December 31, 2014
Considering that we’ve been cooking food since man harnessed fire, you’d think that we wouldn’t need any more recipes to get our food to the table, but we do — there are so many tips, tricks, trends, and techniques to try. Food blogs and cooking shows are more popular than ever, celebrity chefs are the new rock stars, and amateur chefs compete on television like culinary athletes. Meanwhile, chefs, food writers, bloggers, and home cooks are producing stunning cookbooks that introduce people to new cuisines, new flavor combinations, and new twists on old ideas. New cookbook releases from well-known cookbook authors are as eagerly awaited as the latest installment of fiction trilogies.
If there’s something you want to cook, you can bet that there’s a cookbook to help you achieve your goals. Though many of the cookbooks of our grandmothers’ day were all-inclusive encyclopedias of food preparation (from plucking a chicken to using the last of the winter harvest), today’s cookbooks tend to be more narrowly focused, honing in on a single topic,a single ingredient, or even a single cooking device.
While great-grandma could get by with the knowledge shared in a single book, our food horizons have expanded, our access to ingredients has improved, and our palates have evolved. While we might not need new books every year to teach us how to cook the basics, we’re interested in delving deeper into the recipes, in learning the story behind a particular dish or ingredient, in learning how to do more from scratch, and in ways to eat more responsibly. It’s an exciting time to be cooking.
With so many new and amazing cookbooks to choose from each year, chances are good that no two people’s top ten lists will look exactly alike, but we believe this list (sorted alphabetically and not by rank) has something for everyone. Whether you’re a new cook or one with years of experience, whether you’re looking for inspiration or an exact recipe to follow, there’s at least one cookbook on this list that you should own.
À la Mère de Famille: Recipes from the Beloved Parisian Confectioner by Julien Merceron
(Credit: À La Mère De Famille/Chronicle Books)
After two and a half centuries in business as a confectionery in Paris, À la Mère de Famille has published its first cookbook with 95 recipes for candies, cakes, ice cream, and more. Recipes are easy enough for home cooks, and yet they produce beautiful, professional-quality results. Click here to buy a copy.
Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
(Credit: Dorie Greenspan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Dorie Greenspan’s cookbooks are always highly rated; they’re so accessible and insightful, making it easy for anyone to recreate the recipes. In this large volume, she offers a peek at traditional French desserts and her own original creations, along with recipes adapted from chefs and borrowed from friends. Click here to buy a copy.