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There’s been a whole lotta cooking going on over the past year and a half. Many of us have spent more time in the kitchen than we ever have, some taking extra time at home as an opportunity to attempt different dinners and learn new techniques. For others, mealtime fatigue is setting in. Either way, this fall’s new cookbook lineup will bring fresh inspiration.

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Cook More, Waste Less: Zero-Waste Recipes to Use Up Groceries, Tackle Food Scraps, and Transform Leftovers, Christine Tizzard (Appetite, September 7) Witnessing the amount of food typically wasted at work on video shoots inspired food pro Christine Tizzard to tackle the issue at home. From grocery shopping tips to pantry storage ideas, ingredient substitution advice and ways to transform leftovers, her new book is packed with strategies to help you use what you have, and feed yourself instead of the compost bin.

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The Little Prairie Book of Berries Recipes for Saskatoons, Sea Buckthorn, Haskap Berries and More, Sheryl Normandeau (Touchwood, September 21) This gorgeous guidebook celebrates berries indigenous to the Canadian prairies. With illustrations by Tree Abraham and Meryl Hulse, it helps identify which varieties to pick if you’re foraging, walks you through the proper processing of syrups, jams and jellies, and inspires with sweet and savoury recipes.

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Well Seasoned: A Year’s Worth Of Delicious Recipes, Mary Berg (Appetite, October 5) This is a pretty epic recipe collection, inspired by all that affects our appetites: moods, cravings, seasons and the people around our tables. Well Seasoned covers every course and occasion, with accessible yet aspirational recipes that Mary calls into service to feed herself and her family on the regular. Like her, the book is fun and the dishes are a bit unexpected – think strawberries and rhubarb inverted into a tarte tatin, or a handful of sour-cream-and-onion chips crushed over new potato salad.

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Vegetables: A Love Story, Renée Kohlman (Touchwood, October 12) Saskatoon chef and food writer Renée Kohlman shares the story of meeting (at the local farmers market!) and falling in love with her beau, farmer Dixon Simpkins, with 92 heartwarming veg-forward (but not exclusively vegetarian) recipes, separated by type (potatoes, zucchini, Brussels sprouts) and inspired by his harvests.

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The Buddhist Chef’s Vegan Comfort Cooking: Easy, Feel-Good Recipes for Every Day, Jean-Philippe Cyr (Appetite, October 12) Chef and practising Buddhist Jean-Philippe Cyr is back with plant-based comfort dishes from vegan cheese fondue to crackly crème brûlée, inspired by his world travels and the dishes he cooked growing up alongside his grandma.

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Lidia’s A Pot, A Pan, and a Bowl: Simple Recipes for Perfect Meals, Lidia Bastianich (Appetite, October 19) Much-loved chef and author Lidia Matticchio Bastianich has compiled a book of streamlined, no-fuss Italian recipes made in one pot or pan (and perhaps a bowl) – because not every meal can be a big production.

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Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love, Noor Murad and Yotam Ottolenghi (Penguin Random House October 19) The first book in a new series from the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen, Shelf Love focuses on tapping into our pantries, fridges and freezers. Chef Noor Murad takes the lead with relaxed, veg-heavy Middle Eastern-inspired recipes that allow the home cook to be flexible with whatever they happen to have in their pantry.

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The Vegan Family Cookbook: Simple, Balanced Cooking for Real Life, Anna Pippus (Appetite, October 26, $29.95) With degrees in law and psychology, and having worked as a farmed animal advocacy lawyer, Anna Pippus is on a mission to help people eat more plants. She tackles the challenge of getting dinner on the table from day to day, with easily customizable templates that help you tap into your fridge and pantry to build your own meals.

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Acorn: Vegetables Re-Imagined – Seasonal Recipes from Root to Stem, Shira Blustein and Brian Luptak (Appetite, November 9) At the award-winning Acorn restaurant in Vancouver, produce is the star of every plate. In their first cookbook, chef Luptak and owner Blustein get creative with plants, inspiring the home cook to think root to stem and create beautiful seasonal meals.

Last fall, chefs Lynn Crawford and Lora Kirk made the tough decision to close Ruby Watchco after a successful decade. They then made the move to a stunning 100-acre property just outside Peterborough with their daughters, Addie Pepper and Gemma Jet, who are turning 5 and 3 at the end of October. They had just finished shooting the photos for their new book, Hearth & Home: Cook, Share, and Celebrate Family-Style, when the pandemic was declared last March. It turned out to be a good time to hunker down and create a collection of recipes together – particularly ones that are well suited to feeding your family at home.

JVR: Tell us about your new home!

LC: Our lives have changed so much with our girls – it was perfect timing for us to re-evaluate and relocate. We’re outside Peterborough, where Lora grew up, and our property is so beautiful – it’s adjacent to Lora’s grandparents’ property. We can barely keep up with the gardens! It’s the best thing we ever did.

JVR: People have been cooking more than ever this year, and even those who love to cook seem to have cooking fatigue these days. Do you have any advice?

LC: If you love cooking, this is the time. Simplicity is key during the summer and fall months. Peaches taste like a million bucks. A tomato is a beautiful thing all by itself. There are so many people cooking online if you’re looking for inspiration. You can go on Instagram, listen to a podcast, watch YouTube – there are so many resources out there.

JVR: I feel like your cookbook bridges the gap between home cooking and restaurant meals, pushing people gently beyond their comfort zone without being intimidating.

LC: What we’re trying to showcase is that you can have really successful recipes with just a few special ingredients, and we have these little tricks and tips that we use that maybe some home cooks haven’t. You don’t necessarily want a recipe that has 97 steps you’re going to trip around and get frustrated with … you want something that makes you go wow, that hearth-roasted chicken is incredible! Confit garlic – what’s that? And add these elements that really make your meal pop.

JVR: Are Addie and Gemma adventurous eaters?

LC: They really are – it’s funny to watch them go through the different seasons alongside us. Right now they’re the best people to go tomato picking with. Or are they? Because they eat all of them!

LK: We’re doing so much pickling and preserving. We were pickling beets and Addie says, “Something is wrong with my nose!” It was all the vinegar simmering in the big pots.

JVR: How do you get the girls involved in the kitchen at home, even at their young ages?

LK: They’re involved every day. They help peel, measure, stir. They’re out picking which tomatoes we’re putting in the salad. With every little step we get them involved and see how it goes. We serve our meals family style, so they can serve themselves and decide how much they want, and select the pieces they like. At this age they want that power and control, they want to be their own little person.

LC: This morning we were doing a segment about our favourite kitchen tool. We chose a spice mill, and Addie wanted to help, so we made chili lime salt, and it was the most fascinating thing. You don’t need to bring out the 10-inch chef’s knife – it’s all about finding appropriate tools for little hands. Have them at the stove, but be there watching them. Lora’s father made step stools so they can be up at the stove.

JVR: What are you up to this fall?

LC: Life is so different these days. We’re still unpacking and doing renos – the kitchen is last, we’ve got all our appliances sitting in the living room. We’re calling this a bit of a sabbatical. If you’re going to reassess, it’s been a wonderful time to do so. We’re going to keep on writing cookbooks – we collaborate really well. This is my happy place: cooking in the kitchen with Lora. It’s magic.

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