re perfect for anyone who can’t commit to a long book, but still wants to sneak in some reading. Best of all, you’ll get some awesome recipes, too.

In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite: 150 Recipes & Stories About the Food You Love: I’ve been reading Melissa Clark’s New York Times column for years and have ripped out and saved more than a few of her recipes. They’ve all been used, and spilled on, so many times that I should just bite the bullet and laminate them. Her whiskey-soaked dark chocolate bundt cake is to die for and all of her stories are relatable and so much fun to read.

The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion & Manual: Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo are building a mini-empire on Court Street in Brooklyn. First they opened Frankies 457; three more places soon followed. I started flipping through their first cookbook while having a chai latte at Café Pedlar, their Cobble Hill coffee shop, and bought it on the spot. Peter Meehan from The New York Times co-wrote it with them and I love their witty writing and laid-back approach to Italian-American cooking. Finally, I know the secret to their simple salads and how to make perfect pork braciole. Smaller than most cookbooks, this one slips easily into my purse and is perfect for on-the-go reading.

Hungry Monkey: A Food-Loving Father’s Quest to Raise an Adventurous Eater: When my first son started eating solids, I thought I’d have no problem raising a mini foodie. He has a pretty good appetite but is nowhere near as impressive as Matthew Amster-Burton’s daughter Iris. Luckily, my second child started on solids a few weeks ago and he’s practically out-eating his older brother. This is why I pulled Hungry Monkey off the shelf the other day. I’m ready to try to turn him into a tiny gourmand and know that many of Matthew’s stories and recipes can help.

Lia Wiedemann is a writer who loves food and her two little boys. She leads Brooklyn food tours for new moms and shares favorite recipes and restaurants on her blog, This Little Piglet.

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