I mentioned in my previous blog post that this was an ridiculously good year for cookbooks. I’ve fought tooth and nail to get my own cookbook, Marbled, Swirled, and Layered noticed by folks. And I’ve been thrilled with the press it’s gotten, especially with SO many cookbooks released this year that are just stunning. Here’s part 2 of my favorite cookbooks of 2016.
Far Afield by Shane Mitchell is one of those gorgeous cookbooks that functions as a beautiful photography coffee table book. With photos of cultures around the world, along with recipes that reflect those cultures, this is the book for anyone who suffers from wanderlust!
I love learning more about cultures, even if they are ones I’m familiar with and The British Table by Coleman Andrews is a welcome addition to my library. With historical stories and references to classic British dishes (full English Breakfast anyone?) this book would be an awesome gift for those Anglophiles that want to learn more about the history and food culture of England.
Though I adore traveling and learning about different foreign cultures through their food, I often forget that the United States is a big country with their own pockets of culture and food. Victuals, by Ronni Lundy is a perfect example, as a cookbook that focuses on the Appalachian traditions and rich food culture. This isn’t necessarily a collection of recipes (though they are included) but rather a book filled with stories, history and photographs of the Southern Appalachia region which spans Kentucky and Tennessee to West Virginia, North Carolina and northern Georgia.
Savor, by Ilona Oppenheim is one of those books that you want to live in. You can practically smell the earthy wood-laced fresh air as you flip through the pages of full bleed photos of mountains and hiking trails. The recipes focus on healthier grounded dishes that are easy and approachable. Part of me doesn’t want to bring it into the kitchen for fear I’ll ruin it, but part of me knows that the stains you create on the book just show how much you love the book.
It took me years to get to Sqirl, the hipster brunch place in Los Angeles that everyone raved about. When I finally went, to get their avocado toast (of course they have avocado toast, it’s a hipster brunch place!) I realized I had been missing out all this time. It lived up to the hype and their cookbook Everything I Want to Eat by Jessica Koslow does too. The recipes occasionally are occasionally ambitious but that’s what I love about it.
There was a glut of “nose-to-tail” butcher cookbooks a few years ago showing carnivores and omnivores how to use every single part of the animal. It was high time that vegetables got their due as well. The Vegetable Butcher, by Cara Mangini, is the perfect cookbook for vegetarians and omnivores alike who are looking to not only learn more about all sorts of vegetables as well as how to prep and chop them and various ways to use them. For everyone who loves vegetables or want to incorporate more vegetables in their lives, get this book!
If you are a bread baker and are looking for something a bit different than the usual bread baking book, Breaking Bread is for you. With plenty of instructional photos to show you how to fold or roll breads, this book shows you step-by-step ways on Israesli baking, including author Uri Scheft’s famous chocolate babka bread that has people lining up at his Breads bakery in New York. Definitely a worthy edition to any one who loves bread.
Erin Gleeson has released two other “Forest Feast” cookbooks, all based off her gorgeous blog but her new book, Forest Feast Gatherings, focuses on entertaining. Organized by menus, her vegetable focused dishes are both easy to make and vibrant in flavor and color. I know the next dinner party I throw will have me reaching for her book.
I have Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s earlier books and as gorgeous as it is, I have yet to make anything out of it. Yet his new book, Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking, is approachable with plenty of photos on how to make the dishes. The recipes are approachable, with ingredients that are fairly easy to find in grocery stores. I can’t wait to start making Japanese food at home with this book.
Appetites by Anthony Bourdain is probably one of the most hotly anticipated cookbooks of the season. I actually have Bourdain’s first cookbook, Les Halles and I love it and use it often. That cookbook is focused on French Bistro food and it’s full of swear words and Bourdain’s signature crusty personality. Appetite has a more global approach to food while still keeping the dishes everyday and weeknight friendly. And yes, it’s completely “on brand” for Bourdain and his personality, so expect to be offended, amused and entertained.
Mad Hungry Family is an easy and family friendly cookbook filled with tips and hints to help you out in the kitchen. As much as I love ambitious “weekend” project meals, I often need to dishes that I can pull together on a weeknight. This is the sort of everyday cooking that most folks can pull together, even if they aren’t hugely experienced in the kitchen.
I’ve mentioned before that I adore learning about different cultures and Taste of Persia by Naomi Duguid is another perfect example of cookbooks that trigger my wanderlust. Persia is one of those culinary destinations that is only just getting the respect and attention that it deserves, and this cookbook is the perfect introduction to it. Though you may need to mail order some spices once you look at the ingredient list, it will be well worth the effort once you dive right into the recipes and this book.
All Under Heaven is the most comprehensive book I’ve had on Chinese cuisine, covering 35 regional cuisines of China. It’s an impressive tome with recipes that work. Don’t expect lush gorgeous food photography (there’s barely illustrations included) but do expect a reference guide book on anything and everything related to Chinese food. This one is going on my permanent bookshelf!
Cookbooks by chefs are always a gamble. Sometimes they are inspirational with their amazing flavors and plating techniques. Other times they are aspirational, with recipes that look amazing but are so complex that no one would try them. But Naomi Pomeroy’s Taste & Technique is the rare chef cookbook that is designed to show home cooks how to improve their cooking using professional techniques in the home kitchen. Friendly and approachable, this cookbook is great for those folks comfortable in the kitchen but want tricks and tips to bring their skills to the next level.
I’ve always been curious about sous vide cooking so I was thrilled when Sous Vide at Home by Lisa Q. Fetterman arrived. Demystifying how to cook with this professional technique is tough, but with immersion circulators now available at a reasonable price, it was time for a sous vide cookbooks for the home cook and not just the professional chef. Sous Vide at home fills that gap perfectly, explaining what sous vide is along with how to incorporate it into your every day use in your home.
Cooking with Loula by Alexandra Stratou is my new go-to cookbook for Greek cooking. With traditional classic recipes such as Spanakopita, Pastistio and Baklava, as well as new contemporary dishes and ones that I am less familiar with, this beautiful photographed cookbook has easy and precise recipes that instill a sense of confidence when making food that folks may or may not be familiar with making at home.
What is there to say about Dorie’s Cookies that hasn’t already been said a million times? Dorie Greenspan, one of the sweetest kindest people and her vibrant new cookbook reflects that. It’s filled with old favorites and soon-to-be favorites for all your cookie needs. If you love baking cookies, this is the new must have cookbook.
There are also a few other awesome cookbooks that I’ve already blogged about that I did not include in this or my previous round up. These include Alternative Baker, Art of Pie, and The Gourmet Kitchen. I also absolutely love Small Victories by Julia Turshen and will blogging about the book soon! And, of course, there’s my own cookbook, Marbled, Swirled, and Layered. But I’m sure you’re tired of me talking about that book! Happy Holidays everyone!