Friday, December 29 2023 9:15

Out With the Old, In With the New!

Written by Mimi Liberi, Wellington Square Bookshop

Cookbooks, that is

What a great year 2024 is for cooks. We can look forward to a selection of new cookbooks to sprinkle in among our old favorites.

Here’s hoping you find new inspiration, new flavors and a new favorite author to follow this year. Happy reading and happy cooking!

Brilliant Bites by Morgan Brown

Morgan Brown has released her third cookbook, Brilliant Bites, and it truly is brilliant. Although I’d rather cook a four-course meal than tackle appetizers, Morgan offers 75 reasons to change that mindset. Her collection of recipes cover five categories — breakfast, party, dessert, holiday and snack — with each recipe including a delicious photo. Ingredients are easy to find, and no plates or utensils are needed — just enjoy in one or two bites, hence the title Brilliant Bites! Brown says, “Preparing delicious food is my favorite way to serve others.” If you agree, serve up these bites to your family and friends.


Lidia’s From Our Family Table to Yours by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali

Italian families may squabble over who makes the best crespelle, but they can agree with Lidia’s motto, “sharing food is sharing love,” and that the family table is where memories are made and traditions carry on. Considered a queen of Italian cuisine (and a local personality), Lidia’s first cookbook written since her mother’s passing (at the age of 100) is a homage to her beloved Nonna. Recipes begin with a heartfelt family story, leaving readers feeling the love that Lidia grew up with. Sample more than 100 mouth-watering recipes, and see if you agree with Lidia’s sentiment: “Old favorites are always appreciated, but new tastes create new memories that can last forever.”

Basics with Babish by Andrew Rea

Here’s a cookbook from a YouTube star designed to help us be better cooks. We all remember our early cooking mistakes, ones we learned from that helped us grow. And Andrew Rea’s cookbook celebrates the mistakes. Every one of his 100+ recipes begins with a section called “How I’ve Screwed This Up,” in hopes we’ll avoid his mistakes. Then there’s a Troubleshooting Section, where anything that could go wrong is highlighted as a cautionary tale. His opening chapter, “Let’s Get Down to the Basics,” covers Do’s and Don’ts, Kitchen Glossary and Your Spice Rack and You. He not only includes a photo with recipes but an additional 300 instructional photos showing step-by-step techniques. Rea’s humor and humility are evident throughout the book. It’s no wonder this cookbook has been named a Best Cookbook of Fall 2023 by Food and Wine, Delish and Tasting Table.

Cooking My Way by Jacques Pépin

Once again the legendary Chef Jacques Pépin has released a charming new cookbook, Cooking My Way, named one of the Best 24 Cookbooks for Fall 2023 by Food and Wine editors and contributors. This book, sprinkled with his delightful artwork, is about saving time, money and cleanup effort while maintaining great flavor in your meals. Pépin encourages readers to shop seasonally to find the most affordable, flavor-filled and nutritious fruits and vegetables, as well as to buy turkeys in the fall, lamb/ham in the spring and seafood in the summer, when they’re plentiful and less expensive. More advice: use as much of your ingredients as possible, and if you have leftovers, save them for soups, stock or sauces. Enjoy 150 recipes plus an illustrated menu for each season. This revered chef continues to inspire us with new ways to approach cooking.

The Blue Zones: Secrets for Living Longer by Dan Buettner

If you enjoy collecting cookbooks, how about one that includes a “recipe” for life? For those fascinated by the Blue Zones — five places worldwide with low rates of chronic illness and longer life expectancy — Dan Buettner’s latest book includes interviews with “super-agers” living in Sardinia, Ikaria, Okinawa, Nicola Peninsula and Loma Linda. Based on lessons learned, he’s come up with a recipe for living a long, healthy life with a sharp brain until the end. This how-to manual has breathtaking photos plus advice from the Blue Zoners about the foods they eat, their faith, exercise (natural movement), communities and the important lessons learned over the years. In addition, there are recipes from each region, their top longevity foods and a chapter on “How to Eat Smarter” to help achieve the goal “to feed your body in the best way possible.”

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Book by Katie Jacobs

How can an entire cookbook be devoted to the iconic chocolate chip cookie, you ask? Katie Jacobs proves it can be done, as she created more than 100 recipes for everyone, every season and every reason. There are not only cookies, but cakes, bars, pies and dessert recipes along with variations that are vegan, paleo, dairy-free and gluten-free, too. The cookbook includes icons for difficulty levels and dietary restrictions, plus more icons for whether a mixer, refrigeration, freezing or brown butter is required, along with step-by-step instructions for this trendy ingredient. Jacobs dedicates a section on the Secrets and Science of creating the perfect cookie, touching on how ingredients and technique affect cookie creation, and includes mouth-watering photos of each recipe. You’ll have a hard time choosing which to bake first! Her final advice: “Don’t ever let a recipe tell you how many chocolate chips to use. You measure that with your heart.”

Wellington Square Bookshop is an award-winning bookshop in Eagleview Town Center. The patrons are primarily local, but many customers come from around the world to the thoughtfully curated shop with excellent service. There’s a coffee and tea bar with cookies and biscotti, plus lots of cozy spaces for curling up to read. Follow them on Instagram and visit 549 Wellington Square, Exton.