“The idea for the magazine Kinfolk,” Nathan Williams writes in his introduction to The Kinfolk Table, “was born in the course of trying to describe those evenings spent with friends when the hours pass effortlessly, conversation flows naturally, cooking is participatory, and the evening ends with a satisfying sense of accomplishment.” We’ve been huge fans of Kinfolk ever since its inception—not just because of its stunning imagery and down-to-earth writing, but because of this laid back, communal philosophy towards entertaining. Throughout the pages of Kinfolk magazine, it is apparent that the lifestyle being espoused is not one of lofty, exclusive soirees, but of calm, familial gatherings, one where easiness and enjoyment are key. The Kinfolk Table, the cookbook that accompanies Williams’ quarterly lifestyle journal, seems the natural extension of this entertaining philosophy. Within its pages, numerous cooks, artisans, and craftspeople share their own recipes for delicious food and beautifully simple gatherings—a warm antidote to overly-fussy and antiquated ideas of entertaining.
Baking Unplugged by Nicole Rees (Wiley). Baking Unplugged is the hands down winner in my spot recipe testing. The recipes are good, easy, and practical. The simple philosophy behind the book is that you can make great desserts without any electrical equipment (except an oven, of course). The preliminary chapters at the beginning review tools, ingredients, methods, and how to read a recipe. The books chapters are then divided into types of baked goods, with no dearth of explanation of technique. The book is clear and concise, easy to understand. I wish I had had this book when I started out baking. This is a book for anyone who wants to get back to basics in the kitchen, someone who has a small kitchen with only a few tools, someone who is lazy and doesn’t feel like plugging in the equipment. It’s a perfect book for beginners– I am a firm believer in the ‘learn in the manual way’ in order to excel in the automated world. I really really like this book. One last important note– there are no photos at all in the book. But please don’t let this discourage you.
The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook is packed with over 100 recipes for everything from the bakery’s legendary Old Fashioned Cupcakes to S’more Pie, Rustic Cheddar Pecan Rounds and, one of my favorites, Nanna Pudding. To say that these are Southern comfort foods is an understatement; every single recipe has so much soul and history that they’re as close to a hug from your family as you can get. Whenever I eat something from Back in the Day, I feel like I’m sitting in my grandmother’s kitchen and someone is taking care of me. And that’s just what Cheryl and Griff do — every day they treat their customers to delicious made-from-scratch treats that have been passed down through generations of family bakers who cooked with love. Even the queen of Savannah, Paula Deen, took notice. She wrote a glowing and heartfelt introduction for this cookbook, and if my love-fest for Cheryl and Griff doesn’t convince you, hers will. This is quite simply a cookbook everyone should own. So please, check out The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook online right here and here. Pick up a copy and then pick up another copy for someone else in your life. This really is the sort of cooking that needs to be passed on and shared with people you love. A huge thank you to Cheryl and Griff for being such generous and kind friends to all of us here at D*S. We wish them every single ounce of success in the world. They deserve all of that and then some. xoxo, grace