Cookbooks are always the perfect Christmas and birthday gifts for those who love to spend time in the kitchen. In whatever kind of food they would want to prepare, a new cookbook will always bring the best out of any cook.
From new cooking ideas and presentations to great photos, cookbooks can both serve as great coffee table books and reference for the foodie.
Here is the list of the top ten cookbooks for this year.
This is a smart and witty modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility with a wide range of characters, from an IT specialist to a free-spirited younger sister. This book talks about love and loss amidst tasty recipes.
Sometimes the good thing about partaking in a reading challenge is that it makes you push your boundaries and read a book you normally wouldn’t – I read the Cookbook Collector for just that reason. I’d seen it previously in stores, but it just never gained by attention enough that I read it. However, I’m glad that I did. It’s a marvelous story about learning who you are and finding your place in teh world, about living each day as it comes and not putting off today what can be done tomorrow. I highly recommend it.
–Delicious Dee Challenge Addict
2. Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine by René Redzepi
Noma is written by Chef Redzepi, responsible for putting Nordic cuisine on the map of world cuisine. Much like the creations of Chef Redzepi, this book is experimental and refreshing.
Lots of time and a northern place
Stunning photographs and well-written recipes make a great coffee table book. Yes, the kitchen equipment to reproduce the recipes faithfully is not likely to be found in most home kitchens — Thermomix, Pacojet, super bags, a pantry full of Willpowder and Le Sanctuaire containers, …the usual list — and the ingredients for many dishes will be a challenging find unless you have access to markets in the Nordic region. However, many of the recipes can be reproduced with more modest equipment and a little ingenuity, and many of the ingredients can be found seasonally here in Seattle. When the first new-growth spruce tips appear next spring, I will definitely be trying “Blueberries in their natural environment.” This dish is eye-poppingly beautiful and requires nothing more exotic than the spruce tips to reproduce. Ten stars for the photography.
–Demented dementad (Seattle, WA United States)
From harvesting to baking, Darina Allen crammed more than 700 recipes with age-old cooking and housekeeping techniques in this new book.
A beautiful book. Well written and illustrated with wonderful recipes.
4. Time for Dinner: Strategies, Inspiration, and Recipes for Family Meals Every Night of the WeekCooking, Food & Wine Books)by Pilar Guzmán, Jenny Rosenstrach, and Alanna Stang
Former Cookie magazine editors created this visual display of techniques and strategies for moms who would want to recreate the family dinner most families forego nowadays.
Editors of Cookie Magazine put taste and style into family meals
I was a subscriber to Cookie Magazine, and found myself greatly missing it when it was taken out of circulation. One of the sections I missed most was the recipes that showed one ingredient (for instance, ground turkey), and then plotted a graph showing 3 different ways to cook that item, with photos, tips and final pictures of the meal. All on one page! Well, this cookbook brings that back, along with fantastic images of a stocked fridge, pantry and cabinets. This is a cookbook with usable recipes, helpful tips and great ideas to encourage family dining. First on my list to try is the ice-cube-tray sushi and the sesame noodles with extras. And one more thing – it is a feast for the eyes, with killer photographs and detailed ingredient lists.
5. Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Foodby Paul Greenberg
An informative book by Paul Greeenberg on how to sustain the four species of fish many of us have come to love: cod, tuna, salmon and bass.
“The signal quality of Greenberg’s book is its genial and sometimes despairing struggle with contradiction. Not many who argue for our planet’s endangered species also write the thrill of hunting them. Like the fish he once hooked, he plunges away and is reeled back. ‘Four Fish’ is a serious and searching study. Written with wit and beauty, it is also play.”
–The Los Angeles Times
6. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake: A Novel by Aimee Bender
Aimee Bender’s novel about a girl’s extraordinary sensory ability of being able to taste the emotions of the people who cook her food, it is a story that responds to the emotional hunger of living in the 21st century.
Great Concept – Poor Execution
The magical concepts in this story really could have made for an excellent novel. The idea of being able to taste the feelings of the person who prepared a meal was unique. However, the authors execution of this novel was so poor that I, myself, am tempted to rewrite the story the way it should have been written.
--Nicole A. (New York, NY)
7.The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion & Cooking ManualCooking, Food & Wine Books)by Frank Falcinelli, Frank Castronovo, and Peter Meehan
From the chef-owners of Chicago’s Frankies Spuntino, this cookbook presents a no-pretense and simple Italian food cooking.
The Perfect Kitchen Companion
Great book – most cookbooks, you look up a recipe, go to the page, and maybe read any relevant content for a page or two before just going off the recipe. This book is actually readable, from cover to cover. A quick background on the guys, tips on gear/gadgets and how best to stock your kitchen, then on to the food. One of my big complaints with cookbooks is being told “this is how it’s done” or “you only do it this way”, without being told why. I’m left wondering “if I don’t do it this way, will it suck, will it just be more watery, will it be a total disaster?” Here, they tell you what they do, and why they do it. Good stuff
From the world-renowned chef and Thai food expert, let David Thompson bring you to the vibrant world of authentic Thai cuisine.
“A hunger-inspiring tour of the outdoor markets and food stalls of Thailand. The evocative photos and recipes for noodles, curries, satays, salads, roasted meats, and more capture the daily rhythms, bright flavors, and bustling spirit of Bangkok’s streets, and will appeal to anyone with a love for Thai cuisine.”
Award-winning cookbook author Joan Nathan searched France for French Jewish cuisine. Suited for kosher kitchens, it showcases how Jewish bakers adapted to French cooking techniques.
This is another excellent book by Joan Nathan, and really worth owning! We’ve enjoyed several Algerian and Moroccan salads and vegetable dishes, and I intend to try many more dishes. The book covers way more than couscous and kugel, and it’s really something special and worth having.
–Kate Runyan “katethecook” (Santa Monica, CA)
Chad Robertson shows the versatility of the tatine bread in this cookbook. From the basic recipe to the most complex, this bread cookbook would surely delight any pastry and bread lover.
For intermediate or advanced bakers
There really are only a few bread recipes in this book. The author goes into lengthy detail about his breads, his philosophy, and how to make them. For those of you who are familiar with Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking’s treatise on how to make an omelet (it’s about 20 pages long), that is what you will find here, just a lot fewer recipes. Why? Because Tartine specializes in making a few breads and pastries, and this book is about their bakery.
If you are looking for a comprehensive baking book of artisan breads, try Jeffrey Hamelman’s “Bread.” If you want easy, tasty recipes for most home bakers, take a look at the King Arthur Flour baking books, or Beth Hensperger’s excellent “Bread Bible.”
So, if you are not into creating and nursing sourdough starters, or you have no interest in reading through
20 pages of instructions to teach you how to make an artisan loaf of Tartine bread, this is not the book for you. There are plenty of other wonderful books on the market for that.
I would recommend this book for intermediate or advanced home bakers, or for professionals who are really looking to expand their bread baking repertoire.
The book does have some of the most detailed photos on folding and shaping loaves that I’ve seen, but the “artsy” quality of those photos is really irritating – I don’t want to see special shadowing, I just want a clear picture of a technique.
–Cookbook Gal “Cookbook Gal”
So grab your copy now!