I love to eat and often plan my dinner for the night — and the next night — over breakfast. I love to eat together with my family after a long day’s work; I love cooking with my husband and trying our concoctions with a glass of wine; my children are now old enough to help with clean up.
All of these things make me grateful there are professionals that can help us prepare amazing meals in our own kitchens.
Here are a few cookbooks that celebrate food (and eating) to help us all with our next home cooked meal:
For those looking for healthy recipes, check out "Well+Good Cookbook: 100 Healthy Recipes + Expert Advice for Better Living" by Alexia Brue and Melisse Gelula. Contributed by wellness idols like Gabby Bernstein (spirituality), Bobbi Brown (beauty), Joey Gonzalez (fitness), and Candice Kumai (nutrition), these are recipes that identify and help with improving everything from your skin and sleep habits to your mood and digestion. There’s even a wellness index so you can tackle your specific goals.
While I’m not someone who enjoys camping outside, I enjoy camp food and a little adventure. "The Campfire Cookbook: 80 Imaginative Recipes for Cooking Outdoors" by Viola Lex and Chef Nico Stanitzok explores not only traditional campfire favorites (BBQ chicken, grilled corn on the cob, skewers), but also goes further with new ideas like chocolate cakes cooked inside oranges, grilled breads, and other recipes that can even be used on the campfire or on the backyard grill — and enjoyed inside around a table.
I would be remiss not to include something about barbecue (a Fourth of July favorite), and want to highlight a third-generation North Carolinian, Sam Jones, who shares (along with Daniel Vaughn) the definitive story of North Carolina barbecue in "Whole Hog BBQ: The Gospel of Carolina Barbecue with Recipes from Skylight Inn and Sam Jones BBQ." This book features coveted recipes from the legendary Skylight Inn in Ayden, North Carolina, including the step-by-step method for preparing their classic whole hog and pork shoulder. Recipes are adapted for the home kitchen and grill and also include cornbread, sweet slaw, spare ribs, fried catfish, and more.
My children always make a “happy plate” so they can have dessert. I admit my husband and I have a sweet tooth, too. In "Tasty Dessert: All the Sweet You Can Eat (An Official Tasty Cookbook)," 75 easy-to-follow recipes feature Soft and Chewy Snickerdoodle Cookies and 16-Layer No-Bake S’mores Cake. Even more fun: it’s organized by the dessert texture, so depending on your mood — crispy, crunchy, gooey, or creamy — you will find a treat to maybe share.
Locally, Chef Tim Grandinetti has just published his cookbook "Soulful Harvest: Signature Recipes, Timeless Techniques and Culinary Reflections." It features this culinary superstar and the recipes he prepares at Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar in downtown Winston-Salem. I don’t think you can go wrong with any of the recipes, but my favorites include okra fritters, pickled shrimp, and cornbread biscuits filled with andouille sausage and peppers.