Here I am again at Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks. I can’t help it. I’m a creature of habit. Besides, I can only take so much of the chain store crowds. And I’m not about to line Amazon’s pockets so they can drop next year’s gifts in by drone. Call me old school but I’m still all about supporting small independents and knowledgeable, personal service. I can’t hide my bias. Oh and one more very good reason to visit Barbara-Jo is that she’s ideally located equi-distant between Les Amis du Fromage and Patisserie Lebeau, which means you can grab your much needed fondue and Belgian waffle reward, all in a matter of minutes.
By the way, all of last year’s picks (runaway successes, and lots of fun) are still available. But here’s a quick look at this year’s crop…
What I also love about Books to Cooks is the way that they track down the more esoteric titles. I mean, really, how can you resist The MacSween Haggis Bible ($11)? Yes, everything you wanted to know about Haggis—and maybe some things you don’t. Perfect for the homesick Scot in your life—and you can give it just in time for Burns Night.
OK, not to offend all you Vegemite loving Aussies but the Marvellous Miniature Marmite Cookbook ($13.95) surely proves once and for all Marmite’s all-vanquishing superiority… Of course, it may not be for everyone, and even we would draw the line at some things—Marmite scrambled eggs, seriously? But you never know, there may well be some takers. And you could always, gasp, substitute V*g*m*t*! If you’re that way inclined… Also in the mix: The Little Book of Toast Tips, and the Little Book of Seafood Tips, plus the fun Mini Book of Pies.
The last of the “small” books, I think, is quite brilliant. I don’t know what happened to her but a couple of decades ago there used to be a woman who put on brilliant etiquette classes at Hotel Vancouver. They were instant sell-outs. No surprise… I can think of more than a few ham-fisted teens (and even the occasional adult) who’d be well served by a copy of Tiffany’s Table Manners for Teenagers ($19.95). This clever little guide to good manners was written by Walter Hoving, the former chairman of Tiffany’s, some 50 years ago. But it’s still just as valid today—perhaps even more so.
Here are three of Barbara-Jo’s current faves…
This a great book if you’re into Basque or other Spanish Regional cuisines. I’m a paella fan, so the cover itself is hard to resist. Written and photographed by Barcelona-based Jeff Koehler
Bill Jones’ definitive guide. If you know Bill, you know he’s the Go-To guy for all things mycological! An excellent idea for someone who likes to get out in the woods and find their own mushrooms…
Head Chef and owner of San Francisco’s COI, Daniel Patterson has produced an extraordinary, beautiful book, says Barbara-Jo. This is one of those books that’s as much an inspired read as it is a practical recipe offering, filled with fascinating stories and superb photography of the Bay Area.
More on Books to Cooks