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A Nonfiction Column
By Jeff Shelby


   I’ve been a stay-at-home dad and house husband now for two years and I’m happy to say that my daughter hasn’t been lost, the house is semi-clean and my wife hasn’t left me. But one of my biggest challenges was learning to prepare meals that would not cause my wife and daughter to run for the nearest restaurant. These four books have been a huge help to our family’s sanity:

Rachael Ray's 30-Minute Get Real Meals: Eat Healthy Without Going to Extremes
by Rachael Ray

You know her as the lady from the television, but I know her as the lady who has made cooking a relatively easy endeavor. This is her newest book and by far, the most comprehensive. The meals are simple – you can find the ingredients at the store, she doesn’t use fancy words and half an hour is just about the time it takes me to use some of her ideas. Indispensable.

Dr. BBQ's Big-Time Barbecue Cookbook: A Real Barbecue Champion Brings the Tasty Recipes and Juicy Stories of the Barbecue Circuit to Your Backyard
by Ray Lampe

The barbeque on our deck is my best friend. Through rain, wind, snow and sleet, this thing fires up and always provides me with a way to get some dinner on the table. Lampe’s book not only discusses some of the interesting history behind BBQ, but gives the reader over 30 recipes for anything that can be thrown on a grill. In a word – yummy.

El Charro Café Cookbook: Flavors of Tucson from America's Oldest Family-Operated Mexican Restaurant
by Jane and Michael Stern

I lived in Tucson for a little while a few years back and El Charro was one of my favorite restaurants. This book takes us behind the curtain of the famous eatery and tells us how they make their famous dishes and lets us in on their secrets. (Garlic – lots and lots of garlic.)

The Ultimate Chili Book: A Connoisseur's Guide to Gourmet Recipes and the Perfect Four-Alarm Bowl
by Christopher B. O’Hara

I admit it – I’m a chili geek. Even before cooking became my “job” I was experimenting with different chili recipes and attending chili cook-offs. This book is just about the best there is on America’s specialty. Turkey, steak, beans, no beans, mild or eight alarm – O’Hara’s book will help you find a chili that’s just right for you.

Dig in!

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