Some cookbooks, science non-fiction to make time social distancing educational, tastier

Published 8:31 am Friday, March 20, 2020

This column was submitted by Evangeline Cessna, Warren County-Vicksburg Public Library Local History Librarian. This week’s selections include a few cookbooks and exciting science non-fiction titles. Remember, you can find additional titles at

The Peach Truck Cookbook by Jessica N. and Stephen K. Rose includes “one hundred delicious recipes for all things peach.” The Roses started selling just-off-the-tree Georgia peaches out of their 1964 Jeep Gladiator and they are now a Nashville institution. In this book, they deliver to fans and customers nationwide an essential addition to the peach-lover’s kitchen. You’ll find delicious peach inspired breakfasts, lunches, dinners, drinks, and desserts like peach pecan sticky buns, peach-jalapeno cornbread, or a classic peach pie. Also included is Jessica and Stephen’s story, their insider’s guide to Nashville, and everything you need to stock your pantry with all things peach.

Ken Thompson takes a tour of Charles Darwin’s botanical legacy in Darwin’s Most Wonderful Plants. Darwin was just 23 when he boarded the HMS Beagle and fancied himself a geologist, but when he settled down into domestic life back in rural England, he became fascinated with plants. Darwin became a revolutionary botanist whose observations and theories were far ahead of their time. Thompson explains how Darwin’s theories have withstood the test of time. In fact, some of his discoveries are just now being confirmed and extended by high-tech modern research, while others have been corrected. The author also goes into detail about Darwin’s research process and how his work with plants helped him to develop his most famous theory.

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Hack Your Cupboard by Alyssa Wiegand and Carla Carreon promises to help you “make great food with what you’ve got.” You ever open your pantry and wonder what in the world you could do with a jar of pasta sauce other than dumping it on some spaghetti? We could all use some advice on upping our cooking game. Hack Your Cupboard shows how ingredients you have on hand can be used to make delicious food. From ramen and pizza hacks, dressed-up scrambled eggs, and awesome chocolate chip cookies. You’ll learn to braise, deep fry and caramelize to refine your cooking skills and techniques and become progressively more advanced so you can cook from different pantries, cupboards, and ingredients.

John Plant has written Primitive Technology: A Survivalist’s Guide to Building Tools, Shelters & More in the Wild to accompany his popular YouTube channel. Before he gets into the meat of his book, John Plant has this disclaimer, “I wrote this book for entertainment purposes only. If you follow any of the projects here, please exercise extreme caution.” Plant defines primitive technology as “the practice of making tools, structures, textiles, and clothing using only natural materials found in the wild.” Using illustrations, photographs, and instruction you will learn how the author systematically constructed an entire world without relying on modern conveniences—from a mallet and chisel to a thatched hut. You will also learn how to build a fire, fish, make and throw spears, and make pottery.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: The New Frontier by Ree Drummond features over one hundred new step-by-step recipes that are family and cowboy approved. There are recipes for breakfast, soups and sandwiches, suppers and sides, and, of course, sweets. There is also a section labeled “Instant Pot 101” which explains what pressure cooking is and how to properly use an Instant Pot. Ree also includes the use of the Dutch oven and slow cooker because she knows that you are as busy as she is and will relish being able to put supper on the table a bit quicker and without a lot of fuss. She also updates her fans with stories of some of the changes she and her family have gone through since her last book—another kid in college and the others growing like weeds.

An Elephant in My Kitchen: What the Herd Taught Me About Love, Courage, and Survival by Francoise Malby-Anthony (with Katja Willemson) is part memoir, part conservation story. Francoise was a chic Parisienne who never in a million years thought about living on a South African game reserve, but she fell in love with conservationist Lawrence Anthony and her whole life changed. When Lawrence died in 2012, she took over the daunting task of running the Thula Thula game preserve without him. Poachers attacked their rhinos, the security team wouldn’t take orders from a woman, and the authorities wanted to cull their elephant family. To make matters worse, the herd’s spirited new matriarch, Frankie, didn’t like her too much. Francoise persisted and fought hard to protect the herd and build a wildlife rescue center. She found herself taking care of traumatized orphaned rhinos, a lost baby elephant who turned up at her house, and a hippo called Charlie who was afraid of water. As Francoise learned to trust in herself, she became more confident and learned she got Frankie all wrong.