Culinary tales to help you say farewell to the fair

By Antonio Backman
Contributing Writer

Few things are more emotional than a parent waving goodbye to their kids on their first day of school. The only thing more emotional is when I say goodbye to the Minnesota State Fair. To help everyone cope from their lack of unhealthy but delicious food I have cooked up a list of five books to help alleviate the absence of deep-fried cheese curds and Sweet Martha’s cookies.

“Don’t Try This at Home: Culinary Catastrophes from the World’s Greatest Chefs” by Kimberly Witherspoon – This book has a variety of short stories from the world’s best chefs where they reveal the strange and downright hilarious behind-the-scenes accounts of some of their biggest blunders. The stories serve as an important reminder that no one is perfect, especially in the kitchen. (Bloomsbury, 2005)

“My Berlin Kitchen: A Love Story, With Recipes” by Luisa Weiss – Follow along as a kitchen-mad perfectionist breaks off her engagement, quits her dream job and finds a new life for herself in Berlin. Readers will be captured by the author’s stories of foraging for plums in abandoned orchards, making batches and batches of German Christmas cookies to heal her broken heart and ultimately cheer her on as she finds love where she least expects it. (Viking, 2012)

“My Drunk Kitchen” by Hannah Hart – One day New York transplant and bored-out-of-her-mind cubicle worker Hannah Hart decided to make a fake cooking show as a joke. She turned on a camera, pulled out some food and then, as one does, started drinking. Her video went viral and a new online sensation was born. My Drunk Kitchen is chock full of recipes, stories, photos and drawings to inspire your own adventure in tipsy cooking. Read, drink and laugh along with her. (Dey Street Books, 2014)

“Thug Kitchen 101” by Thug Kitchen LLC – If you have been waiting for a book that will pull no punches and tell you how a plant-based diet benefits our bodies, minds, environment and pocketbook then this is the book for you. Designed for the beginner chef in mind this book has more than 100 easy and accessible recipes that are delicious and healthy. (Rodale Books, 2016)

“The Year of Eating Dangerously: A Global Adventure in Search of Culinary Extremes” by Tom Parker Bowles – Tom Parker Bowles embarks on a culinary odyssey that will take him to locales far and wide. He will eat dishes that will range from the nauseating to the dangerous to the unexpectedly delectable. Join him on his journey to find the most exotic food in the world. (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2008)

For these books and more please visit the library or the library website at

Antonio Backman is a librarian at Anoka’s Rum River branch.