Library invites readers to check out holiday cooking and decor books

At the Library: Linda Henderson

By A Contributor

We’ve all learned that the holidays have their share of hectic preparations and unexpected disasters but that doesn’t mean we can’t bring new discoveries and moments of joy to our gatherings with friends and family. Manhattan Public Library invites you to browse among the following cooking and entertaining books that just might lighten your already busy schedules.

For openers, “Everything Christmas” by David Bordon and Tom Winters will set the mood. This is a lovely book of Christmas stories, mouthwatering recipes, holiday carols and poems.  Also included are Christmas trivia and humorous details.

Need some lighthearted humor in your days? “Wreck the Halls: Cake Wrecks Get Festive” by Jen Yates will surely do the trick. This holiday cookbook is guaranteed to “bring confectionary hilarity and horror” (according to Library Journal reviews) into your life with its less-than-happy Hanukkah horrors, Christmas conundrums and New Year’s meltdowns. How? There’s an icing-smeared disaster cake for every possible occasion.

Perhaps you just need some good cheer to boost your enthusiasm. If that’s the case, “Debbie Macomber’s Christmas Cookbook” or “Christmas with Paula Deen: Recipes and Stories from My Favorite Holiday” are two special volumes with much to offer. Both books delight with their unique personal memories, tantalizing recipes and creative decorating and gift-wrapping tips.

The holidays wouldn’t be complete without an array of special sweet desserts. How about forgoing the usual decorated sugar cookies for something with an international flair? “Festive Baking: Holiday Classics in the Swiss, German and Austrian Tradition” by Sarah Kelly Iaia is exquisite.

The German table, famous for its rich heavily spiced desserts, coaxes you to experiment with specialty breads and pungent spices. The book promises that your home will comfort all who enter with its delightful aromas.

If you’re still convinced that traditional holiday cooking is the best, “Beatrice Ojakangas’ Great Holiday Baking Book” is a safe bet. This book offers a wide selection of international treats specially gathered for Passover and Christmas. Best of all, the book advises the busy cook with mouth-watering desserts that can be made ahead and frozen.

The holidays would not be complete without vegan offerings.”Vegan Holiday Kitchen” is perfect for some. Author Nava Atlas has gathered some 200 beautiful recipes many of which are ideal for Christmas and Hanukkah.

“Joan Nathan’s Jewish Holiday Cookbook” is a compilation of some 400 recipes, personal comments and culinary history passed down from generations of Jewish cooks. For those who yearn for traditional recipes, modern adaptations help ease the difficulty of gathering ingredients and determining portions.

Angela Shelf Medearis offers a wealth of festive ideas for the celebration of Kwanzaa in “Ideas for Entertaining from the African-American Kitchen.” Included in this excellent book are recipes, party planning tips and other ideas, as well as historical information relevant for the holidays.

Now let’s get serious about home decorating. What if you’re looking for a something other than the traditional red and green for your home decoration?  “White Christmas: Decorating and Entertaining for the Holiday Season” may be what you’re missing. Best-selling home decorator, Tricia Foley, has reinterpreted time-honored customs and simple yet stunning design with her combination of rich evergreen touches on a white-on-white decorating style. 

Are you nervous about entertaining your guests this season? Don’t be! “Daisy’s Holiday Cooking, Delicious Latin Recipes for Effortless Entertaining” by Daisy Martinez opens to you a world of Latin-themed events.

Especially inviting is her Christmas Eve dinner for six that includes tamarind margaritas, roasted duck, and arroz con pato. If ease is a main concern for you, “Real Simple: Celebrations” by Valerie Rains is just what you need.

This handy book guides you through amazingly easy-to-arrange parties and it includes hints on terrific hors d’oeuvres and hassle-free cleanup.

There’s no reason for you to miss out on the fun of gatherings this holiday season. Come browse the unique selections of holiday cooking and decorating books that Manhattan Public Library has to offer. You’re bound to find something that will help you create a memorable celebration for all your guests.

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