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Amanda's Top 5 Cookbooks of 2020

December 10, 2020

In working on my usual "best of" list for the end of the year, I realized that a lot of my favorite books were cookbooks. Instead of trying to cram these guys in on top of my other favorite books, I decided to give them their own post. Maybe you’ll find a great recipe to wow the fam for the holidays this year.

5. The Apple Lover’s Cookbook (ILL) - For my birthday, my mother-in-law got me a gift card to Barnes and Noble because she knows I love books and shopping. That’s how I found this one. I’m not the biggest fruit lover, but must admit that I enjoy me a good apple – especially in the fall when it’s apple season. This book has facts about different kinds of apples I’ve never even heard of. It also has lots of sweet and savory recipes to try out. This one is a Winner of the IACP Cookbook Award (Best American Cookbook) and a finalist for the Julia Child First Book Award. You will have to use ILL, but it is worth it. Favorite recipe: Apple Risotto.


4. Because one is never enough? I’ll be honest, I just like the idea of this. If one curry is good, 660 have to be amazing, right? I found this book at the library recently, and I haven’t had a chance to really explore it – mostly because it’s going to take a trip to an Indian grocer to get ingredients. I’ve played a little with Thai cooking, and I’m just as excited about diving into Indian food. I’m especially psyched about perfecting my naan. Recipe I’m most looking forward to trying: Vadaa Paav (Fried Potato Sandwiches).

3. Saltie (ILL) - My friend bought me this book on a whim at the dollar store, but it is amazing! Apparently Saltie was a restaurant in Brooklyn that has since closed, but not without leaving this record behind. It’s mostly sandwiches, but there are also pickling recipes and focaccia bread. You’ll have to get this one through ILL, but it would be worth the effort. Favorite recipe: Spanish Armada - featuring a Spanish tortilla (potato/egg omelet, not the usual flatbread). 

2. I grew up in rural Indiana where we don’t eat spicy food and just barely know where Thailand is. But for some reason, since I’ve been in Nashville, I have fallen in love with Thai food. I love the combination of peanut, lime, and heat. So when this book made its way across my desk, I was intrigued. Had I heard of most of the ingredients? Nope. Was it worth the special trip to the Thai grocery? Yes it was. Favorite recipe: Tom Kha Gai (Coconut Soup).

1. This is by far and away the best cookbook I’ve found in a long time. I will admit that I am a Milk Street fan in general. I actually bought this cookbook for a friend and then she let me borrow it and her Instant Pot to make several recipes for us. They were so good, and so easy, I asked for my own Instant Pot for my birthday. Favorite recipe: Miso and Bourbon Smothered Chicken.

So those are my favorites. You can’t go wrong with any of them, and I hope you enjoy cooking from them as much as I have. How many days left until this year is over?

Happy exploring…
:) Amanda

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Amanda is a classically-trained pianist who loves to read. Like any good librarian, she also has two cats named after Italian cities. Amanda spends her free time sitting in Nashville traffic, baking, and running the Interlibrary Loan office at the Nashville Public Library.

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