COOKBOOKS I'VE READ AND RECOMMEND


  • Red Sands, Caroline Eden - stories and recipes from travel through central asia (the "-stans")

  • The Food of Sichuan, Fuchsia Dunlop - updated from her previous book

  • Canal House: Cook Something, Hamilton & Hirsheimer - more excellent recipes by Melissa & Christopher

  • Truly Texas Mexican, A Native Culinary Heritage in Recipes, Adan Medrano - origins and history of Texas Mexican cooking, classic recipes

  • The Homesick Texan Cookbook, Lisa Fain - some really good recipes from a Texan. Tex-mex, too.

  • Jemie Oliver's "5 Ingredients" - another excellent collection of recipes with short ingredients lists. Companion to the excellent PBS TV show.

  • Smitten Kitchen Every Day, Deb Perelman - a GREAT collection of recipes you can actually USE every day. (PS, I am not much of a fan of Deb's previous books, but this one is truly great - thanks, Deb! 

  • How to Cook Everything Fast, Mark Bittman - this is a BIG (more than 1000 page) book with great, simple recipes for everything.

  • The Noma Guide to Fermentation, Rene Redzepi - comprehensive treatment of 7 fermentation techniques (lactic, kombucha, vinegar, koji, miso, shoyu and garum) as well as covering "black" fruits and vegetables (like black garlic).

  • River Cottage A to Z, Encyclopedic book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, alphabetically arranged by ingredients used at his restaurant. Great!

  • Salt Fat Acid Heat, Samin Nosrat - excellent book by one of Alice Waters' Chez Panisse folks - good recipes and explanations

  • Cooked, Michael Pollan - another winner by Pollan who dives deeply into the story of 4 foods

  • Traditional Fermented Foods, Shannon Stonger - a great book on fermentation basics and lots of recipes for fermenting vegetables, grains and dairy

  • Pizza Camp, Joe Beddia - very good recipes for pizza dough, sauce and assembly from Bon Appetit's best pizza winner

  • Cornbread Nation - The Best of Southern Food Writing (Volumes 1 - 5) - excellent collections of food writing from the South

  • Victuals an Appalachian Journey, with Recipes by Ronni Lundy - wonderful stories and recipes from the South

  • Preserving Italy by Domenica Marchetti - a truly excellent treatment of Italian oil- and vinegar-preserved foods, sweets, cheeses, salumi and liqueurs!  

  • Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge by Grace Young - from the author of Breath of a Wok, another excellent Chinese technique guide and cookbook

  • Pati's Mexican Table - Secrets of Real Mexican Home Cooking, Pati Jinich - an excellent book of simple Mexican home recipes

  • also, Mexican Today by Pati Jinich - her latest (2016) book of Mexican home recipes for busy people who like flavorful food

  • The Dal Cookbook, Krishna Dutta - Another excellent entry in the Indian Dal cookbook realm; highly recommended

  • The Art of Fermentation, Sandor Katz - Excellent, comprehensive treatment of how to ferment a wide variety of foods and drinks

  • Eat: the little book of fast food, Nigel Slater - A wonderful collection of quick tasty recipes, from the author of Tender

  • Notes from the Larder, A Kitchen Diary with recipes, also by Nigel Slater - A large book with many stories and recipes, arranged by season

  • Meat, Pat LaFreida - Really, everything you need to know about buying and cooking meat with great recipes and background info

  • My Irish Table, Cathal Armstrong & David Hagedorn - many wonderful trad Irish recipes from a Dublin native

  • I Hear America Cooking, Betty Fussell - a wonderful compendium of history, stories and recipes from America

  • Canal House Cooking, Hamilton & Hirsheimer - a multi-volume series of excellent recipes by Melissa & Christopher

  • Teeny's Tour of Pie, Teeny Lamothe - excellent recipes and an easy-reading memoir

  • Saving the Season - A cooks guide to home canning, pickling and preserving, Kevin West

  • The Old World Kitchen: The Rich Tradition of European Peasant Cooking, Elisabeth Luard

    • A detailed treatment of peasant food, and many excellent recipes, from Western, Eastern and Northern Europe

  • Hero Food, Seamus Mullen - the relationship between food and health, with lots of great recipes

  • Ruhlman's Twenty: 20 Techniques 100 Recipes, Michael Ruhlman - just a lot of really good techniques and recipes

  • SICILY: Culinary Crossroads, Giuseppe Coria - a brief history of Sicily and authentic recipes arranged by their provinces and by courses

  • Every Grain of Rice, Fuchsia Dunlop - over 300 Chinese home cooking recipes with a brief story about each one

  • Gran Cocina Latina: the Food of Latin America, Maricel Presilla - encyclopedic cookbook and essays on Latin American food

  • 660 Curries, Raghavan Iyer - wonderful treatment of Indian dals and curries

  • The Sorcerer's Apprentices (what it's like to be a stagiare at El Bulli)

  • Essential Pepin, Jacques Pepin (one of his best cookbooks, IMHO)

  • In search of Perfection: Reinventing Kitchen Classics, Heston Blumenthal

  • Mes Confitures, Christine Ferber - one of the best books on making jams & jellies I have read

  • Life, On the Line, Grant Achatz - all about one young chef's quest to open a great restaurant - Alinea

  • Ideas in Food - Great Recipes and Why They Work, Kamozawa and Talbot

  • The Lost Art of Real Cooking, Ken Albala - some fine recipes for true scratch cooking

  • Stirred But Not Shaken: The Autobiography, by Keith Floyd

    • Remember "Floyd on Fish"? Here's the story of one of the first celebrity chefs and his adventures, cheffy and otherwise

  • The Best Bread Ever, Charles Van Over

    • I can't believe how easy and delicious this bread is. BTW, this is not the "no-knead" bread recipe, this is a food-processor bread.

  • On Rue Tatin, Susan Herrmann Loomis - Americans renovate old house in Normandy (a sort of French "Under the Tuscan Sun")

  • Beaneaters & Bread Soup, Lori de Mori - Wonderful vignettes of Tuscan food artisans, with recipes

  • Momofuku, David Chang - stories and recipes from his restaurants in NYC

  • The Joy of Pickling, Linda Ziedrich

  • Cooking by Hand, Paul Bertolli

  • Charcuterie, Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn (techniques and recipes for making your own cured meat products)

  • Well-Preserved, Eugenia Bone - "Recipes and techniques for putting up small batches of seasonal foods" (the subtitle says it all)

  • Blue Ribbon Preserves, Linda Amendt

  • Beyond the Great Wall - recipes and travels in the other China, J. Alford and N. Duguid

  • Made in Italy: food & stories, Giorgio Locatelli with Sheila Keating

  • Mouth Wide Open, John Thorne

  • Nigella Express, Nigella Lawson (one of her best to date)

  • Cook with Jamie, Jamie Oliver aka the Naked Chef (one of his best, too)

  • Land of Plenty, Fuchsia Dunlop (Sichuan cooking techniques, ingredients & recipes)

    • Shark's fin and Sichuan pepper: a sweet-sour memoir of eating in China (her memoir starts well but tires by the end)

  • Chez Jacques, Jacques Pepin

  • Treasures of the Italian Table, Burton Anderson

  • Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julia Child et al

  • My Life in France, Julia Child with Alex Prud'homme

  • Silver Spoon cookbook, recently translated from the Italian

  • Fast Food My Way, Jacques Pepin

  • The Breath of a Wok, Grace Young and Alan Richardson

  • Chocolate and Zucchini, Coltilde Dusoulier

    • The Cuisines of Mexico, Diana Kennedy (out of print, but worth hunting down)

    • Jacques Pepin's Complete Techniques

    • The Apprentice - My Life in the Kitchen, Jacques Pepin

    • It Must've Been Something I Ate, Jeffrey Steingarten

    • French Cheeses, Dorling Kindersley (publishers of the excellent DK Eyewitness travel guides)

    • Cheese Primer, Steven Jenkins

    • Zuppa, Anne Bianchi

    • From the Tables of Tuscan Women, Anne Bianchi

    • Solo Verdura, Anne Bianchi

    Here's a cookbook that I put together from my Italian grandmother's hand-written spiral notebook of family recipes.

    Updated 22MAY2021