12 Best Cookbooks of 2012
If you're looking for holiday gift ideas, look no further. These 12 cookbooks are top picks of the folks here at culture and will take care of everyone from the kitchen newby to the culinary artest on your gift list.
the smitten kitchen cookbook
by Deb Perelman
Anyone who has ever checked out the culture website knows what huge fans we are here of smitten kitchen. In her first cookbook, Deb takes the delicious recipes and gorgeous food photography we've come to love at smitten kitchen and brings it to our kitchens with almost 100 new recipes. Not sold? I have 1 recipe title that will change your mind: baked ranchero eggs with blistered jack cheese and lime creme. Heck yeah.
The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making
by Alana Chernila
Organized by the section of the grocery store you'd normally tromp through to find each pantry item, this useful and non-preachy cookbook lets you look inside one mother's kitchen and see her approach to making every day foods you'd normally buy into tastier, healthier, and more fun homemade alternatives. I was won over by the recipes for every day condiments like Ketchup and Mustard.
Dinner: A Love Story
by Jenny Rosenstrach
If having family dinners more often is your New Year's resolution, this is the book for you. After hearing a friend confess how guilty she felt about never cooking dinner for her family, Jenny launched a website with recipes, strategies, and even pep talks for folks trying to do more family dinners. The website begat this book, which is full of tasty tips and recipes for delicious kid-friend recipes like Zucchini Fries and Lazy Bolognese.
A Feast of Fire and Ice: The Official Game of Thrones Companion Cookbook
by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel & Sariann Lehrer
I'm going to admit right now that I'm a bit of a geek. I think the HBO adaptation of George R. R. Martin's Game of Thrones is incredibly thrilling and I used to host a "Leif Erikson Day" feast each year featuring Viking-inspired cuisine. The recipes in this cookbook are divided into the fictional regions of Martin's fantasy world, and many seem to be inspired by medieval British cooking (Beef and Bacon Pie, Stewed Rabbit, Baked Apples), but others (Chickpea Paste, Honey-Spiced Locusts) are clearly of more adventurous culinary origins. A perfect present for the die-hard fan.
Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round
by Marisa McClellan
This book is a perfect choice for someone who is new to canning. Loads of beautiful and helpful step-by-step photos demystify the process from sterilizing jars to knowing whether or not jam has jammed. My favorite recipe? The Spicy Pickled Cauliflower.
My Berlin Kitchen: A Love Story (with recipes)
by Luisa Weiss
This is the tail of how one confused, kitchen-mad perfectionist broke off her engagement, quit her dream job, and found her way to a new life, a new man, and a new home in Berlin - one recipe at a time. This lovely memoir combines the best parts of A Homemade Life and Eat, Pray, Love and joins them together with recipes from the author's life like Omelette Confiture..
The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from Around the World
by Sandor Ellix Katz
This is way, way more than a book of recipe. Katz delves all the way back into prehistory to explain the science and history of fermented foods. He guides the reader through the basic equipment needed, the methods that can be used, and works to demystify the process behind the recipes in a way that's accessible and comprehensible. This comprehensive guide is a must for anyone interested in pickles, ciders, or kimchi. I'm itching to try the Ginger Beer recipe.
Fifty Shades of Chicken
by F.L. Fowler
You will never look at chicken the same way again. This hilarious parody of 50 Shades of Grey will have you alternately cracking up and blushing. But the best part is that it comes with 50 honest-to-goodness recipes for the popular poultry. Recipe titles include: Extra-Virgin Breasts, Learning to Truss You, and Chicken with a Lardon. You can also follow the Twitter feed @50shadeschicken
The Science of Good Cooking
by The Editors of America's Test Kitchen & Guy Crosby, Ph.D
America's Test Kitchen has spent years creating perfect, fool-proof recipes for everything from Chocolate Chip Cookies to Roast Chicken. Their secret? Bringing science into the kitchen. While readers of their cookbooks have frequently benefitted from the motto, "We make the mistakes so you don't have to," they can now learn the science behind the recipes. This book has a few recipes, but more interesting are the 50 food experiments that demonstrate why the recipes work.
Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America
by Maricel E. Presilla
Culinary historian and restaurateur Presilla has collected over 500 recipes from Mexico to the Caribbean to Argentina in this compendium of Latin cooking. Gorgeous food photography brings the dishes to life while equipment notes, serving suggestions, and detailed instructions bring the dishes into your kitchen. Great for both adventurous cooks and travel buffs. Don't miss the Ceviche recipe.
by Michael Natkin
Another blog-inspired cookbook full of original recipes and enough food porn to make a carnivore go vegetarian for the day. Unlike many vegetarian cookbooks, hearty main dishes are a priority with global options such as Sicilian Spaghetti with Pan-Roasted Cauliflower to Sichuan Dry-Fried Green Beans with Tofu. I also love the extensive notes on tools and ingredients that help each dish to be a success before you ever start cooking.
Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking
by Nathalie Dupree
As a person who was raised on Mastering the Art of French Cooking and who then moved to North Carolina for eight years, this book was irresistible. This tome (it has over 750 recipes) is likely to become the definitive text on Southern cooking. Like Julia Child, Dupree has an endearing way of editorializing her recipes with gems like, "Bacon makes everything taste better," and "Hot bread is the hallmark of Southern meals." Don't miss the Bubble Butter Bean Soup.