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Summer Reading List: Kitchen Edition

Austin Cookbook Summer Reading

Whether used to break up the monotony of mealtime or displayed purely for aesthetics, cookbooks are a valuable staple in any kitchen. Chefs and writers around Austin have a shared understanding of that value and have released several new books, and even a new restaurant to prove it. These are just a few to add to your collection.

For Tasting:

The Austin Cookbook by Paula Forbes

Wisconsin-bred, Iowan-educated, and Texan-fed, Paula Forbes created a cookbook to commemorate her current home, Austin. With separate chapters for tacos and Tex-Mex, the book is organized by Austin’s major food groups. Forbes warns that the recipes are not intended to be quick weeknight meals, but rather an opportunity to enjoy the city’s most beloved meals no matter where you live.

The Wicked Healthy Cookbook by Chad Sarno, Derek Sarno and David Joachim

Austin based chef Chad Sarno and his brother Derek are determined to make their plant-based recipes satisfy even the most carnivorous of eaters. With a philosophy of “80% healthy and 20% wicked,” they guarantee, “you’ll be 100% sexy.” Indulge in a rich cacio e pepe with lemon chive butter and pink peppercorns, or a hearty plate of grilled eggplant tenderloins with beet blood and ninja nuts. This cookbook proves that healthy doesn’t have to mean flavorless.

For Looking:

El Arroyo’s Big Book of Signs: Volume One

With 99 cent margaritas every Thursday and a marquee sign of rotating jokes, El Arroyo has the recipe for laughter. This book is a collection of sayings from the restaurant’s famous sign, and with a name like “Volume One,” we can only assume they’ve got something else cooking.

Coffee Lids by Louise Harpman and Scott Specht

Austin architect Scott Specht began collecting coffee lids in the ‘90s. He was intrigued by the constant changes lids were undergoing as engineers attempted to create the perfect spill-free design. Independently of Specht, design analyst Louise Harpman was accumulating the same collection. When the two met at Yale’s architecture school and discovered their shared interest, they turned their hobby into a real discussion. They submitted most duplicates to the Smithsonian, and wrote this book which divides lids into four categories: Peel, Pinch, Pucker, Puncture. So next time you sip from your Starbucks cup, consider the effort that went into its design.

Texas BBQ, Small Town to Downtown by Wyatt McSpadden

In McSpadden’s first book release “Texas BBQ,” he traversed the lone star state to capture the essence of small-town barbecue. In his latest edition, “Texas BBQ, Small Town to Downtown,” the photographs of those charming rural joints are accompanied by the new world of urban barbecue. With a foreword by pitmaster Aaron Franklin and reflections from Texas Monthly’s Barbecue Editor Daniel Vaughn, this drool-worthy book captures the evolution of a beloved Texas tradition.

Join McSpadden for a book signing and discussion on August 24 at BookPeople. Bites from Black’s BBQ and beers from St. Arnold’s Brewing Company will be provided. A purchase of the book is required for attendance. Tickets can be found here.

For Visiting:

Cookbook Bar & Café

Austin Central Library’s new restaurant is led by Chef Drew Current, whose seasonally changing menus are inspired by the pages of literary-themed publications. This allows for an interactive experience for guests, who can browse through the cookbooks before tasting the recipes within.