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Life at the Library

Posted on: November 12, 2019

Try our favorite cookbooks this Thanksgiving

Image of a freshly baked apple pie.

If you're hunting for good recipes or looking to impress your Thanksgiving guests, check out these cookbook and recipe recommendations from our staff.

Plus, you won't have to buy something brand new - all these books are located in our catalog and are just waiting to help you create holiday magic in your kitchen!


Betty Crocker's Cookbook

Recommended by Gretchen Benson, Oakdale Library 

Image of Betty Crocker’s Cookbook.I can remember my grandmother using this cookbook when I was three or four years old. At that point in time, the book was stained and burn marks on the spine from accidentally being set on a stove top. My mother had her own copy, and by the time I graduated from high school hers looked the same. Soon everyone in my family was gifted one when they got their first place on their own. Me, my two siblings, and even my 11 cousins all have copies. In recent years, mine has gotten splattered with sauce and is starting to look like all the ones I remembered, but I pull it out every year to check the recipe for pie crust at Thanksgiving.


The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook

Recommended by Kristen Redding, Hardwood Creek Library 

Image of The Complete America’s Test Kitchen. This is my favorite cookbook - I use it ALL THE TIME. I feel like the recipes are easy to follow, and they briefly explain why they are asking you to do things a certain way. It's helped me understand cooking and baking better, and gives me more confidence when I'm trying new recipes from other sources. I've also found that in a lot of the baking recipes I can replace the flour with a store bought gluten free flour blend and still have tasty results, which is nice for baking for crowds that include gluten intolerant folks.

Favorite Recipes: Classic Chocolate Chip Cookie, Molasses Spice Cookies, Smashed Potatoes, Cast Iron Skillet Steak, Pecan Pie, Apple Pie, and Chocolate Tart.


The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays

Recommended by Teresa Allessi, R. H. Stafford Library 

Image of Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook. I love it because the recipes are fantastic and the pictures are gorgeous. She also includes fun information and pictures of her family and pets. This cookbook includes recipes for every holiday. 

Favorite Recipes: It is hard to pick a favorite recipe because they are all so good, but a couple of my family's favorites are the Perfect Mashed Potatoes and Pecan Pie.


Life in a Northern Town: Cooking, Eating, and Other Adventures Along Lake Superior 

Recommended by Sharon Simonson, Hardwood Creek Library

Image of Life in a Northern Town cookbook. This is one of my favorite cookbooks and was written by Mary Dougherty, who moved with her family from St. Paul, Minnesota to the shores of Lake Superior in Bayfield, Wisconsin. I love this book not only for the recipes but the essays, stories, and adventures the author provides with them. The recipes are globally and regionally inspired featuring local cheeses, meats, and produce from nearby and surrounding farms. I love the author's appreciation and wonder for the "North Country" and Lake Superior - her admiration for the farmers and local community and what she brings to that environment with a fresh approach to the relationship between community and food. While this book is not classified as a regular cookbook, it definitely is that and more. If I were ever to write a cookbook this would be the kind I'd want to write - inspirational and savory on every page.

Favorite Recipes: One of my favorites is the Warm Potato Salad with Pancetta (the pancetta being from Northern Waters Smokehaus in Duluth which is a favorite place of mine). I have to mention the wild rice and blueberry buttermilk pancake recipe as well (I'm a sucker for pancakes). 


Moosewood Restaurant Cookbook

Recommended by Sarah Rosten, Hardwood Creek Library 

Image of the Moosewood Restaurant Cookbook.I like the Moosewood Restaurant Cookbook. There are a lot of different versions now, but I used to own the “original” one from the 70s, which my mom gave to me when I was in college. 

Favorite Recipe: The Stuffed Eggplant. The recipe sounds weird because it includes cottage cheese and Tobasco sauce, but it is really, really yummy (if you like eggplant!).


The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen

Recommended by Ren Kenning, Oakdale Library

Image of the Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen cookbook.I really enjoyed reading The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen by Sean Sherman and Beth Dooley. Sioux Chef organization's website describes it as "an introduction to modern indigenous cooking in the Dakota and Minnesota territories." I think its a great way to learn more about the historical and present day indigenous food cultures that often aren't highlighted. Plus, it's by a local chef and author!



The Joy of Cooking 

Recommended by Cristina deSobrino, Hardwood Creek Library 

Image of The Joy of Cooking cookbook. I have a LOT of cookbooks and had a hard time choosing my favorite, but I figured that the one that is falling apart the most should probably get the honor. The Joy of Cooking, 7th edition, is the most well-worn at my house. It has a huge variety of recipes, from Southeast Asian specialties and Vegan Orange Cake, to more traditional recipes like Chicken-fried Steak and about eight kinds of chili.

Favorite recipe: Sticky Buns. We make them for every holiday breakfast, and the promise of them is a great way for me to induce my adult kids to stay the night!


The Enchilada Queen Cookbook 

Recommended by Tess Kane, R. H. Stafford Library

I have enjoyed this Mexican cookbook. The author resides near the Mexican border in Texas and these recipes are very authentic! 

Favorite recipe: I like the variety of enchilada recipes as well as the yummy margaritas.


Cover and Bake: A Best Recipe Classic 

Recommended by Liz Gonzalez, R. H. Stafford Library 

Image of Cover & Bake Cookbook. I love this cookbook! It has the most delicious, decadent macaroni and cheese recipe, as well as several other great comfort food recipes. 




Looking for something different? Try a blog!

Tracey Van Haaften in Library Administration says, "I love Chef John from Food Wishes. He has a YouTube channel and a blog. The videos are the best, for so many reasons. He cooks great food, goes through each recipe and technique step-by-step, his presence consists only of a voice over, he has a great sense of humor and running jokes, delightful double entendres, he points out the mistakes he makes while making food and the mistakes he makes recording himself making food. I have laughed out loud many times while watching his videos."

Favorite recipe titles:

  • Dry-Aged Prime Rib – I Waited 42 Days to Be Confused
  • Pumpkin-Shaped Dinner Rolls – Your Guests Will Blow Their Gourds
  • Lazy Pork Dumplings – Now with 100% Less Pleating
  • Grandma’s Peanut Butter Fudge – Which Grandma? We’re Not Exactly Sure

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