We chatted last week about scrumptious book covers by Penguin (In Stitches) and today there are more to share with you. This Great Food series looks beautiful and contains culinary delights within from all eras. The good news this time is that they’re available as of April 2011. I haven’t seen them in person yet but I imagine they will appear prolifically in time for Mother’s day.

Pen Vogler of Penguin Books shares her personal tale of how the Great Food series came to be:  “The twenty books in our forthcoming series GREAT FOOD are the love-children of an affair with old cookery books that began in the British Library last year. … It was a shout-it-from-the-rooftops kind of love (which doesn’t go down well in the British Library) so, instead of disturbing my fellow readers, when I came back to Penguin after my sabbatical, I suggested to the Penguin Press MD that we publish them in the Great Ideas format, for everybody else to love too. … Some of the books are tasters from the best-known of our cooks and food writers. … Some of these books aim to reintroduce the forgotten cooks of the past.  … And some of the books in GREAT FOOD are, simply, wonderful food writing.”

Read about each title on Pen’s website and follow her daring pursuit of the recipes as well – she’s working her way through the entire series.

The collection features the beautiful art work of Coralie Bickford-Smith who also did the cover work for a Great Gatsby series (lovely Art Deco theme) and the cloth covered Classics series.  Take a look at these on Coralie’s web site.

Enjoy a few close-ups here of some of the Great Food covers and titles:




Cookin’ the Books

June 22, 2010

I believe some of the most beautiful and interesting books on the market are found in the Cooking section of the bookshop. I’m certainly not much of a chef but some of my most treasured books are my cookbooks. For sentimental reasons, my Blue Ribbon Cook Book for Everyday Use in Canadian Homes published in 1905 will always have prime real estate on my shelf. Mine is the sixteenth edition and has my Grandmother’s handwriting  throughout its splattered, stained and yes, even burnt pages. (Possibly from a cigarette instead of the stove …? Those were the times!) My mother-in-law has her own mother’s edition on her kitchen bookshelf. I wonder how many of you are hanging onto a copy too …

A cook book can be so much more than just recipes. Here are a few I’d love to share with you:

        The Summer Book by Susan Branch

A work of art! Literally … Hand-lettered, watercolour-painted, personal story-filled and yummy recipes on almost every page! All of her books are sweet but this is my favourite.  

      Apples for Jam by Tess Kiros

I have given this as a gift but have yet to treat myself to a copy. It is also a visual delight and weaves a wonderful story of family and the meals that sustain and comfort throughout one’s life.

      The Pioneer Woman Cooks – Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl by Ree Drummond

Good heavens this woman is a hoot!  I discovered her incredibly successful blog at www.thepioneerwoman.com  and was inspired by her humour and photography skills to seek out her book. She is zany, but in the most charming and talented way.  She photographs and chats her way through every step of each recipe – for instance step 15 of PW’s Potato Skins is: ” Then simply place them on a platter, walk toward your guests and discover what it feels like to be the most popular person in the room. Field marriage proposals as needed.”  Hearty comfort food is the theme (she is feeding cowboys after all!)

     The Art of Eating by M.F.K. Fisher (50th Anniversary Edition)

Not actually a cook book per se, this is a collection of five of Fisher’s books of essays on cooking and life: Serve it Forth, Consider the Oyster, How to Cook a Wolf, The Gastronomical Me, and An Alphabet for Gourmets. I discovered Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher in a writing class (having passed away in ’92 she wasn’t in attendance – her writing was being reveredby the instructor) and was intrigued by her persona and the craft of her writing. Like Georgia O’Keefe and Coco Chanel, Fisher was a strong and charismatic woman with an abundance of talent and sharp wit.  Here is a little excerpt from a chapter called Pity the Blind in Palate: “Frederick the Great used to make his own coffee, with much to-do and fuss. For water, he used champagne. Then, to make the flavour stronger, he stirred in powdered mustard. Now to me it seems improbable that Frederick truly liked this brew. I suspect him of bravado. Or perhaps he was taste-blind.”


Feel free to comment on your favourite cooking titles too …

Bon appetit!

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