October is National Cookbook Month – Get Cooking!

It’s fall and in most regions it’s beginning to get a little chilly in the evenings. Sweaters are starting to come out of the mothballs they’ve been resting in all summer long, blankets are being tucked into beds once again, decorative throws are being tossed on sofas, and logs from outside are being brought in for a crackling evening fire in the fireplace or wood-burning stove.

If all this coziness is making you want to grab a cookbook and experiment with a new recipe for a hearty soup or stew, pot roast, chili (meatless or otherwise), steaming, in-season vegetables such as kale, butternut squash, turnips, brussels sprouts or broccoli, you are not alone.

If you love to cook, as I do, you really don’t need an excuse to buy another cookbook. However, with October being designated “National Cookbook Month,” it’s a no-brainer. Go out and treat yourself to one of the myriad of cookbooks that can be found in your local bookstore or online.

Celebrate Like an Italian You don’t have to be a Martha Stewart, Bobby Flay, Mario Batali, or Emeril BAM-BAM to cook up a delicious breakfast, lunch or dinner for your family. If you like Italian food, and who doesn’t, my personal favorite is Lidia Bastianich. I have several of her cookbooks and I find them easy to understand with great photographs that show you what the recipe should look like, even if mine never do.

There’s a cookbook for everyone and every taste (vegan, vegetarian, Paleo, Weight Watchers, meat, fish and seafood lovers, and so much more) – whether you are a beginner or gourmet cook, a busy household with little time to fuss, or enjoy entertaining on the weekends or outdoors on the grill, there’s a cookbook out there just waiting to take its place in your kitchen.

My dad owned a 1950s diner, so I have to give a shout out to my guy, Guy Fieri, the host of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives who takes his TV audience across the county to the best off-the-beaten-track eateries you might never have known existed. He has some great cookbooks that make it fun for the entire family to experiment. Warning: Not for those counting their calories.

The Perfect CookieWith the holidays right around the corner thoughts of family, friends and food begin dancing in our heads. Especially those sweet and delectable desserts everyone waits to devour at the end of the meal, no matter how full they are. I wish I could say I am a great baker, but though I try, I am not. Those talents were left to members of my family who took baking to another level. I try following their instructions, but they never, and I mean never, wrote down the measurements!!! I am not kidding. So, I rely on those incredible dessert cookbooks with their mouth-watering recipes that give me a sugar rush just reading the ingredients. A couple of cookbooks you should check out are Sweet: Desserts from Yotam Ottolenghi, or The Perfect Cookie by America’s Test Kitchen.

Did I mention not to worry about the calories? Don’t! It’s about enjoying the 3 Fs in life – Family, Food and Friends. So, dig into that luscious apple crumb pie, heavenly German chocolate cake, or the sinfully delicious classic cream puff. Remember, there are no “Fs” in calories, so ready, set, start cooking and baking up a storm.

Bon Appetit!

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has been in the business of show business for more than 25 years having been the go-to person for press and marketing at leading regional theaters and for independent producers of stage and screen, including the late 20th Century Fox producer, Henry Weinstein. Claps was the on-air theater critic for local cable television, and senior arts editor for 10 Connecticut newspapers for which she was the recipient of numerous national and regional awards for her writing and layout design. Having spent the better part of the last decade working in New York City for Fortune 500 companies, she is glad to be back home, working locally and volunteering at area nonprofit arts organizations.