What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of November? Perhaps this year your answer may be Election Day, but then again perhaps it would be Veterans’ Day, Thanksgiving Day, or perhaps even that this is the month that we return to Standard Time and that, although you will need to remember to set your clocks back one hour, you are getting that hour back that you lost last spring. Or maybe November makes you think of autumn leaves, cooler days, apples, cranberries, pears, sweet potatoes, squash, and pumpkins – and, yes, turkey or ham. Or perhaps you came up with an entirely different response, such as remembering a special occasion (a birthday or anniversary) or a deadline (such as finishing research papers, “a month until the fall semester is over,” or “a month to graduation”).
There is no one “right” answer. Your answer could be any or all of those or something entirely different. As for me, when I think of November, one of the first things that comes to my mind is Thanksgiving and being able to get together with friends and family. And not just the fellowship (and, yes, football), but the food!
And, of course, someone prepared that food, most likely using a recipe, whether from memory or from a book, which brings me to the topic for this month: cookbooks.
The libraries on each of the NCTC campuses are currently updating and adding to their collection of cookbooks. The remainder of this blog highlights some of the books from our cookbook collection.
Joy of cooking by Irma von Starkloff Rombauer; Flower Mound Cookbook Collection; TX715 .R75 2006
The Flower Mound Campus Library has the 75th Anniversary edition, which is a revised and updated version of the previous revisions of the cookbook by a St. Louis widow named Irma Rombauer who took her life savings to self-publish the original book in 1931. The book was a family affair as her daughter Marion Becker not only tested the recipes but made the illustrations for the book and they first sold copies from Irma Rombauer’s apartment. Ethan Becker, Marion’s son, continues the family business with this seventy-fifth anniversary edition which has brand-new recipes as well as some of the recipes from all previous eight editions, retested and modernized, as needed, to reflect how we cook today. Millions of people first learned how to cook using this classic cookbook. For those nostalgic for earlier times, this edition recalls the words of the original edition, whose beginning guidelines were “stand facing the stove.”
The everything healthy college cookbook by Nicole Cormier; Gainesville; TX715 .C6158 2010
Written for college students, the book’s author asserts that her book “will help transform cooking from a chore into a creative, stress-free break from studying.” Her book includes “300 recipes for any occasion.” A registered dietitian, the author also includes tips on how to stay healthy. Although the book does not have any photos, it does provide step-by-step instructions for each of the recipes, a glossary of basic cooking terms, and nutritional information in an easy-to-understand format.
The healthy college cookbook: quick, cheap, easy by Alexandra Nimetz, Jason Stanley, and Emeline Starr (with Rachel Holcomb for the 2008 edition); copies in Cookbook Collection in Flower Mound, Gainesville, and EBSCO eBook Collection; TX715 .N683
The NCTC Libraries has three copies of this cookbook; two copies (Flower Mound and EBSCO eBook Collection) were published in 1999 and the third copy (Gainesville collection) was published in 2008. All of the authors had been college students themselves and as they state in the introduction, “often had no idea of what to prepare for dinner and really didn’t have the time to whip up elaborate meals.” Therefore, they decided to write this cookbook to address the issue on “how to eat healthfully on a tight budget, with a busy schedule, and with little cooking experience.” In the revised 2008 edition, the authors, acknowledging that “things have changed a bit on college campuses since the original publication” have updated the original recipes when needed to “reflect the tastes and ideas of college students now.” One hundred new recipes have been added to the 2008 edition; these new recipes were “submitted from college student all over the country.” Scattered throughout the book, under the heading “Mom Says,” are short paragraphs of advice that your mother might have told you, such as how to steam any kind of fresh vegetable; these hints are really useful so you don’t have to stop and call your mother to ask about what to do next while cooking (but that still doesn’t excuse you from calling your mother; you just don’t have to use your valuable chat time with her asking about a recipe). You will also find additional useful information, such as how to eliminate odors from plastic food storage containers, the microwave, the refrigerator, or drains, under the “Kitchen Quick Tip” heading.
Meatless: More Than 200 of the Very Best Vegetarian Recipes written by staff of Martha Stewart Living; Corinth; TX837 .M473 2013
With easily-adjusted recipes, such as pizza with a variety of toppings or salads made from different whole grains, this cookbook covers basic recipes for a vegetable-based lifestyle. You’ll also find advice on supplying your pantry with vegetarian essentials such as dried beans, pasta, herbs and spices. The book is packed with color illustrations of the finished result of each recipe. The book is dedicated to “everyone who realizes that a balanced diet relying more heavily on vegetable than on animal can result in a longer and healthier life.”
Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day by Leanne Brown; Corinth; TX714 .B785 2015
The original version of this cookbook was posted online in a PDF format as a final project for the author’s master’s degree in food studies at New York University. Since the information was so popular, downloaded almost 100,000 times within the first few weeks (and downloaded almost 500,000 times within six months), Ms. Brown decided to self-publish the cookbook in a print book format; the 9,000 copies sold out within just a few months. The Corinth Campus Library’s copy is the second edition of the book. The author considers her book “a strategy guide, not a typical cookbook.” She goes on to say, “The ideas pages show just how much variety there is in simple things like oatmeal or popcorn. And the methods are meant to teach you a process that you can use over and over again.” Considering the recipes as a starting point she writes that her hope is “you’ll learn to cook without recipes and be empowered to cook for your own pleasure.” Designed “to fit the budgets of people living on SNAP, the US federal program that used to be called food stamps,” Although Ms. Brown wrote the book for those with limited financial resources, all readers of this book will be able to find useful information within the pages of this cookbook, such as tips on shopping for food items and the basic items for a well-stocked pantry.
Fix-It and Forget-It Big Cookbook: 1400 Best Slow Cooker Recipes by Phyllis Good; Bowie; TX827 .G6324 2008
If you have a slow cooker, also known as a crockpot, and you like the convenience that a slow cooker provides you this just may be the cookbook for which you’ve been searching. Although you do need to be aware that many of the recipes use pre-prepared ingredients (think canned soups rather than made from scratch), all of the recipes provide step-by-step instructions and most of the recipes require only a short preparation time. The author also gives the ideal Crock Pot size for each recipe. In the introduction to the book the author states that “all of these recipes come from home cooks. These are their favorite dishes, loved by families and households across the country.” The book includes “helpful tips” about which the author says, “Think of them as the voices of your favorite aunt or grandmother, standing at your elbow with their cooking wisdom.”
Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book; Copies in Gainesville (2010 15th ed.) and Bowie (2014 16th ed.); TX714 .B4735
If you need a basic cookbook, this is it! According to a reviewer in The Midwest Book Review: “Now in a newly updated and expanded sixteenth edition, the “Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book” continues to be one of the best “starter cookbooks” for personal and family cookbook collections. Every recipe, ranging from all-time favorites to modern classics, has been reviewed, revised, and revamped for today’s kitchen. Included is a new Holiday chapter, increased coverage of canning and grilling, and expanded information on fruits and vegetables. The ‘Secrets to Success’ feature focuses on teaching techniques, such as making artisanal bread, while the ‘8 Ways With’ feature shows how to add flavor to basic items like boneless chicken breasts. With a redesigned cover to give the book a fresh, new look, over 1,200 recipes and more than 1,000 photographs, this comprehensive edition of “Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book” is the one reference every home cook needs…”
This is a small sampling of the cookbooks that we have available either within the print collections of the NCTC Libraries or in an electronic format through the EBSCO eBook Collection. Although the Bowie Campus Library has a very limited cookbook collection, cookbooks, including the last two cookbooks mentioned in this post, are being purchased for its collection and should be received and made available in the near future.
If you are a part of the North Central Texas College community, regardless of which campus you use or even if you are an online student only, you may request cookbooks from any of the campus libraries and have it sent to the campus you use or the one closest to you. And don’t forget that there are cookbooks which can be viewed online through the EBSCO eBook Collection database, whether it just is not convenient for you to go to one of the campus libraries or you want immediate online access. We welcome you to visit any of our campus library locations, to call us, or to email for more information. Bon Appétit!
–Contributed by Diane Roether, Dean of Libraries, NCTC