Get Your Grills Ready For Independence Day!

Celebrating the 4th of July may be different this year. Fireworks have been postponed or canceled, and with social distancing, big family cookouts are limited to the people in your household. This is a good time to form a new kind of celebration! Let’s Go To a Cookout! will get kids excited about the experience. The following ebooks include tips and tricks to having the perfect cookout. Stay tuned tomorrow morning for decorations you can make and music you can enjoy to complete your patriotic celebration!

THE MEAT OF THINGS

Franklin Barbeque: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto will teach you how to cook meat (brisket, anyone?), spilling secrets from the popular pitmaster Aaron Franklin, renowned for his barbeque trailer in Austen, Texas. Learn how to build and customize your own smoker, find and cure the right wood, create and tend the perfect fire, choose the right meat, and more! To get a taste of his barbeque techniques, watch this video of the pitmaster cooking a brisket.

For more Texas recipes, check out the Legends of Texas Barbeque Cookbook, and The Brisket Chronicles will teach you more about making brisket. Where’s the beef, you may ask. Find recipes for the #1 cookout dish, the burger, in several of the ebooks available to check out on hoopla, including The Great American Burger, Wicked Good Burgers, Weber’s Big Book of Burgers, Pornburger, and more! The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet even gives you a vegetarian alternative.

America’s Best Ribs might not be so bad, either. Any book about barbequing may be sufficient to satiate your desire. Try some more of the titles you’ll find in hoopla’s Barbecue & Grilling collection, including BBQ USA, Sizzling Grilling, and America’s Best BBQ – Homestyle. Perhaps your taste turns towards different kinds of meat. Fish Grilled & Smoked or even Beer-Can Chicken may be more your style.

VEGETARIAN, VEGAN, AND DIETARY OPTIONS

Don’t eat meat? The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet isn’t the only vegetarian option. Check out VBQ-The Ultimate Vegan Barbecue Cookbook! Instead of beef or brisket, put an eggplant hot dog or cauliflower cutlet on the grill! Nadine Horn and Jörg Mayer share tips for having a fabulous plant-based barbecue, from how and when (and where) to light the fire, how to control the heat, how to use different cooking methods, and even how to clean your barbeque after. Also included are more than 80 recipes, with photos to show how appetizing a meatless meal can be.

Vegetables on Fire contains recipes for Cauliflower “steaks,” broccoli burgers, brisket-like beets, and other meat alternatives, and Vegetarian Grilling has not only recipes for veggie burgers, skewers, and rolls, but cheesy options, as well as desserts to satisfy any sweet tooth. Get back to basics with Paleo Grilling, a guide for the modern caveman to grilling unprocessed food over a natural fire. It even includes desserts a caveman would love!

Find more vegetarian barbeque ebooks in hoopla’s Barbeque and Grilling collection.

GETTING YOUR JUST DESSERTS!

After all the hard work of barbequing your meal, you probably feel you’ve earned your dessert. We’ve got you covered!

Find different takes on the popular cookout classic in S’mores. Keeping the three-layer design with the crunchy outer layer and the gooey and melty inside ingredients, Dan Whalen creates such masterpiece variations as Salted Caramel S’mores, Lemon Meringue S’mores, Kettle Corn S’mores, and even an Elvis-inspired creation with bacon, banana, and peanut butter! For even s’more ideas about how to enjoy this popular treat, check out So Much S’more To Do by Becky Rasmussen and Erik Ahlman. Featuring 55 alternative recipes to the well-loved graham cracker-chocolate-marshmallow creations, you’ll find such creative twists as Brownie, Peanut Butter & Banana, and Tiramisu S’mores!

Show off your patriotism with the All-American classic: apple pie! An Apple a Day has recipes for all year ‘round. Included are savory recipes as well as the much-desired desserts. Learn how to make Frozen Apple Daiquiris, pies, sauces, tarts, and more! For recipes from all across the United States, here is America’s Most Delicious Dessert Recipes State by State, with different takes on cakes, pies, tarts, cookies, bars, sorbet, ice cream and more!

If you only want to look at pies, take a gander at such titles as America’s Best Pies, First Prize Pies, and The Magic of Mini Pies. Filled with recipes for simpler pies using apple, custard, strawberry, raisin, blackberry, and more, as well as more inventive pies such as Root Beer Float, Banana Dulce de Leche, and Lavender Cream Toffee pies – your taste buds will be swimming with sweet flavors!

If it’s too hot for s’mores or pies, cool off with some frozen treats! Try your hand at popsicle making with For the Love of Popsicles, 20 Best Frozen Pop Recipes, Ice Pops, and Perfect Pops. For those who prefer ice cream, try any of these titles: 

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home

The Ultimate Guide to Homemade Ice Cream

Ice Cream Treats

The Artisan Kitchen: Perfect Homemade Ice Cream

Sweet Scoops

I Scream Sandwich!

and more! 

For more frozen desserts you can attempt to concoct, check out The Art of Making Gelato, How to Make Frozen Yogurt, and, for dairy-less cold treats, Making Vegan Frozen Treats. Browse through even more dessert titles on hoopla!

Staff Picks: Cookbooks for Quarantine

Our dining experience looks a little different these days. No longer able to dine out at our favorite restaurants or find exactly the ingredients we need at the store, we’ve become increasingly dependent upon ourselves to cook at home using what we have. For some, this has been an opportunity to perfect culinary skills and try out those hours-long cooking projects that you never usually have the time to complete. For others, this has been a crash-course in using pantry staples and becoming acquainted with their kitchens. 

But no matter your skill level or appetite, we’ve got your cookbook needs covered to add some flavor and spice to your home-cooking journey, all free with your Abbot Public Library card. There are over 1,000 titles available in our digital collections, from regional cuisine (Tex-Mex, Korean, French, Palestinian, Oaxacan), to diet-specific (Paleo, Keto, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Whole30), to pop culture-inspired (Anne of Green Gables? Literary wizards? Questlove?), and everything in between! If hundreds of cookbooks seems like a little much to swallow, these five highly-recommended cookbooks are a great place to start:

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat & Wendy MacNaughton

If you take only one title away from this list, let this be the one. Part textbook, part cookbook, and highly enjoyable (think on-the-nightstand, bedtime-read enjoyable) Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is like getting a cooking lesson from your very kind, very knowledgeable best friend who only wants you to succeed at cooking and life. Certified Good Human™ Samin Nosrat doesn’t just want you to cook her recipes — she wants you to have enough confidence in the kitchen to go off-book and use its namesake elements to make great food every time. Complete with Wendy MacNaughton’s delightfully informative illustrations — no staged food photography here — this is a guide you’ll turn to time and time again.

Small Victories: Recipes, Advice + Hundreds of Ideas for Home Cooking Triumphs by Julia Turshen

Julia Turshen wants you to relax. And if cooking isn’t your idea of relaxing, well then, she wants to change that for you, too. In the same philosophical vein of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, Turshen posits that, in having the necessary know-how to create the daily ritual we call mealtime, we can feel grounded and find joy. She urges us to celebrate our cooking triumphs, and gives you all of the tools and tricks to make simple substitutions with unpretentious ingredients for wholesome, tasty meals. For anyone in need of a small victory (see what we did there?), this one’s for you.

Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

Never have vegetables looked better than between the pages of London-based Ottolenghi’s stunning vegetarian classic. Never fear carnivores: Ottolenghi infuses his vegetable recipes with such vibrant and bold Eastern Mediterranean flavors, you won’t even miss the meat. A great source for homecooks looking to toss a little more tasty veggie power into their meals, and for vegetarian experts to up their plant-based game. 

The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science by J. Kenji López-Alt

The Food Lab, based on López-Alt’s popular Serious Eats column of the same name, is for the Good Eats-style food science types out there. From mac and cheese to turkey, Lopéz-Alt gives you foolproof recipes for all of your favorite American classics, and the solid science behind making them perfectly. This is an awesome resource for people who don’t just love to cook and eat, but are curious about hows and whys of what’s on their plate, too.

Pastry Love: A Baker’s Journal of Favorite Recipes by Joanne Chang

You didn’t think we’d leave out dessert, did you? Joanne Chang, James Beard award-winning baker and owner of Boston’s famed Flour bakeries, presents 125 of her favorite pastries and desserts in this comprehensive guide. From lemon sugar cookies to passion fruit crepe cake, there is a recipe to suit every sweet craving and skill level. Replete with pro tips, tricks, and techniques, this will quickly become a staple of your baking book collection. 

For more cooking guidance, you can also stream video lectures through Abbot Public Library’s Indieflix service, which has a section on Food & Wine.

Kids in the Kitchen: A Curated Collection of Cookbooks and Activities to do at Home

Our friends at the Boston Children’s Museum, the Museum of Science, and Institute of Contemporary Art have been hard at work creating fun and educational STEAM content that you can do at home, even in the kitchen. We’ve rounded up the best-of-the-best kitchen science activities for the whole family to try!

Watch Boston Children’s Museum’s Kitchen Science for Kids YouTube series, which includes how-to videos on making butter, composting with kitchen scraps, and fermenting your own veggies. Their Beyond the Chalkboard site is another great resource for food-related activities, from becoming an effective food detective, to designing a healthy dip for fruits and veggies, to making art with food. Be sure to also check out their daily activity archive for more wonderful and engaging content! 

At the Museum of Science, learn about acids and bases using blueberries and other ingredients in your kitchen! Take a peek at their #MOSatHome page for even more fun family STEM activities, virtual exhibits, and presentations (including a snake taking a bath!). 

And over at the Institute of Contemporary Art, check out their guide for eco-dyeing fabric for crafting using fruit and veggie scraps and other kitchen materials. Interested in more great activities? Their Art Lab at home has everything from DIY flip books to virtual quilts (maybe made with all that fabric you just eco-dyed).

After you’ve tried these awesome activities, work on those kitchen and nutrition skills with this curated list of cookbooks for junior chefs:

On hoopla:

Stir Crack Whisk Bake: A Little Book about Little Cakes by America’s Test Kitchen

This interactive board book walks little bakers through making the tiniest of sweet treats — cupcakes!

Plant, Cook, Eat!: A Children’s Cookbook by Joe Archer & Caroline Craig

This cookbook takes you from the garden to the kitchen with handy tips & tricks for starting a kitchen garden and how to turn your harvest into healthy, delicious, kid-friendly meals.

Kitchen Science Lab for Kids by Liz Lee Heinecke 

Using basic kitchen ingredients, everyone from toddlers to big kids can whip up these exciting experiments at home!

On Libby:

Cooking Class by Deanna F. Cook

Designed for 6- to 12-year-olds, this instructive cookbook teaches budding mini chefs basic kitchen techniques and over 50 yummy recipes.

National Geographic Kids Cookbook by Barton Seaver

Part craft and activity book, part how-to and cookbook, master chef Barton Seaver’s National Geographic Kids Cookbook teaches you how to start a kitchen garden, host a family cooking competition, and everything in between.

On hoopla & Libby:

The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs by America’s Test Kitchen Kids

From the pros at America’s Test Kitchen come over 750 kid-tested and approved recipes for all skill levels with the goal of empowering young chefs to feel confident in the kitchen.

On Overdrive and hoopla

The Forest Feast for Kids by Erin Gleeson 

*a hoopla Bonus Borrow through today

This colorful cookbook includes the most kid-friendly recipes from the vegetarian hit The Forest Feast