Gift Books: Cooks Rule
We had a hard time choosing only 15 cookbooks to recommend you add to your holiday shopping lists (see our reviews below)--and so here just are few more, because, well, food, right?
In I Am a Filipino and This Is How We Cook
(Artisan, $35), restaurant owner Nicole Ponseca and chef Miguel Trinidad set out to "give Filipino food a seat at the culinary table." They succeed in informative and inspiring style, offering readers more than 300 pages full of reasons to learn more about this intriguing and versatile cuisine. From Adobo and Kinilaw to Americana--with Soups, Salads and Vegetables, Noodles and Dumplings, Spice and Burnt Coconut, Tomatoes and Tamales, Fatty, Fried, and Salty and Sweets in between--this is the Filipino cookbook you've been waiting for.
Every baker will benefit from Rose Levy Berenbaum's Rose's Baking Basics: 100 Essential Recipes, with More Than 600 Step-by-Step Photos
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $35). No matter your skill level, there's always something new to learn about baking, and who better to learn from than the woman who wrote The Baking Bible?
No-fuss recipes for cookies, cakes, pies and tarts, bread and toppings and fillings are accompanied by sumptuous photographs that will leave you dreaming of eating a batch or two all by yourself. No judgment here.
Ottolenghi Simple (Ten Speed Press, $35), from renowned chef, restaurateur and cookbook author Yotam Ottolenghi, promises 130 streamlined Middle Eastern recipes that are simple in a variety of ways, including minimal ingredients, prepared in less than 30 minutes and single-pot. Is it possible that such methods could still produce Ottolenghi's out-of-this-world flavor? Yes, it is, and recipes like Pea, Za'atar and Feta Fritters, Burrata with Grilled Grapes and Basil, and Sweet and Salty Cheesecake with Cherries prove it. This is Ottolenghi's best book yet. --Stefanie Hargreaves, editor, Shelf Awareness for Readers
Rediscover: Home Cooking, More Home Cooking
Laurie Colwin (1944-1992) had a prolific fiction writing career, publishing five novels and three collections of short stories, including Happy All the Time and Family Happiness, and contributing regularly to the New Yorker. But she was also a regular Gourmet magazine columnist and in 1988 published Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen. As the New York Times observed, it's "as much memoir as cookbook and as much about eating as cooking."
With humor and warmth, by turns informative and entertaining, Colwin weaves together memories, recipes and wild tales from her kitchen, from small meals cooked in tiny apartments to lavish party spreads. Many went well; some didn't. Throughout the book, she praises the joy of making and sharing food with others.
After her sudden death from a heart attack at age 48, More Home Cooking: A Writer Returns to the Kitchen was one of several posthumous titles by her. Published in 1993, it, too, included recipes and stories from the kitchen, as well as her thoughts on sometimes overlooked foods such as beets, pears, black beans and chutney. (Colwin's husband, Juris Jurjevics, a legendary publisher, co-founder of Soho Press and the author of several novels, died last Wednesday at age 75.)
In 2012, Home Cooking and More Home Cooking were inducted into the James Beard Foundation's Cookbook Hall of Fame. Home Cooking was last published by Vintage ($15.95, 9780307474414) in 2010. More Home Cooking was served up by Harper Perennial ($15.99, 9780062308269) in 2014.
Food & Wine
Southern from Scratch: Pantry Essentials and Down-Home Recipes
by Ashley English
Ashley English is a food writer and active member of Slow Food USA. She grew up in the southern mountains of Virginia, and returned to the food traditions of her childhood after years of restrictive "healthy" diets. "Reintroducing whole foods... and having profound positive changes in my health, made me realize that it wasn't Southern foods that had caused my family so much trouble. Instead it was the processed foods that had weaseled their way in." Southern from Scratch is full of recipes that are uncomplicated and traditional at heart, often with updated flavors.
English gives recipes and methods for pickles, relishes, jams (including tomato and muscadine), sauces, vinegars, stock, butter and lard. Dishes using these staples follow, including grits, desserts, Ham Biscuit with Mustard Compound Butter, Succotash, Fennel and Dried Apple Granola, and Sweet Potato and Peanut Butter Soup with Crispy Okra "Croutons." This is a friendly straightforward approach to Southern-style weeknight meals, snacks and special occasions. --Sara Catterall
Discover: This traditionally grounded Southern Appalachian cookbook focuses on pantry staples and fresh ingredients.
hardcover, 256p., 9781611803310
Jam Session: A Fruit-Preserving Handbook
by Joyce Goldstein
A former Chez Panisse chef and retired owner of the renowned San Francisco restaurant Square One, Joyce Goldstein has been "putting up preserves" since the 1960s, committed to "the beautiful tension between sweetness and acidity" and distinctive flavors. In Jam Session: A Fruit-Preserving Handbook, Goldstein presents more than 100 fruit recipes. Arranged by seasons, from strawberry jam to pumpkin butter, this beautifully photographed cookbook is both inspiring and pragmatic.
Introductory sections feel like a brief tutorial from a friend. On sugar: "First let us agree that preserves are not diet food." In "Preserving Techniques and Pointers," tips include tests for "doneness" that encourage you to "use your eyes and common sense," followed by practical how-tos.
Seasoned preservers could go straight to the recipes, skipping the fruit histories and varieties, and Goldstein's anecdotes. But even those who may never buy a flat of peaches or sterilize a jar will appreciate Jam Session's beautiful and affectionate homage to fruit. --Cheryl Krocker McKeon, manager, Book Passage, San Francisco
Discover: Renowned chef Joyce Goldstein delivers an accessible guide to making and preserving fruit in jams, chutneys, marmalades and more.
Lorena Jones/Ten Speed,
hardcover, 264p., 9780399579615
The Bread Collection: Recipes for Baking Artisan Bread at Home
by Brian Hart Hoffman
Despite its appeal, bread baking can intimidate even those who are comfortable in the kitchen: so many factors, so many recipes to choose from. Brian Hart Hoffman, editor-in-chief of Bake from Scratch magazine, has assembled a mouthwatering batch of classic and innovative bread recipes in his first cookbook, The Bread Collection.
Each of the book's four sections--quick, twist, yeast and pull-apart--has its own stars, such as a recipe for strawberry balsamic muffins or a gorgeous Nutella crunch braid sprinkled with hazelnuts. Some of the time-honored classics--banana bread, Parker House rolls, marbled rye--are here, as are twists on old standbys, such as sweet potato biscuits and pear chai scones. Gorgeously illustrated and packed with tips on key baking techniques like feeding a sourdough starter and rolling out biscuits, Hoffman's collection lives up to its title and subtitle. Tie on an apron and pass the flour, please. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams
Discover: Brian Hart Hoffman's first cookbook assembles a delicious batch of bread recipes, from simple muffins to elaborate twisted loaves.
hardcover, 200p., 9781940772561
Revolutionary Recipes: Groundbreaking Techniques. Compelling Voices. One-of-a-Kind Recipes.
by America's Test Kitchen
Cook's Illustrated is known for innovative techniques and exhaustively tested recipes for popular dishes such as pot roast, chocolate cake, pad thai and soft-cooked eggs. Revolutionary Recipes is a 25th-anniversary cookbook that includes an excellent selection of foundation recipes. Each is introduced by the story of how the author arrived at it, and why alternatives didn't work as well. Advice on tools and selection of ingredients is scattered throughout. The chapter on breakfast foods includes techniques for cooking perfect hash browns, granola and raised waffles. Others cover soups and stews, red meats, chicken and turkey, seafood, vegetarian mains, pasta, rice and grain dishes, vegetable sides, breads and desserts. This could be an excellent first cookbook, or a gift to a seasoned cook still looking for the final word on boiling eggs, poached fish or the best vegetarian chili. --Sara Catterall
Discover: This comprehensive collection boasts the best techniques and recipes for foundational dishes.
hardcover, 576p., 9781945256479
What to Eat & How to Eat It: 99 Super Ingredients for a Healthy Life
by Renée Elliott
Renée Elliott, founder of the U.K.'s first organic supermarket, Planet Organic, has compiled a nutrition encyclopedia and cookbook, What to Eat & How to Eat It.
The collection is organized by ingredient, and each gets at least a full page, sometimes two, featuring Benefits, Ways to Eat and How to Use sections. Most include one or two recipes, sometimes accompanied by a color photo. Recipes range from the basic, like roasted squash, sautéed greens or guacamole, to the more intricate, like Miso Mustard Steak with Pan-Fried Artichokes or Sweet Potato Scones. Although focused generally on healthy eating, there are recipes to suit those who eat paleo, vegetarian or vegan.
What to Eat & How to Eat It is perfect for people who want to eat healthier and don't know where to start, but it also includes original ideas for experienced healthy cooks. --Suzan L. Jackson, freelance writer and author of Book By Book blog
Discover: The founder of the U.K. organic supermarket chain presents a nutrition encyclopedia for both beginners and experienced cooks who want to eat healthier.
hardcover, 256p., 9781911216186
Happy Food: Fast, Fresh, Simple Vegan
by Bettina Campolucci Bordi
Bettina Campolucci Bordi has developed more than 80 recipes that are vegan, gluten-free and easy to make and, despite these dauntingly narrow parameters, the London food blogger delivers with panache. "Ingredients make me excited and happy and I hope that this eclectic collection will put a smile on your faces, too." It may be tempting to conclude that recipe titles like "Bright Healing Turmeric Porridge and Warm Berries" and "My Mother's Comforting Bean Soup" are campaigning too hard for Bordi's cause. However, the proof is in the pudding: "Sticky Toffee Pudding with Sticky Toffee Sauce," sweetened with dates and coconut sugar, is one of her typically inspired offerings. Happy Food: Fast, Fresh, Simple Vegan was conceived for folks with dietary restrictions, but its homey dishes, relaxed recipe text ("Give it a good mix") and gorgeous color photos amount to a comfort-foods primer for all gastronomic denominations. --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer
Discover: Food blogger Bettina Campolucci Bordi delivers triply with recipes that are vegan, gluten-free and easy to prepare.
Soul: A Chef's Culinary Evolution in 150 Recipes
by Todd Richards
"This is my sermon about my Soul food," writes Todd Richards in Soul: A Chef's Culinary Evolution in 150 Recipes, a collection richly evocative of Southern ethos and its myriad, complicated legacies.
Richards embraces tradition with a twist, creatively remixing Soul food staples. He organizes chapters by star ingredient, such as collards, berries or seafood. Standouts from among these include Collard Green Ramen; Pickled Strawberry Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette, Black Pepper Crème Fraiche and Smoked Pecans; Turkey Wings Glazed with Strawberry BBQ Sauce; Shrimp and Grits with Grits Crust and Shrimp Butter; and Popcorn-Crusted Scallops on Corn Porridge with Pickled Baby Corn and Beet Salad.
The collection feels deeply personal, with family photos, recipes and stories. Richards includes menus with complementary side dishes, drink pairings and even playlists. Turn on The Four Tops' "Catfish" (his recommendation) and invite home the aromas, flavors, stories and sounds of Richards' Soul. --Katie Weed, freelance writer and reviewer
Discover: With heart and style, chef Todd Richards offers his take on Soul food--while baring a bit of his own--sharing stories alongside his distinctive takes on classic dishes.
hardcover, 368p., 9780848754419
The Little Library Cookbook: 100 Recipes from Your Favorite Books
by Kate Young, illus. by Lean Timms
London food writer Kate Young, whose blog The Little Library Cafe won the 2017 Guild of Food Writers award for Best Food Blog, brings avid readers and kitchen aficionados a cookbook with literary flair.
Anyone who has read The Hobbit and wished for cakes, or lingered over Daphne du Maurier's description of crumpets will appreciate Young's modus operandi of offering recipes and reflections inspired by passages from her favorite books. Divided into chapters by the most appropriate time of day or occasion, Young's dishes take inspiration from a wide range of modern and traditional classics, with Halwa from A Thousand Splendid Suns directly preceding Vanilla Layer Cake from Anne of Green Gables.
Beautifully photographed against rustic settings by Lean Timms, each recipe is accompanied by a short, personable essay from Young. A blend of favorites and new content, The Little Library Cookbook will delight any fan or any reader. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads
Discover: Kate Young re-creates literary meals from classic stories in her first cookbook.
hardcover, 320p., 9781454930129
Pie Squared: Irresistibly Easy Sweet & Savory Slab Pies
by Cathy Barrow
Slab pies, made in rectangular pans rather than round, are "easily transportable and easy to portion out." In Pie Squared: Irresistibly Easy Sweet & Savory Slab Pies by food writer and cooking teacher Cathy Barrow, cooks will find more than 30 savory pies, like Asparagus, Fontina, and Pancetta and The Reuben. More than 30 "Sweetie Pies," such as Peach Melba and Raspberry Rugelach, are equally tempting. Recipes are clearly written and organized, and come with color photographs. Barrow's tips on swapping out tools, crusts or ingredients make the recipes infinitely adaptable for those at home who don't have a deep pantry. Moreover, her comprehensive instructions for making both rolling pin and press-in crusts can be invaluable for those new to pie-making. Barrow's obvious enthusiasm for her topic is evident throughout, and she cheers on beginners as well as those experienced in the kitchen, saying, "Make a pie, make a friend." --Cindy Pauldine, bookseller, the river's end bookstore, Oswego, N.Y.
Discover: Food writer Cathy Barrow brings her enthusiasm for all things pastry to Pie Squared.
Grand Central Life & Style,
hardcover, 336p., 9781538729144
Modern Baking: Cakes, Cookies, and Everything in Between
by Donna Hay
Australian celebrity chef Donna Hay's Modern Baking is beautiful as a coffee-table book while useful enough to be a home baker's go-to. There's a gorgeous photo for each of its 250 recipes: cakes, tarts, loafs, candy, ice cream and more. Each chapter is dedicated to a different flavor profile: Chocolate; Caramel, Toffee and Coffee; Sugar and Spice (like cinnamon and maple); Fruit and Berries; and Milk and Cream (like yogurt and ricotta). Within each chapter is a Fresh and Light section, using healthier ingredients like rapadura sugar and buckwheat flour, and a Quick Fix section of shortcut recipes made with store-bought bread or caramel. There's also a helpful glossary as well as suggestions on where to source items that might not be in a standard grocery aisle. The elegant images are inspiring rather than intimidating, and the recipes aren't overly complicated. The only trouble is deciding what to make first. --Katy Hershberger, freelance writer and bookseller
Discover: Celebrated chef Donna Hay offers a gorgeous and comprehensive go-to book of sweets.
hardcover, 400p., 9781460756713
Mead: The Libations, Legends, and Lore of History's Oldest Drink
by Fred Minnick
Cocktail writer and beverage expert Fred Minnick's book Mead is a comprehensive guide to the world's oldest alcohol. Mead, or honey wine, is a storied drink of history and literature, with appearances in Beowulf and Queen Elizabeth I's glass. Minnick explains the drink's variants and production in detail, down to the habits of the bees, and offers instructions and suggested materials to brew your own, as well as helpful tips from professionals. He explores how mead has been imbibed around the world and over millennia, from ancient Greece to present day Ethiopia, and includes cocktail recipes inspired by each culture, like the Viking Toddy. The book also suggests livening up drinks with mead infusions, mead bitters and mead foam. Informative, useful and clever, Mead is a perfect gift for the person who's already mastered mixology or homebrewing beer. --Katy Hershberger, freelance writer and bookseller
Discover: This definitive book of mead, the world's oldest drink, includes history, recipes and a guide to homebrewing.
hardcover, 272p., 9780762463589
Hardcore Carnivore: Cook Meat Like You Mean It
by Jess Pryles
Jess Pryles, cofounder of the Australasian Barbecue Alliance, showcases her expertise in Hardcore Carnivore: Cook Meat Like You Mean It. In section one, "Forequarter," she discusses different meat cuts and how properly to prepare them. Pryles notes that cooking the perfect piece of meat is dependent upon a number of factors: "If temperature has the most significant influence on meat, without a doubt salt is a close runner up." This leads into the second and larger part, "Hindquarter," which offers more than 50 recipes, along with many side dishes. Chicken, beef, pork, lamb and game are all represented, with recipes like Lamb and Barley Stew and Chile-Crusted Roast Beef. Sides like Smoked Garlic Potato Salad and condiments such as Sweet Rib Glaze round out the perfect carnivorous meal. Full-page color photographs of the clearly written recipes are featured throughout. This cookbook is perfect for meat lovers everywhere. --Cindy Pauldine, bookseller, the river's end bookstore, Oswego, N.Y.
Discover: Unabashed carnivores will devour Jess Pyles's Hard Core Carnivore: Cook Meat Like You Mean It to get expert tips and recipes for cooking all types of meat.
hardcover, 224p., 9781572842519
Tahini & Turmeric: 101 Middle Eastern Classics--Made Irresistibly Vegan
by Vicky Cohen, Ruth Fox
Food often elicits memories of delicious meals with loved ones. For sisters Vicky Cohen and Ruth Fox, bloggers at May I Have That Recipe?, growing up in a Jewish-Lebanese home in Barcelona meant gathering around an abundant table of Middle Eastern dishes. In Tahini & Turmeric, the sisters adapt the traditional cuisine of their childhood to satisfy modern dietary preferences while continuing to honor their vibrant culture. All recipes are vegan, and many can be easily made gluten-free.
Cohen and Fox go beyond the familiar ingredients of tahini and turmeric by providing a list of essential Middle Eastern pantry staples, as well as their favorite brands. They feature nourishing breakfasts and soups, plentiful salads and "kicked up" rice dishes, along with appetizers, condiments, breads, main dishes and desserts. Nearly all of the 101 recipes are accompanied by time-saving tips, beautiful full-color photographs and family stories celebrating the connection food holds in the sisters' lives. --Melissa Firman, writer and blogger at melissafirman.com
Discover: A collection of vegan Middle Eastern dishes and family memories, shared by Jewish-Lebanese sisters who grew up in Barcelona.
hardcover, 304p., 9780738220109
Israeli Soul: Easy, Essential, Delicious
by Steven Cook, Michael Solomonov
In Israeli Soul, the pair behind the restaurant Zahav (and cookbook of the same name) explore the classic dishes that form the soul of Israeli food. Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook offer recipes and step-by-step instructions for home cooks interested in preparing classic Israeli dishes, as well as commentary on the history of those dishes and variations on traditional recipes. Interjected throughout are stories and photographs of the pair's travels in Israel and highlights of their favorite food spots, making Israeli Soul as much a food history and travelogue as it is a cookbook.
"There's a common misconception that Israeli food equals Middle Eastern food," write Solomonov and Cook. But that "vast oversimplification" overlooks the complicated and complex story of Israeli food, a story that the duo tells amid recipes for falafel and hummus, pastries and schnitzel, kebabs and stuffed vegetables. With full-color photography, Israeli Soul is a celebration of the food of Israel--as well as the place and people from which it comes. --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm
Discover: Popular restaurateurs and cookbook authors Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook explore the history, techniques and recipes of traditional Israeli dishes.
hardcover, 384p., 9780544970373
The Curry Guy: Recreate over 100 of the Best Indian Restaurant Recipes at Home
by Dan Toombs
California native Dan Toombs didn't try Indian food until he was 22 and living in Great Britain. Once he did, he was hooked. With The Curry Guy: Recreate over 100 of the Best Indian Restaurant Recipes at Home, Toombs--a food blogger and curry devotee--brings recipes from curry houses to kitchens at home.
Toombs frames his recipes for speed and consistency, featuring popular restaurant dishes like Samosas, Chicken Tikka Masala, Lamb Vindaloo and Aloo Gobi. His extensive research reflects his respect for Indian cuisine and cooking methods, though he is quick to note that the recipes replicate dishes served in Indian restaurants in Britain, rather than in India, Pakistan or Bangladesh.
Still, Toombs includes flavors and methods inspired by each country. Many can easily be adapted to vegan or gluten-free diets, and colorful photographs spotlight the most vibrant dishes, altogether highlighting this beloved cuisine. --Katie Weed, freelance writer and reviewer
Discover: Bring the flavors of Indian restaurant classics home with these bold, satisfying recipes from the curry enthusiast and blogger "The Curry Guy."
hardcover, 160p., 9781787131439