In the first posting of a brand new column, Good Egg‘s Mika Bareket gives us her current book recommendations.

Like our countrymen the bears, Canadians have a tendency to hibernate during the deep frost. For many, this leads to more intricate, labour-intensive, slow home cooking. We’re also a progressive people, which means we don’t just settle into the comforts of classic beef stew and call it a day. We experiment.

Watching my customers over the years, I notice two pervasive tendencies for culinary experimentation in the early part of the new year: adopting a healthier regime, and, preparing more from scratch.

Two suggestions to spark creativity this dark, dark month:


Food DIY – Tim Hayward (Fig Tree)
This is one of those books with a very long subtitle, but it defines its contents neatly, “How to make your own everything: sausages to smoked salmon, sourdough to sloe gin, bacon to buns.” Brit author Hayward is no slack, on top of researching this myriad of micro topics, he writes for the Financial Times and the Guardian, publishes the wonderful quarterly Fire and Knives, and owns a bakery and restaurant in Cambridge. And how swell of him to do such a nice job putting this book together. It’s as handsome as it is expansive, and recipe-wise uncloyingly on trend. Country farmhouse not included.


Leon: Fast Vegetarian – Jane Baxter & Henry Dimbleby (Conran)
The growing and revered London-based restaurant chain Leon is also a cookbook series powerhouse. I’m not sure why there aren’t more books like these – decidedly family-friendly, fun and easy, with a hardy sense of whimsy and a multi-culti range of recipes. We sold a million copies of their pocket handbooks over the holidays, but this new volume on introducing more veg into your diet (never a bad idea) has been a sleeper hit for us this season. It must be because of recipes like Rasam, a cheap as chips South Indian red lentil and spice soup, and luxurious Madeira mushrooms on toast.  Yum yum in the tum tum.

Mika Bareket of Kensington Market's Good Egg.Mika Bareket is the Founder/Owner of Kensington Market’s Good Egg store, a shop dedicated to those who like to eat.