Spring’s Best Cookbooks
Bring on the kimchi, barbecue and croque monsieurs
For once, Punxsutawney Phil predicted a short winter, which means that we’re just weeks away from breaking out the sundresses and picnic blankets. And along with the crocuses, spring also brings a new crop of great cookbooks. Standouts this year include our future BFF Chrissy Teigen, GOOP goddess Gwyneth Paltrow, armchair trips to Spain and Rome and a whole lot more. Here are ten of our favorites.
“Cravings: Recipes for all the Food You Want to Eat”
We have no idea how an international swimsuit model, mega-popular lifestyle blogger and wife of John Legend could possibly be someone we actually like. But alas, perfection just seems to work for Chrissy Teigen. There’s been plenty of hype for her first cookbook, and it’s all justified--the recipes are, like Teigen, fun, down-to-earth and full of flavor (thanks especially to Teigen’s Thai mother, who taught her how to cook). Pro tip: The chicken lettuce wraps are a weeknight game-changer.
You heard it here first: Kimchi is the new salsa. Korean food--full of savory grilled meats, umami-packed dumplings, spicy, funky vegetables and sizzling clay rice pots--has slowly been taking America by storm. And Korean-American Deuki Hong, who owns New York’s most beloved Korean barbecue joint, is the consummate guide, traveling to Koreatowns around the country to collect recipes, stories and techniques.
When we think Rome, we think pizza and pasta (and can’t get there soon enough). But Katie Parla and Kristina Gill, two Americans who have each lived in the Italian capital for more than a decade, want us to know that there’s so much more to their adopted city—couscous from Rome’s ancient Jewish quarter, big platters of chicken stewed with peppers, creamy fish stews and peppery rice balls, to name just a few.
“It’s All Easy: Delicious Weekday Recipes for the Super-Busy Home Cook”
Gwyneth Paltrow isn’t exactly famous for understanding the plight of the working woman. But she does a pretty good job redeeming herself here, with her latest cookbook, an ode to those crazy Tuesdays when we can barely keep our head on straight, let alone fix something healthy for dinner. Low on sugar, fat and gluten usually also means low on flavor, but not here, and with choices like chicken enchiladas, Moroccan Chicken Salad Wraps and Soft Polenta with Cherry Tomatoes, there’s enough to keep a steady rotation without getting bored.
“Around the Fire: Recipes for Inspired Grilling and Seasonal Feasting from Ox Restaurant”
We’re edging closer to grilling season, and there’s no better authority on the open fire than Portland’s Ox restaurant. Its first cookbook will up your backyard barbecue game with Argentine-accented favorites like Grilled Lamb Shoulder Chops with Rosemary Marinade or the veggie-friendly Grilled Butternut Squash with Za’atar and Charred Green Onion Yogurt.
“James Beard’s All-American Eats”
If you’re like us and you plan your vacations around the best po’ boys in New Orleans or green chile cheeseburgers in Santa Fe, then this is the book for you. The James Beard Foundation, which basically gives out the Pulitzers of the food world, has a special award for classic American eateries, which showcase the best of our regional culinary traditions. And if we can’t visit them all in person, having their favorite recipes is a pretty good consolation prize.
“The Basque Book: A Love Letter in Recipes From the Kitchen of Txikito”
The recipes from this stunner come from a trio of New York City restaurants--Txikito, La Vara and El Quinto Pino--but reading it feels more like taking a trip to the Spanish countryside. As much a travelogue as it is a primer, it’s a perfect introduction to one of the world’s most ancient and interesting culinary traditions.
“America’s Best Breakfasts: Favorite Local Recipes from Coast to Coast”
They don’t call it the most important meal of the day for nothing. This gorgeous book celebrates how our country wakes up--from shrimp and grits in Charleston, South Carolina, to croque monsieur sandwiches at San Francisco’s Tartine bakery.
“Bowl: Vegetarian Recipes for Ramen, Pho, Bibimbap, Dumplings, and Other One-Dish Meals”
This book is so full of restorative, wholesome recipes that we feel healthier just reading it. Volger’s combinations are spot-on--like a summer ramen with corn broth, tomatoes and basil. But we also love how easy it is to mix and match among sauces and ingredients.
“One Dough, Ten Breads: Making Great Bread By Hand”
We’ve got nothing but love for master bakers like Tartine’s Chad Robertson. But most of us mere mortals don’t have the time to cultivate a sourdough starter like it’s a beloved pet. Sarah Black’s book is perfect for beginner bakers looking to master their first homemade loaves.