As tired as I am of cooking every meal for the past 4 months, it’s also been incredibly gratifying to try new things, explore new ingredients and discover cookbooks to add to my library. The last time I shared cookbooks I love, the list was relatively short. To diversify my collection, I made an appointment at my favorite local shop called The Book Larder. I’m obsessed with it because now you can make an appointment to shop safely — and also it’s totally dedicated to cookbooks! Not all of the ones I’m mentioning in this post are from this source, but if you’re local I definitely recommend checking it out. Anyways, let’s dig into the cookbooks I’m loving lately and why!
8 Cookbook Recommendations to Inspire You To Try Something New
Some of the cookbooks I’m recommending are new and some are simply new-to-me… but all are amazing! Let’s dig in:
I actually shared this amazing Italian cookbook when it first came out, but I’ve recently rediscovered it in my collection. Probably because this is my first summer in two years where I haven’t traveled to Italy! I’m totally craving it, apparently. My favorite recipes from this book include the porchetta (I made it for Sean’s birthday and it was AMAZING), the carbonara (I like the second method listed), and pollo alla romana. My next project is probably the sorbetto di pesche e vino, basically peach and wine sorbet! The photography is beautiful, the recipes are well-tested and researched, and I just love it.
I’ve shared this one before, but lately I’ve rediscovered it anew! This cookbook recommendation is one I’d classify as a ‘must-have’ in any collection because you learn SO much from it. I especially love that there are additional variations for a recipe. For example, I recently made the ribs with gochujang, fish sauce, and honey… and then immediately made the variation for dry-rubbed ribs with molasses barbecue sauce! Everything I’ve made from this book feels like casual comfort food and usually uses ingredients I already have on hand… or can easily swap in.
Ok, this one was a difficult cookbook to track down, but SO WORTH IT. After 45 years, this iconic soul food classic is in print and I could not recommend it more! Not only is it a book of amazing recipes, it’s also a book you must read to learn more about the story of Pamela Strobel who started a few restaurants in the East Village in the ’60s and ’70s dedicated to the cooking of upstate South Carolina. There are poems scattered throughout by Pamela, too, adding a personal touch that makes this feel like an heirloom more than anything. In terms of recipes, there are some in here that feel like a page straight from my childhood in Maryland and Virginia — scrapple, ham bone soup, and cornbread (be sure to top with honey, butter, and sea salt flakes!). Next, I am trying the recipes for oxtail ragu and cornbread fritters
While perusing at The Book Larder, I realized this book had just been released. After flipping through it, I realized there’s a lot of crossover between Greek food and Palestinian cooking, so I purchased a copy. To me, this book is the best way to eat in the summer. The recipes are perfectly sharable and complement each other beautifully. I’m still exploring all that Falastin has to offer, but favorites so far are lemon chicken with za’atar and spinach and toasted orzo with dill and chili yogurt. I recently found a great source for lamb in my neighborhood, so I plan on making literally EVERY lamb recipe this summer.
Aside from just cooking new things, I’ve been interested in learning more and more about cooking. Why foods cook the way they do, how spices work together, that sort of thing. Salt Fat Acid Heat has been the BEST resource in that learning! I literally keep this one on my nightstand and read up on cooking techniques before bed.
If you follow me on Instagram, you are probably tired of hearing about how much I love this cookbook… but I CANNOT HELP MYSELF!!! It’s just so good. Read more about why I love it here.
Ok, my love affair with Italy is long and deep, so to me, this cookbook feels like a postcard from the ultimate vacation to Sardinia. The entire book is gorgeous (I’m really obsessed with the cover), the photograph is stunning, and I love the typography. My fave recipe so far is the baked chicken with citrus, fennel, and white wine. It’s the perfect easy weeknight dinner. Trust me, this is the type of cookbook that makes you re-evaluate your everyday life and dream of European vacations.
And last but not least… the best cookbook for when you’re in a rush and need to throw together something easy, but oh-so-tasty. This cookbook has helped me turn away from ordering sub-par delivery and instead make a satisfying meal at the end of a long day. The recipes are labeled as short on time, 10 or fewer ingredients,ke ahead meals, pantry-led meals, lazy-day dishes (!!!!), and ‘easier than you think.’ I use this a lot for dinner since we can eat the leftovers for lunch the next day. My go-tos are orzo with shrimp, tomato, and marinated feta, anchovy and samphire spaghetti (I swap in asparagus since that is what I usually have on hand), and lamb and feta meatballs.
Have you tried any of these cookbooks that I recommended today? I’d love to know what you think of them! Also, let me know if there are any other cookbooks you think I should try next. I’m running out of shelf space, but always down to add more cookbooks to my collection (much to Sean’s chagrin).