If the crowd doesn't draw you into the Good Eating tent stage at Printers Row Lit Fest, the tempting aromas will. Each year, the staff of the Tribune's Good Eating section brings cookbooks to life by hosting author conversations and food prep demonstrations. This year's lineup promises to be delicious: Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, Gale Gand, Molly O'Neill, Ina Pinkney, Leah Eskin and Andrew Zimmern lead a crop of talented chefs and cooks. And if all the chatter about food makes you hungry, don't worry: The food truck lineup is coming soon. In the meantime, here are five cookbooks to whet your appetite.
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Lidia's Commonsense Italian Cooking by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali
Stumped by what to do with those ingredients Eataly sells? Chef Lidia Matticchio Bastianich — an Eataly partner — offers answers in her latest cookbook, "Lidia's Commonsense Italian Cooking." The book is filled with homey recipes as well as bits of practical wisdom: "... let (your children) feel the dough in their hands. Let them wonder how this magic can happen from the earth we stomp on."
Gale Gand's Lunch! by Gale Gand with Christie Matheson
Gale Gand, the longtime Chicago pastry chef and former Food Network host, recently teamed up with the Hearty Boys to turn its Lakeview restaurant into SpritzBurger. She also has released a follow-up to her 2009 cookbook, "Brunch!" Written with Christie Matheson, "Lunch!" covers its bases, from brown-bag specials like trail mix and a course in "PB&J 101," to the sort of fare you'd serve if company was coming for lunch. Rustic ratatouille tart, anyone?
Taste Memories: Recipes for Life and Breakfast by Ina Pinkney
Ina's, the famed Market District restaurant, closed at the end of last year, but readers can still make the Breakfast Queen's recipes at home. Ina Pinkney's self-published cookbook features a bit of memoir alongside instructions for vegetable hash, pasta frittata and the brownie-like blobbs — a recipe she had kept secret. The recipes are presented in Pinkney's own, somewhat idiosyncratic style, with tiny pink hearts punctuating each step.
One Big Table by Molly O'Neill
Molly O'Neill, a former New York Times columnist, traveled the country seeking out recipes that define America. The result was "One Big Table," a formidable cookbook filled with 600 regional recipes. O'Neill will join with Peggy Wolff, editor of "Fried Walleye and Cherry Pie: Midwestern Writers on Food," for a lively conversation about the heritage we pass down through cooking.
Andrew Zimmern's Field Guide to Exceptionally Weird, Wild, and Wonderful Foods
From alligators to wildebeests, fish heads to cow's blood, scrapple to spam, Andrew Zimmern has written the gross-out food book your 10-year-old son will love. Zimmern, host of "Bizarre Foods" on the Travel Channel, offers answers to these questions — and more: Will a Twinkie last forever? How do you clean chitlins? How can you clear up bad breath after eating durian?
— Printers Row Journal editors
Martha Bayne, Bill Daley and Donald Liebenson contributed.