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15 Cookbooks to Put on Your Wishlist

The best of the best

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Thousands of cookbooks came out this year, enough to fill a library. Eater outlined the biggest ones this past spring, summer, and fall. Now, with the end of the year — and December holidays — fast approaching, it’s time to pick our absolute favorites. These are the cookbooks (and food-focused memoirs) that stood out from the crowd. They’re full of stories worth reading and recipes worth making again, and again, and again. They deserve the shelf space — so make room.

Feed the Resistance

  • $10

Prices taken at time of publishing.

In her hybrid cookbook and call to action, author Julia Turshen summoned some of the greatest voices in the dining arena (Tunde Wey, Jordyn Lexton, Cheryl Day, and others) to discuss the space between food, politics, and activism. Proceeds will be donated to the ACLU.

Smitten Kitchen Every Day

  • $11

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Blogger Deb Perelman applies her clever cooking experiments and careful recipe testing to meals fit for breakfast, lunch, dinner, celebrations, and all of the snacks in between. Fans of her blog will enjoy the headnotes too, which detail her obsessive testing of each new recipe.

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

  • $24

Prices taken at time of publishing.

In this must-have book, chef, cooking instructor, and food writer Samin Nosrat explains the fundamentals of cooking by and for flavor. Her approach to culinary theory takes generations of knowledge and distills them into an approachable guide. Learn the rules and then apply them in well-tested, classic recipes for sauces, soups, main courses, and desserts.

Six Seasons

  • $22

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Cookbook aficionados, home cooks, and chefs are obsessed with this book from chef Joshua McFadden (now at Ava Gene's in Portland). It achieves the near-impossible: Recipe after recipe of restaurant-quality food that isn’t difficult to put together.

Market Cooking

  • $27

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Here’s an expansive, essential cooking reference for those who go to the farmers market and aren't sure what to do with the watermelon radishes, bold chiles, hearty greens, or bounty of summer fruit they bring home. Chef and New York Times columnist David Tanis wrote an easy-to-reference guide fit for every season.

Cherry Bombe: The Cookbook

  • $24

Prices taken at time of publishing.

The magazine that heralds the careers of women in the food world invited some of its most notable voices — including Twitter slayer Chrissy Teigen, Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi, chef Mashama Bailey of Savannah's The Grey, and Eater's own Editor-in-Chief Amanda Kludt — to contribute recipes to this delightful collection.

L.A. Mexicano

  • $26

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Author, television host, and journalist Bill Esparza is a champion of Mexico's diverse culinary heritage. In his debut cookbook he shines a spotlight on the most essential Mexican cooks in Los Angeles today, and the dishes that weave LA’s cultural heritage together.

Night + Market

  • $19

Prices taken at time of publishing.

LA-based Kris Yenbamroong rose to fame as a second-generation Thai chef and restaurateur; his cooking has won raves among a devoted group of fans and critics. In this, his debut cookbook, he shares stories from Thailand and LA as well as recipes for the dishes diners just won’t stop talking about.

Sweet

  • $21

Prices taken at time of publishing.

London-based chef Yotam Ottolenghi is known for his unique, vegetable-forward cooking. In his newest book, with pastry chef Helen Goh, he applies the Ottolenghi approach to confections, cakes, tarts, and cold desserts. Bakers will love the exacting recipe instructions and daring but darling flavor combinations.

The Cooking Gene

  • $20

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Author Michael Twitty has written a definitive memoir and history of black food in the American South, and it's a must-read for curious diners in the U.S. and out. Study it and then pass it along to share the first-person reporting, cultural commentary, and emotional, expressive language.

Cork Dork

  • $13

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Journalist and self-described amateur drinker Bianca Bosker applied a raised eyebrow to the sometimes elusive, often snobby world of sommeliers, and the resulting book is both entertaining and educational.

Butter

  • $12

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Award-winning cookbook author Dorie Greenspan applies her curiosity and wide breadth of culinary knowledge to one of the food world’s most essential ingredients in this, one of Short Stack Editions’ most charming little books. Short Stack also put out Coconuts by Ben Mims this year.

The Art of Flavor

  • $19

Prices taken at time of publishing.

A conversation starter, SF-based chef Daniel Patterson (Coi, Alta) and perfumer Mandy Aftel's new book guides readers through an examination of the building blocks of taste. The authors’ musings inform a few dozen thought-provoking recipes.

3-Ingredient Cocktails

  • $13

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Journalist and historian Robert Simonson’s new book is a great primer for those new to the cocktail space — or for more experienced aficionados looking for an easy-to-reference guide to making a great drink. Brief histories and nods to trailblazing bartenders are a nice touch.

Champagne: The Essential Guide to the Wines, Producers, and Terroirs

  • $54

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Here's a gorgeous, all-encompassing two-volume book on one of the world’s most famous and best-loved wines and wine regions. One half of the book is a packet of maps of the region, historically accurate and reproduced in striking detail; the other delves into the makers and history of this timeless, celebratory drink.



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