It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Well, it is for cookbook enthusiasts, at least. That’s because fall is traditionally the season when publishers release their A-Listers, and this year, things seem to be on overdrive — maybe because they know we might be hunkering down even more than usual over the next few months. Here are nine books I can’t wait to dive into on cozy, fire-in-the-fireplace kinda days…
By Yottam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage
Why I’m Excited: Sure, his recipes famously require many ingredients, but here’s the thing: the result is almost always extraordinary and stretches you to learn and expand your pantry. This book focuses on high-impact ingredients (black lime, cascabel chiles, mango pickle) and techniques (charring, infusing, browning) for boosting cooking with high-intensity flavor. I’m choosing to think of these dishes as projects or Saturday night adventures, a nice stand-in for the restaurants we probably won’t be able to go to this winter.
What’s Up First: Roasting Pan Ragu (made with mushrooms, harissa and lentils), Black Lime Tofu, Miso-Butter Onions
East 120 Vegan and Vegetarian recipes from Bangalore to Beijing
By Meera Sodha
Why I’m Excited: I’ve been a big fan of Sodha ever since she wrote the weeknight-friendly vegetable-forward Fresh India. Here, The Guardian‘s vegan columnist (and mom of a toddler) applies her same no-fuss style to East Asian and South Asian home cooking. She’s just the hand you want to be holding if you are going down the fermenting-and-pickling road to flavor-boosted plant-based eating. And you gotta love her mission: “I love vegetables, and I want you to love them, too.”
What’s Up First: Aubergine (Eggplant) Katsu Curry (above), Forbidden Rice Salad with Blistered Broccolini, and Miso, Pea and Coconut Chutney
In Bibi’s Kitchen The Recipes and Stories of Grandmothers From the Eight African Countries that Touch the Indian Ocean
By Hawa Hassan with Julia Turshen
Why I’m Excited: The two authors — Hassan, a Somalian refugee, former model, and business owner and Turshen, a cookbook author and collaborator — join forces to share the stories and the recipes from African grandmothers who hail from Eritrea, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa, Madagascar and Comoros. “It’s not about what’s new and next,” they write. “It’s about sustaining a cultural legacy and seeing how food and recipes keep cultures intact.” Many of the recipes were transcribed from videos of the Bibis cooking dishes they’ve never written down. How great is that?
What’s Up First: Digaag Qumbe (chicken stew with coconut and yogurt, Somalia), Ndizi Kaanga (fried plantains, Tanzania), Malva Pudding Cake (South Africa)
Pie for Everyone: Recipes and Stories from Petee’s Pie, New York’s Best Pie Shop
By Petra Paredez
Why I’m Excited: I don’t know about you, but I’m determined to up my Thankgiving game, pie and otherwise, any way I can this year. (It’s called controlling the controllable.) Paradez’s gorgeously photographed, meticulously written book will play a central role in that strategy: The uber-popular Lower East Side pie maker shares hits from her sweet and savory collection in the most stylish way. How ’bout that cover?
What’s Up First: Her signature Chocolate Chess Pie, Pork Chili Verde, Honey Chèvre, Cornmeal Pecan Crumb
Mexican Home Kitchen: Traditional Home-style Recipes That Capture the Flavors and Memories of Mexico
By Mely Martinez
Why I’m Excited: Because it’s authentic Mexican home cooking from The Mexico in My Kitchen blogger, who started writing about food a decade ago because she wanted her teenage son to someday cook the family recipes for his children. With influences from Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, Veracruz, Puebla, Estado de México, Tabasco and Yucatán.
What’s Up First: Steak Tacos, Mole Poblano, Pozole Verde, Chiles Rellenos
The Rise Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food
By Marcus Samuelsson with Osayi Endolyn
Why I’m Excited: Because I’ve been a Marcus Samuelsson fan ever since eating at Aquavit, his first big restaurant in New York in the ’90s. Samuelsson’s story has been well-documented — the TV star and New York-based restaurateur was born in a hut in Ethiopia, adopted by parents in Sweden, and trained as a chef in Europe, before opening the iconic Red Rooster in Harlem. With this book, he asks himself “What does it mean to be a Black chef in America” and answers it by sharing the stories and recipes from the Black food diaspora, from Junebaby’s Eduoardo Jourdan to author-food writer Toni Tipton-Martin. Co-authored by Osayi Endolyn; recipes by Yewande Komolafe.
What’s Up First: Salmon Rillettes with Injera, Flaky Andouille and Callaloo Hand Pies, Grilled Piri Piri Shrimp with Papaya and Watermelon Salad (above)
Snacking Cakes Simple Treats for Anytime Cravings
By Yossy Arefi
Why I’m Excited: Anyone who’s even spent a little amount of time on this blog knows about our beloved Yossy! She’s one we call when we need someone to do it all — make the food, plate the food, photograph the food. (If you’ve ever cooked a recipe from CoJ, it’s likely because she’s the one who made it look so enticing.) With Snacking Cakes, she’s right there in her wheelhouse, delivering 50 easy, comforting, everyday cake recipes — many of which, like the Buckwheat Banana I made yesterday, you can make with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.
What’s Up First: Salty Caramel Peanut Butter, Buttered Walnut with Coffee Glaze, Chocolate Peanut Butter
Coconut & Sambal Recipes From My Indonesian Kitchen
By Lara Lee
Why I’m Excited: Because Lee, the daughter of an Australian mom and Indonesian-Chinese dad, journeys across the country, learning from both experts and home cooks along the way, paying particularly beautiful homage to her Indonesian grandmother “Popo,” a onetime baker who lived with Lee’s family in Sydney. It’s a celebration of a cuisine I don’t know very much about — Indonesian — and Lee’s voice and style make it look so enticing.
What’s Up First: Beef Rendang, Gado-Gado, Chicken Nasi Goreng (above)
Chaat Recipes from the Kitchens, Markets, and Railways of India: A Cookbook
By Maneet Chauhan and Jody Eddy
Why I’m Excited: Because it’s as fun to read as it is to cook from. You’ll travel with James Beard-Award winning Chauhan as she trains her way through India, stopping at each station to sample the regional chaat — the iconic snacks of Indian cuisine that she describes as “tangy and sweet, fiery and crunchy, savory and sour all in one topsy-turvy bite” fashioned for her by vendors she calls “flavor alchemists.” I love cookbooks that aren’t exclusively shot in a studio with controlled lighting and professional stylists. You’re on the street here, you meet the vendors, you’re completely transported. And how good does that sound right now?
What’s Up First: Fresh Lime Sodas (Rajasthan), Dal Baati Churma Chaat (Lentils with Wheat Rolls, Jaipur), Idli Chaat (South Indian-style steamed breakfast pancake)
What cookbooks have you recently been into? What have you made from them? I’d love to know.