Spring is well underway, which means summer is right around the corner. With the warmer temperatures come picnics in the park, backyard barbeques and family reunions. Are you tired of bringing the same old boring salad to every summer soiree but aren’t really sure you’ve got what it takes to spice up your mom’s traditional recipe? Kelsey Nixon’s Kitchen Confidence is a great place to start. 

Kelsey Nixon is a native of Northern Utah, who some may know from her stint on Food Network’s The Next Food Network Star or her Cooking Channel show Kelsey’s Essentials. Even if you aren’t familiar with her from TV, her cookbook stands on its own merit. The instructions are clear and concise, and the photographs will inspire anyone to want to dig right in. The book is full of classic recipes like roast chicken, mac and cheese and chocolate chip cookies. But it takes what might otherwise be a dull rehashing of these tried-and-true recipes and encourages the cook to make them all their own—by experimenting with personal-favorite ingredients, local in-season produce, and new techniques.

The book is ideal for the novice home cook who might be a little timid in the kitchen. Experienced home cooks might find the advice elementary, but the recipes are so flavorful that even skilled cooks might find some new ways to increase their kitchen confidence.

Heidi Steed is the Events Assistant at Salt Lake City Public Library. To find Kitchen Confidence and similar books within the library's catalog, or for more info on The City Library's programs and services, visit slcpl.org.

Click here to enter Salt Lake magazine's contest for a copy of Kitchen Confidence.