An appetite for books 

Published 10:51 pm Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Shelf Life 

One of my favorite adult programs at the library is Cookbook Club, which meets on the third Thursday of the month at noon. The idea is that everyone brings a dish that fits that month’s theme (which we vote on) for a potluck lunch. In March, the theme is “book-inspired.” I am super excited for this one! If you’d like to join us, here are some ideas. 


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Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg 

Published in 1987 and popularized by the 1991 film starring Kathy Bates, the book weaves together the past and present through the blossoming friendship between middle-aged housewife Evelyn and nursing home resident Ninny. Recipes in the back of the book include skillet cornbread, pecan pie, and of course… fried green tomatoes. 


The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister
A heartbreakingly delicious bestseller about a chef, her students, and the lessons that food teaches about life as they gather every month for a cooking class. Various dishes are cooked throughout the book but their Thanksgiving feast sounds particularly mouth watering, with pumpkin ravioli, cranberry and pancetta stuffed turkey breast, polenta with gorgonzola, and green beans with lemon and pine nuts. 


Banana Cream Pie Murder by Joanna Fluke 

All of the books in the Hannah Swensen mystery series feature desserts in the title and recipes between the pages! Check out this book for directions on how to make cheese and sausage breakfast bake, slow cooker chicken stroganoff and noodles, salted caramel bar cookies, and much more. 


Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel 

The novel follows the story of Tita, a young woman who cannot marry because of a family tradition that dictates that the youngest daughter must take care of her mother until she dies. Tita is only able to express herself when she cooks. The book is divided into 12 sections, starting in January and ending in December, and each section begins with a Mexican recipe. Dishes include quail in rose petal sauce, turkey mole with almonds and sesame seeds, and chocolate and Three Kings’ Day bread. 


Blue Plate Special by Kate Christensen 

Subtitled An Autobiography Of My Appetites, this 2013 memoir chronicles the author’s life and places she has lived including California, Paris, New York City, and Maine. Each section features recipes like tapioca pudding, anadama bread, and lapin a la cocette. (I will be shocked if anyone brings rabbit to Cookbook Club!) 


Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens 

I haven’t had a chance to get my hands on this one yet, as it is very popular, but I’ve seen several people post about making meals inspired by this novel set on the North Carolina coast. The author’s website includes a book club kit with “Kya’s Cookbook” and recipes for hush puppies, mussels and grits, breakfast corn fritters, po man’s turnips, and old-fashion chicken pie. 


Jen Pace Dickenson is the youth services librarian for Polk County Public Libraries. For information about the library’s resources, programs, and other services, visit or call 828-894-8721.