Greatest cookbooks of all time

Table of Contents

50 MOMOFUKU David Chang
(Absolute Press, 2010)

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New York-based Chang’s Korean-based food makes him the one of hottest chefs in the world right now. Signature dish: chicharrón (fried pork rind)

(The Collected Works of Cooking Art, 1570)


“The Renaissance of Dante and Michelangelo translated into the kitchen,” says Bill Buford of this 1,000-recipe collection from Pope Pius V’s cook, translated in 2008.

(Mitchell Beazley, 2004)

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An inspirational guide to bread-making using wild yeast from the fashion photographer turned master baker. Not for bread-machine owners.

(Perigree, 1969)

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A “poet of the appetites” according to John Updike, and this is as literary a cookbook as you’ll find, with the added bonus of 140 recipes.

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46 CATALAN CUISINE Colman Andrews
(Headline, 1988)

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The founder editor of Saveur magazine’s homage to “Europe last great culinary secret” that has now become the standard reference for restaurant kitchens of the region

(Bantam, 1989)

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Classic reference work by Brit who has lived in Mexico since 1957. Often referred to as the Julia Child of that country’s cooking, and loved by Wahaca’s Thomasina Miers.

44 ACTION COOK BOOK Len Deighton
(Jonathan Cape, 1965)

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Classic cookery “strips” from the Observer, Deighton is still the person Rachel Cooke turns to for sauces. If your bearnaise is separating, he’s your man.

(Rider and Co, 1973)

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Authoritative authentic recipes from the greatest vegetarian nation. A book to lovingly splatter with turmeric-died dhal. His sazi pulau is particularly good.

42 HOW TO EAT Nigella Lawson
(Chatto & Windus, 1998)

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Her first book with its passionate descriptions of comfort eating was revolutionary at the time, selling 300,000. Ironically, given she became the ‘queen of food porn’, there are few pictures.

41 FRENCH COOKING IN 10 MINUTES Edouard de Pomiane
(Bruno Cassirer, 1948)

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Raymond Blanc says Pomaine is his “hero”, and it’s easy to see why from this short, delightful book that’s as much a work of philosophy. “For everyone who has only an hour for lunch or dinner and yet wants half an hour of peace,” says the author.

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40 PLENTY Yotam Ottolenghi
(Ebury, 2010)

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From pear crostini to scrambled smoky duck eggs on sourdough this meat-free collection of seductive recipes brings vegetarian eating bang up to date.

(Simon & Schuster, 1984)

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An entertaining, thorough examination of the science of cooking – not surprisingly Heston Blumenthal’s choice of book on Desert Island Discs.

(Barrie & Jenkins, 1988)

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The Independent writer who tragically died aged 32. Round wrote beautifully and passionately about British seasonal cookery and was feted by food lovers from Elizabeth David to Marco Pierre White.

(Penguin, 1972)

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The first book by the brilliant British diplomat and chronicler of all things food-related whose writing was discovered by Elizabeth David when he documented how to cook the fish he saw on the Tunis dockside.

36 PLATS DU JOUR Patience Gray and Primrose Boyd
(Penguin, 1957)

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Published when pasta still considered outlandish, with illustrations by the great David Gentleman. One of Jane Grigson’s favourites.

35 THE RIVER COTTAGE MEAT BOOK Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
(Hodder & Stoughton, 2004)

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Will restart your relationship with your local butcher – everything you need and should know about the slaughter, preparation and cooking of animals.

(Macmillan, 1978)

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A favourite of Simon Hopkinson – who raves about Guérard’s beef stew flavoured with orange peel. Out of print, but you’ll find secondhand copies online.

(Kodansha International, 1980)

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The fundamentals of Japanese food – including 16 pages on preparing sashimi – from a man who ran the country’s largest cookery school and owned one of the world’s largest private collections of Bach recordings.

32 THE GREENS COOKBOOK Deborah Madison and Edward Espe Brown
(Broadway, 1987)

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Revolutionised vegetarian cooking. Madison is a Californian graduate of Alice Waters’s Chez Panisse, a champion of local food and student of Zen Buddhism. Key dish: black bean chili.

31 THE COOK’S COMPANION Stephanie Alexander
(Viking, 1996)

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Passionate, meticulous 1,000-page encyclopaedia from Australia’s one-woman answer to Delia, Jamie and Hugh. Includes her famous take on Queen of Puddings.

30 PORK AND SONS Stéphane Reynaud
(Phaidon, 2007)

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A celebration of all things pig, rooted in Reynaud’s upbringing in the Ardeche. Starts with a slaughter – the author attended his first at the age of seven – which puts the cute illustrations in their proper context.

29 KEEP IT SIMPLE Alastair Little
(Conran Octopus, 1993)

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Accurately subtitled “a fresh look at classic cooking” the clear, concise recipes show why Little is still lovingly referenced as the godfather of modern British cooking.

28 MORO: THE COOKBOOK Sam and Sam Clark
(Ebury 2001)

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Classic Mediterranean cooking from husband and wife team behind award-winning east London restaurant. Full of useful touches, such as an index of suppliers.

27 LES SECRETS DE LA MèRE BRAZIER Roger Moreau, Roger Garnier, Jacott Brazier, Paul Bocuse
(Solar, 1977)

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Revered by Bill Buford, Eugenie Brazier was the first woman chef to win three Michelin stars and the first to win two sets of three. The most significant “mères” of French cooking.” Signature dish: gratinée Lyonnaise. Bill Buford

(Dorling Kindersley, 1984)

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Born in Guangdong province but raised in Hong Kong, before living in India and then London, the late Yan Kit-So was as much cultural historian as cook – she was involved in the oriental antiquities department of the British Museum. This was her first book, an award-winning run through the essentials of authentic Chinese cookery that still stands today.

(Garnet Publishing, 1996)

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Journalist Mendel is an American who has lived in southern Spain for more than 30 years, immersing herself in the country’s culture and cooking. This is an authoritative blend of both, with little asides – crema catalana is the Father’s Day dessert of choice, apparently – making it more than just a thorough compendium of recipes.

(John Wiley & Sons, 1983)

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Exhaustive, 5,000-recipe guide from the father of French food, whose translators, suitably enough, met while working at the Savoy itself, where Escoffier, head of restaurant services, invented the peach melba. Everything is here, from sauces to game, salads to jam, but it’s not for novices, and is as much reference book as cookbook.

(Bloomsbury, 1999)

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The book that took Henderson’s waste-nothing take on meat-eating worldwide. The philosophy is simple – “If you’re going to kill the animal it seems only polite to use the whole thing” – but has proved revolutionary, introducing a generation to rough but beautiful cuts they’d never previously considered, or might even have been a little scared of. Start with the roast bone marrow and parsley salad.

(Thomas Nelson, 1970)

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“A guiding light,” was how Nigel Slater described Costa in her obituary for the Guardian in 1999. She’d come to prominence by replacing Robert Carrier as the Sunday Times cookery writer, and although this was her only significant book, it’s hugely influential. Divided by ingredients – unusual back in 1970 – it proved a key introduction to the now commonplace notion of the absolute importance of sourcing.

21 MASTERING THE ART OF FRENCH COOKING Julia Child, Simone Beck & Louise Bertholle
(Knopf, 1961)

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Two volumes that revolutionised cooking in America, its influence extending into the digital age by inspiring the popular food blog that ultimately led to Oscar-nominated Meryl Streep vehicle Julie and Julia. Perhaps a bit dated – no one would recommend using tinned salmon these days – and not as straightforward as Child’s profile as the American Delia might suggest.

(Jonathan Cape, 1932)

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Founder of the English Folk Cookery Association, White was one of the earliest British journalists to write about food. This pioneering collection of more than 800 recipes, some dating as far back as the 14th century, is the finest expression of White’s passion for the nation’s cookery, which she believed was “the finest in the world”. A lost classic, it was finally republished by Persephone in 1999.

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(Doubleday, 1993)

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A labour of love and extensive research. Sumatran-born Owen, an authority on Indonesian food, visited a dozen rice growing countries while preparing the definitive volume on the versatile grain. Lovingly packaged, it’s a mix of history – rice is part of the creation myth in Java, apparently – and 200 recipes drawn from Afghanistan to Korea.

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(HarperCollins, 1973)

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Jaffrey remains synonymous with Indian food for anyone who grew up in the 70s and 80s, her first book curing a nation of ignoramuses of the notion that what they washed down with lager on a Friday night was the same as authentic cooking from the subcontinent.

(Artisan, 2008)

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A favourite of Bill Buford and Thomasina Miers. When he’s not head chef at Chez Panisse, Tanis lives in Paris, where he continues to cook, but the same way many of us do, for small groups of friends. These evenings provided the inspiration for the 24 menus here, but reveal something about the author too, taking in his travels to north Africa and the Pacific north-west of the United States.

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(Penguin, 1988)

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A short, rather slight-looking book that is a real boon when you find yourself unsure of what to do with fish or shellfish. The fish stew with saffron and cream, is recommended. Stein is also good on sauces and other accompaniments: hollandaise, buerre blanc, rouille, and flavoured butters. Rachel Cooke

15 JAMIE’S ITALY Jamie Oliver
(Michael Joseph, 2005)

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He may have expanded the nations palates, killed off the turkey twizzler and cried on TV a lot, yet Jamie Oliver’s first love was Italian food, and with this book it shows. Assembled from his time haring round the Italian regions it is packed with hearty, flavoursome dishes which are hard to mess up.

14 THE CONSTANCE SPRY COOKERY BOOK Rosemary Hume and Constance Spry
(Dent, 1956)

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Includes the original recipe for coronation chicken, invented for Elizabeth’s ascent to the throne in 1953 (original domestic goddess Spry also did the flowers in Westminster Abbey). Hume and Spry opened the Domestic Science School in Cranbourne in 1946: the former had more expertise in the kitchen, the latter more celebrity cachet and their book will still help you handle everything from breakfast to cocktail parties.

(Grub St, 2008)

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It’s all here, every quirky piece of orthodox French methodology, mixed in with preparations that are distinctly Robuchon: those buttery mashed potatoes, madeleines that are the best in France ; and a boeuf à la Provencal that, made with cheeks poked with lardons and cooked atop a half-pound of pork rind, may be the only the meaty stew that never dries out. Bill Buford

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(BBC, 2009)

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Such is the power of Delia that her How to Cook TV show is credited with raising sales of cranberries by 200% after they were featured in one recipe on the programme. That common touch is carried over into her books and few do the basics better than this supremely useful 350-recipe, step-by-step guide. If you need something to hold you by the hand, this is it.

(Random House, 1982)

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Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California was where Alice Waters, champion of all things local and organic, put her vision of seasonal, sustainable cooking into practice when it opened in 1971. The first of many books, this balances her ethos with 120 menus from the restaurant. An influential campaigner, Waters had long been pushing for an organic vegetable garden in the White House and got one in 2008, after writing to Michelle Obama.

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Illustration: Nicole Antonuccio

The best cookbooks share the vicarious, time-and-place-traveling qualities with our most beloved works of fiction. What other genre of literature stimulates pleasure centers in the brain that respond to satiation, and fires your imagination to consider its taste possibilities?

Cookbooks changed my life, not in the trite cliched sense, but actually: A children’s cookbook at age 8 inspired me to cook my own ramen (a big boy feat!), which took me down a rabbit hole of Japanese culture, which prompted trips to Japan as a teenager, which encouraged me to take two years of college Japanese. On the night I met my future wife, our conversation centered around spaghetti carbonara, specifically the recipe from Mario Batali’s Molto Italiano. The first domino to fall in those life-changing sequences were, indeed, nudged by a cookbook.


Selecting a beginning (2000) and end date (2017) based on the current century seems arbitrary and arbitrarily convenient. But here’s why we’ve set this parameter: There are the regarded classics of the genre, such as Julia Child’s Mastering The Art Of French Cooking and Irma S. Rombauer’s The Joy Of Cooking, that suck the oxygen from most best-cookbooks-of-all-time lists. I have never cooked from these books. I can appreciate how home cooks used books of that ilk and era, but we are spoiled with a wealth of contemporary cookbooks—with color photographs! And words like fattoush and hoisin!—that build and improve on the masterworks of yesteryear. (Also: 17 years is the length of my adult life so far, as I’ve learned to not trust any decisions or actions made before age 18.)

My interpretation of “best” takes into account practicality, value, readability, prose, and art—books filled with food you’d want to cook. Many would argue Modernist Cuisine’s 2,438-page magnum opus as the single greatest feat in culinary literature—and by definition, the best—but I also don’t know one non-chef who shelled out $625 for the six-volume set. That title didn’t make the cut.

This is a personal list. You can read what my esteemed colleagues say are their favorite cookbooks tomorrow. Here are mine.

15. Victuals by Ronni Lundy

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Few of the recipes within Victuals, from the Kentucky-born writer Ronni Lundy, would be considered glamorous by modern cookbook standards (”Mountain green beans & taters” involves green beans, salt pork, whole potatoes, salt, full stop). But this wondrous 2016 book (pronounced as the locals do: viddles) concerns itself less about the what, and more of the who, where, and why. Lundy, in the grand Southern stylings of a Eudora Welty or Flannery O’Connor, weaves a narrative of the Appalachian people—hit by circumstance and colored by stereotype—through the prism of the food they conjure. In Lundy’s enchanting and mellifluous prose, foodstuff like corn, sorghum, and lima beans aren’t treated as mere commodity, but living objects that breed prosperity, mold patois, and rouse creative thinking in meager times. Victuals is a breathtaking work of literature that sneaks up on you, casts a spell, and corrects your misconceptions; it’s a cookbook less about cook and more book.

14. Yucatán: Recipes From A Culinary Expedition by David Sterling

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Isolated from the rest of Mexico geographically and historically, the Yucatán is home to a fascinating gastronomic bricolage—recognizably Mexican, rooted in Maya ingredients, tinged with French, Portuguese, Lebanese, and Caribbean flavors. “The first thing I make clear to my students when they arrive at is that they are not in Mexico; they are in Yucatán,” the late chef and author David Sterling writes. “Our cuisine is Yucatecan, not Mexican.” Attempting to encapsulate the diversity of Yucatecan flavor would exceed the pixels on this screen (we can start with wood-smoked, habanero-blazed, achiote-dyed, and sour orange-spiked). Leave it to Sterling—the renowned graphic designer who moved to Mexico in 2003 and founded Los Dos culinary school in Merida—to present an exhaustively researched and engagingly written 560-page book that has become the definitive culinary account of the Yucatán Peninsula. But more impressive than its scholarship is the book’s visual aesthetic: Sterling, once a New York design firm executive, has produced perhaps the most lavishly photographed and gorgeously laid out coffee-table cookbook extant.

13. Pok Pok by Andy Ricker with J.J. Goode

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A white dude from Vermont who paints houses and spins records at parties decides to travel to Thailand and consumes copious amount of food. He returns Stateside, brain matter still warm from the explosion, and inspired to turn a shack in an undeveloped neighborhood of Portland into a Thai restaurant. That’s the origin story of one Andy Ricker, who grew that shack called Pok Pok into a bicoastal empire, and in doing so became America’s most visible Thai food evangelist.

I wavered back and forth between choosing Ricker’s 2013 cookbook or David Thompson’s mic-dropping Thai Food. Thompson—the Australian-born chef who headed the first Thai restaurant to attain a Michelin star—authored a 688-pager that’s encyclopedic in its gastronomic and cultural breadth. While Ricker’s book has comparatively fewer recipes, what won out was the staggering level of detail in each. His instructions for Laap Meuang, the Northern Thai minced pork salad, stretches over seven pages, involves three dozen ingredients, and requires one week to complete. Is it all unapproachable? Not in the least. His fried egg salad is a recipe that strikes the sweet-salty-sour-spicy equilibrium and takes 10 minutes from start to finish. Add in personal narratives about Ricker’s culinary journey, plus page after page of kaleidoscopically vibrant photography, and Pok Pok is a firecracker of a book that satiates Thai epicures and amateurs alike.


12. Flour Water Salt Yeast by Ken Forkish

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The last decade has been a renaissance for amateur bakers, many embarking on the noble pursuit for the one perfect loaf of bread. Why bread making? It’s both an art and a craft, employing four ingredients—flour, water, salt, yeast—with an infinite number of paths producing infinite possibilities. Perhaps the most seismic shift in home bread making came when Jim Lahey of New York’s Sullivan Street Bakery released his startlingly simple method for a boule that yielded Parisian bakery-quality results. That was the loaf that sent me down the rabbit hole: I purchased every book I could find on bread making and spent many weekends fist-deep in dough.

The most instructive and inspiring read came from Ken Forkish, whose Flour Water Salt Yeast better conveys the science and technique of bread making than any other author. Forkish, a former IBM employee in the Silicon Valley, brings his geekdom for details to baking (the optimum temperature of the resting dough should be between 77 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit, for example). Some say the best bakers are gifted with a touch, guided by intuition—Forkish proves that bread-making neophytes can achieve the same wondrous results through data, chemistry, and precise instructions.


11. Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

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There’s a psychic difference between a vegetarian dish vs. a vegetable dish. The -ian suffix implies a dish to/for those who adhere to a diet without meats. A vegetable dish feels more omnivorous, one where the emphasis is placed more on product than the receiving party. Yotam Ottolenghi’s monster hit Plenty is a vegetarian cookbook, but semantically is a vegetable cookbook. It presents the most persuasive case yet of reaching across the aisle to carnivores, convincing us that cooking without meat doesn’t have to be bland, dry, or unsatisfying. In fact, Plenty pretty much dispels the notion that vegetable cooking equals healthy food—the recipes here generously employ butter, are topped with eggs, cooked in coconut milk, deep-fried in tempura batter, or smothered with cheese (start with the cauliflower-smoked mozzarella frittata on page 96). For those of us who prefer meats with every meal, Plenty successfully argues there is another way, where the morality and health benefits of vegetarian cooking is secondary to its deliciousness potential.

10. Dinner: Changing The Game by Melissa Clark

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Most cookbooks strive for ease, where you can flip to a random page, assemble ingredients from the pantry, and sit down to dinner 45 minutes later. There is, however, a glut of titles in the all-purpose weeknight cookbook category, and it’s acknowledged there’s little wheat amongst a literary field of chaff. Enter Melissa Clark, cooking columnist at The New York Times, who’s become the culinary equivalent of Walter Cronkite: the most trusted name in America. In our kitchen, the pages of her newest book, Dinner: Changing The Game, has already been splattered with several years’ worth of sauce and oil—and the book was just published in March. It is, stated baldly, a terrific and terrifically practical book, with dishes that span global influences, unabashed about its bold spicing, with a one-baking-sheet ethos that advocates for both convenience and melding of pan juices (see her recipe on page 30 where she roasts a spatchcocked chicken with bunched grapes and sherry vinegar).

9. Ad Hoc At Home by Thomas Keller

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Thomas Keller is a very famous chef, and he cooks very delicious food at a very exclusive restaurant in the Napa Valley called The French Laundry, and it’s very, very expensive. (Dinner for two costs more than your monthly mortgage.) But in Ad Hoc At Home, named for his casual family-style restaurant in Yountville, California, Keller tosses aside his tweezers and immersion circulators and cooks the type of unfussy American dishes served on platters and passed around the table. The dishes here read like ideas from a Betty Crocker spiral-bound—beef stroganoff, split pea soup, meatballs with pappardelle—but it’s the apotheosis of those humble recipes, the superlative (but still simple) method as interpreted by a four-star chef. Many consider Thomas Keller our generation’s greatest chef, and in Ad Hoc At Home we find him at his funniest and most approachable. This book has changed the way I cook in several ways: I’ve never again purchased store-bought ranch dressing after learning the recipe (page 182, under buttermilk dressing), and his much-lauded buttermilk fried chicken is worth every second of the 14 hours required to pull it off. It’s the one book I turn to for summer dinner parties on our back porch.

8. Cooking Up A Storm, edited by Marcelle Bienvenu and Judy Walker

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When Hurricane Katrina barreled through New Orleans in 2005 and swept away homes and belongings, one of the sadder realizations of its aftermath was how generations of family recipes—handwritten in many cases—were forever lost to the storm. What the food section at The Times-Picayune newspaper did was yeoman’s work: It launched a column called “Exchange Alley,” an in-newsprint swap meet for New Orleanians to trade old and bygone recipes. This column was eventually anthologized in Cooking Up A Storm, and within you’ll find treasured recipes for gumbos, crawfish pies, and jambalaya, rescued literally from soggy index cards and newspaper clippings. This is a heroic historical record of one of America’s most important culinary cities.

7. Every Grain Of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop

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Fuchsia Dunlop’s Every Grain Of Rice is not intended to be a completist account of China’s vast and diverse gastronomy. What she did here is perhaps more commendable: Dunlop distilled essential dishes mostly from Southern China (Sichuan, Guangdong, Hunan—to be honest, the tastiest of the regional cuisines), retained the boldness and subtleties without compromising its Chineseness, and presented the recipes in an unintimidating manner. Dunlop—the first Westerner to graduate from the Sichuan Institute Of Higher Cuisine—has authored three in-depth cookbooks that dive into the cuisine of Chinese provinces, but in this, her entry to Chinese cooking 101, you may not find another guide that captures China’s culinary ethos more accurately. Such as: How the Chinese treat meat as a luxury rather than a commodity (two-thirds of the dishes in the book are vegetarian), that cutting ingredients is a crucial skill (nine shapes presented here), or that cooking is more uncomplicated than one might think (stir-fried garlic stems with bacon requires only 10 minutes, its two namesake ingredients, plus oil and salt). Rare is the cookbook that straddles scholarship and ease, and to convey it with clarity makes Dunlop the preeminent English-language authority on Chinese cooking, maybe ever.

6. Ratio by Michael Ruhlman

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The pedagogy of cookbooks is learning by emulation, which isn’t unlike learning a song by following sheet music note-by-note. There’s nothing wrong with this method—a million bedroom guitarists learned to play “Wonderwall” via tabs—but you can only grasp so much knowledge through mimicry. Cookbook author Michael Ruhlman argues that even with the ready-availability of thousands of recipes, “few of them help you to be a better cook in any substantial way. In fact, they may hurt you as a cook by keeping you chained to recipes.” Ratio, a slim but mighty anti-cookbook cookbook, is Ruhlman’s contribution for unshackling our reliance to recipes. The secret, he says, is understanding culinary ratios—a biscuit is 3 parts flour, 1 part fat, 2 parts liquid; pasta dough is 3 parts flour, 2 parts eggs etc. Knowing these formula—33 essential cakes, stocks, breads, and sauces included here—opens the home cook to infinite variations, ipso facto, creative freedom. A book will never replace a $20,000-a-year culinary school education, but Ratio is the rare, truly indispensable volume that places us in the mindset of a professional chef.

5. The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook 2001-2017

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Other authors on this list (see number 2) revel in the exploration of process. The folks at America’s Test Kitchen realize your time is precious, and ask that you trust they’ve done the grunt work—and you should. Inside a 2,500-square-foot kitchen outside Boston, the America’s Test Kitchen crew of 60 cooks fastidiously test recipes from dawn to dusk, not resting until hitting on what they deem the “best” version of any dish. Their findings have become a Saturday afternoon ritual for many on PBS, and every recipe from the TV show’s 17 seasons has been culled into a beast of a compendium: more than 1,150 recipes, concise and trustworthy. What makes ATK especially reliable is every dish here is prefaced by a “why this recipe works” explanation, which should dissuade you from the random whims of Googling for a dish again. If you’re seeking vogue trends and culinary sexiness, there are other cookbooks with deconstructed salads and twee hand-drawn letterings you could own. If practicality and usefulness are paramount, this cookbook renders all others redundant.

4. Molto Italiano by Mario Batali

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Mario Batali can write cookbooks until his Crocs turn blue and it’ll be hard to best this collection from 2005. For a tome of such breadth—327 recipes from 21 regions throughout Italy—Molto Italiano is refreshingly accessible to dive in and explore, especially for those with a limited, red-sauced view of Italian cooking. What would seem like a novel flavor combination for Americans, such as ricotta meatballs with pickles in milk (page 398) is easily cooked on a weeknight with readily available ingredients; or the Tuscan-style pappardelle with boar ragu (page 221), which has wowed many dinner parties through the years with minimal effort. There is no reason to buy any other Italian cookbooks after this one.

3. The Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers

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Alongside Alice Waters and Wolfgang Puck, no chef has carried the flag for California cuisine as proudly as Judy Rodgers, the late chef of San Francisco’s Zuni Cafe. With its tenets in seasonality, lightness in preparation, and melding of Asian and European flavors, California cuisine favors the gourmand with patience—be it six hours for a short rib braise or six months if you enjoy asparagus and it’s December.

Patience is a word that would also describe The Zuni Cafe Cookbook, which reportedly took Rodgers a decade to write. The book’s long gestation is apparent in the deliberate manner she presents a recipe: Rodgers doesn’t so much list instructions, but unpacks her reasoning behind every decision and method chosen to make a dish restaurant-worthy. Here is a book bursting with wisdom from every page. A sampling: “Finely mince the shallot using a razor-sharp knife; a dull knife will smash the shallot and release acrid flavors.” On skirt steak: “Ask for the ‘outside’ skirt—it will be plumper than the ‘inside’ cut.” On chicken stock, a suggestion to supplement a whole chicken “with chicken wings, which delivers bright flavors and viscosity. Don’t supplement with backs.”


Even if it only contained her influential manifesto on salting meats (Rodgers’ famed roast chicken is seasoned up to three days prior), The Zuni Cafe Cookbook would still be name-checked by countless working cooks as the one book they’d save from a burning kitchen.

2. The Food Lab by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

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A person driven by obsession will be led to madness or greatness, and Serious Eats recipe developer J. Kenji Lopez-Alt illustrates both traits in his Infinite Jestian masterwork. The reason The Food Lab necessitates 958 pages can be explained through Lopez-Alt’s culinary ethos: using science to achieve a dish’s delicious singularity. To do this, Lopez-Alt might test a recipe 100-plus times (his Southern fried chicken) or involve an industrial pallet of ingredients (his short rib chili uses no less than 30, including marmite and whiskey). Overthinking things? If attaining the ne plus ultra of tastiness is the goal, the author argues, these are necessary sacrifices.

Lopez-Alt does the heavy lifting for us. His book lovingly details process and embraces trial and error, and those who buy into Lopez-Alt’s deep-dive culinary science emerge as a better-informed and enlightened cook. To say The Food Lab is thorough is a comical understatement; it is the brain of a cooking obsessive downloaded into printed form, unapologetically and gloriously nerdy, and it’s an awe-inspiring—and crazy—achievement in the cookbook canon that likely won’t be duplicated.


1. The River Cottage Meat Book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

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Meat enthusiasts have existed for a long time, and many celebrate it today through the lens of machismo and gluttony. But British chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s advocacy of meat is more conscientious. When his The River Cottage Meat Book was published in 2004, it posed heretofore-exotic questions that have since become commonplace: “Where did our meat come from? What did it eat? How was it raised?” The first 200 pages of Fearnley-Whittingstall’s 544-page doorstop is a rousing manifesto that attempts to reconcile our addiction to meats, what he calls “the limits of a vegetarian utopia,” and the larger, uncomfortable, subjective question of morality. Which isn’t to say the book is didactic: The book’s tone is gentle and open-minded, even hopeful, in that we the consumers should settle for better—both for ourselves and the animals we consume.

All that said and we haven’t even touched on the second half of the book, an exhaustive guide to meat-cooking that goes beyond roasting and braising, and into adventures with cured meats and butchery. Throughout the book, Fearnley-Whittingstall—befitting a man with his surname—satisfies the Anglophiles among us with pork pies, beef in stout, and Lancashire hot pots. Don’t overlook his method of roasting chicken on page 244, which involves shellacking the bird with an entire stick of softened butter. Retire the trophy: It is, dare I say, the greatest way to roast a chicken.


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If you find yourself wondering, idly, whether the precise moment in which you live is one of cultural turmoil, turn your eye to two things: ladies’ hemlines and the cookbook section of your local bookstore. In 1926, the economist George Taylor postulated that women’s skirts get shorter as the economy strengthens and drop as the market declines. The observation has turned out, over time, to hold water—though researchers have found that it operates on a delay of about three years, which is apparently the amount of time it takes for trend-makers and the fashion élite to adjust their aesthetics, for manufacturers to cotton on, and for the average skirt-wearer to warm up to the idea that she needs a new skirt.

2019 in Review

New Yorker writers reflect
on the year’s best.

It’s also true that restaurant-going booms during boom times, while, in times of doubt, we retreat to the warmth and comfort of our own kitchens. As 2019’s class of cookbooks piled up on (and around, and beneath) my kitchen table in the course of the year, noticeably absent were the glossy, coffee-table travelogues and the grand, brick-like monographs of haute cuisine that for so many years were the gold standard of culinary literature. Right now, the book publishers seem to be saying, the hungry reader wants to be presented with history, memory, clarity, simplicity. Yes, please! Whittling down my favorites to a mere Top Ten was an insurmountable challenge—and there were still so many I didn’t get to, all of them floating in that literary quantum state of potential perfection. (No doubt my favorite book of all is among them, and I’m cursed never to know it.) If this is indeed a time of crisis, I suppose it’s a comfort that at least our kitchens—and, for those of us in skirts, our knees—will be warm. My list is organized alphabetically by author.

“Ruffage: A Practical Guide to Vegetables,” by Abra Berens

All vegetable cookbooks, as a rule, are wonderful, but too often they blur together into a sort of generic, Wendell Berry-and-dirt-under-the-nails quietude of awe: behold the first pale green of spring, lo the beauty of the humble parsnip, and so on. It’s the voice in “Ruffage” that makes it so marvellous—a sort of sharp, lusty fierceness that one doesn’t normally see applied to beets or celery. Berens writes intimately without being precious, a mode that reflects her recipes: approachable but stunningly lush, gently coaxing out walloping flavors from humble materials.

“South: Essential Recipes and New Explorations,” by Sean Brock

This far-reaching compendium decodes the culinary pillars of the entire American South, from the moss-swagged South Carolina Lowcountry to the rolling hills of the Appalachian Piedmont. Shrimp and grits, fried bologna, five types of corn bread—it’s all here. Brock, a celebrated chef, is one of the great practical historians of Southern cuisine, and here he focusses on the whys as much as the whats: we get to know not only his favorite heirloom beans and grains but the soil that feeds them and the people who grow them; we learn not just why it’s worth tracking down certain cultivars of tomato or regional varieties of country ham but the reasons (often tragic) that they’re now so hard to find.

“Amá: A Modern Tex-Mex Kitchen,” by Josef Centeno and Betty Hallock

Tex-Mex, as a cuisine, often gets slighted when it comes to serious culinary consideration, but, at Los Angeles’s celebrated restaurants Bar Amá and Amácita, the chef and restaurateur Centeno gives this essential American cuisine the spotlight it deserves. This book is less an accounting of the restaurant’s menu than a tale of Centeno’s coming of age within Tejano culture and learning to find pride in his family history. Stories and recipes from generations past (fiery steak fajitas; a gooey, chorizo-flecked queso asadero) share space with playful remixes of Texan and Tex-Mex classics, like lobster taquitos and carne guisada Frito pie—not to mention nearly an entire chapter dedicated to “Super Nacho Hour.”

“Zaitoun: Recipes from the Palestinian Kitchen,” by Yasmin Khan

Khan, a former human-rights campaigner, shifted her job description in 2016 with “The Saffron Tales,” a marvellous compendium of Persian cuisine. In her second volume, she turns her empathetic eye to the kitchens of Palestinians living in Israel and the occupied territories and also abroad. The result is a feast of spiced soups and stews, zingy greens and pulses, and rich sweets scented with rose water and honey. Khan pays particular attention to subtle regional differences, including the chili-and-garlic-filled cuisine of the Gaza Strip, which is rapidly disappearing behind a devastating blockade.

“Where Cooking Begins: Uncomplicated Recipes to Make You a Great Cook,” by Carla Lalli Music

Whether in a farmers’ market, a mobile Web interface, or a fluorescent-lit suburban grocery store, Music’s philosophy of food is that it all starts with the act of acquiring it mindfully: buy ingredients often and in small quantities. Her book, full of beautiful photographs and written with a breezy, conversational voice, uses an arsenal of herbaceous, acidic, high-impact recipes to introduce key techniques and ingredient formulas that can turn any shopping trip into a gorgeous meal. Each recipe includes copious twists, spins, and alternatives: an ideal tool kit to transform a timid cook into an adventurous and confident improviser.

“The Gaijin Cookbook: Japanese Recipes from a Chef, Father, Eater, and Lifelong Outsider,” by Ivan Orkin and Chris Ying

Orkin, a New York Jew who married a Japanese woman, has Japanese children, and spent years living in Japan, immersed in Japanese culture, has built a formidable career making some of the best ramen in the world. This is one of those rare cookbooks that’s both tremendously insightful and genuinely funny, exploring the various ways that identity, tradition, language, and love work together (or, sometimes, directly against one another) in the home kitchen of a blended family. From a starting point of simple, foundational recipes—rice, eggs, noodles, dashi—he guides the reader into slightly more involved Japanese, Japanese-American, and Japanese-American-Jewish dishes, including recipes ideal for drunken weekends, picky kids, or both.

“Tartine: A Classic Revisited,” by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson

When the original Tartine cookbook was published, in 2006, it was a near-instant classic: at last, the extraordinary breads, cakes, tarts, and pastries produced at the San Francisco bakery could be made anywhere, so long as a home cook had the equipment (and exacting, patient temperament) to make it happen. Thirteen years later, Tartine has grown from a single storefront to a California empire with multiple locations (plus a few in Seoul), and its industrial ovens are still the gold standard. This book lightly updates fifty-five of the earlier recipes and introduces sixty-eight more, their flavors updated for more modern palates and diets—it includes two dozen gluten-free options—all truly exceptional.

“Nothing Fancy: Unfussy Food for Having People Over,” by Alison Roman

There’s something so refreshing about a cookbook that straight-up rejects the idea that cooking always needs to be a special and precious act. Roman’s food is bright and worldly, without a hint of tweezer-y fuss. Her alluringly irreverent thesis, first laid out in her blockbuster début book, “Dining In,” and elaborated upon in this volume (which, despite its dinner-party focus, is full of straightforward recipes with clever twists that work beautifully for everyday meals), stays just this side of the line between empowering and impatient: just make the damn food. Trust the recipe. Have some fun.

“Joy of Cooking: 2019 Edition Fully Revised and Updated,” by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, Ethan Becker, John Becker, and Megan Scott

For the past ninety years or so, readers have been blessed with a new edition of “Joy of Cooking” roughly every decade. This version—the result of years of work by John Becker and Megan Scott, the newest generation to be added to the cookbook’s byline—brings the grande dame of the kitchen bookshelf definitively into the now. Becker and Scott retested and updated some four thousand classic “Joy” recipes and added six hundred or so new ones that reflect more current tastes and interests. There’s a whole section on fermenting now, not to mention vegan options, a sous-vide guide, and a dramatically broadened appreciation for international cuisines and ingredients. (For gift-giving, the printed version of “Joy” is a beautiful, massive object. But, for your own use, my advice is to invest in the digital edition: with so many recipes, and so much densely packed information, this is exactly the sort of scenario when an e-book—and its internal search function—is a cook’s best friend.)

“Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking,” by Toni Tipton-Martin

Ostensibly a companion to Tipton-Martin’s award-winning “The Jemima Code” (which I listed as one of my favorite food books of the past twenty years), “Jubilee” stands on its own as a wide-ranging, celebratory collection of recipes that trace the black culinary history of America. Rum-spiked fruit fritters, cinnamon-scented sweet-potato biscuits with salty country ham, a broccoli-and-cauliflower salad with a tangy curried dressing—each of the recipes in this extraordinary book has a provenance, whether it’s a classic restaurant, a modern celebrity chef, or the recorded techniques of an enslaved cook. Despite their deep roots, the recipes—even the oldest ones—feel fresh and modern, a testament to the essentiality of African-American gastronomy to all of American cuisine.

11 cookbooks that inspired us in 2019

The best cookbook is the one whose author seems to be speaking right to you as you stand in a bookstore, flipping through (or clicking around online) and looking for inspiration: Does it make you want to stop by a market on your way home and then pull on an apron as soon as you get there? Or maybe you’re already in your kitchen, cutting board out and not so sure just how a particular recipe might go, but you take comfort in instructions and tips that set you at ease.

Hundreds of cookbooks come through our office every year. Here are 11 of our favorites from 2019, each handpicked by a staff member.

Coloradito from Bricia Lopez and Javier Cabral’s “Oaxaca: Home Cooking from the Heart of Mexico.” (Book photos by Stacy Zarin Goldberg; recipe photos by Tom McCorkle; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky, all for The Washington Post)

“Oaxaca: Home Cooking from the Heart of Mexico”
By Bricia Lopez and the family behind L.A.’s Guelaguetza with Javier Cabral (Abrams, 320 pages, $40)

Before mezcal became the darling of craft-cocktail bartenders, before many Americans could even pronounce “Oaxaca,” let alone tell you a thing about its cuisine, there was the Lopez family, Mexican immigrants who trusted that Angelenos in the 1990s would find something to like about the food from their home state.

Twenty-five years ago, there was little evidence to suggest Los Angeles — preoccupied with Spago, Japanese sushi and French-California fusion — would embrace Oaxacan cooking. Few outside Oaxaca knew about the pleasures of tamales packed with chicken in black mole, chiles stuffed with picadillo or giant tlayuda tortillas topped with pork-rind paste, chorizo and fresh cheese. Fernando Lopez and Maria Monterrubio, the couple who uprooted their family just ahead of the Mexican peso crisis, would become evangelists for their state’s cooking. In 1994, they opened Guelaguetza in the Koreatown neighborhood.

On its silver anniversary, the family has released a gorgeous cookbook, concisely titled “Oaxaca,” which serves up recipes for beloved dishes and an in-depth history of the groundbreaking restaurant. Guided largely by Bricia Lopez (one of the siblings who now run the restaurant), writer Javier Cabral and photographer Quentin Bacon, “Oaxaca” tells the story of Guelaguetza’s rise, which parallels the rise of Oaxacan cuisine in America. It also lays out the conflicted feelings of the Lopez children, caught between America and Mexico, and their slow, sometimes reluctant embrace of the family business. The book even, movingly, pays tribute to the man who helped push Guelaguetza into the mainstream: the late critic Jonathan Gold.

“In my dad’s words, ‘Guelaguetza wouldn’t be what it is today if it wasn’t for that man,’ ” Lopez writes.

If the recipe for Coloradito mole is any indication, the family may struggle at times to explain how to prepare dishes they can make in their sleep. But still, with the Coloradito at least, you can intuit a step or two that may be missing and reach this sublime moment when you swirl a finger through the mole and luxuriate in its cocoa sweetness, its muted heat, its herbal fragrance and its grand sense of history that stretches back to the villages of Oaxaca. It’s then that you understand the Zapoteco term “guelaguetza,” which means “to give and receive.” The Lopez family has given us a gift, and it’s our duty to receive it with grace.

— Tim Carman

Make the recipe: Coloradito

Cod With Spinach, Tomatoes and Shallots from Molly Stevens’s “All About Dinner.”

“All About Dinner: Simple Meals, Expert Advice”
By Molly Stevens (W.W. Norton & Company, 400 pages, $34)

I think of Molly Stevens as the patron saint of my favorite method of cooking: Her 2004 “All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking” is one of the most spattered (i.e. loved and used) books on my shelves. Her new cookbook is more ecumenical in its techniques but still has everything I love about its predecessor. In an era where even cookbooks from reputable chefs are riddled with confusing or downright incorrect instructions, her recipes are crystal-clear, full of vivid visual cues and accounting for any variables a cook might encounter, whether it’s the freshness of a carrot or the heat of a pepper.

Stevens tucks little lessons into her recipes, often in the form of parentheticals: “(bacon cooks more evenly when you start it in a cold pan)” or “(This step, referred to as ‘blooming,’ will bring out more of the spice’s flavor.)”

And although her thorough approach and teacherly voice make her a friend to novices, even experienced cooks can pick up a trick or two. For me, her enthusiasm for sumac was contagious. Stand still in my kitchen long enough these days, and you might get sprinkled with it. And then there was a genius hack for taming often-unruly parchment paper, which alone was worth the book’s price. (Should I reveal it? Or maybe I’ll just let you find it out yourself — it’s on page 210!)

Her recipes might not be super-sexy, filled with quirky personality or ultra-bold flavors, but, like the good guy you eventually fall for after dating the dude in the traveling rock band, they’re dependable and trustworthy — and the kinds of dishes you won’t tire of.

Inspired by my love for her definitive braised cabbage recipe from her last book, I tried the Caesar-spiked roast savoy wedges, and they’ve quickly become a favorite. She has a way with veg: The roasted carrots with pistachios and sumac (yes!) were another winner, as was a pot of silky, slow-cooked peppers. I relearned how to make pouches to fill with fish filets, spinach, shallot and tomato, and marveled at the resulting dish’s simple elegance. I haven’t yet delved into the desserts, but I’m looking forward to spending some quality time over the holiday break trying them out (the Blueberry-Cream Cheese Tart with a walnut crust is dog-eared).

Even though I’m not the most confident baker, I’m feeling no anxiety. In fact, I’m so sure I’m in good hands that I might just boldly serve it to company without giving it my usual tryout. I know Stevens will coach me through it.

— Emily Heil

Make the recipe: Cod With Spinach, Tomatoes and Shallots

Sizzling Rice Crepes from Andrea Nguyen’s “Vietnamese Food Any Day.”

“Vietnamese Food Any Day: Simple Recipes for True, Fresh Flavors”
By Andrea Nguyen (Ten Speed Press, 240 pages, $25)

When you’re flipping through a new cookbook and hit on a page where the words and photos conspire to evoke a taste and memory, you know you’re on to something. For me, that happened on page 190 of “Vietnamese Food Any Day.”

The photo of the Sizzling Rice Crepe took me to the early 1990s. I was just out of college, and most of my dining involved ordering at a counter. But one fancy restaurant I got to frequent was La Truc, a Vietnamese place near the office where we took visitors to impress them and my bosses always picked up the bill. I was intimidated, though, because my cultural illiteracy was dramatically exposed as I read the menu.

In the middle of the menu was “Happy Pancake.” I didn’t really care what it was; it was easy to say in front of colleagues and strangers. It was a combination of pork, shrimp and mushrooms enveloped in a pancake that resembled an omelet. There was a dipping sauce that was so assertive I couldn’t decide whether I hated it or loved it, but I couldn’t stop eating it, so probably love? It was my go-to order.

Nguyen’s crepe perfectly matches that dish, technically banh xeo. She gives detailed instructions on how to make it — sometimes maybe too detailed — but after I tasted the dish, she had my complete trust, and I wanted to run the rest of the book through its paces.

Spicy Sweet Pomegranate Tofu and the Shaking Beef are both satisfying entrees easily pulled off on a weeknight, supporting the book’s title. Instructions for the delicious and delicate broths and soups — including a Smoked Turkey Pho — assume you have a pressure cooker. Alternate instructions produce a broth that’s just as good, though maybe optimistic for “any day.”

Nguyen’s previous books focused on demystifying her homeland’s cuisine and plotting a quest to re-create it here. This one updates that theme to acknowledge that a quest isn’t really necessary anymore; most of the ingredients that once required a trip to a specialty market are now available in well-stocked American supermarkets, even specific brands she prefers.

Even as I’m looking forward to trying more of the recipes, I’m mostly happy I can have that crepe whenever I want it now. Even though my boss isn’t picking up the bill.

— Jim Webster

Make the recipe: Sizzling Rice Crepes

Green Beans in Ginger Sauce from Fuchsia Dunlop’s “The Food of Sichuan.”

“The Food of Sichuan”
By Fuchsia Dunlop (W.W. Norton & Company, 495 pages, $40)

The best cookbooks make me feel as if the authors have taken me under their wing in the kitchen. That’s why I’ve added “The Food of Sichuan” by Fuchsia Dunlop to my home library even as I’m trying to do a Marie Kondo and winnow my collection. Every recipe in the British food scribe’s significantly expanded update of her well-received “Land of Plenty” comes across as a friendly consultation weaving useful background on a dish with helpful cooking tips, often in poetic fashion.

Here’s Dunlop, the first foreigner to attend the prestigious Sichuan Higher Institute of Cuisine in Chengdu, on how to best cook chicken for the cold dishes that launch a proper Sichuan feast: “The crux is to poach the bird at a bare simmer, so the surface of the water only quietly murmurs,” she shows instead of tells. “If it boils, the flesh will toughen.” Dunlop’s lush page-turner gives step-by-step (by step) instructions for classic hot pot and delves into mapo tofu, named for “old mother Chen,” the smallpox-scarred, late-19th-century wife of a restaurateur. (“Ma” refers to pock marks, “po” to an old woman.)

You don’t need to love heat to enjoy the book, but it helps. Although Sichuan is famous for its liberal use of firecrackers in the kitchen, Dunlop says the primary takeaway is the “audacious” combination of flavors. The region’s culinary canon includes sweet and sour “lychee flavor” and “fish-fragrant flavor” — salty, sweet, sour and spicy notes thought to evoke the taste of fish.

If you’re new to the cuisine of southwest China, you’ll probably need to expand your larder. But then, Sichuan pepper, Chinkiang vinegar and chile bean paste are such seductive flavor bumps, one encounter begets another, and another. You may never attempt, say, tea-smoked duck, one of the more challenging dishes in the cookbook, but it’s laudable of Dunlop to break down the instructions for curing and cooking (over cypress clippings, she advises).

Many more of the recipes — stir-fried celery with ground pork, dry-fried chicken with peppers — are the sort you’re apt to find yourself making over and over. My current attraction is one of the easiest: green beans in ginger sauce, an example of a cold dish meant to “open the stomach” at the start of a Sichuan feast. In the 15 minutes or so it takes to chop and cook, I’ve got a delicate and delicious appetizer that underscores the old saying shared by Dunlop: “China is the place for food, but Sichuan is the place for flavor.”

— Tom Sietsema

Make the recipe: Green Beans in Ginger Sauce

Gulab Jamun Cake from Hetal Vasavada’s “Milk & Cardamom.”

“Milk & Cardamom: Spectacular Cakes, Custards and More, Inspired by the Flavors of India”
By Hetal Vasavada (Page Street Publishing, 176 pages, $22)

I’m an avid baker, which means any dessert cookbook that crosses our desks is apt to catch my eye. “Milk & Cardamom” captured my attention more than most.

Indian is far and away my favorite cuisine to eat and cook, and the desserts of the vast nation are criminally underappreciated in America. Sure, you can pick up a croissant in just about any bakery or grocery store. Gulab jamun? Kulfi? Hardly.

Hetal Vasavada, the founder of a blog that shares the name of her book, summarizes her approach as “not quite 100% American and not fully Indian.” She is upfront about her recipes not being “totally authentic,” surely an acknowledgment of the balance Vasavada has had to maintain as a first-generation American.

That cultural mash-up is what makes paging through her recipes such a delight. Her more traditional offerings include seero (semolina pudding), besan burfi (chickpea flour fudge) and a classic masala chai, the ubiquitous spiced tea. If fusion is more your thing, you’ll be tempted by mango lassi macarons, pomegranate curd brownies and jaggery puffed rice crispies.

I was immediately drawn to the gulab jamun cake, a cardamom-scented Bundt. Like the much fussier fried dough balls, the cake is soaked in a fragrant syrup that includes rosewater, cardamom and saffron. We gobbled up the cake, which alone was worth the price of admission, and if anything, a few days on the counter only improved the flavor and puddinglike texture.

The recipes are generally short and easy to follow, if not always precise. I followed a recipe for rice pudding (kheer) to the letter, and at the point the dessert was supposed to be done, I had a soupy dish with basically raw rice. Nothing a little more time on the stove top couldn’t fix, but mine never ended up as cohesive and thick as what was shown in the photo. It did taste great, especially when served with Vasavada’s honey-and-balsamic roasted grapes.

Even if you don’t make a single recipe, you’ll learn about desserts you’ve probably never heard of or tried. You may end up inspired to incorporate such featured ingredients as jaggery, cardamom and fennel seeds into your own recipes. Such is the power of Vasavada’s charming (exclamation-point-heavy) enthusiasm for the food of her family’s homeland and their adopted land. In a word: sweet.

— Becky Krystal

Make the recipe: Gulab Jamun Cake

Za’atar Rubbed Pitas from Sabrina Ghayour’s “Bazaar: Vibrant Vegetarian Recipes.”

“Bazaar: Vibrant Vegetarian Recipes”
By Sabrina Ghayour (Mitchell Beazley, 238 pages, $35)

This story starts with dietary restrictions and a dinner party. The dinner party? My first upon moving back to the D.C. area earlier this year. The diets? Many, but the most common was a disinclination to eat meat.

I don’t eat much meat anyway, but I wanted to come up with a menu that was special, celebratory and cohesive. Enter “Bazaar,” a collection of Middle Eastern and Persian recipes focused on all things veggie, in brightly spiced ways, by Iranian British author Sabrina Ghayour. Perhaps unintentionally, all the recipes seem ordained to be shared. Vividly colored rices make sparkling beds for spiced and roasted vegetables. Salads glimmer with fruit and olive oil. Nothing is terribly difficult, few ingredients are hard to come by and most recipes can be easily tweaked for whatever you have on hand.

For a book written by someone who describes herself in the introduction as “Least Likely to Become Vegetarian,” it has a remarkable salad section. None of my dinner party guests were salad people, but all were in awe of Ghayour’s Blood Orange, Pecan & Cannellini Salad With Sauteed Fennel, a dazzling mix of ingredients with a warm, cinnamon-spiced red wine vinegar dressing that I kept on hand for weeks after the party.

Another star is the Za’atar-Rubbed Pitas, the easiest, fluffiest and tastiest pitas I’ve ever made. You don’t need to make your own za’atar, though Ghayour provides a formula. They’re a dead ringer in flavor and texture for the beloved pita served at Cafe Mogador in New York City. The dough is forgiving, and you can make them well in advance of any event — or in anticipation of cravings — and reheat them whenever you need them.

More important than the recipes themselves is how I’m so inspired by the flavors Ghayour describes, I can’t stop thinking about how to use them to make other recipes as vibrant as hers.

This is, more than anything, a light and breezy party book, whether the party is just you or a room full of people.

— Kari Sonde

Make the recipe: Za’atar Rubbed Pitas

Roasted Turnips, Apple, Rosemary and Chicken Thighs from Abra Berens’s by “Ruffage: A Practical Guide to Vegetables.”

“Ruffage: A Practical Guide to Vegetables”
By Abra Berens (Chronicle Books, 464 pages, $35)

I’ve been collecting a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share from a Prince George’s County farm for three years. It’s a wonderful luxury, and it means that I’m well supplied with fresh, seasonal vegetables nearly year-round. It also means that I sometimes need to figure out what the heck to do with a pile of kohlrabi or scary black radishes. “Ruffage” arrived just in time for me.

Veggie by veggie, chef and former farmer Abra Berens explains how to buy, store and use everything from ramps to rutabaga, and then she provides a couple of base recipes for each using distinct preparations. Each recipe comes with multiple variations that employ the same cooking technique while incorporating wildly different flavors. And each vegetable is introduced with a vignette from Berens’s time on the farm, a touching memory from her childhood, or a friendly reminder that there’s nothing quite like chomping on a raw stalk of just-harvested asparagus to ring in spring. When particular seasonal vegetables arrive, she writes, “it feels as if I’m visiting with old friends who are in town for a long weekend.”

For occasionally obsessive organizers, like yours truly, Berens proposes a basic pantry of oils, herbs, spices, grains and homemade condiments that will round out several of her recipes or simply provide a pop of flavor in a thrown-together weeknight meal. (Lemon Parmesan butter, anyone?) As for her nod to personalized recipe jargon: I am officially a “glug” convert when it comes to measuring oil.

The recipes are simple, designed to let the flavors and textures of the vegetables shine. Six-ingredient poached radishes gave me a gorgeous jumble of bright, crisp-yet-tender, mellow goodness with a sauce so lovely I had to slurp it from the plate. In another recipe, humble turnips take a front seat in a roasted fall medley with apple, potato and rosemary. It’s a range of textures and flavors — funky, tangy and sweet all at once in a jumble of comfort.

And that kohlrabi, the alien-like bulb that Berens says epitomizes the perks of CSA membership? I can turn to an ultra-cheesy gratin and a salad with kale, delicata squash and an exceptional, citrusy brown butter vinaigrette the next time my farmer tosses a few into my share, knowing that Berens has my back.

— Matt Brooks

Make the recipe: Roasted Turnips, Apples and Rosemary With Chicken Thighs and Greens

Pecan-Rosemary Butter from Amy Chaplin’s “Whole Food Cooking Every Day.”

“Whole Food Cooking Every Day: Transform the Way You Eat with 250 Vegetarian Recipes Free of Gluten, Dairy, and Refined Sugar”
By Amy Chaplin (Artisan, 400 pages, $40)

I want to cook like Amy Chaplin.

I eat like her already: I’m vegetarian, and I try to avoid processed foods. But before I got her latest book, I was in a rut, testing interesting new recipes for work but slacking off too much at home. I used to make my own nut butter, I’d tell myself. What happened?

“Whole Food Cooking Every Day” has reinvigorated me.

This is no diet book. Chaplin is an Australia-born chef whose mission is to make healthy cooking delicious and easy — by providing such captivating base recipes you’ll want to try all her seasonal variations, and maybe some of your own. Mission accomplished.

I made her simple and lovely Almond-Coconut Milk a few times, then started blending in a few dates for a touch of sweetness. I’m a fan of dense German-style breads, thinly sliced, at breakfast, but why not bake her similar Fruit and Nut Bread (using buckwheat and millet) instead? Every summer, I help my sister and brother-in-law put up sauerkraut from their homegrown cabbage on their Maine homestead. Chaplin has me applying the same technique to grated carrots, spiking them with fresh turmeric and ginger, salting and squeezing them until there’s enough liquid to cover them in a packed jar. After two weeks, they are tangy and bright through the magic of fermentation, and I’m dreaming of the next round, with fennel and cabbage.

One of my failed resolutions every year is to cut down on my sugar intake, and Chaplin’s book is getting me closer. She relies on maple syrup, honey and other less-refined sweeteners, and even then, she doesn’t use much. There’s just ½ cup maple syrup in her wonderfully satisfying Cacao-Pear Hazelnut Cake.

Thanks to Chaplin, I’m regularly making my own nut butter again, and it’s the best I’ve ever had, because, as she explains, nothing beats the flavor when you start with freshly toasted nuts. The one I’m stuck on is Pecan-Rosemary Butter, a little savory thanks to the herb and a little sweet thanks to my off-script addition of a touch of maple syrup. (When it comes to taming my sweet tooth, baby steps.) The stuff is so creamy and good that my husband asked me to slow down because he is eating so much of it. Not a chance.

— Joe Yonan

Make the recipe: Pecan-Rosemary Butter

Roasted Radishes With Green Goddess Butter from Alison Roman’s “Nothing Fancy.”

“Nothing Fancy”
By Alison Roman (Clarkson Potter, 320 pages, $32.50)

There’s nothing that riles me up quite like someone telling me to relax. But in Alison Roman’s sophomore cookbook, “Nothing Fancy,” she does so with abandon — and I listen.

When she implores me not to sweat the presentation of a cheese plate, my shoulders loosen up. When she suggests I go ahead and serve batched martinis out of a Chemex coffee pot, I let out a yoga-esque exhale. And when she tells me that really, it’s okay that the main event is two hours behind schedule, my tension headache dissipates.

Roman would like you to have people over for dinner, and she’d prefer you not make it such a thing. Go ahead and toss out the canapés with the rest of your preconceived notions of entertaining and make room for the anchovy-, lemon- and butter-rich recipes that have become signature to her cooking aesthetic.

Roman, a New York Times and Bon Appétit columnist and the author of the 2017 hit “Dining In,” could offer a master’s program in Approachable Recipe. The beauty of her recipes, in execution and presentation, is how they effortlessly straddle the low-brow-high-brow line. Does the Baked Potato Bar call for (optional) trout or salmon roe? Yes. Do Ritz crackers make an appearance in the Sweet and Salty Cream Cheese Tart? They sure do. And sandwiched in between apps and desserts are showstopping entrees that transform a handful of humble ingredients into bona fide Instagram bait.

“Nothing Fancy” is a cookbook. You will get your snacks, your salads, sides, mains and after-dinner treats, with pairing suggestions sprinkled throughout. But I prefer to treat it as a manual not just for dinner, but for life, and read it cover to cover. It is deeply funny (“Is creamy goat cheese ‘cool?’ No, but I can’t be bothered to care.”) as it dismantles the rather dated expectations of performative entertaining. Despite the myriad social incentives for putting on a show, Roman’s there, encouraging me to just drink white wine with red meat if that’s what I’m into, giving me permission to order pizzas when it doesn’t work out and reminding me why I’m here in the first place: to relax and have a good time.

— Tanya Sichynsky

Make the recipe: Roasted Radishes With Green Goddess Butter

Pork Pie from Ella Risbridger’s “Midnight Chicken.”

“Midnight Chicken (& Other Recipes Worth Living For)”
By Ella Risbridger (Bloomsbury, 288 pages, $30)

Cooking cannot cure a mental or emotional disorder, and I am no fan of cookbooks rooted in magical thinking that spending time in a kitchen can change your already-stuffed-full life.

But reasonably lengthy and simple cooking projects can provide specific, achievable, short-term goals that provide a sense of accomplishment. The joy of making something — anything — is a research-backed way to alleviate some depression symptoms. For me, it’s about having a sense of control over something — anything — when everything else feels out of control.

Poet Ella Risbridger structured the recipes and stories in “Midnight Chicken” around her struggle with her mental health, and how cooking helped her want to live again. Final dishes are portrayed in small watercolor paintings rather than the stylized food-porn photographs we’ve all come to expect in the age of Instagram. It provides the context that so many cookbooks are missing: why her recipes are important and the benefits that cooking provides that have little to do with food.

Project cooking can provide connection with others, as Risbridger’s stories show. My 11-year-old son’s interests are appropriately different from mine and, as is the way of parents everywhere, I’ve learned about things that don’t intrinsically interest me (Fortnite, Magic: The Gathering) to connect with him.

So when two years ago, he discovered “Danny the Champion of the World” (a lesser-known novel by Roald Dahl), I was thrilled. It was his favorite book when he was 9; mine too, at that age. Dahl is my favorite food writer, even beyond descriptions of chocolate rivers. In “Danny the Champion of the World,” Dahl’s narration transforms a cold meat pie into something I never quite stopped thinking about once I read it; my son, somewhat miraculously, felt the same. He asked, “Could you make me a pie like Danny’s?”

Fortunately, Risbridger, too, is a fan, and includes a recipe for her version of Danny the Champion of the World Pie. It’s a project, but it takes no special skills. I made it for my son, and we ate it, cold, with our hands, just as Danny did. And it was marvelous.

— Mary Beth Albright

Make the recipe: Pork Pie

Chicken Shawarma from Adeena Sussman’s “Sababa.”

“Sababa: Fresh, Sunny Flavors From My Israeli Kitchen”
By Adeena Sussman (Avery, 368 pages, $35)

Author Adeena Sussman — she of the Chrissy Teigen “Cravings” fame, among many other cookbooks — moved to Israel for love a few years ago. Along the way, Sussman also fell for the flavors of her adopted new home. “Sababa,” Hebrew slang for “everything is great,” is dedicated to her husband, and it is Sussman’s love letter to the many tastes of the shuk (in her case, Tel Aviv’s HaCarmel): tahini, za’atar, pomegranate, lemon, dates and more.

Make the cardamom-kissed schug and put it on a variety of dishes, including eggs and sandwiches; the turmeric-flavored gravlax will stop you in your tracks with its stunning look and incredible flavor. Want an Israeli spin on chilaquiles, with pita? Sussman has you covered. Thinking of a perfect snack to get the party started? Pecan-lime muhammara. Corn season is over where I live, but I’ll be making her Israeli street corn next summer. However, cabbage season is upon us, and Sussman’s melted cabbage has been going round the interwebs. I already extolled the virtues of her Salted Caramel Chocolate Tahini Tart (a.k.a. the Gal Gadot of tarts), but I am equally smitten with the Chicken Shawarma. For years, I’ve been trying to re-create this popular street food at home, and armed with this recipe, I’ve finally attained shawarma nirvana.

The vegetable-forward book is bright and inviting, and the flavors are bold, invigorating and irresistible. Of the recipes I made (and I’ve made many), all worked as written, which is no small feat — a well-tested cookbook is worth its weight in gold. (Full disclosure: I was one of the book’s many testers.) My one quibble is the paltry index, which lacks recipe names, such as the muhammara, but we can always hope for a more comprehensive one in the reprint. Until then, you’ll want to keep plenty of Post-it Notes handy, because these are recipes you’ll want to make over and over.

— Olga Massov

Make the recipe: Chicken Shawarma

More from Voraciously:

Take the sweetest trip around the country with these 14 American regional cookie recipes

‘We can create our own identities’: A new cookbook celebrates the breadth of African American foodways

How to make a thrifty, fast and tasty one-pot pasta any day of the week


I know I say this every year, but so many good cookbooks were published this year. There, I said it.

This year, as in the past, there were dozens and dozens of books about using Instant Pots, what to eat on special diets and how to cook dinner in less than 20 minutes.

But what I look for in a cookbook is motivation to try new ideas — a book that makes me hungry, makes me want to drop everything, get into the kitchen and start cooking.

This year I also focused on learning new skills and getting acquainted with cuisines I know far too little about. Learning about a new cuisine, and cooking the flavors and traditions from that country, is a wonderful way to make the world feel a little smaller, more unified and a bit less divisive. So here’s to 2020 and bringing new, delicious flavors into your kitchen.

Here are a few must-try recipes from Gunst’s favorite cookbooks of the year.

The New American Classic

“Jubilee: Recipes From Two Centuries Of African American Cooking,” by Toni Tipton-Martin

This book is a long time in the making. Tipton-Martin, a gifted writer and recipe developer, writes in her introduction, “As I knelt on the cool hardwood floor in my home office, surrounded by books that span nearly 200 years of black cooking, I realized my ancestors had left us a very special gift: a gift of freedom, culinary freedom…I had spent a near fortune in musty secondhand and antique bookstores, tracing the elusive history of talented, professional black cooks whose legacies have been overshadowed throughout history by the famous caricatures. You know their names — Aunt Jemima, Mammy, Uncle So-and-So — while the names of the women and men who have created so much of American cuisine have been obscured or lost.”

Tipton-Martin set out to bring some light to those voices in “Jubilee,” published by Clarkson Potter. Working from historical recipes, she introduces (and reintroduces) us to some classics of the African American culinary repertoire. The storytelling is every bit as good as the recipes. I spent hours reading this important book. The sweet potato biscuits with ham, the mashed turnips and carrots with rum, creole fried chicken, ginger punch, cornbread and lemon tea cake are all sure to become instant favorites. Historical recipes sit side by side with their modern counterparts. For instance, the original recipe for macaroni croquettes, cheese sauce from Mrs. W.T. Hayes’ 1912 “The Kentucky Cookbook” sits next to a luscious modern version that uses condensed milk, cheddar and jack cheese and plenty of eggs. I didn’t think there was such a thing as a new way to make mac and cheese, but this one is so creamy and cheesy, it may become my new go-to.

In a recent interview, Tipton-Martin said: “We know about soul food and middle-class cooking. But we’re still learning about what African American foodways mean in a broader context. We weren’t a group of voluntary immigrants that could proudly demonstrate our foodways to other people on our own terms.”

Click here for a recipe from “Jubilee.”

An Updated American Classic

“Joy of Cooking: 2019 Edition,” by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, Ethan Becker, John Becker, and Megan Scott

Many of us grew up with “Joy of Cooking,” first published in 1931. So do we really need a new, revised, updated version of the original? I wasn’t sure until I took a close look at the new volume, published by Scribner.

With 600 new recipes and more than 4000 revised favorites, this is a thick book that belongs in every kitchen. You know it’s almost 2020 when you see recipes for kale salad and kimchi mac and cheese alongside classics like fish chowder, chocolate cake and ice cream pie. It’s a thick 1,156 pages filled with answers to many kitchen questions. And it’s a great gift for someone starting out in a new kitchen or wanting to dive into the world of food.

What Should I Cook For Dinner Tonight?

“Canal House: Cook Something: Recipes to Rely On,” by Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton

Warning: Do not read this book when you’re really hungry. Published by Voracious, “Canal House” is a feast of ideas, recipes, tutorials, advice and gorgeous photography that will make you run to the store and start cooking everything in sight. As the authors write in the introduction “This is a book all about home cooking…Everyone needs a small cache of classic recipes: everyday recipes, weekend meals…some special dishes for those big deal dinners…”

And Hamilton and Hirsheimer take you by the hand, lead you into the kitchen and say “Look, what about this dish? It’s simple. You can do this!” There are so many recipes I want to try: chicken and prosciutto with anchovy butter, meatballs with mint and parsley and their amazing looking pecan pie. In addition to recipes, you’ll also find charts and tips — everything from a guide to salad greens, 13 ways to cook with chicken and how to make a tender, flaky pastry dough. It’s part recipe book, part cooking class, part inspiration. The photography by Hirsheimer is stunning.

Click here for two recipes from “Cook Something: Recipes to Rely On.”

“From The Oven to the Table,” by Diana Henry

This book is a gem. This prized British food writer and columnist takes the most basic ingredients and spins them into something magical in “From The Oven to the Table,” published by Mitchell Beazley. Chicken with feta cheese, dill, lemon and harissa yogurt sounds like a mouth full, but — like so many recipes in this book — it’s actually straightforward and not time-consuming. Big flavors. Not a lot of work.

Henry begins with this lovely image that explains the philosophy behind the book: “Closing the oven door and swinging a tea towel over my shoulder is one of the most satisfying movements I make in the kitchen. I love the alchemy that takes place behind that door. It’s astonishing how heat, on its own — without you directing it or supervising it very much — can turn simple ingredients into a meal.”

“All About Dinner: Simple Meals, Expert Advice,” by Molly Stevens

Molly Stevens is a gifted cooking teacher. Trust me, I’ve seen her in action. Her newest book, from publisher W.W. Norton & Co., is another great book to turn to if you’re looking to light a culinary fire in your kitchen. Stevens says that this book is her answer to the question so many students ask: “Why do you cook at home?” I plan on trying the roast pork loin with maple miso glaze, Brussels sprouts hash with shallots and mustard seeds and the triple ginger apple crisp this winter.

Teach Me Something New

“Lavash: The Bread That Launched 1,000 Meals, Plus Salads, Stews and Other Recipes,” from Armenia by Kate Leahy, John Lee and Ara Zada

You’ve tasted Turkish food. You’ve eaten your share of Mediterranean flavors. But Armenian food? I dug into “Lavash,” published by Chronicle Books, with a deep curiosity about this traditional bread and cuisine. I wasn’t disappointed.

Part cookbook, part travel book, you’ll learn about the breads of Armenia — fabulous flatbreads stuffed with green herbs and pomegranate molasses, griddled breads like lavash, and Lahmajo, an Armenian pizza topped with tomatoes, garlic and ground lamb. I’m looking forward to trying tatar boraki, a dish of tender egg noodles with yogurt and the many fabulous looking recipes for stuffed vegetables. Gata (coffee cake with walnuts) is also on my list of must-tries. The photography makes you want to visit Armenia and learn and taste even more.

Click here for a recipe from “Lavash.”

“Vietnamese Food Any Day: Simple Recipes for True, Fresh Flavors,” by Andrea Nguyen

Andrea Nguyen writes cookbooks that translate the traditions, flavors, and techniques of Vietnam. She has become a kind of culinary ambassador, bridging the culinary gap between Vietnam and your kitchen with “Vietnamese Food Any Day,” published by Ten Speed Press. She makes this bright, endlessly-interesting cuisine approachable for American cooks.

This latest volume focuses on simpler Vietnamese stews, stir-fries, snacks, eggs, tofu and noodle dishes. I’m anxious to try the gingery green and shrimp soup, banh mi sandwich and Vietnamese empanadas with ground pork and shrimp. If you’re intimidated by cooking Vietnamese food at home, or simply want to explore a new cuisine this year, this book is for you.

“Sababa: Fresh, Sunny Flavors From My Israeli Kitchen,” by Adeena Sussman

Israeli food has so much more to offer than hummus and falafel. Dig through this delicious collection of recipes, published by Avery, and your winter kitchen will feel brighter with oven-roasted artichokes and garlic, za’atar roasted chicken over sumac potatoes and fig and yogurt pops with tahini magic shell.

Other Favorites:

  • “Ama: A Modern Tex-Mex Kitchen,” by Josef Centeno & Betty Hallock
  • “Oaxaca: Home Cooking from the Heart of Mexico,” by Bricia Lopez and the family behind Los Angeles’ Guelaguetza with Javier Cabral
  • “The Food of Sichuan,” (2019 Revised Edition) by Fuchsia Dunlop
  • “American Sfoglino: A Master Class in Handmade Pasta,” by Evan Funke with Katie Parla
  • “Pasta Grannies: The Official Cookbook: The Secrets of Italy’s Best Home Cooks,” by Vicky Bennison
  • “POK POK Noodles: Recipes from Thailand and Beyond,” by Andy Ricker

I Want To Eat More Vegetables

There are many great vegetarian and vegetable-forward cookbooks out this year. Here are two favorites:

  • “The Modern Cook’s Year: More than 250 Vibrant Vegetarian Recipes To See You Through The Seasons,” by Anna Jones
  • “Ruffage: A Practical Guide to Vegetables,” by Abra Berens

What’s for Dessert?

“Pastry Love: A Baker’s Journal of Favorite Recipes,” by Joanne Chang

This Houghton Mifflin Harcourt book offers a spectacular collection of breakfast treats, bread, cookies, pies, cakes and more. Master baker Joanne Chang, owner of the Flour bakeries in Boston, writes recipes that work in your kitchen, even if you’re a not-overly-confident baker. In “Pastry Love,” her most personal volume to date, Chang’s voice is calm and clear. Look for dulce de leche brioche buns and Ginger-Peach Crumb Cake. Great cookie chapter (especially the double chocolate cookies) as well.

“When Pies Fly: Handmade Pastries from Strudels to Stromboli, Empanadas to Knishes,” by Cathy Barrow

This is a baking book devoted to both sweet and savory treats. Last year, the prolific Barrow wrote about slab pies, but in this year’s Grand Central Publishing volume, she focuses on smaller hand-held treats — from bacon, egg and Swiss hand pie ( a great new take on an egg sandwich), Thanksgiving-in-a-bite pie poppers (ground turkey, bacon and pumpkin seeds in a butter pie dough) to figgy cheesy spirals or spiced apple strudel. Barrow has proven herself, time and time again, to be a very reliable recipe writer. Preheat that oven and get ready to bake.

“Tartine: A Classic Revisited: 68 All-New Recipes + 55 Updated Favorites,” by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson

The beloved San Francisco-based bakery reissued this favorite with publisher Chronicle Books featuring all new and revised recipes. Generally, this is not the book for a beginner baker. Lemon meringue cake, Mexican wedding cookies and brioche bread pudding may take some time (and care), but it will be worth it. Or you could visit their fabulous bakery in San Francisco or Los Angeles!

Also suggested:

“Midwest Made: Big, Bold Baking from the Heartland,” by Shauna Sever

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Cooking is an art and not all people are experts in it. If you have just started to cook, then you should try new things. The cookbooks for two helps in achieving this as these books have wonderful recipes that you can try and serve it to your loved one. If you are a newly married couple and you wish to cook your spouse with love, you can try these books.

There are various books written by many cooking experts that help to cook for two people. In this post, you can know about the top five cookbooks for two and the reason why should you use it.

Cookbook for Two Review Center 2020

Image Cookbooks for Two Rating
#1 – The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook, Gift Edition: 650 Recipes for Everything You’ll Ever Want to Make 99%
#2 – Cravings: Hungry for More 96%
#3 – One Pan, Two Plates: More Than 70 Complete Weeknight Meals for Two 93%
#4 – Dessert For Two: Small Batch Cookies, Brownies, Pies, and Cakes 89%
#5 – Healthy Cookbook for Two: 175 Simple, Delicious Recipes to Enjoy Cooking for Two 85%

Want to learn more?

Now that you’ve seen our top 5 recommendations, we’ll give you more detail on each of them, including why we liked them. When you’re ready, click the yellow button to get the best price on Amazon!

#1 – The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook, Gift Edition: 650 Recipes for Everything You’ll Ever Want to Make

This book is great for newly married couples, adults who moved out of their parent’s homes recently, fresh graduates, and for small families. It has valuable 6500 recipes that provide unique and creative cooking strategies for new cooks. It comes with hardcover and can be gifted to couples at the times of wedding, engagement or reception. It has a 25-page manual that helps the two people other than cooking like how to shop cleverly, top reduce waste, and how to store various ingredients. The book is completely different from others where they would be mentioning only the cooking time, ingredients and temperatures.

This teaches everything from making Lasagna to Greek-style sandwiches. It covers delicious dessert items like fudgy brownies, fluffy yellow layer cake and so on. There are also chocolaty cookie recipes for which Cookie Press might be necessary. These can be done as a freshly baked with the help of ingredients and methods on the cookbook. You can make different types of cakes during your anniversaries, parties and on special occasions as there are plenty of recipes available. You can customize your cakes using Cake Decorating Kit according to the occasion. Separate chapters for grilling, slow cooking, quick bread, pies, and cookies are available. This book also helps the household of two people to pick useful kitchen equipment and cook their favorite food recipe.

What we liked about it

The recipe of various dishes is given separately by various categories like Chicken, beef, grilling, and fish. If you are a vegetarian, then it might be difficult to find a book exclusively. But this book has separate chapters for vegetarian recipes. The other thing we like the most about this book is the photographs of the dishes. They used high quality, tempting, and mouthwatering images which makes its users an urge to try cooking that recipe.

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#2 – Cravings: Hungry for more

Cravings: Hungry for more by Chrissy Teagan is full of delicious recipes. The book covers every meal in a day whether it is a breakfast, lunch or dinner. She helps us to try a different recipe by adding different flavors like roasted carrot and avocado salad, Bagel cream breakfast Cheese Bake and Shake and bake chicken with drizzling honey. As you can see the name implies that the dish has contrasting flavors like sweet and hot or sweet and sour. There are many popular and mouthwatering dishes. Among that simple skillet broken lasagna is top-notch. The first step is to make use of Sauce Pans to prepare the sauce. Heat olive oil in medium temperatures and add ingredients like ground beef, pork, chopped onions, minced garlic, tomato puree, salt, pepper, basil, and pepper flakes. Boil the mixture till it reaches a paste-like consistency.

In order to prepare lasagna, take a large pan preferably from Farberware Cookware and grate cheese of your kinds like mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Combine the other ingredients like basil, salt, and pepper to this mixture. After the sauce is ready to take a ladle and spread it on the baking pan. Spread the next layer by the lasagna and the next layer by sauce again. Continue the process depending on the number of layers you really want your lasagna to be.

What we liked about it

The taste that her flavors brought in our kitchen with city market’s ingredients is delicious. She made it easier to mix different flavors and brings out great taste in each dish she gave in her book. She proves that she is a killer chef and wants us to explore more of her recipe in our kitchen. The items in the book cover different occasions and help a small family to cook and taste better.

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#3 – One Pan, Two Plates: More Than 70 Complete Weeknight Meals for Two

This book has numerous delicious recipe that is ought to be done in a single pan for two people as the name suggests. But there might be a necessity of two or more utensils. If you need trying out more recipes without having much left-over and you need to cook in a lesser time after a long day of tiring work, then this book is worthy. They have delicious recipe ranging from Balsamic-Braised Chicken to Pan-Fried Arctic Char. The book’s recipe has different flavors of spices used like Chinese, continental, and Indian. The popular recipe to try out of this book is Sautéed Pork Chops (With the sweet potato, mustard sauce, and apple).

It is a classic dish that is made from a combination of tender pork, cider-braised sweet potatoes, and apples. As mentioned earlier, you need a single pan to complete this dish. You can buy the pan from Green Life cookware and Viking Cookware. Starting the recipe involves combining the cinnamon, cider and a quarter tsp salt on setting aside to blend. The next step is to pat dry the pork chops and add a few salt and pepper to it. Add olive oil to the pan and add pork chops to it. Then add the apple and sweet potato to it and stir it till it becomes semi-solid.

What we liked about it

Most of the recipe mentioned in this book takes less time and can be served in an hour. The recipe in this book has a major dependency on meat and vegetables. This is perfectly healthy to diet as well as non-diet followers. If you want sugar free cookbook, then it is the best choice as there are no desserts, unlike other cookbooks. There will not be left over as the measurements prescribed for two people.

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#4 – Dessert for Two: Small Batch Cookies, Brownies, Pies, and Cakes

If you are looking for a cookbook that has only desserts with different varieties, then you can choose this book. You can make three to four-towered cake all by yourself for your husband or wife on the day of your wedding anniversary. Who would not love those freshly baked aroma cookies straight from the oven of our house? There is plenty of dessert recipe mentioned in this book which is tempting. If you are worried about leftover as most dessert’s recipe are mentioned for eight to ten people, you do not have to. As in this book, the measurement is for exactly two people and if you have an extra friend you can share it with them.

The cakes from this book are normally made using small Cake Stands and molds. Many cakes, cookies, bars and breakfasts recipes are available for two people in this book. The chocolate mousse cake will suit the best occasions like valentine dinner. You can customize this cake by Baking tools available in the market. The procedure to do a chocolate mousse cake is simple. The brownies should be baked in a springform pan. Set aside this to cool and prepare chocolate mousse topping. The springform pan is very useful to layer the mousse on the cake and to remove the cake from the pan easily without any damage.

What we liked about it

Every dessert item is perfectly written on measurements and temperatures that help the readers to cook with confidence. The wastage is very little and if you are a dessert lover, there will not be any left over. Only quality ingredients and equipment are suggested in the book that helps to replicate the dish exactly like the book author. The book helps dessert lovers to expand their creativity and try out new flavors, creams, and toppings.

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#5 – Healthy Cookbook for Two: 175 Simple, Delicious Recipes to Enjoy Cooking for Two

Wholesome nutritious cooking is always on the deal and if you think you have not got the right guidance from popular chefs and cooks, you got an answer for this. The Healthy Cookbook for Two: 175 Simple, Delicious Recipes to Enjoy Cooking for Two provides many interesting nutritious recipes that help to cook food without being leftover. The thing about cooking nutritious food was considered an adjustment to taste. But with this book, you can try various foods which taste yummy. It also helps in measurements of the ingredients used in the recipe. The most delicious and exclusive dish considered in this book is Tomato Basil Pizza. It can be prepared in thirty minutes.

The Tomato Pizza mentioned here is completely vegetarian and elegant looking. If you already have a premade crust then the time to make this pizza gets even faster. The first step is to preheat the microwave oven to broil and place the pizza crust on the Baking Sheet over the Pizza Pan. The next step is to spread the crust until it has ½ inches free around the edges and place tomato slices above them. Start sprinkling basil, chili flakes, and cheese using the Cheese Grater. Place this pan inside the oven and broil it. Cut the pizza into several slices you need, and it is ready to taste.

What we liked about it

You cannot even imagine making nutritious recipes exactly for two people. But this book helps to cook for two people with limited ingredients without any left over. The measurements and proportions of each ingredient mentioned in the book are accurate and help the cook to replicate the same in their kitchen. The only disadvantage of book is that it does not contain pictures of the food. This makes us little discouraging despite their amazing recipe.

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How we choose the top cookbook for two people in this list?

There are many factors that we go through like its explanation, usage of words, categories and pictures of food items. Depending on these criteria we choose the best cookbook of variously available cookbooks. The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook, Gift Edition: 650 Recipes for Everything You’ll Ever Want to Make book has covered almost all genres of food items and not restricted its limitations to only dessert items or nutritious foods. Hence it topped the cookbook list and the author has explained it very clear about the measurement and proportion of each ingredient used. The other reason for the selection of the book is photographs of the recipe from author. Without photographs it is not possible to recreate the exact cake, pizza or any dish. This gives us an idea of how the dish will turn out if the instructions are followed precisely and carefully. If we could not replicate the same the first time, we make a dish, we could sense the mistake done by comparing the picture and our dish. overall, we choose the list depending on the ingredients, the recipe varieties on various genres, measurements prescribed exactly for two people and photographs.

Why you need the best cookbook in your kitchen?

If you are a newly married couple or you are away from your family for education or job, whatever the reason is, you need to have the best cookbook in your kitchen. Eating in expensive hotels and restaurant cannot be afforded every day and besides, we can get all the kitchen equipment and ingredients easily nowadays. If we have the right ingredient and the correct kitchen equipment in hand, then nothing can stop us from cooking the best dish for ourselves or for our loved ones. The best cookbook can make you try on the new, different and healthy recipe after long tiring work in a day. Cooking can be relaxing and tasting it makes us feel on top of the world. These cookbooks also provide information on market strategies, top-notch tips to save money, reusing the items, reducing the left over or wasting them, and making the prefect dish. With the help of different kitchen accessories like baking tools, pans, and cookware sets you can add extra customization to your food items very easily. These cookbooks guide you everything you need in a kitchen from the kitchen equipment’s, grocery items and ingredients to the tasty dishes on plate to eat.

While you’re here, check out some of our other cookbooks and kitchen product reviews!


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The 12 Best Cookbooks of 2019 (Plus 2 Memoirs!)

We downsized this year, moving from our big old house with seemingly infinite amounts of storage to a still-spacious-but-half-the-size new home a few blocks away. This entailed giving away half of our books, and even with that we have a generous amount in storage. Somehow, I have managed to shoehorn my (downsized!) collection of 350 or so cookbooks into my office and kitchen. What can I say? I’ve pared down to the essentials. But fear not, dear reader! Just between us, I have found that I have room for a few choice new cookbooks on these already over-stuffed shelves. I just couldn’t help myself. I guess as vices go, reading and obsessing about food is pretty tame, so I’m giving myself a pass this year … again. Here are the books I’m recommending this year, perfect for gift giving — or hoarding!

“Antoni in the Kitchen”

Antoni Porowski

If you’re a “Queer Eye” fan who cooks, you’ve already bought this book. But for those of you who need convincing, the man can COOK. He’s more than eye candy! This talented Polish-Canadian chef subscribes to the theory of buying the best ingredients seasonally, and recognizes that comfort food is important to our well-being. You’ll find inventive takes on favorites like Pomegranate-Walnut Chicken Stew, Alsatian Tart with Miso-Glazed Squash, and a Hi-Lo Poutine that will blow your socks off.

“The Big Book of Amazing Cakes”

The Great British Baking Show

I am OBSESSED with this lovely, benevolent cooking show, and you should be, too. Unlike mean-spirited American reality cooking competitions, the warmth and laughter that flow between contestants “under the tent” feels genuine. They compete for themselves, and real friendships form with their “rivals.” There is no skullduggery or one-upmanship, and I think we all could use a little of this positivity in our lives. So, to that point, this book just delights me. Happily, the recipes have all been adapted for American kitchens, and the very clear instructions include baking timing so that you can plan accordingly. I plan to start with the Chocolate Drip Cake with brown-butter sponge, followed by Nancy’s Pear & Hazelnut Cake. On your mark, get set, BAKE!

“Cooking for Good Times: Super Delicious, Super Simple”

Paul Kahan

Chicago’s favorite son and James Beard Award-winning chef Paul Kahan is also a yoga enthusiast, and this, his second cookbook, is all about chilling out and cooking with friends — “Sharing Food We Like With People We Like.” There’s a bit of a DIY feel to this book that inspires participation, as you’re encouraged by the chapter headings to “Make Some Grains,” “Roast Some Roots,” “Melt Some Cheese,” and “Make a Simple Dessert” to create a meal. This is a go-with-the-flow cookbook, with some terrific recipes that feel doable because the vibe is so low pressure. Bonus: If you’re a fan of the chorizo-stuffed, bacon-wrapped dates that they serve at avec, you’ll find the recipe here.


Lidia Matticchio Bastianich

No trip to New York City feels complete without paying homage to La Cucina Italia at Lidia Bastianich’s Felidia on the Upper East Side. For the first time, this James Beard Award-winning chef shares the original recipes that have made this place such an enduring classic. The prolific Bastianich (this is her 16th book) spares no detail in this volume, providing recipes for everything from a boozy Rhubarb Negroni and a creamy Risotto with Pear, Grana Padano and Balsamic Vinegar, to Butternut Squash Parmigiana and Limoncello Tiramisù.

“The Gaijin Cookbook: Japanese Recipes from a Chef, Father, Eater, and Lifelong Outsider”

Ivan Orkin and Chris Ying

The term gaijin, which is Japanese for “outsider,” aptly describes chef Ivan Orkin (of NYC’s Ivan Ramen), who despite being a fluent Japanese speaker living and working in Tokyo for years, was still a tall, gangly white man, and thus never on the inside. Happily for us, that only fueled his fire, and his ramen is legendary. But this book doesn’t focus on ramen, but rather on his personal take on classic Japanese comfort dishes, like Pan-Fried Pork Cutlets in Ginger Sauce, Stir-Fried Udon, and Savory Okonomiyaki pancakes. This is food to share with the people you love, soul stirring and satisfying.

“I Can Cook Vegan”

Isa Chandra Moskowitz

This self-taught chef — owner of Brooklyn’s and Omaha’s Modern Love restaurants — took to vegan cooking with a vengeance, and shares her passion in an approachable way, giving you the building blocks you need to learn to create the dishes within. Dishes like Warm Oyster Mushroom Salad with Quinoa and Baby Greens and the Polenta Puttanesca will actually satisfy your meat cravings while still remaining virtuous. Top it off with her Banana-Cinnamon Swirl Muffins or Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti and your meal is complete. Everyone has a vegetarian or vegan in the family that longs to be recognized!

“Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking”

Toni Tipton-Martin

Reviews of this much-anticipated cookbook from chef/historian Toni Tipton-Martin have been rapturous, and I’m going to go out on a pretty solid limb here and guess that she will win another James Beard Award for her work on this gorgeous book, the story of black cooks in the kitchen over the past 200 years, with recipes that trace the forced diaspora from Africa to America, reclaiming the recipes that highlight the resiliency of the human spirit, interspersed with the history behind them. Sweet Potato Biscuits, Catfish Étoufée, Lowcountry Shrimp and Grits, and Biscuit-Topped Chicken Pot Pie find new life when you know the backstory. Fascinating and inspiring in the best way.

“Milk Street: The New Rules: Recipes That Will Change the Way You Cook”

Christopher Kimball

The scholarship and attention to detail behind Christopher Kimball’s James Beard Award-winning books are what make them so special. Even as a professional chef, I feel like I always learn something new and useful every time I open one, and this book is no exception. It’s all about technique, and there’s a lot here to unpack, but no heavy baggage, so no worries. The recipe for Curry-Coconut Pot Roast observes Rule #67, Use Less Liquid for More Flavor, while Bucatini Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Fresh Sage follows #23, Get Bigger Flavor from Supermarket Tomatoes. You’ll find all the tricks that make a good cook into a great one.

“Nothing Fancy”

Alison Roman

Time to up your dinner party game! Not that overly stuffy, too-fancy meal of old, but one that’s actually fun for host and guest alike. Like her New York Times food column, this food is approachable and craveable, the very best combo there is. Her Coconut-Braised Chicken and Chickpeas made me swoon — as did the Sticky Roasted Carrots with Citrus and Tahini, an easy, restaurant-quality dish. And my daughter has already made the Tiny, Salty, Chocolatey Cookies three times. You will return to this book again and again.

“Sababa: Fresh, Sunny Flavors From My Israeli Kitchen”

Adeena Sussman

Sussman’s light-filled kitchen in Tel Aviv, along with local shuks bursting with color and flavor, was inspiration for this gorgeous cookbook that made me want to dive into a vat of za’atar. Everything about this book is just so damn appealing. Entertaining is not about perfection, but conviviality. Some staples are always on hand, along with intense flavor brighteners like her Salt-Brined Pickles, Cardamom-Kissed Schug, or Honey Harissa. And if you have a dozen Labeneh Yogurt Pops with a Tahini Magic Shell (!!!) standing by in your freezer, so much the better. Bring on the drop-in guests!

“Salt & Straw Ice Cream Cookbook”

Tyler Malek and JJ Goode

The original might be in Portland, Oregon, but I’ve visited Salt & Straw outposts from Los Angeles to Seattle, and I am a huge fan of their highly seasonal and inventive flavors (Corn on the Cob with Caramel, Arbequina Olive Oil, Goat Cheese-Marionberry) and super-silky mouthfeel. But who knew it could be this easy and fun to make ice cream? Use their base, which comes together in just a few minutes, and embellish with their creative combos, or build your own fantasy ice cream. A must for the ice cream lover in your house.

“Skillet Love: From Steak to Cake: More Than 150 Recipes in One Cast-Iron Pan”

Anne Byrn

Like a fine wine, cast iron just gets better with age, and it’s so darn versatile, especially if you know how to take care of it. Byrn, the bestselling author of “The Cake Mix Doctor,” knows a thing or two about this bastion of the Southern Kitchen, and she talks you through all the ways you can use it, from frying to charring, dry roasting and baking. Some recipes are “blueprints” that give you a base recipe to expound on with your own creativity, while others highlight the skillet’s versatility, such as the caramelizing of the spicy-sweet Sticky Chicken Thighs with Ginger and Garlic. Classics like Dotty’s Chicken-Fried Steak and Black Skillet Cornbread will not disappoint.

Bonus for Serious Foodies: Two Cooking Memoirs Not to Be Missed

“Burn the Place: A Memoir”

Iliana Regan

Regan made her name at Elizabeth restaurant in the Lincoln Square neighborhood, but her journey to Michelin-starred chef from a small Indiana farm — through the minefield of addiction, navigating issues of gender and sexuality — is a remarkable one. Longlisted for the 2019 National Book Award in nonfiction, this book will stay with you.

“Notes from a Young Black Chef: A Memoir”

Kwame Onwuachi

A tale of survival, both in the professional kitchen and on the streets of NYC, Nigeria, and Louisiana. Onwuachi rose from cooking in the galleys of oil cleanup ships to the 2019 James Beard Award Rising Star Chef for his DC restaurant Kith/Kin, a celebration of his Afro-Caribbean roots. A fascinating read.

Top Cookbooks for Everyday Cooking

Here at The Happy Foodie, we love cooking up something special for an occasion and spending hours on a labour of love recipe. But when it comes to the everyday, we want our meals to be fast, flexible and achievable, especially during the midweek rush.

So here are our top, well-thumbed cookbooks for everyday cooking, plus a few unreleased titles we’ve had a sneak peek at to keep your eye on too. Plus here’s your chance to win 3 of the books on our list!

Everyday Super Food by Jamie Oliver

The clue is in the name with this one. Jamie Oliver’s most recent book, Everyday Super Food is one we reach for both on a weekday and at the weekend, too. Packed with innovative, exciting and nutritious meals, it’s an essential for any kitchen shelf.

Chicken by Catherine Phipps

The humble chicken. So delicious and oh-so versatile. Catherine Phipps’ book is all about celebrating this ‘glorious bird’ with recipes from curries to salads to pies. It’s the perfect book for you if you always seem have a couple of chicken cuts in the fridge.

Comptoir Libanais Express by Tony Kitous & Dan Lepard

Everyday cooking doesn’t have to mean everyday flavours. Comptoir Libanais Express celebrates the big flavours and colours of Lebanon with a fuss-free collection of recipes. From spicy One-pot Fast Roast Chicken to the Comptoir Lasagne, this book will have you looking at everyday recipes in a new light.

FIVE by Rachel De Thample

Is getting more fruits and vegetables in your diet part of your daily mission? Then you’ll find yourself reaching for Rachel De Thample’s FIVE on a weekly basis. It even includes helpful menu suggestions and information on exactly what constitutes a portion of fruit or veg.

Simply Nigella by Nigella Lawson

Nigella Lawson’s most recent book, Simply Nigella, is all about balance and is perfect for everyday cooking. From familiar favourites to dishes that will broaden your repertoire this book is another failsafe from Nigella, and one we’re enjoying cooking from on a weekly basis.

Bake Me a Cake as Fast as You Can by Miranda Gore Browne

Baking isn’t just for the weekend with this book from Miranda Gore Browne. It’s packed with speedy and low maintenance bakes that mean you can enjoy homemade sweet treats even on the busiest of days.

Feelgood Family Food by Dean Edwards

Busy dad Dean knows exactly how important fuss-free recipes are for the midweek. But with this collection of healthy recipes, Dean makes sure that easy never means boring.

Good + Simple by Melissa and Jasmine Hemsley

The Hemsley sisters’ second cookbook, Good + Simple is filled with inspiration for eating well every day. If you’re looking to eat more wholesome food without forfeiting flavour, then you’ll love the easy recipes in this book.

And here are a selection of unreleased cookbooks we’re sure will be everyday cooking favourites…

Fresh India by Meera Sodha

Do you find yourself reaching for Meera’s Made in India over and over again? Then you’ll love her new book, Fresh India, packed with 130 easy vegetarian recipes. Meera uses easy-to-find ingredients to create a variety of recipes, from traditional dishes to lip-smacking show-stoppers.

The Good Life Eatery Cookbook by Shirin Kouros and Yasmine Larizadeh

This cookbook brings the laidback, sunny vibes of L.A. to everyday cooking. It champions healthy cooking without the gimmicks and we’re sure it’s going to be one of our well-thumbed favourites.

Nadiya’s Kitchen by Nadiya Hussain

Did you fall in love with Nadiya and her cooking when she won The Great British Bake Off 2015? Good news! She’s back with her debut cookbook full of her favourite recipes. And there’s more than baking, with chapters including ‘Lazy Sunday Mornings’ and ‘Midnight Feasts’.

Stirring Slowly by Georgina Hayden

Georgie Hayden’s debut cookbook is a comforting collection of recipes that promises to restore and revive – perfect for busy days and restful weekends. This book celebrates the process of cooking and time spent in the kitchen. A must for any foodie who cherishes their everyday cooking.

The Foodie Teen by Alessandra Peters

Blogging sensation Alessandra’s first cookbook is a must for – you guessed it – any foodie teen. With recipes ranging from dishes to wake you up to snacks to keep you going, this is the perfect book for any young foodie.

The World of The Happy Pear by Stephen & David Flynn

The Happy Pear make simple food delicious and exciting with their new cookbook. This book boasts over 100 recipes including delights like Grilled Halloumi Burgers with Sweet Chilli Ketchup and Garlic and Tahini Mayo and Chocolate Salted Caramel Tart – we can’t wait for this one!

What about you? Which cookbooks do you depend on week in, week out? Tweet us your recommendations.

And remember to enter our competition to win 3 of our favourite cookbooks for everyday cooking here.

When it comes to family dinner ideas on busy weeknights, three things are key: Recipes must be easy, fast and fresh. These 10 essential family cookbooks are perfect for simple weeknight dinners the whole family will enjoy again and again.

1. “Barefoot Contessa at Home,” by Ina Garten, $28 (usually $35), Amazon

Also available for $32 at Barnes & Noble and $35 at Walmart.

The Food Network star reveals her tried-and-true secrets to dinner success — whether it’s putting a meal on the table right after work or hosting an impromptu dinner party for a dozen guests.

2. “How to Cook Everything,” by Mark Bittman, $20 (usually $35), Amazon

Also available at Walmart and for $28 at Barnes & Noble.

Before there was Google, there was Mark Bittman’s award-winning guide on how to cook, well, everything. This edition — revised for the book’s 10th anniversary in 2008 — offers even more techniques, tips and tricks than the original, along with The New York Times writer’s refreshingly straightforward recipes.

3. “The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook,” by Deb Perelman, $21 (usually $35), Amazon

Also available for $29 at Walmart and for $28 at Barnes & Noble.

Deb Perelman, the self-professed “obsessive home cook” behind Smitten Kitchen, doesn’t cut corners when it comes to recipe testing, so you can trust that her take on the perfect pizza or beef brisket will work without fail.

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Also available for $18 at Walmart and for $23 at Barnes & Noble.

Leave it to the editors of Martha Stewart Living to make both cooking and cleanup a breeze. Their collection of one-pot recipes is anything but one-note. Sure, there’s the typical slow cooker roast, but the book also features baked risotto, pressure-cooked short ribs and a skillet chocolate chip cookie that’s guaranteed to turn heads and make mouths water.

5. “The Mom 100 Cookbook,” by Katie Workman, $10 (usually $17), Amazon

Also available for $4 at Walmart and for $15 at Barnes & Noble.

Katie Workman’s book has been rescuing busy moms (and dads!) since it debuted in 2012. As a parent of two, Workman is no stranger to dealing with picky eaters or reworking leftovers into something exciting. Her book also offers up plenty of smart, practical cooking advice you’ll actually use.

6. “Joy the Baker Cookbook,” by Joy Wilson, $16 (usually $20), Amazon

Also available for $18 at Walmart and for $18 at Barnes & Noble.

Weeknight dinners aren’t all about the savory. If you want to whip up a treat without any fuss, turn to blogger Joy Wilson’s cozy sweets. Think six-ingredient chocolate lava cakes and an irresistible white chocolate mousse that can easily be made ahead.

7. “Everyday Italian,” by Giada De Laurentiis, $15 (usually $35), Amazon

Also available for $30 at Walmart and for $32 at Barnes & Noble.

Using easy-to-find ingredients, the celeb chef’s very first cookbook boasts page after page of Italian recipes that are low on fuss and high in flavor.

8. “Dinner: Changing the Game,” by Melissa Clark, $24 (usually $35), Amazon

Also available for $27 at Walmart and for $32 at Barnes & Noble.

Tired of turning to the same old stir-fry or five-ingredient pasta? Enter Melissa Clark, who breathes new life into dinner staples like burgers, sheet pan chicken, pork chops and more — without relying on complicated techniques or hard-to-find ingredients.

9. “Super Natural Every Day,” by Heidi Swanson, $14 (usually $23), Amazon

Also available for $14 at Walmart and for $21 at Barnes & Noble.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be intimidating. James Beard Award-nominated writer Heidi Swanson offers advice on incorporating superfoods into your everyday routine in a way that’s down to earth and approachable.

10. “Keepers,” by Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion, $16 (usually $27), Amazon

Also available for $16 at Walmart and for $24 at Barnes & Noble.

Meal prep made easy is the goal behind this keeper of a cookbook from former Saveur editors Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion. It’s packed with recipes that are guaranteed to become new weeknight favorites, like a lemony turkey Bolognese and coconut chicken curry.

Want more amazing cookbooks? Check out our 13 favorites for healthy meals.

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Today we review the top 10 Best Cookbooks Every Cook should receive! If your favorite cook is anything like me, they read cookbooks all the time. I bet they also collect cookbooks as I do! Whether it’s a down-home family cookbook, Asian, Italian, or vegetarian, cooks love a great cookbook!

I am giving you my favorite choices for cookbooks and I hope your cook loves them too!

These are my favorite picks for the best cookbooks for any home chef! These cookbooks are on my shelf and have always been a plethora of information in them. I hope you enjoy my choices. I think these are a well balanced top 10! What do you think? Are these your favorites and have I left any of your top cookbooks off the list?

Being a self-taught cook, I have gotten so much of my knowledge from the cookbook I have read over the years! I would love to go back to culinary school, but I do not think it is in my future! I will continue to collect and read amazing cookbooks!

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission which helps keep my blog up and running but it won’t cost you a penny more!) We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to

I also have a store where I am always updating great finds for not just cooking, I hope you check it out here, Everyday Eileen I will continue to update it regularly! .

Thank you so very much for being apart of Everyday Eileen!

Top 10 Cookbooks for the Home Chef

The Joy of Cooking

The quintessential cookbook for all! Every cook/chef from every level should own this fabulous cookbook! Filled with tips, tricks, cooking terms, a must have for every cook!

The Baking Bible

The Baking Bible is just that, The Bible of Baking written byRose Levy Beranbaum! Any question regarding baking, pies, tarts, cookies, etc! I have used this book over and over! A wonderful guide for bakers of all levels.

The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook:

One of my favorite cookbook. I have never been disappointed with any recipe I have made from this cookbook! From vegan to vegetarian, the recipes are all amazing!

The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook

Whether you are just starting out or are empty nesters, cooking for two can be difficult! I love this cookbook and give this book as a gift often. Great ideas for those who are cooking are not cooking for a crowd!

Essentials of Italian Cooking

One of my very favorite cookbooks I was given after my oldest son was born! It is a favorite of mine. I open this book and I think of Rome, pasta, and a glass of red wine! I have learned a lot from this book!

The Complete Meat Cookbook

Another must-have cookbook! I have owned this forever! A great cookbook with lots of info about beef! Everything you need to know in one book! The recipes are also delicious!

Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook

Over 200 easy slow cooker recipes that are no-fuss, healthy and delicious! All recipes are approved by the American Heart Association!

Mastering the Art of French Cooking

The Queen of Cooking, Julia Child is an amazing chef and anything you can read of hers is a gift! I love every one of her cookbooks. If you cannot get them all, start with this amazing book of information.

The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook

I preach a healthy eating lifestyle and the Mediterranean diet is a fabulous one to follow. I enjoy every recipe in this cookbook. Healthy, delicious and every one tastes great!

Roasting: A Simple Art

For the beginner in the kitchen to the expert, this cookbook has everything you need to know about roasting. From preheating to roasting, all questions answered! Another cookbook that I have used forever!

Don’t forget to check out my other Gift Guides:

Week 2: My Favorite Top 10 Gifts for Foodies

Week 4: Best Gifts Under 25 Dollars

So did I hit your favorite cookbooks? Are there cookbooks not on this list that are your favorites? I’d love it if you would let me know in the comments below!

Happy Holidays! xo


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Baguettes, soufflés, ratatouille and croissants…there are few things in the world more delicious than French food. I know this because I was lucky enough to visit the northwest regions of France, where I became smitten with the country’s cuisine. There, I tried escargot for the first time (surprisingly delicious), sampled sweet and savory crepes from street vendors, and ate countless macarons (our Test Kitchen can show you how to make them at home). On returning to the U.S., I anticipated French food becoming a staple in my kitchen, but after taking one look at just how complicated the steps, ingredient preparations and even names seemed to be, I put my international cooking ambitions on hiatus.

Now that it’s been a few years since my last French dish, I figured it was time to try my hand at making one. And who better to guide me on a French cooking journey than the French Chef herself, Julia Child. With nearly 20 books and cookbooks and 13 cooking shows to her credit, Julia was the top authority for teaching Americans how to cook French food and taught us countless lessons that extend far beyond French cooking. Grabbing a copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking ($50 for the set) and pulling out my computer to watch old episodes of The French Chef, I prepared myself to make six iconic French recipes in a week with Julia’s help and guidance. Here’s what happened:

Recipe #1: French Onion Soup

Photo: Taste of Home
I decided to ease myself into French cooking with a basic, tough-to-mess-up French onion soup. Soupe à l’oignon, as it’s called in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, is my ultimate comfort food. It reminds me of being curled up on a couch, relaxing with my dog and trying (and failing) not to burn my mouth on the bubbling, cheesy top layer. Since winter had arrived in full force to Wisconsin, I was definitely in need of a comfy, cozy bowl of soup.

How It Went: This soup likes to take its time, requiring up to three hours to cook up. About half the time was dedicated to sweating and caramelizing the onion slices. According to Julia, onions can work well in just about any dish; indeed, “It is hard to imagine a civilization without onions,” she said. I knew the dish would have great flavor

While the recipe was straightforward, I made a fatal rookie mistake: cutting into my loaf of French bread before the soup was done. Since I lack all self-control when it comes to bread and butter, I spent my time waiting for the soup to cook by cutting a slice of bread to snack on, and then another, and then another and another, until close to half the loaf was gone. Oops.

Psst! Love bread like me? Try these incredibly easy homemade bread recipes.

My Takeaway: Letting your food cook nice and slow is worth it. While French onion soup is more of a weekend dish (eating dinner at 9:30 isn’t something I plan on making a habit of), this was one of the most delicious soups I’ve ever had. Rich and buttery, the soup requires extra time to break down the onions and develop flavor in the broth, but it is so worth it. The soup’s butter, oil, bread and cheese make it unsuitable for dieters; it’s so good you might want to eat the whole pot yourself—like I did.

Like this? Try our recipe for French Onion Soup.

Recipe #2: Quiche Lorraine

Photo: Taste of Home

Frittata, the quiche’s crust-less, cream-less cousin, is one of my favorite ways to use up leftover produce. Quick to throw together and cook, I figured a quiche would be just as easy. I settled on Julia Child’s quiche Lorraine—since it is one of the most popular types of quiche.

How It Went: The recipe’s first step threw me off: Julia wanted me to boil bacon? I was more than a little skeptical. After all, the crispy, crunchy taste of bacon is my favorite. Her purpose, though, was to reduce the salty, smoky taste of the bacon in favor of a much subtler flavor. I did as Julia said and simmered, then fried, bacon pieces before adding them to a mix of beaten eggs, cream, butter and seasonings.

My Takeaway: Don’t be afraid of new techniques. Blanching bacon is something I would never normally do, but it was one of the most fun and strange techniques I used throughout these recipes. While this recipe was not one of my favorites, it gave me the most fun because it built my confidence with cooking techniques and recipes I don’t normally try.

Like this? Try our recipe for Quiche Lorraine.

Recipe #3: Cheese Soufflé

Photo: Taste of Home

Ah, the Holy Grail of French cooking. The puffy, egg-based dish is notorious for being hard to make. One wrong step and the cloud of cheesy glory will deflate like a sad balloon. While I was intimidated, and a little scared of this dish, I knew I had to try it.

How It Went: Normally, I’m a relaxed, go-with-the-flow kind of cook, but this recipe had me on edge. Before even getting the eggs out of my refrigerator, I read and reread Julia’s instructions over and over, measured and double-checked the ingredients, and greased the dish.

Pro tip: For a cheesy, caramelized crust, dust your souffle dish with finely grated Parmesan.

Despite all my effort, my soufflé, tragically, rose no higher than the edge of the dish, and it continued to collapse the longer it was out of the oven.

My Takeaway: Just because a recipe doesn’t turn out perfect doesn’t mean it’s a failure. Though my soufflé rose only a couple of inches (largely because I failed to whip enough air into my egg whites), this is now one of my favorite egg dishes ever. The flavor was rich without being heavy, and the browned cheese along the sides and top of the soufflé gave it a deep orange color. Now that I’ve conquered my fears, I cannot wait to try this dish again with less stress.

Like this? Try our recipe for Three Cheese Souffles.

Recipe #4: Boeuf Bourguignon

Photo: Taste of Home

Difficult to spell. Hard to pronounce. Delicious to eat. Since this recipe was the first one featured on Julia’s PBS show The French Chef and is one of her most famous recipes, the beef stew was a must-make. Plus, after a few days of soup and egg dishes, I was ready for some meaty goodness.

How It Went: When I started making this, I worried I’d spend hours standing in front of the stove browning ingredients. However, frying the bacon, browning the beef and sautéing the onions and carrots were incredibly easy. (But since I only own one frying pan, it definitely took longer than expected.) Once those ingredients were nice and caramelized, all I had to do was dump them in a pan with some red wine, broth and seasoning and toss it all in the oven until the meat was fall-apart tender.

My Takeaway: Complex-tasting food can be simple to make. Ignoring the extra time and energy tacked on because of my lone frying pan, this recipe was so, so easy. With only a handful of ingredients and five or so steps, I made one of the fanciest sounding and tastiest dishes I’ve had in a long time. It’s perfect for a date night in, or a holiday with the family. This recipe is one that everyone should have in their arsenal.

Like this? Try our recipe for Special Occasion Beef Bourguignon.

Recipe #5: Cauliflower Au Gratin with Cheese

Photo: Taste of HomeThough I savored the rich, tasty dishes Julia threw my way, I was in desperate need of a vegetable. But, because this is Julia Child, that vegetable would be covered in a cheesy béchamel sauce and baked with a crisp crumb topping. C’est la vie!

How It Went: This recipe reaffirmed my deep love of cheesy béchamel sauce. So easy to whip up, so creamy and cozy. Simply warm butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once this is foaming, add flour and whisk, whisk, whisk! Then pour in milk to thicken the sauce. Season and add a healthy handful of Gruyere cheese. (I seriously want to cover everything I eat in this sauce.)
Since the only other steps in this recipe were quickly blanching the cauliflower, mixing it with the sauce, adding bread crumbs and cooking, this au gratin was one of the quickest Child recipes to get into the oven. Well played, Julia.

Main Takeaway: Julia once said, “With enough butter, anything is good.” And she certainly wasn’t wrong about that with this recipe. Clocking in at 2 tablespoons of butter, 2 cups of milk, half a cup of cheese plus breadcrumbs and even more butter, this recipe isn’t exactly a healthy veggie side dish, but it is so worth it. Since cutting even a tablespoon of butter from this recipe would really impact the creaminess of the sauce (and most likely cause the dish to burn or stick to the pan), I’d recommend saving this dish for a cheat day if you’re counting calories.

Like this? Try our recipe for Cauliflower au Gratin.

Recipe #6: Gâteau à l’Orange

While flipping through Mastering the Art of French Cooking, this little recipe for orange sponge cake caught my eye because it looked like half the recipe must be missing. I didn’t understand how less than a cup each of sugar and flour, an orange, 4 eggs and a dash of salt could become a cake. I was highly skeptical. I knew I had to try out this magical recipe.

How It Went: After mixing up the yolks, sugar, flour and orange batter, it took me a couple of minutes to whip up the egg whites and fold them into the batter. And that was it. No other ingredients or instructions. Julia said to just pop it in the oven for a half hour and somehow a cake would happen. And it did! Though it was a bit denser than I expected, this delightful little recipe baked into a stinkin’ good cake.

Main Takeaway: Baking doesn’t have to be a daylong project. This recipe took less than 10 minutes to put together (!!) and resulted in a sticky-citrusy cake that didn’t even need frosting. I’m still not entirely convinced this recipe isn’t magic.

Like this? Try our recipe for Orange Tea Cake.

Photo: Taste of Home
Overall, Julia’s recipes taught me that when it comes to cooking, just go for it! Whether a recipe intimidates you, you mess up a step, or half the dish ends up on your stovetop, cooking a new recipe is a chance to have some fun and try something completely different from what you’re used to. After all, Julia’s book is titled Mastering the Art of French Cooking, meaning that it’s there to help you tackle and manage French cuisine, not that you have to be a master to crack this cookbook open. Bon appétit!

Ready to give French cooking a try? Start here. 1 / 25

Inspired by: French Bread

My kids love to help me make this delicious bread recipe. It’s quite easy, and they enjoy the fact that they can be eating fresh bread in less than two hours! —Denise Boutin, Grand Isle, Vermont Get Recipe

Inspired by: Cheese Souffle

No matter when I’ve made these soufflés, they have always been a success. Although I’ve never seen the centers start to fall, it’s best to plan on serving them hot from the oven. —Jean Ference, Sherwood Park, Alberta Get Recipe

Inspired by: Cauliflower au Gratin

Count on this dish to make new vegetable converts. Whenever I serve it, people ask for the recipe. Sometimes I’ll substitute broccoli for all or half the cauliflower, and the green veggie tastes just as good! —Jacki Ricci, Ely, Nevada Get Recipe

Inspired by: Crepes Suzette

I like to serve this impressive treat at parties. The pleasant banana-orange flavor makes it wonderful for dinner or brunch. —Freda Becker, Garrettsville, Ohio Get Recipe

Inspired by: Salmon Mousse

I make these tempting little tarts frequently for parties. They disappear at an astonishing speed, so I usually double or triple the recipe. The salmon-cream cheese filling and flaky crust will melt in your mouth. —Fran Rowland, Phoenix, Arizona Get Recipe

Inspired by: Buche de Noel

If you’ve tasted a yule log sponge cake, you’ll love this version with fresh ginger and spices. The holiday stunner can be made ahead. —Lauren Knoelke, Milwaukee, Wisconsin Get Recipe

Inspired by: Quiche Lorraine

This classic quiche lorraine is ideal for a brunch. Try serving a wedge with fresh fruit of the season and homemade muffins for a plate that will look as good as the food tastes.—Marcy Cella, L’Anse, Michigan Get Recipe

Inspired by: Cassoulet

Wine lends a warm background taste to this take on a traditional French stew. The recipe feeds 10, making it a great option when you’re expecting guests—or wanting some leftovers for weekday lunches! &mdash Lynn Stein, Joseph, Oregon Get Recipe

Inspired by: Boeuf Bourguignon

I’ve wanted to make beef Burgundy ever since I got one of Julia Child’s cookbooks, but I wanted to find a way to fix it in a slow cooker. My version of the popular beef stew is still rich, hearty and delicious, but without the need to watch on the stovetop or in the oven. —Crystal Jo Bruns, Iliff, Colorado Get Recipe

Inspired by: Chocolate Mousse

A friend shared this rich velvety mousse recipe with me. I love to cook and have tons of recipes, but this one is a favorite. Best of all, it’s easy to make. —Judy Spencer, San Diego, California Get Recipe

Inspired by: Lemon Tart

For a change from ordinary lemon bars, we added grated orange zest to both the crust and filling and turned the recipe into a tart. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen Get Recipe

Inspired by: French Potato Salad

I love this recipe because it’s not your typical potato salad. There’s no mayo, so it’s perfect for outdoor picnics, plus it looks just as good as it tastes. —Holly Bauer, West Bend, Wisconsin Get Recipe

Inspired by: Classic French Buttercream

After trying a few buttercream frosting recipes, this easy buttercream frosting takes the cake with its unmatchable homemade taste. With a few simple variations, you can come up with different colors and flavors. —Diana Wilson, Denver, Colorado Get Recipe

Inspired by: Chicken in White Wine

This garlic chicken is great over cooked brown rice or your favorite pasta. Don’t forget a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, too. —Heather Esposito, Rome, New York Get Recipe

Inspired by: Julia’s Stuffed Tomatoes

This simple treatment perfectly complements the fresh taste of tomatoes. Serve as a side dish to any entree or as a fresh summer appetizer. Mary E. Relyea – Canastota, New York Get Recipe

Inspired by: Soup au Pistou

I went outside the last part of April and picked what I had available in the garden. I found oregano, leeks, asparagus and rhubarb. This became the base for an essence of spring recipe. The rhubarb adds a citrus flavor; which is balanced with the nutty, earthy pistou. It is truly a layering of flavors. —Laurie Bock, Lynden, Washington Get Recipe

Inspired by: Meringue Case for Desserts

We love a dazzling dessert of meringue shells filled with lemon curd. It’s sweet and tart, crunchy and fluffy. Top it with whipped cream and berries. —Kris Brill, Milwaukee, Wisconsin Get Recipe

Inspired by: Salad Nicoise

This salad makes it easy to eat what’s good for you. It’s versatile, so you can use asparagus in place of green beans and salmon instead of tuna, or add garden tomatoes. And if you follow the keto diet, you’ll be happy to know this is a keto chicken salad. —Nick Monfre, Oak Ridge, New Jersey Get Recipe

Inspired by: Roast Chicken with Lemon

Whether it’s soaking in marinade or baking in the oven, this easy-to-prepare chicken allows ample hands-free time. —Jan Valdez, Chicago, Illinois Get Recipe

Inspired by: Homemade Mayonnaise

Pssst! Did you know America’s top-selling condiment and go-to dressing for chicken, tuna and potato salad can be prepared with a handful of everyday pantry items? This mayonnaise recipe will be a new favorite. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen Get Recipe

Inspired by: Apple Tarte Tatin

I like that this gingerbread delight is so deeply flavored and delicious. Served warm from the oven, a nice scoop of vanilla bean ice cream is definitely the icing on this cake. —Raymonde Bourgeois, Swastika, Ontario Get Recipe

Inspired by: Classic Ratatouille

This rich and flavorful ratatouille is the perfect salute to the harvest. Hearty and full of veggies, it fills the kitchen with the comforting aroma of thyme, onions and garlic. —Diane Trester, Sheboygan, Wisconsin Get Recipe

Inspired by: French Onion Soup

Enjoy my signature French onion soup the way my granddaughter Becky does. I make onion soup for her in a crock bowl, complete with garlic croutons and gobs of melted Swiss cheese on top. —Lou Sansevero, Ferron, Utah Get Recipe

Inspired by: Coq au Vin

My creamy chicken tastes like a five-star restaurant dish but takes only minutes and few ingredients to make. Use fresh rosemary. Trust me. —Sarah Campbell, Terre Haute, IN Get Recipe

Inspired by: Scalloped Potatoes au Gratin

What makes this the best out of all the scalloped potatoes recipes out there? I slice them extra thin and toss them in a rich, creamy cheese sauce. Then, to make them the best ever, I sprinkle homemade bread crumbs on top—they get nice and crispy in the oven. Make room for these at all your family get-togethers. —Aria Thornton, Taste of Home Prep Cook Get Recipe

The 7 Best Books All About Julia Child

You may think you know Julia Child. You know how she changed boeuf bourguignon from tongue twister to dinner staple for generations of home cooks, and how she paved the way for Food Network’s modern popularity. But with these seven books—including a 600+-page biography and a new book with never-before-seen photos—you’re sure to discover even more surprising tidbits about her work, life and love of food.

① Julia Child: A Life, by Laura Shapiro ($16)

This historical dive into Child’s trajectory from SoCal girl to U.S. spy to beloved chef unearths a trove of fun facts. You’ll learn how long she spent prepping for each episode of The French Chef (19 hours) and even how she went about treating a cold (“Climb into bed with a bourbon on ice”). It also parallels Child’s rise to stardom with the evolution of American food.

② In Julia’s Kitchen, by Pamela Heyne and Jim Scherer ($25)

Heyne is also an architect, so beyond just opening the doors to Child’s various famous kitchens, you’ll also learn about how they influenced modern eating and design trends throughout the country. This recent release is heavy on the photos without disintegrating into the realm of coffee-table books and also offers tips on how to recreate your own version of a Child kitchen.

RELATED What Would Julia Child Do? Kitchen Design Edition “

③ The French Chef in America, by Alex Prud’homme ($28)

Consider this the unofficial part two of My Life in France. Whereas Child’s book chronicled the beginning of her love affair with French cuisine, this one digs into her time back stateside. Family photos of the personality-driven star add an intimate quality to this book, which was written by her grandnephew. Some of the most delightful moments explore the friendship of Child and James Beard, or “the Bearded Child.”

④ Baking with Julia, by Dorie Greenspan ($40)

For those who must have recipes, this book is the one to get. Greenspan’s delightful writing provides the backbone of Child’s techniques and keeps it from feeling strictly like a cookbook. While surely you’re familiar with Child’s beef stew, her Irish soda bread and Danish braid are equally deserving of your attention.

⑤ Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child, by Bob Spitz ($16)

If there was one book most akin to the Julie & Julia screenplay, Dearie would be it. Despite the grand scale of details included, one of the most interesting parts of the book lies just within its covers. An annotated facsimile of the script from The French Chef’s first episode (the famed boeuf bourguignon one) lines the front cover, with the omelet episode covering the back. And for anyone who still doubts Child’s status as a lasting celebrity, consider that Spitz has also authored a Beatles biography, and once managed Bruce Springsteen and Elton John—she’s in good company.

⑥ As Always, Julia, by Joan Reardon ($26)

Exploring Child through her friendship with Avis DeVoto, her book editor and mentor, lets you see a different side. Theirs wasn’t all butter and book talk—you’ll read plenty about the women’s reactions to political events, especially in regards to McCarthyism. Their letters were sealed away for 30 years before being opened in 2006 like literary time bombs, and along with a wealth of photos, they act as a lens into the lives of two strong, smart women.

⑦ Appetite for Life, by Noel Riley Fitch ($19)

Fitch calls Child “the prism and icon of the American culinary revolution” in the introduction, and his deft writing skills prove the claim. Get ready to fall in love with Child and her husband, Paul, all over again and expect to find yourself dreaming of Parisian kitchens. Clocking in at more than 600 pages, this may prove a good option for the audiobook crowd, unless you feel like building up your butter-churning muscles.

__Momofuku Milk Bar

By Christina Tosi__

And where would David Chang be without his genius pastry chef, Christina Tosi? The inventor of Cereal Milk and the Compost Cookie shares her own famous recipes in Momofuku’s dessert cookbook.


__The Skinnygirl Dish

By Bethenny Frankel and Eve Adamson__

Bethenny has built her empire on healthy living (who hasn’t had a bottle of Skinnygirl Margarita at this point?) and The Skinnygirl Dish is a go-to for healthy dishes that don’t skimp on deliciousness. Warning: The Boo Boo banana bread is completely addictive.


__EatingWell Serves Two: 150 Healthy in a Hurry Suppers

By Jim Romanoff and the editors of EatingWell__

When I asked Lindsey for her cookbook pick, she sent me the link to this book with three words: “Best. Cookbook. Ever.” Sold.


__The Food52 Cookbook: 140 Winning Recipes From Exceptional Home Cooks

By Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs__

Three reasons to love this cookbook from Food52: All the recipes come from real home cooks, the photos are stunning, and the the site it comes from is Gwyneth Paltrow-approved.


__100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know: Engagement Chicken and 99 Other Fabulous Dishes to Get You Everything You Want in Life

By Cindi Leive and the editors of Glamour__

Sure, I’m a little biased. But Glamour’s very own cookbook isn’t just about the famous Engagement Chicken. It has tons of other cheekily named recipes, like Instant Happiness Mac and Cheese and Who Calls a Meeting at 5 P.M. Stir-Fry. Trust me, you’ll love it.


Which of these cookbooks do you have in your arsenal? What’s your favorite cookbook?