Cookbooks for a Delicious Spring

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Spring is a great time to learn some new recipes, cooking techniques and fix celebratory meals for people we love. Summer is right around the corner, and we all want to eat healthy, delicious meals that are also easy to prepare so we can spend more time together, rather than being stuck in the kitchen. There are some wonderful new cookbooks available now that we love!

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20 Recipes Kids Should Know (Prestel, $16.95) is one of my favorites! Written by sisters, Esme (the author, age 12) and Calista Washburn (the photographer, age 17), there are recipes in here for any cook, young or old, to feel proud to prepare and serve. I love the popover recipe and they have great recipes for all sorts of meals--pasta, steak, salad, bread, desert--everything for a complete and wonderful meal made by the kids, or anyone learning how to cook without being overwhelmed.

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Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi (Ten Speed Press, $35.00) is elemental Ottolenghi, who is known for his Mediterranean flavors. Here he pares it all down to 130 fantastic recipes with less than 10 ingredients each, making use of what you have in your pantry for lazy day recipes by adding in fresh produce and meats. The photography is stunning. Ottolenghi is beloved by home chefs for his amazing flavors.

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Carla Lalli Music's cookbook, Where Cooking Begins: Uncomplicated Recipes to make You a Great Cook (Clarkson Potter, $32.50) is a heavily illustrated how-to for any beginner chef, or if you're interested in brushing up on techniques you already use! Music provides "start to finish" guides for learning techniques, complete with photographs, cooking strategies for your unique cooking personality, and 70 "innately flexible" and wonderful recipes! Music is the food director of Bon Appetit. Her philosophy is that everything about your kitchen and shopping should be flexible, so you never feel stuck about what to make for dinner again!

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Food is the Solution: What to Eat to Save the World by Matthew Prescott (Flatiron Books, $29.99) is a vegan cookbook with over 80 recipes "for a greener planet and a healthier you." The first 70 pages of this cookbook are all about how our choices of food affect our planet. Prescott is the Senior Food Director for the Humane Society of the United States, and he clearly cares deeply for our planet and our health. The recipes are a mix of old fashioned home-cooking, and more exotic and sophisticated meals, like a vegan version of mom's meatloaf, and a rainbow veggie sushi! Interspersed between the recipes and the great photographs are messages and quotes from lots of well known activists, celebrities, leaders, and policy makers. This book is endorsed by well known folks from all walks of life, from Paul McCartney to Paul "Pee-Wee Herman" Reubens!

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Finally, Food Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of Our Edible World by Julian Rothman (Storey, $16.95) while not brand new, is a wonderful and friendly, fully-illustrated study about food we all encounter everyday. Lots of great facts and information is presented with fun graphics. This is one of those books you can just pick up and open any page, and you're guaranteed to be both entertained and informed. It's a charming book, great for humans of all ages!

Happy cooking!