It must be fall. The new cookbooks are burying my desk thicker than fallen pin-oak leaves. I can't read them all, but here are a few that are worth getting excited about:
"The Deluxe Food Lover's Companion," by the late Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst (Barron's, $29.99). Herbst's indispensable little paperback, "The Food Lover's Companion," has finally gotten the star treatment. Gilded page edges, hardcover, a ribbon for marking pages. Sharon is gone, but her book is getting new life. Hurrah for that.
"The Visual Food Lover's Guide" (Wiley, $16.95). In the spirit of "The Food Lover's Companion," this is a small-but-beefy guide with pictures and drawings of pretty much everything. Want to know if what you've got is a winter melon or a bitter melon? Page 48.
"Sweet Carolina: Favorite Desserts and Candies from The Old North State," by Foy Allen Adelman (UNC Press, $25). Edelman visited N.C. families in their kitchens to gather these 200 recipes, covering black walnut pound cake to butter mints. Give it for Christmas presents or better yet - use it to make Christmas presents.