I could build a fort with all the cookbooks I’ve got piled up in my office, so I’m pulling a few to include as part of a round-up and I’ll probably start doing this regularly, just to keep up with all the new titles.
Alfred A. Knopf, 2018
Half cookbook, half memoir, Chef Alon Shaya’s new book traces his life and culinary influences from Israel and Italy to Philadelphia and New Orleans where he now runs his own restaurant. Shaya explains the book as “a collection of stories of place, of people, and of the food that connects them”, where recipes are arranged by those stories and not by season or finished dish. Illustrations by Frances Rodriguez throughout make for a charming, personal journal style of cookbook that is warm and welcoming.
First We Eat
Eva Kosmas Flores
Seasonal and ethical recipes from the creator of the Adventures in Cooking blog, Flores finds inspiration in her Greek heritage and her Oregon garden. Making the most of both farmed and foraged ingredients, First We Eat offers accessible recipes and beautiful photography that most home cooks will be able to replicate.
You can blame Ilene Rosen for the kale salad. Since opening City Bakery in New York City almost two decades ago, she’s made sure to have something “saladish” on the menu for customers. This can range from greens to grains, but it always “emphasizes contrasting textures—toothsome, fluffy, crunchy, crispy, hefty. And marries contrasting flavors—rich, sharp, sweet, and salty.” Arranged by season and including both vibrant photographs and charming sketches, this book draws on global influences for healthy, interesting saladish dishes.
Platters and Boards
Shelly Westerhausen and Wyatt Worcel
Chronicle Books, 2018
This one just gets a pass because, while there are a few interesting recipes throughout, mostly this is a book of shopping lists to put together boards, and cutting some cheese and dumping out some nuts doesn’t truly qualify as cooking. I’m being a bit harsh, and the recipes for dips, drinks, sauces, and the occasional cookie or crostini do make for decent and flavourful party food, but I’d have preferred more actual recipes and fewer instructions of how to arrange candy on a platter.