This crop of new cookbooks all have something in common – each pushes culinary boundaries, be it a new way of embracing vegetarian cooking, or unraveling the mysteries of molecular cuisine. They also happen to be totally inspiring.
Here are my top five best new cookbooks:
Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi
This is all about what amazing vegetarian cooking can and should be – big flavours, bursts of colour like pomegranate seeds, and lots of texture, as in crunchy nuts and smooth, rich cheeses. Carrots are spiced and roasted. Couscous is strewn with seeds, nuts and herbs. It’s a riff on modern Israeli food, making for a new way of eating up the Middle East.
Milk: Momofuku Milk Bar, by Christina Tosi
You will want to make every single dessert in this nostalgia-inducing book, but you won’t do it. Why? Because the recipes aren’t just recipes, many are full-day projects, with recipes within recipes, within recipes. That said, this is the genius pastry chef who brought you Cereal Milk Ice Cream, the Compost Cookie, and perhaps most famously, Crack Pie, for which the effort is well worth the results. So set aside a weekend, and get baking!
American Flavor, by Andrew Carmellini
The New York chef and James Beard Award-winner, hits the road in order to get a real taste of what makes America’s melting pot so delicious. From smoky southwestern mole to cheesy perogies, and even a stop in Vancouver at a hippie café, the doable recipes are as culturally deep and sweet as a Midwestern mile-high pie.
The Art of Living According to Joe Beef: A Cookbook of Sorts, by Jennifer May, Frédéric Morin and David McMillan
For the extreme hedonist, this isn’t just a cookbook, it’s a guidebook on how to eat, drink and be merry, by some Montreal chefs for who too much is never enough (think foie gras parfait and squid stuffed with lobster). It’s the perfect gift for Father’s Day, especially if your man wants instructions on how to build his own smoker. (It’s in there too.)
Modernist Cuisine, by Nathan Myhrvold
It’s an important book, but at over $500, too rich for my blood. I have seen it and touched it though, and it truly is a thing of beauty. An extreme lesson in the science behind the foods we eat, many of the recipes require highly specialized equipment, such as thermal circulators, sous-vide machines and extruders to cook the dishes. Instead, stay tuned for the October release of the more affordable and one hopes more doable, Modernist Cuisine at Home.
What are some of your favourite new cookbooks?