Cookbooks overflow the shelves in the Steele house kitchen. Actually, you can find a stack of cookbooks in every room of my house because I like to read through them like novels. This year, there have been an abundance of great cookbooks! So, I think it’s about time to resurrect the annual list of my favorite cookbooks from the year. Hopefully, you will find a few that you may have missed or some options to give as holiday gifts.
Favorite Cookbooks of 2017
Ducksoup by Clare Lattin and Tom Hill is the ultimate find of the year. Just like the restaurant in London that shares it’s name, Ducksoup offers seasonal and simple but stunning recipes. Their approach to food is addictive and inspiring and I find myself drawn to picking it up weekly. For the love, I can’t figure out why this book is so inexpensive on Amazon ($8.99)!
Favorite Recipes: Mozzarella, Black Figs, Prosciutto, & Hazelnuts / Wild Boar Ragu / Wild Mushrooms, Egg Yolk & Parmesan
Restaurant cookbooks are a weakness of mine and State Bird Provisions (Brioza, Krasinski, Goode) is no exception. Full of essays and enjoyable stories, this cookbook is nothing short of entertaining to those who really enjoy the art of cooking. The recipes are not for the amateur. Most require multiple steps and a fair amount of kitchen knowledge but if you’re anything like me or up for a challenge, it’s worth it.
Favorite Recipes: State Bird with Provisions (fried quail) / Black Sesame Salt / Kimchi Pickled Wax Beans
Melissa Clark has always been a trusted source for recipes so when I bought my first Instant Pot this year, I knew this book had to be in my possession. For me, this cookbook is more of an educational source for the Instant Pot than an inspirational read. Having said that, it’s by far the BEST Instant Pot cookbook out there and would make a great gift to accompany that Instant Pot under the tree.
Favorite Recipes: Osso Bucco / Chicken and Dumplings / Coconut Curry Chicken / Vanilla Bean Cheesecake
Authentic, beautiful, and intoxicating, Leela Punyaratabandhu’s recipes and storytelling capture you in seconds. There were quite a few of Thai-inspired cookbooks released this year but this one I find to be the most authentic. From heirloom dishes to restaurant staples this beautifully photographed book brings new life into the kitchen. The recipes are simple to follow and prefect for all levels of cook.
Favorite Recipes: Chicken Curry Puffs / Tom Yam Noodle Soup with Shrimp / Spicy Beef Stir-Fry with Holy Basil / Boat Noodles / Lychees in Iced Syrup with Green Mango
Every weekend there’s a stock slowly bubbling away on my stove and when this book came out this year, I bought it immediately. Written by Rachael Mamane, owner of Brooklyn Bouillon, Mastering Stocks and Broths is an educational experience in cooking and technique. Her knowledge is comprehensive and addictive and the title is fitting of the outcome. It’s a long read but worth it to anyone wanting to master technique.
Minimalistic, simple, and stunning, Simple Fare is a uniquely delicious guide to seasonal food. The recipes are well written and easy to follow. Since some ingredients are far from simple and difficult to locate I wouldn’t say this is the everyday eating cookbook for the average person. I thoroughly enjoy it though and find it a wonderful addition to my library.
Favorite Recipes: Turkish Poached Eggs / Braised Beef Ribs and Beetroot / Black Radish Salad
Once I visited The Publican in Chicago, I was forever a fan. The instant you sit down at the massive wooden tables you know a soulful meal is about to happen. I was hoping that this book would convey the heart of The Publican and I’m happy to say that it does. From beginning to instruction to end, this is one of those cookbooks that reads like a story and cooking from it is just as enjoyable. If you love whole, hearty, and fresh cooking with a gastropub flare, this is the cookbook for you.
Favorite Recipes: Mussels in Sour Beer / Alm Salad / Pork Pies / Bone Marrow Toasts / Peaches and Grilled Beans with Burrata
I did not take the average novel to read on my last vacation this summer. Instead I opted for Acid Trip, by Michael Harlen Turkell and it did not disappoint. For the culinary adventurer, Acid Trip is a fascinating and entertaining journey of vinegar through the world and ages. It not only becomes a biography of the kitchen’s best tool but an instruction manual. From how to create vinegar to how to elevate flavors, this book is a solid asset to your cookbook arsenal.
Favorite Recipes: Peaches in Champagne Vinegar / Blackberry Banyuls Vinaigrette / Lamb Belly Steamed Buns
Yotam Ottolenghi produces another stunning cookbook with Sweet: Desserts from London’s Ottolenghi. This book is entirely filled with baked goods and desserts with inspiring flavor combinations. Warning, you will basically want to make everything in this book.
Favorite Recipes: Tahini & Halva Brownies / Apricot and Thyme Galettes with Polenta Pastry / Lemon and Black Currant Stripe Cake
Every few years we need a cookbook to remind us of the classics and BraveTart is one of them. From Twinkies to Lemon Meringue Pie these recipes are legit. I also love how Stella Parks brings in touches of history to the desserts we all love.
Favorite Recipes: Dark Chocolate Cream Pie / Homemade Cinnamon Rolls / Homemade Crunch Bars
2016 Cookbooks That Need Mentioning…
I wish I had this book when I was in school. Like a beautiful culinary textbook that reads like a novel, Namoi Pomeroy shares the fundamentals of cooking by inspiring you with elegant flavor combinations. Whenever I’m in a culinary slump and need a pick-me-up, this is what I grab. Find everything from detailed sauce making methods to elegant show-stopping meals in this confidence building cookbook.
Favorite Recipes: Milk-Braised Pork Shoulder / Walnut-Parsley Pistou / Demi-Glace Cream / Beet-Cured Salmon / Hazelnut and Wild Mushroom Paté
By far, my most adored cookbook. It reads like a poem and whenever I open it up I’m instantly taken into every dinner party that is featured. Maybe I love it because it’s organized by events like my own cookbook or maybe its just the fact that it’s simply stunning (editorially, photography, and design). Either way, Diner At The Long Table is for every true culinary lover and you will not be able to put it down.
Favorite Recipes: Eggplant with Bone Marrow Agrodolce / Roasted Fennel with Fried Quinoa / Good Night Amaro / A Drink Named Sue / Grilled Corn with Shrimp Butter