From the Beacon: Cookbooks deliver culinary inspiration

July is National Culinary Arts Month. This monthlong celebration promotes awareness of professional chefs and their contributions to culinary trends, so dine out during the month of July and remember to thank your favorite chef. Food preparation and cooking are truly an art form, so whether your taste buds delight in old-fashioned home cooking or more sophisticated fine dining, pay attention to the details that have gone into the food on your plate. Explore new cuisines, start a new diet or even learn about the culinary arts.

We hope you can take advantage of the Bluffton library's celebration of National Culinary Arts Month by participating in the Edible Books Contest at 2 p.m. Saturday. Join local book enthusiasts, artists and food lovers for an afternoon of fun. Perhaps you're not interested in creating an entry but eager to participate. The public is invited to come by and vote for their favorite edible book. For those of you who just want a culinary read, here are some selections from our collection:

CHILDREN

"The Spatulatta Cookbook: Recipes for kids, by kids, from the James Beard award-winning Spatulatta.com website," by Isabella Gerasole. The author presents more than 50 recipes arranged by seasons of the year, as well as vegetarian dishes and healthy snacks. The book includes lists of basic skills, equipment and cooking terms with step-by-step instructions and photos.

"Kids Cook 1-2-3: Recipes for young chefs using only 3 ingredients," by Rozanne Gold. There are more than 125 recipes, tips and fun illustrations for kids.

"Bring Me Some Apples and I'll Make You a Pie: A Story About Edna Lewis," by Robbin Gourley. From the first day of spring through the first snowfall, Edna and members of her family gather fruits, berries and vegetables from the fields, garden and orchard on their Virginia farm and turn them into wonderful meals. The book includes facts about the life of Edna Lewis, a descendant of slaves who grew up to be a famous chef, and five recipes.

TEENS

"My Saucy Stuffed Ravioli: The Life of Angelica Cookson Potts" and "My Scrumptious Scottish Dumplings: The Life of Angelica Cookson Potts," by Cherry Whytock. Both of these titles are mysteries that revolve around a weight-conscious English teenager. Recipes are included.

"Vegetarianism for Teens," by Jane Duden. Duden discusses vegetarianism and reasons why some teens choose it. The book includes information on building a healthy vegetarian diet and planningmeals and snacks at home and on the go.

ADULTS

"Get Cooking: 150 Simple Recipes to Get You Started in the Kitchen," by Mollie Katzen. "Do you want to eat really well -- not just once in a while, but all the time -- yet you don't know where to begin? Are you tired of pizza, as much as you like it, and broke from buying take-out? Do you love good food -- the straightforward homemade kind -- but feel challenged to set up a kitchen, shop for decent groceries, and tap into a few basic skills that can put a simple roast chicken or vegetarian casserole on your dinner table? If your answers to these questions are 'yes,' then 'Get Cooking' is for you."

"The Culinary Institute of America Cookbook." This cookbook comes complete with favorite recipes for morning meals, baked goods, appetizers, soups, light meals, main courses, side dishes and scrumptious desserts.

"So Easy: Luscious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week," by Ellie Krieger. The host of Food Network's "Healthy Appetite" provides dishes that tackle every possible mealtime situation. Illustrated with 50 full-color photos, her best-selling cookbook features 150 delicious, easy-to-prepare, fortifying recipes for on-the-go and at home, including Cheddar Apple Quesadilla, Pork Piccata with Spinach and Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and Chocolate Cream Cheese Panini Bites.