Books have always been a huge part of my life – my parents encouraging my reading with trips to the library and bookstore on a weekly basis. I’ll never forget the time my mom got an angry call from my fourth grade teacher complaining about my refusal to participate in recess activities in order to sit under a tree with my new copy of I, Trissy by Norma Fox Mazer. My mother didn’t even respond. She just hung up the phone, came right up to the school (only four blocks away), sat down under the tree with me with her own book, glared up at the teacher and then proceeded to read right along with me. I thought my teacher was going to spit nails, but she just crossed her arms and stomped off. A great memory for sure, and yet another reason books have always been one of my favorite gifts to receive. Cheese books have become a particular passion now that I’m older and can appreciate them, and this year’s batch of fromage reads is pretty snazzy. I will admit to only owning one on my list of book gifts so should anyone wish to play secret cheesy Santa.
Okay, here we go for Cheesy Gift Guide Part 2 – Books:
A quick note: all titles are available on both amazon.com and bn.com, however I encourage everyone to seek out local bookstores or click on the links to the websites and purchase directly from the author or the link. Shop local and support the community. If you want to buy big box and use a discount, head out to your local Barnes & Noble brick and mortar and save a job like mine. Alright, preaching done. Here we go!
The first is The Telling Room by Michael Paterniti who tells of his two-decade journey from part-time proofreader at Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor to a cave in Guzmán, Spain all for the love of Páramo de Guzmán cheese. I am simplifying this story quite a bit, but as I have said, I have not read the book and would not begin to review it here. What I can say is that every review sounds amazing and I love the Zingerman’s connection and that one cheese, ONE CHEESE can have this affect on a person.
Next up is the highly-anticipated Cowgirl-Creamery Cooks cookbook. Sue Conley and Peggy Smith, co-owners of Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes, California produces some of the most sought after cheeses in the country, from the buttery Mt. Tam to the melt-your-face Red Hawk sold in their stores in both California and Washington D.C. along with retailers nationwide. Now these never-rest ladies have gone and written a book to teach us how to cook using their amazing cheeses. In all seriousness, I’ve browsed through this book several times and the photography is just remarkable and the recipes look pretty straight forward. Nothing overly intimidating so even I would try to tackle them. This is a must for any cheese lover’s stocking.
There are two books with the same name on my list and the first is Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese by Stephanie Stiavetti and Garrett McCord. There are some who would say the recipes are too fancy, the cheese too expensive, and that there is too much time taken away from cooking and spent talking about cheese. I say they should go buy a blue box off the shelf and shut up. This book is fabulous and I am not just saying that because I love Stephanie’s hair (which I do) or because the forward is from my hometown man Michael Ruhlman (I always here Anthony Bourdain‘s voice in my ear when I say or write his name) , or because Laura Werlin and a hand in this book somehow and I have a bit of a cheese-girl crush on her (I openly admit I do). This book is for those cheese freaks like me who look at cheese shops as temples and can and will spend an entire afternoon just sampling and spending a week’s salary on fromage without thinking anything of it. This book is for turophiles. The person who wears the shirt. Just buy it and they will squeal with happiness and cook something amazing. Trust me. I am keeping my fingers crossed for this one.
Melt: 100 Amazing Adventures in Grilled Cheese by Shane “GrilledShane” Kearns is the second of the same basic title on my list. Bit of a confession here as I not only have this book, but it has recently come to both Shane and my attention that we are distant cousins! How cool is that! We both love cheese, we both blog about cheese, we both worship at the alter of Laura Werlin ( too much?) and we’re related. It must be in our blood. Recipes range from the basic to the outrageous and has great photos too. I love that family served as inspiration for some of his creations. Be sure to check out his blog at grilledshane.com too!
When I first came across Madame Fromage many years ago, I was hooked on her writing and just wanted to become her. Even her name is exciting! Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese: A Guide to Wedges, Recipes and Pairings by Tenaya Darlington is rich with history, advice for even the most timid amongst us when it comes to cheese, and the photographs are just stunning. When I picked up a copy and saw the dedication to the late Daphne Zepos, I just got misty-eyed. A well-rounded book for any cheese lover.
And finally, what good is a meal without dessert? The Beekman Boys have done it again with their new book The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook. Just like before, the photography is stunning and I love how the recipes are broken out by season. Pretty much every recipe calls for milk, heavy cream, or chocolate and there is even a spot to write in notes, which is really smart. Also, purchase a copy direct from their mercantile and I believe it will be autographed!
So there are just a few of the cheesy titles available for stocking stuffing this holiday season. I’m sure I missed a ton and I apologize to those not mentioned. Of course true turophiles should already have A Life on the Wedge by Gordon Edgar, every book ever written by Max MacCalman, and Kristin Jackson’s awesome hit from last holiday season It’s Not You, It’s Brie.
Leave any other title suggestions in the comments and be sure to check back for Part 3 – Cheesy Gadgets!