Speaking Volumes: Library serves up guilty pleasures

Special to the HeraldMay 5, 2013 

People often come to the library for healthy diet and nutrition books. Good for them, but we thought we might highlight some of our least healthy food books this week! We'll leave it up to you whether you want to indulge in guilty pleasures or just read about them.

For fans of Southern cooking, you can't do better than cracklin' cornbread and strawberry-pretzel salad from "The Cracker Kitchen" by Janis Owens. Cheese grits, hush puppies and stewed squirrel all make an appearance in this collection of recipes and stories from a Florida author. Don't forget the Velveeta!

In "The Ultimate Turkey Fryer Cookbook: Over 150 Recipes For Frying Just About Anything," Reece Williams demonstrates not only how to deep fry your meat, but walnuts, peanut butter and banana sandwiches, and all sorts of vegetables.

"Bruce Aidells' Complete Sausage Book" explains the "joy of homemade sausage" with techniques for hot smoking, cold smoking and curing with salts. For those of you disturbed by the thought of stuffing sausage into casings, most of the recipes can be used for patty sausages instead. The author promises that no special equipment is required and you only need a sharp knife or a food processor. A dizzying array of recipes is provided, including boudin, Chinese sweet sausage, chorizo, kielbasa, linguica and wild boar sausage.

Once you've finished up your fried food and sausage dinner, how about a little dessert? "125 Best Cheesecake Recipes" by George Geary has everything from traditional New York style and ricotta cakes to more exotic flavors like roasted banana rum and blood orange. Mouth-watering pictures of German chocolate cheesecake and turtle cheese pie will have you wanting to make three cheesecakes a week.

Think you're a vegetarian and this column doesn't apply to you? Wait, we've got "Vegan Junk Food" by Lane Gold. With deep-fried jalapeno "bacon" poppers, corn dogs and beer-barbecued meatballs, even the strictest eater can have a junk food day.

When you've worked your way through the list above, please don't report us to your cardiologist and remember the Manatee County Public Library always has tofu, salad and sprouts cookbooks for you, too!

The library offers monthly e-mail newsletters, called NextReads, with a selection of genres to choose from; each lists several books, new and classics, as well as library events. Sign up from the library website.

Speaking Volumes, written by Manatee County Public Library System staff members, is published each Sunday. Access the library online at www.mymanatee.org/library.html. Liz Williams is a reference librarian.

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