Cookbooks make good company during a pandemic

  • Cookbooks make for good reading while stuck at home.

      Cookbooks make for good reading while stuck at home. Susan Stark | Staff Photographer

Posted2/24/2021 6:00 AM

Like everyone else decluttering during the pandemic, I've recently turned my eyes to the shelves of cookbooks I own. I have a couple of favorites that I use all the time, but some others were given to me, sent to me here at the Daily Herald or purchased for their picture-book qualities.

I've got the encyclopedic "Joy of Cooking" with bookmarks and dog-eared pages for recipes and reference notes that I use all the time. And "The Streamliner Diner Cookbook," which is heavy on brunch fare and treats. Peanut-butter-chocolate-chip muffins come to mind. I've also got an ancient copy of the "The Moosewood Cookbook," the gorgeous "The French Laundry" cookbook, and a handed-down copy of "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," the only thing I asked my mother to leave me in her will.


I've got an old, yellowing copy of "Love and Knishes -- An Irrepressible Guide to Jewish Cooking," which is delightful reading, and the Betty Crocker spiral-bound cookie anthology with the cover torn off and ingredient stains on the most-used pages.

So you can see, some of these tomes are beloved old friends, good reading and, thus, good company.

Still, I've got super specific books I thought I would use more than I do. I've got books detailing the joys of making ice cream, soups, cookies, flavors, meats, seafood, wok cooking, chocolate, one-pot cooking and even one for affordable Paleo cooking for the Instant Pot. I've also got several cookbooks from celebrity chefs and trendy restaurants.

In the spirit of Marie Kondo, I pulled all the books off the shelves, set up packing boxes and used tough love on whether a book was to stay or go. The trouble is, so many of them spark joy. Cookbooks are more beautiful to look at than ever before, and they are good reading, too, on the whole.

I did pack up and pass on several to Goodwill, but a lot will stay to keep me company.

Missing breakfast: If you're one of the thousands of fans of Grape-Nuts cereal, you're surely suffering through the Great Grape-Nuts Shortage of 2021. But the cereal's fans can take heart. Post Consumer Brands announced Feb. 11 that Grape-Nuts will officially be shipping at full capacity by mid-March.

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For weeks, thousands of loyal Grape-Nuts fans have turned to social media to express affection and heartbreak over their beloved missing cereal.

As a token of apology, Grape-Nuts is offering fans the chance to be one of 10 people to win free Grape-Nuts for a year. In addition, everyone who opts in will be added to a list to be among the first to be notified that the cereal is back at full capacity, and all will receive a coupon for $1.50 off their purchase of Grape-Nuts cereal. To enter the sweepstakes and to sign up on the list, visit the Grape-Nuts Facebook page. Fans are also invited to join a new Grape-Nuts Secret Super Fans Facebook group to receive updates on special offers and have opportunities to engage with the brand in new ways. For more information on Grape-Nuts, visit

• Contact Food Editor Susan Stark at or (847) 427-4586.

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