This year the holidays coincide with my moving to a place with an actual kitchen, and I’m looking forward to being able to enjoyably cook again—and spend Sunday afternoons baking, too, during the long winter of hunkering down ahead. Is it any coincidence that the cookbooks I want most out of this list are in fact baking books? Probably not.
For those in your life in need of some old-fashioned comfort, for the home chef and the novice looking to take on winter culinary projects, and for lovers of cookbooks that are as much objects of beauty as they are instructional, here are 10 new titles from the year to tie a bow on and gift.
N.B.: We’ve linked to Bookshop throughout and encourage sourcing from independent bookstores this season, too.
Above: A favorite on my list: ($27.59), for reasons that are self-explanatory. Pie for Everyone: Recipes and Stories from Petee’s Pie, New York’s Best Pie Shop Above: Yotam Ottolenghi’s latest cookbook, ($32.20), features over 100 plant-based recipes with an emphasis on, yes, vibrant flavor. Flavor Above: ($36.80), by master baker (and former chemical engineer) Melissa Weller, unlocks the secrets to perfect sweets (and savory bakes, too). A Good Bake Above: A fitting gift for this year: The charming ($35) by Kristin Tice Studeman and Bryan Fountain, written in the first week of NYC’s lockdowns, includes “more than 45 easy, pantry-friendly recipes from NYC’s best restaurants, including Olmsted, Momofuku, King, Charlie Bird, Llama Inn, the NoMad, and more.” One hundred percent of proceeds go to ROAR x Robin Hood restaurant relief fund for NYC restaurants and workers. Serving New York Above: We’re coveting Somali chef Hawa Hassan’s collection, ($32.20), with the recipes of grandmothers from South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, Comoros, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia, and Eritrea. In Bibi’s Kitchen: The Recipes and Stories of Grandmothers from the Eight African Countries That Touch the Indian Ocean Above: ($32.20) by Indonesian-Australian chef and writer Lara Lee introduces recipes passed down through generations (it was also named one of the best cookbooks of fall 2020 by Coconut and Sambal: Recipes From My Indonesian Kitchen The New York Times). Above: For the veggie-forward cook in your life, there’s ($32.20) by London-based food writer and columnist Meera Sodha, first published in the UK and now adapted to US measurements. East: 120 Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Beijing Above: Another cookbook with simple but transformative plant-based recipes: ($27.60) by food justice activist and author Bryant Terry (also currently chef-in-residence at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco). Vegetable Kingdom: The Abundant World of Vegan Recipes Above: Cook through the effortless but elegant recipes in Susan Spungen’s new ($32.20) to make dinners a little more special for those you live with—until the day we can all gather again. Open Kitchen: Inspired Food for Casual Gatherings Above: Not so much a cookbook as a series of essays, ($55.15) tells the story of Magnus Nilsson’s acclaimed restaurant, now closed, in remote northern Sweden (see our piece on it in Fäviken: 4015 Days, Beginning to End Into the Wild), with notes on “the search for lagom,…the art of hospitality, and the importance of craft over innovation.” Buy it for the photographs, but there are 100 recipes, too.
More cookbooks we love from years past: