Did you know that Denver has one of the largest cookbook collections in the country? The Husted Collection at University of Denver’s Penrose Library holds 14,000 cookbooks spanning the past 400 years. As this collection shows, Denver loves to read about food. Here are a few popular books from local bookstores that capture the essence of Colorado’s finest cookbook writers.

Photo Credit: Amazon

“Colorado Classique” – Junior League of Denver

All of the Junior League of Denver cookbooks, including “Colorado Cache,” “Creme de Colorado,” “Colorado Collage” and “Colorado Colore,” are top sellers in Colorado. The most recent, “Colorado Classique,” published in 2009, is a culmination of the best that Junior League of Denver has to offer. From the photographs by John Fielder to the recipe contributions by Junior League members, Colorado Classique is a go-to cookbook for many Denver cooks. The recipes, like Colorado peach and cucumber salsa and a Colorado green chile and chicken sandwich, feature local ingredients. “Colorado Classique” also includes a restaurant section from Denver restaurants, nutritional recipe information and 75 John Fielder photographs. It is available on the Colorado Junior League Website (www.jld.org) and through Boulder Bookstore, The Bookies, Capitol Hill Books, Hearthfire Books of Evergreen and Tattered Cover.

(credit: University of Nebraska Press)

“At Mesa’s Edge: Cooking and Ranching in Colorado’s North Fork Valley” – Eugenia Bone

Eugenia Bone, a New York City food writer, became a reluctant rancher when her husband (a western native) bought a 45-acre ranch in Crawford, Colorado. Bone wrote “At Mesa’s Edge” as a memoir and 150-recipe cookbook that captures the culture shock of moving from Manhattan to a town of 255 on the western slope. Her writing style is a touching and funny account of learning to grow vegetables with nothing more than spits of rain, hand picking Colorado peaches and cherries for pies and cobblers, casting a rod into a rushing Colorado stream for pan-fried trout and foraging in the wilderness for wild mushrooms for paper-thin crepes. Through it all, Bone learns to love her new home and has since been an influential writer and part-time resident of her adopted state of Colorado. Available through Boulder Bookstore, The Bookies, Capitol Hill Books, Hearthfire Books of Evergreen and Tattered Cover.

Related: Top Cooking Classes In Denver

Photo Credit: Amazon

“Shinin’ Times at The Fort” – Holly Arnold Kinney

If the adobe walls could talk at The Fort Restaurant in Morrison, they would tell a story of a young girl named Holly who took naps with a bear named Cissy and learned how to run a Colorado legendary restaurant from her father, Sam Arnold. These stories, and hundreds of recipes, are in the pages of the newest cookbook from The Fort Restaurant in Morrison. “Shinin’ Times at the Fort” is a collection of recipes from 1963 to present that represent the story, the living history and the colorful people (and a gentle bear) who made The Fort what it is today. Want to know the secret to making the only guacamole recipe you will ever need, Sam’s favorite peanut butter stuffed  jalapeños, Colorado buffalo tenderloin or Bobbie’s cheesecake (which is a must try for all special occasions)? “The Shinin’ Times” is for you. If you are looking for a good read, there is no shortage of stories from Holly about growing up at The Fort, the people she was influenced by and the lessons she learned from within the terra cotta walls of the restaurant. “Shinin’ Times” is available at the recently re-opened Trading Post at The Fort restaurant in Morrison, at The Fort’s website (www.thefort.com) and through Boulder Bookstore, The Bookies, Capitol Hill Books, Hearthfire Books of Evergreen and Tattered Cover.

Photo Credit: Vesta Dipping Grill Cookbook via Facebook

“Vesta Dipping Grill, Beyond the Sauce” – Josh Wolkon and Matt Selby

When Josh Wolkon dreamed up the idea of a restaurant that featured interactive dining with dipping sauces, he wasn’t entirely convinced that the sauce thing would work out. Fourteen years later, the sauce thing is still hot for Wolkon and chef Matt Selby. The story of the old spice factory that houses Vesta Dipping Grill and its founders is now available in a new cookbook, “Vesta Dipping Grill, Beyond the Sauce.” The restaurant’s recipes, which have been recognized by Bon Appetite, Food and Wine and the New York Times, are Colorado-centric restaurant favorites like grilled beef tenderloin with wild mushroom ragout and oven-roasted tomatoes and madras-grilled venison with dried cherry-butter reduction. And of course, there are the sauces, pages and pages of sauces that have made a name for the restaurant. The names include hot, hot harissa sauce, salsa roja and spicy jerk sauce. The cookbook is available at the restaurant (1822 Blake Street), online at www.vestagrill.com and through Boulder Bookstore, The Bookies, Capitol Hill Books, Hearthfire Books of Evergreen and Tattered Cover.

Related: Top Buffets In Denver

Photo Credit: Colorado State University Extension

“High Altitude Baking” – Colorado State University Extension Office

The experts at Colorado State University have answers to your high-altitude baking questions and more than 200 recipes with proven tips developed by high-altitude baking experts. The cookbook includes an adjustment guide for cake recipes being baked at 3,500 to 10,000 feet and includes recipes for cookies, cakes, muffins, coffee cakes, scones, biscuits, pancakes, yeast breads and sourdough breads. Available at Colorado State University bookstore, Boulder Bookstore, The Bookies, Capitol Hill Books, Hearthfire Books of Evergreen and Tattered Cover.

Find these books on the shelf and through special order at these Colorado independent bookstores:

Boulder Bookstore
1107 Pearl St
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 447-2074

Capitol Hill Books
300 E Colfax Ave
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 837-0700

Hearthfire Books of Evergreen
1254 Bergen Parkway # D118
Evergreen, CO 80439
(303) 670-4549

Tattered Cover
2526 E Colfax Ave, Denver
(303) 322-7727
1628 16th St, Denver
(303) 436-1070
935 Dorchester St, Highlands Ranch
(303) 470-7050

The Bookies
4315 E Mississippi Ave
Denver, CO 80246
(303) 759-1117

Kimberly Lord Stewart is a food author and journalist for CBS Denver local, Organic Food Reporter for Examiner.com, and the Food, Wine and Spirits editor for Denver Life magazine. Her book, “Eating Between the Lines” tells readers about the truth and myths of food labeling. Stewart is the recipient of two Association of Food Journalist awards for food news reporting and the Jessie Neal Business Journalism award. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.