Have a hankerin' for hash browns? Need to dress up those naked noodles? Leave that cake recipe on the back of the box where you found it and head down to the Payson Public Library.
So many of the cookbooks you'll find there look more like something you'd see on a coffee table, than tucked away on a kitchen shelf.
Gone are the days of exhaustive, pictureless publications that leave much to be desired in the way of inspiration. In an age when image really is everything, even the cookbooks are shouting, "look at me, look at me!" If you're looking for a picture on nearly every page, you'll find these to be positively delicious.
"Hey There, Cupcake!"
Your most basic cupcake beliefs will be challenged as images of Clare Crespo's baked creations came to life, when set in the most whimsical landscapes. One might never have imagined such an elegant accessory as a string of Cupcake Pearls. And if it's riches you're after, don't forget to check the couch cushions for a handful of Coin Cupcakes!
Spicy deviled eggs
"Deviled Eggs: 50 Recipes from Simple to Sassy" by Debbie Moose. Eggs with an attitude: Who knew? All "Hell Breaks Loose" (page 76) when "Lucifer Goes Uptown" (page 56) to put the heat back into these Sunday potluck favorites. Now, that's what I call food for thought.
Electric crepe maker
"Crepes" by Lou Seibert Pappas -- It's a secret, but I just bought an amazing apparatus called an electric crepe maker for the love of my life. He saw a fellow called The Take Home Chef use one and decided he could not live without it, so, Happy Birthday, Benjamin.
This book will be at my house for a week or two until we figure out why our crepes have a lacey pattern and how to avoid crispy edges that tend to crack. And, there'll be no birthday cake this year, mon amour. Alas, a pillow of warm chocolate soufflé half-moon crêpes will be a fine dernier ressort, to be sure.
Shaken, not stirred
"Cocktails Galore" by Kate Mosely -- how do you turn a ho-hum Saturday social into an affair to be remembered? Well, please take my advice and save the Tequila Slammer (1 dash dark crème de cacao, 1 part champagne, 1 part gold tequila, bang it on the counter and hasta la vista, baby!) for a seriously more desperate situation. And, for heaven's sake, be sure that no one invites the Frisky Buck (2 parts Bourbon, 1/2 part butterscotch schnapps, 1 1/2 parts pineapple juice, with a cherry to garnish, of course).
The Arizona Cooler (1 part cranberry juice, 2 parts gin, 2 parts grapefruit juice and lime wedges to garnish) might just leave your guests breathless in the same manner that our beautiful skyline does on any given summer evening.
Here's the trick. When shaken together with ice and strained ever-so-gracefully over the cranberry juice, the grapefruit juice and gin seem to "float" over the deep red liquid below. This creates all the beauty of an Arizona sunset in a highball glass. Impressive, I know. Here's to life and loving!
The tasty potato
"Potatoes, Mashed & More" by Hamlyn Publishing -- Looked to for the divination of truth and prediction of the weather, the influence of the omnipotent potato permeated the Incan culture, as far back as 6,000 years ago.
Few foods have a more legendary past, but that won't keep me from boiling, mashing and whipping mine into the tastiest clouds under heaven. Featuring 141 pages of photography good enough to eat, this book will have you hauling sacks of potatoes with every trip to the grocery store. Worried about what to do with all those leftover taters? The Swiss wasted not with a potato pancake called Rosti. The cold tubers are peeled, shredded and pan-fried with onions and butter. Throw a fried egg on top and consult your heart specialist. I won't lie to you; you will read the words "smother with butter" more than once in this book's pages.
Young adult review
It is now my pleasure to present to you our young adult book review, submitted by Miss Emily Arnold.
Title: The Cry of the Icemark
Author: Stuart Hill
The Cry of the Icemark is a thrilling adventure about a young queen with a wild character named Thirrin. And even though she's only 13, her father has already died valiantly in battle against an invading empire.
Now it is she who is desperately trying to save her kingdom from the same powerful enemies. She sets out to find allies for her small country and she finds some very interesting friends in beings she never realized truly existed.
The attacking enemy definitely doesn't expect them either. The Cry of the Icemark is a very exciting tale of friendship, war and following your heart, even if it is wild.