New Castle News

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December 15, 2012

Culinary Conversation: Cookbooks are gifts that keep on giving

NEW CASTLE — Some of my favorite Christmas gifts have been cookbooks.

Friends and family know I’m always happy to add another book of recipes to the long shelf in my kitchen. When I look through them, I’m reminded of the thoughtful persons who selected something they knew I would enjoy.

There are cookbooks from famous chefs such as Julia Child, Food Network stars including Emeril Lagasse, Giada DiLaurentis and the Barefoot Contessa — Ina Garten — and entertainment guru-ess Martha Stewart.

Specialty volumes are tucked in there, too — Mediterranean cookbooks, ones on just chicken and nothing but chicken, pasta, vegetables and cookies.

Recipes from old faithfuls like the Betty Crocker volumes have never failed me.

And all the ones I’ve collected through the years from various local organizations such as New Castle Business and Professional Women, Jameson Hospital Junior Guild, and lots and lots of churches are usually the ones I turn to most often. Area cooks and bakers are the best, and many times the contributors are including recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation.

Christmas is less than two weeks away.

If you’re a last-minute shopper and scrambling for gift ideas, it shouldn’t be too difficult when there’s a cook on your list.

If a group you know has a cookbook for sale, grab it — the recipient will certainly enjoy the choice.

Meanwhile, I scanned through a long list of cookbooks out this year and discovered that crockpot and slow cooker editions are making a comeback. There were also quite a few for Christmas entertaining and Christmas cookies, and ones on a year of vegetarian-friendly holiday feasts, eating well in a hurry and those from Websites such as

Today’s selections are from a cookbook a college roommate gave me one year as a gift. It’s cherished, although the cover has been torn off and pages are starting to curl up. It’s been used more times than I can remember.

Be sure to tell us what cookbooks are your favorites. We’ll share them at Culinary Conversation.

Happy gifting, happy eating and happy holidays.

Festive Beef

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