5 Regional Cookbooks To Check Out This Holiday Season

KA_Anne LeClaire_Cape Eye on Books

With Thanksgiving on the near horizon and Christmas and Hanukkah following closely, we enter the festive season marked by gatherings many of them centered around food. Like Proust’s madeleines, food triggers our memories and histories, our traditions and emotional lives.

Food made in our kitchen is one of my favorite gifts to give to friends and I enjoy searching through books and blogs to come up with new ideas.  With that in mind, here are my five picks for November, all regional cookbooks, and any of them alone would make a great gift for those on your list who love Cape Cod and good food.

TASTE AND TALES OF CAPE COD and THE ISLANDS, by P. Ann Pieroway. A collection of 150 recipes drawn from inns, restaurants and taverns as well as other cookbooks, including, to my delight, the authentic recipe for Indian Pudding.   During childhood stay with my Boston grandparents, they took me to Durgin Park for dinner. I don’t remember the main course, but for dessert my grandmother insisted I try the pudding and I immediately fell in love with this rich, brown molasses-infused dish.  

CAPE COD CHEF’S TABLE by John Carafoli. Extraordinary recipes from Buzzards Bay to Provincetown.  Writer and chef Calafoli is familiar to many from his appearance on the Food Network and NPR and his book, filled with beautiful photography, is a tribute to the Cape and the culinary landscape.  It is a necessary addition to any cook’s shelf of the region’s books. 

CAPE COD TABLE by Lora Brody. Another gorgeous cookbook by best-selling author Brody, it celebrates the peninsula with both the recipes and the stunning photograph and is one you’ll want to keep on the coffee table throughout the year.  

CHRISTMAS FROM THE HEART OF THE HOME, by Susan Branch. Reading Branch’s books (she has written seventeen) is like visiting with a friend. Illustrated by Branch’s whimsical, hand-painted watercolors, the book, originally published in 1998, is timeless in its appear. It is a holiday decoration on its own and the recipe for Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce could convert the most Scrooge-like spirit.   

CAPE COD WAMPANOAG COOKBOOK: Traditional New England and Indian Recipes, Images and Lore, by Earl Mills and Betty Breen.  Like the others on this list, this book weaves stories and histories in with the recipes and draws from Mills experience as a chef for 30 years.

Anne Leclaire

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