Book Gift Guide: Cookbooks

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I love to cook, so it seemed just right to start off this book guide with some of my top picks to give as gifts! Now there is a slight bias, as I am a vegetarian of many years, but I’m sure you’ll forgive me once you see the absolutely beautiful recipes inside each of these books! I’m also going to include honorable mentions, as some books I had loaned to my mom and sister for christmas dinner ideas!

The World of the Happy Pear

The World of the Happy Pear is the second vegetarian cookbook by the Flynn twins, they’re two of the most enthusiastic and cheerful people on the planet (I’m not joking, check out their youtube channel and instagram for proof!)  and they share some of the most popular recipes from their award winning cafe! They cover hearty soups, chillis, beautiful desserts and lively salads, you really cannot go wrong giving this is a gift. Their first book simply titled The Happy Pear is a kitchen staple at my house, even the pickiest of eaters can find something they’ll enjoy!

Soup for Every Day

Calling all soup lovers! This is such an interesting cookbook, it’s a real chunkster with 365 recipes for soup between the covers! It has a really interesting mix of traditional, exotic and experimental soups. A Soup For Every Day is a great investment for someone who really likes to make simple but hearty meals, and it has a great mix between meat and veggie based (and some surprisingly chocolate based!) soups.

If someone you know has a slow cooker/crock pot but they’re not quite sure what to cook with it, this is the book for them! I picked up The Slow Cooker Solution in a small local newsagents with a tiny rack of books, and online I could only find it second hand, but it’s very cheap and a wonderful stocking filler for someone who needs some slow cooker inspiration! It’s heavily meat based, (but as usual it’s easy to veggie up a meat recipe) and has a good few slow cooker desserts, which are really fun to try!

Everyday Super Food

Jamie Oliver is a household name, and with several tv shows, worldwide health initives and a multitude of cookbooks it’s not hard to understand! Everyday Superfood isn’t his most recent (that would be 5-ingredient meals) but it’s one of my favourites. It’s got some really delicious recipes for smoothies and some really interesting dinner ideas. I would suggest this as a good all rounder for someone who is interested in eating better but doesn’t want to take the plunge into a huge lifestyle change like vegetarianism or veganism.

VeganomiconIsa Chandre Moskowitz is a legend in the vegan cooking world, she is the brain behind ppk (post punk kitchen) and has released so many AMAZING vegan cookbooks. this one is the biggest and best investment for any vegan looking to expand their cooking repertoire. Veganomicon has the most amazing pie recipes, dessert recipes, cheese sauces, beautiful hearty curries and ways of spicing up the simple potato that will blow your tastebuds! Non-vegans will get just as much out of this book as vegans and vegetarians, as it’s just so chockablock with beautiful and tasty food ideas, they definitely won’t miss the meat!

A Modern Way to Eat

A Modern Way To Eat is quite simply stunning. Simple but intriguing recipes with fruit and veg, it’s really surprising how much variety you can achieve with simple core ingredients! This was Anna Jones first cookbook and I honestly use this every week, the recipes are simple yet really tasty and she always has great substitution advice. If your giftee already has this cookbook her other books A Modern Way To Cook and The Modern Cooks Year are both equally as stunning!

My honorable mentions go to:

Thug Kitchen

The Thug Kitchen isn’t afraid to tell it like it is, with a mouth like a sailor and a kick-ass attitude, they really want you to eat some f**king vegetables, and to make them delicious while you do it! Their dumpling and chickpea stew is absolutly DIVINE and I highly highly recommend it to one and all!

Recipes for a Nervous Breakdown

Sophie Whites Recipes for a Nervous Breakdown is part autobiography and part cookbook and it really explores how food and eating well helps put us back together. I haven’t cooked anything from this yet, but I can tell you that everything looks phenomenal!

I hope you were inspired by this group of exciting cookbooks, please let me know what your favourite cookbooks have been and help me explore some more of the world of food! 🙂

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Boy Erased : Garrard Conley : Non Fiction Friday 1

As I’ve gotten older I find myself reaching for more and more non fiction and non fiction narrative/memoirs. While younger me wanted to escape the world and used books to do so, currently I want to feel more like a part of society. and to understand the social, political and religious systems that have created the world and how it came to be in it’s current (scary and sorry) state.

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I came across Boy Erased quite by accident and purchased it on a whim, not knowing what to expect. It’s a memoir by Garrard Conley, a ministers son, who upon being viciously outed by his rapist went to a Christian fundamentalist run “straight camp”. The year was 2004 and he was just 19 years old. He went willingly to the notorious “Love In Action” (LIA) group and his family supported him, with his mom travelling and staying with him during his “treatment”. The LIA really heinously group homosexuality together with pedophilia and bestiality and consider homosexuality to be a disease. He doesn’t go into detailed descriptions of the conversion therapy itself but he goes into enough detail for it to become apparent that it’s a strange bastardisation of the 12 step AA programme and how insidiously awful the LIA are.

I don’t think Garrard gets angry enough at how disgusting the ex-gay group are, he highlights the abuse, the mental torture and bullying that occurred but he falls short of entering full outrage mode; but not to worry the readers of the book do it for him! The searingly honest and simple way he’s written this book really brings out your protective instincts. You’ll be like an angry bear while reading certain parts, you’ll want to smash everything (not only the patriarchy)!

Garrard has written beautifully about love and sexuality and his prose is accessible and compelling. His take on familial love, acceptance and spirituality is interesting as it’s informed by his upbringing in a rural Southern Baptist town and a set of beliefs about an all seeing, all knowing God.He has captured his journey of self acceptance and how it interacts with personal faith and the wider faith community that surrounds him. It’s an interesting and deeply intimate self determining experience that he has chosen to share with us and it should not go unnoticed.

This memoir was undoubtedly upsetting and yet I felt it was very tender and full of hope. The poisonous conversion therapy is so distressing to read about, I don’t like imagining going through it. However in contrast the relationship Garrard has with his family is so beautiful and pure, it really gives the book such a powerful and uplifting sentiment. His mother and father have very different ways of connecting with their son, but you see that behind everything is a deep well of love. It really proves that cliché that love trumps everything.

It gives me hope that despite the fact that intolerance and hateful rhetoric still exists that somehow in the years ahead there may be a more equal future for us all.

4.5/5

PS It was just leaked that there is a film being made! Joel Edgerton will be directing it, and Garrard Conley himself is being included in the process. I am going to make a wish that the film captures the hopeful feeling that the book leaves you with!