Cookbooks may not be what immediately comes to mind when one thinks of literature with a capital “L”, but these books have always been an integral part of our reading lives, even if that reading is done solely in the kitchen, with hands dusted in baking powder, our minds preoccupied with measuring cups and oven timers.
Amid the rise of cooking shows, food blogs and media digitalization in general, there have been thoughts around the future of the cookbook, namely thoughts about whether there even is a future for these tangible works. But when you take a look at just how many cookbooks are slated for release in the next few months, it’s tough to give these doom and gloom debates too much consideration.
Here’s a look at some of the most hotly anticipated cookbooks dropping this fall. Though they’re all quite distinct from one another, you’ll notice a few recurring themes here, like using cooking as a way to practice mindfulness, embracing aspects of foreign cuisines you may have never considered and overcoming imposter syndrome in the kitchen.
This book hasn’t even hit shelves (or Kindles) yet and already it’s something of a classic in its genre, with droves of critics cheering it on as one of the best cookbooks of fall. Alison Roman, who is a contributor at "Bon Appétit" and "The New York Times", takes a no frills and no fuss approach to making food. “This is not about living an aspirational life; it’s about living an attainable one,” she states in the introduction. In “Nothing Fancy”, you can learn how to make Creamy Sesame Turmeric Dip and other dishes that are ideal for get togethers, but more importantly perhaps, you stand to have your whole perspective on meal prep revamped, as Roman challenges you to “ask for help”, “pick your battles” and “never apologize”.
Like “Nothing Fancy”, “Maanghchi’s Big Book of Korean Cooking” won the hearts (and/or tastebuds) of throngs of critics well before its release. Currently Amazon’s #1 bestseller in the category of Chinese Cooking, Food & Wine, this nearly 450-page book touts the secrets to creating traditional Korean meals, snacks and even lunch boxes for kids. Meat eaters will surely rejoice in learning the ropes of Korean barbecue and Korean fried chicken, while those who prefer a more plant-based approach can master vegetarian fare such as tofu stews.
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Antoni Porowski has risen to fame on Netflix’s “Queer Eye” as the culinary mastermind who can help transform even the most drab and disorganized home cooking situation into a celebration of one’s heritage and a family bonding experience. In his debut cookbook, co-authored by the established food writer Mindy Fox, Porowski walks readers through the prep of variety of dishes (with an emphasis on comfort foods) and provides practical insights on confidence building and how to make your cooking routines work for you.
Aran Goyoaga, the mind behind the renowned food blog Cannelle et Vanille dishes on dozens of gluten-free recipes in this gorgeous book. You can learn how to make meals for every time of day, with chapters designed around morning, midday, dinner and dessert. Goyoaga is perhaps most famous for her gluten-free baking and does not hold back on sharing her most valuable skills here. If you ever frowned at just how tough it is to find breads, pastries and pizza doughs without gluten, you’ve picked up the right book. You’re also in luck if you’re looking to learn tips to bring more mindfulness to your day via cooking — a practice that Goyoaga describes as her own form of therapy.
This is an essential cookbook for both committed vegans and folks looking to incorporate more plant-based eating into their routine. These 100 recipes run the gamut from salads to stroganoffs, with some dishes require zero cooking at all. Bonus points to Fields for being sensitive to those with food allergies and dietary restrictions, giving home chefs options to cook nut-free, oil-free and soy-free.
As a longtime vegetarian, I catch the occasional flak from carnivorous types who feel it necessary to opine, usually very loudly, about how depressingly bland my dietary life must be. All vegetarians know that this isn’t the case, but it’s nice to have a new book containing 75 examples for us to point to in a pinch. Raquel Pelzel, who has penned quite a few cookbooks, also delves into the transformative wonders of seasonings and spices. Who knew soy sauce could add a savory dimension to chocolate frosting? I didn’t, and I’m looking forward to learning more from this book.
Racking up foodie followers through her pastry-centric food blog, Hummingbird High, Michelle Lopez’s debut cookbook serves up dessert recipes along with time-saving hacks and endearing stories. Baking has a bit of a reputation for being the domain of ultra-meticulous chefs who might spend hours on end perfecting their confections, but Lopez shows readers how it can be pretty simple and even fun — like the icing on the cake of a productive day.
If you’re into food and nutrition writing, food education, or the history of African-American cuisine, you probably don’t need an introduction to Toni Tipton-Martin, who was twice invited by Michelle Obama to the White House for her outreach to help American families eat healthier. But you probably do need her new book, “Jubilee,” which builds on historical texts and rare cookbooks to present a comprehensive, modern compendium of 125 recipes and proves that “soul food” is only one aspect of this multifaceted culinary heritage.
“Gajin” in Japanese means “foreigner” or “outsider” and it isn’t exactly a term of endearment; “it really implies something more like ‘intruder’”, Orkin writes in the introduction to this cookbook. As an American man who spent much of his life in Japan, Orkin knows this term all too well. He’s quick to admit that being called “gajin” has brought him shame, but he’s also come to accept and even embrace the word. In his second cookbook, which like his first, “Ivan Ramen: Love, Obsession, and Recipes from Tokyo's Most Unlikely Noodle Joint”, is co-authored by food writer and editor Chris Ying, Orkin digs into the Japanese cuisine that doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves, and challenges home chefs to “eat more Japanese”, a philosophy that has less to do with food and more to do with an attitude of patience, respect and empathy.