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I'm a writer and library worker who wears many hats. I believe a good book and a good piece of chocolate are the keys to a happy life.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Book Lover’s Cookbook by Shaunda Kennedy Wenger and Janet Kay Jensen

I was excited to see this fun cookbook become available in a paperback version. Though hardbound is more durable, I could only wistfully check it out of the library from time to time rather than afford the hardbound price. When I discovered the release of the less expensive version it was in my hand very quickly.

Have you ever wanted to curl up in a comfortable chair and read a cookbook from beginning to end? Well, this is one time you definitely will want to. Really, I’m not that weird. The Book Lover’s Cookbook by Shaunda Kennedy Wenger and Janet Kay Jensen is a little different than reading that red and white checked cookbook you got at your bridal shower and think you can’t get rid of. Take a plate of your favorite reading munchies, get comfortable and get ready to be inspired.

The Book Lover’s Cookbook is part recipe book and part a walk down a literary memory lane. Within its covers you’ll find passages from a wide variety of books, quotes from different authors and, oh by the way, recipes that have been derived and inspired by those books. It’s a veritable feast of both words and food. Some of the recipes are a bit to complicated or extravagant for my basic and easily distracted personality but there is enough variety to satisfy anyone’s tummy rumblings. You’ll find recipes for every meal and course imaginable, many of which will become favorites.

To give you a “taste” (ha! I crack myself up sometimes) of the types of yummy recipes you’ll find in The Book Lover’s Cookbook, here are a few of my personal favorites:

Stack of Pancakes— from The Story of Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman

A Real Man’s Quiche— from Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche by Bruce Feirstein

Macaroni and Cheese—from A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

New Road Chicken Pies (a.k.a. Turnovers)—from Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now by Maya Angleou

Mother’s Chocolate Pecan Pie – from Errands by Judith Guest


Sugar and Spice Cake—from Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

I have to confess, however, that I failed miserably when I tried making “Pooh’s Honey Kisses”, but I don’t think that was really a recipe problem. I’m just sadly lacking in candy-making genes. (Really. I can’t even make Rice Crispy Treats and I only get No-bake cookies right about half the time.)

As you can tell by my list, my tastes lean toward simple and traditional, but you’ll find more distinguished dishes as well. For example:

Good Times Roasted Garlic Chicken with Mushroom and Black Olive Stuffing—from Even the Stars Look Lonesome by Maya Angelou

(Stuffed Pig Stomach with) Oyster Filling—from “The Walrus and the Carpenter” by Lewis Carroll

Tianjin Dumplings—from Falling Leaves: The True Story of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter by Adeline Yen Mah

Emma’s Curried Shrimp with Snow Peas and Apples—from The Saving Graces by Patricia Gaffney

Matanni’s Butternut Squash and Apple Cider Soup—from Icy Sparks by Gwyn Hyman Rubio


Turkish Delight— from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

Are you hungry yet? It doesn’t matter if that hunger is for food or the written word, go get a copy of The Book Lover’s Cookbook by Shaunda Kennedy Wenger and Janet Kay Jensen and you can make it all better. ;)

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