Omaha Public Library wants to help readers find new books — or at least books new to them. Every month in this space, OPL employees will recommend reading based on different writing genres, themes or styles. With holidays right around the corner, OPL staff have suggested some of their favorite cookbooks. Find these books and more at your local branch or omahalibrary.org.
Abigail Bechtel, clerk at Milton R. Abrahams Branch
"The Healthy Gluten-Free Life," by Tammy Credicott. I recommend this book if there is anyone with one or more food restrictions coming to your holiday celebrations. One of the best gifts you can give your guests is having food that they can eat.
Laura Evans, collection processing clerk for Omaha Public Library
"Lucky Peach Presents 101 Easy Asian Recipes," by Peter Meehan. True to the name, this cookbook offers simple and accessible Asian recipes. Helpfully, it also includes pantry musthaves, according to the reader's skill level and aspirations, and explanations of those items. This cookbook is great for beginners and pros alike, and Omaha residents can find relevant ingredients at the city's Asian grocers.
Martha Grenzeback, genealogy & local history librarian at W. Dale Clark Main Library
"Ottolenghi: The Cookbook," by Yotam Ottolenghi. Every recipe I have tried has been delicious and unique, thanks to a sophisticated use of spices and flavor combinations. Many of the dishes are suitable for vegetarians and vegans, most of them are adaptable and all of them provide a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. This is Middle Eastern food with a modern twist!
Theresa Jehlik, strategy & business intelligence manager for Omaha Public Library
"Around the Table: Recipes and Inspiration for Gatherings Throughout the Year," by Martina McBride. This book is great for anyone new to entertaining. McBride provides a stepby-step planning guide for 10 seasonal parties. Each party has a menu, music playlist, decoration and favor suggestions, a cooking game plan and recipes.
"Flapper Pie and a Blue Prairie Sky: A Modern Baker's Guide to Old-Fashioned Desserts," by Karlynn Johnston. This lavishly illustrated book took me right back to my early married years in rural Saskatchewan. Johnston's recipes include lots of traditional and modern approaches to saskatoon berries, butter tarts and nanaimo bars. Her chapter on squares, bars and slices reminds me of taking pans of treats to Handel Hall for showers, weddings and the fall chicken supper.
"My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life," by Ruth Reichl. In 2009, Ruth Reichl was the editor of Gourmet magazine, which included various cookbooks and two television shows. It all came crashing down when Conde Nast ceased publishing Gourmet after nearly 70 years. This book is half cookbook, half cathartic memoir as Reichl confronts the emotional work of being unemployed at age 61.
Colby Jenkins, senior clerk at Charles B. Washington Branch
"Simply Ramen," by Amy Kimoto-Kahn. This excellent book not only includes a variety of recipes (at different difficulty levels) for the crucial elements of excellent ramen, but it also provides helpful guidance on some of the broader historical context for the dish and large-scale principles to shoot for when cooking. Best of all, these recipes don't rely on ingredients that most home cooks won't be able to access in a midsized city like Omaha.
Ruby Jones, adult services librarian at W. Clarke Swanson Branch
"Kids Cook! 100+ Super-Easy, Delicious Recipes," by Good Housekeeping. This cookbook offers easy recipes the whole family will enjoy, with pictures for each recipe.
"Eat at Home Tonight: 101 Simple Busy-Family Recipes for your Slow Cooker, Sheet Pan, Instant Pot and More," by Tiffany King. Whether everyone is on a different schedule, you don't want to do dishes or your fridge is empty, you're sure to find something that'll get you motivated to eat at home.
"5 Ingredients: Quick & Easy Food," by Jamie Oliver. Each recipe has five ingredients, and most can be made relatively quickly.
"Tacos: Recipes and Provocations," by Alex Stupak and Jordan Rothman. This cookbook offers a variety of savory and authentic recipes, along with beautifully informative writing about the history, passion and process behind making the perfect taco.
"Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat," by Chrissy Teigen. Ranging from breakfast to "Things that Intimidate People But Shouldn't," Teigen offers down-to-earth and simple recipes that are sure to satisfy both family and guests. Her second cookbook is amazing, as well.
Lauren May, adult services specialist at Willa Cather Branch
"Minimalist Baker's Everyday Cooking: 101 Entirely Plant-Based, Mostly Gluten-free, Easy and Delicious Recipes," by Dana Shultz. When I chose to stop eating meat, Dana's Minimalist Baker blog was suggested to me as a great resource, and her recipes have been some of my favorites ever since. This is a great collection with recipes that live up to the title — easy and delicious. Whether you're a veteran vegan or simply interested in adding more meatless or gluten-free dishes to your holiday table, this cookbook has recipes that will not disappoint.
Lucas S. Petersen, library aide at Benson Branch
"Delish," by Joanna Saltz. The recipes are easy to follow and use simple ingredients. The resulting dishes are fun crowd-pleasers.
Deirdre Routt, collection development manager for Omaha Public Library
"Flavor Flours," by Alice Medrich. This gluten-free cookbook uses the characteristics of each wheatflour alternative to provide great tasting and well-tested results, and little use of xanthan gum. Medrich has also developed a few techniques for working with gluten-free flours that ensure better results. Now you will have gluten-free goodies that you are proud to serve and everyone will want to eat. Great for both those new to gluten-free baking and for those who want to expand their baking knowledge and techniques. Try the Teff Brownies or one of the great cracker recipes.
"Naturally Sweet Vegan Treats," by Marisa Alvarsson. If you want to reduce your sugar consumption and increase your plantbased consumption, this is an easy way to do it. Alvarasson not only provides recipes from waffles to cheesecake, but also a guide for reducing sugar in other recipes, and a few vegan baking tricks such as how to use aquafaba (the liquid from chickpeas). Those book allows you to not only bake up a few goodies, but also feel better about eating them.
Aura Sewell, library specialist at W. Clarke Swanson Branch
"How to Cook Everything Vegetarian," by Mark Bittman. The recipes are simple. If you're switching to a vegetarian lifestyle and need to get back to basics on cooking, this is the book for you.
Lynn Sullivan, library specialist at W. Dale Clark Main Library
"Cornhusker Cupboards." This one is an oldie but a goodie. The recipes are not fancy, just what you'd have in your cupboards if you're a good Nebraska Cornhusker.
Anna Wilcoxon, diversity & inclusion librarian at South Omaha Library
"One Part Plant: A Simple Guide to Eating Real, One Meal at a Time," by Jessica Murnane. Simple recipes and Murlane's relatable writing style make this cookbook a great choice for anyone interested in a plant-based diet that is vegan and gluten-free. Standout recipes for me included Za'atar Sweet Potatoes, Kale Red Curry Veggie Bowls and Crispy (Banana) Ice Cream Bars.