Reading Between the Recipes
with Suzanne Klein
Chief Yummy Officer
We recently asked a handful of Savory Spice Shop owners across the country to share some of their favorite cookbook titles and how they use cookbooks in their culinary adventures. The answers we got back reinforced something we’ve known for a long time…Savory Spice Shop owners love to talk about food!
All of the cookbooks mentioned had stories attached, including where the cookbook came from, why it is loved, and what recipes have become favorites. We couldn’t reprint everyone’s answers in their entirety here so we just chose a few highlights. If you want a sure-fire conversation starter at your local Savory, just ask a spice merchant about their favorite cookbook!
What is the most interesting, unique, or surprising cookbook you own?
Susan Kirkpatrick, Fort Collins, CO (owns 81 cookbooks)
One of my favorite cookbooks is the Laura Secord Cookbook. I looked it up online and found that it is now considered a vintage cookbook from the 1970s. I obtained it when we lived in Vancouver, British Columbia from 1975-77 and I needed a recipe for Butter Tarts, a favorite Canadian sweet treat. The surprises include the number of good recipes in the little-known book, including several fruit cobbler selections, yummy curry recipes, and good soups. It turns out that Laura Secord was a heroine of the War of 1812 on the British/Canadian side. No wonder we Americans have not heard of her! – Susan Kirkpatrick, Fort Collins, CO owner
I received the French cookbook Le Savoir Cuisine from my French teacher in Switzerland. It is written in French and for the time I lived in Switzerland, I made a point to cook out of it each week. I did tweak some recipes here and there. For example, when a recipe called for horsemeat (which I could actually get at any time at the local market), I'd use beef. Yea, I didn't quite jump into the horsemeat. I would try it now if I could go back, but I probably wouldn't like it. – Steph Birn, Encinitas, CA owner
Bob and Cindy Jones, Raleigh, NC (own 55 cookbooks)
The most interesting cookbook we own is Come to the Table by Benita Long. It was a gift to us from a dear friend who was somewhat responsible for our relocating to Raleigh after we visited her and her family here. This cookbook is a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. I am more likely to be inspired to recreate a recipe when the photography captures my attention. Only after seeing the photo will I read on to see what ingredients will inspire me. The surprises in this cookbook are the reflections on scripture passages and inspiring quotations from celebrated poets and theologians that provide sustenance for the soul. – Bob and Cindy Jones, Raleigh, NC owners
What cookbook do you use most frequently, or which is your favorite, and why?
There are a few cookbooks I use pretty regularly. One of our local vendors, Blackbird Bakery owner Karen Morgan, has a book that is wonderful—Blackbird Bakery Gluten-Free—and she's getting her second one printed as we speak. Her stuff is stunning similar to the real deal but great for all persons gluten-free! O, The Oprah Magazine Cookbook is a great book. Some recipes are a bit more challenging, but man are they delicious! (Although, I don’t believe Oprah cooks all, if any, of the recipes that the book makes it look like she does.) And Melissa Joulwan actually mentions Savory Spice Shop in her first book, Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat. – Alicia Phipps, North Austin, TX owner
Jason & Steph Birn, Encinitas, CA (own 50 cookbooks)
I always tend to grab for The Joy of Cooking cookbook. It's got everything! And I have a very special copy—one that my grandfather added notes to. My pop taught me how to cook. I have pictures of myself (for some reason, I never had pants on, always a bathing suit with an abnormally large cover-up…"Thanks, Mom!") and my pop standing at our kitchen island cooking up some savory dish. It is the reason I love to cook. I treasure this book. It brings me back to simpler times and memories of warm jam on toast or fresh tomato sauce picked from his garden. My pop was a farmer but if you ask any of his friends and neighbors, he had a wicked green thumb. What's better than a man who could hunt or raise his own meat and grow his own fruits and veggies? We ate like kings when I was little! I'm so grateful for those memories and so wish he could see what I'm doing now. If I could have just 30 minutes with him again...the stuff we'd come up with would be incredible! – Steph Birn, Encinitas, CA owner
What is your "must-have" cookbook recipe and which Savory spices would you feature in it?
Alicia Phipps, North Austin, TX (owns 20 cookbooks)
This is going to sound silly, but I love using any of the Pampered Chef cookbooks because they have lots of very easy recipes that actually use spices and blends that Savory has product very comparable to. Thirty-minute meals that taste good! – Alicia Phipps, North Austin, TX owner
I love the Lima Bean Curry Soup on page 51 of the Colorado Collage Cookbook. It is pretty simple but I use our flavorful Medium Yellow Curry Powder, our dried tarragon, and instead of chicken broth, I use our onion bouillon for a vegetarian, gluten-free dish. We are not vegetarians, nor are we gluten-free, but some of our friends have dietary restrictions. The soup can be served chilled or warm. It's an easy, comfort food. – Susan Kirkpatrick, Fort Collins, CO owner
Our must-have cookbook recipe comes form Savoring Tuscany. It is a simple dish from Arezzo called Pollo al Finocchietto (roast chicken with fennel seed). This recipe is still served all over Tuscany and for good reason. The chicken is beautiful to look at and the anise scented fennel seed is wonderfully fragrant. We have replaced the fennel seed with Savory Spice Shop’s California fennel pollen. A dusting of this culinary fairy dust enhances all the flavors in this simple Tuscan recipe. We also feature Savory’s course ground Tellicherry black peppercorns, French Fleur de Sel sea salt, and crumbled sage in the dish. – Bob and Cindy Jones, Raleigh, NC owners