You can find just about anything online if you look hard enough. Really, just about anything. There are a handful of sites out there that keep track of "food holidays". Now, you should be warned that I am using the term holiday in the loosest possible terms. I mean it!
Let’s take a look at the month of October for example. It’s National Pizza Month! OK, now that one seems fairly mainstream. Not as mainstream as Thanksgiving. But, as food holidays go, it’s pretty acceptable. Most people (at least people I know) like pizza. So why not give it its own month?
Here’s another. October is National Cookie Month. Again, that’s easy to go along with. There are however a few that really stretch the definition of a holiday. There is also the assumption that there are enough folks out there that are passionate about it to give it its own holiday designation.
An example. It’s National Applejack Month. I’m not talking about that oddly delicious, sugar-coated cereal I used to love as a kid. No, the applejack we’re talking about here is the fermented cider that was popular in the 1600s. Yes, 1600s! I’m guessing it’s tasty, but does it really deserve its own month? Day conceivably, but month??
You can make a Jack Rose with applejack. How many of you have sat around your pool sipping Jack Roses with friends? I know for me, it's been a while! I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before I get back in the Jack Rose groove.
Alright, I’m not here to debate whether applejack fermented cider deserves its own holiday month or if it could just be lumped in with all of the other fermented ciders of the 1600s. I’ll leave that for another day and another post (look for it!!).
But what I will be happy to inform you of is that October is also National Cookbook Month! And that is something I can fully get behind!
I have something of a cookbook obsession. On the spectrum of things that you could be obsessed with, cookbooks seem fairly harmless. At least if you’re not living in a tiny home which, at the moment, I am not.
At last count, my collection is somewhere in the neighborhood of 325+ cookbooks. It doesn’t seem like a lot. But, when you really think about it, how many cookbooks does the average person have?
There’s a woman named Sue Jimenez. She has 7,000+ cookbooks in her personal collection. That sounds more like an obsession than a paltry 325 cookbooks. I think when you get to somewhere north of 1,000, you may need to seek out some professional help. And you may need a larger living space.
With it being National Cookbook Month and all, I figured it might be worth a look at a few of our local Sarasota cookbook authors. Yes, that’s correct, Sarasota has more than one! And, of course, we’ll have links to more info on each of these at the end of this piece.
Chef Paul Mattison of Mattison’s Restaurants and Catering has written a cookbook with over 125 of his favorite recipes. You’ll remember Chef Mattison for his Artichokes Esther-Style that we featured in our September Make it at Home piece. His book, entitled Chef! The Story and Recipes of Chef Paul Mattison, is packed with delicious dishes you can try for yourself.
A couple of years back, Sarasota’s own, Chef Judi Gallagher put together a collection of her favorite recipes and stories through the years. Reflections & Recipes of Chef Judi. This combination of autobiographical and culinary resource will give you some great new recipes to make AND help you “get through life . . . one recipe at a time.”
Simply Sarasota: From Fresh to Fabulous, from the Junior League of Sarasota, contains over 200 “Sarasota-inspired” recipes. These dishes spotlight healthy, locally available ingredients. Recipes include everything from appetizers to mouthwatering desserts. There’s a little something for everyone.
Rounding out our list is the Sarasota Farmers Market Cookbook. This cookbook is loaded with recipes from the vendors of our fantastic Sarasota Downtown Farmers Market. Delicious dishes from a wide variety of vendors that you can find at the market every Saturday. You can pick this one up on your next trip there.
Here are a couple of other Sarasota connected cookbooks for your consideration.
The Columbia Restaurant Spanish Cookbook Anniversary Edition
Hazan Family Favorites, from Giuliano Hazan
OK, that’s a pretty good start on the brand new Sarasota section of your cookbook collection. Do you have a local cookbook that we missed? Leave a comment and let the rest of us know about your find.
Here are the links that I promised. You didn’t think I forgot, did you??
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