If you love cookbooks as much as I do, you’re always looking for more to add to your (already abundant) collection. As we enter into winter, I’ve rounded up a few of the most exciting cookbooks from the season, which I’ve been cooking from (and just reading) all fall and all of which I’m super happy to add to my shelves.
For your cookbook-perusing pleasure, I’ve given each book a likely fan category, but many of the books include a wide variety of recipes. Here are the first four; the next four will be coming in Part II next week. (Even the most ardent cookbook fans can experience cookbook overload, after all.)
For the cook who considers whiskey (and pigs, and pickles) their own food group: Pickles, Pigs, and Whiskey: Recipes from My Three Favorite Food Groups (and Then Some) by John Currence
There’s nowhere I’d rather eat right now than the American South. This book, by New Orleans-born Currence (who now lives and cooks in Oxford, Mississippi) brings the South to my Minneapolis kitchen. Recipes like Lemon-Pickled Honeycrisp Apples complete the Minnesota-Southern fusion style (the Honeycrisp is a Minnesota breed, after all), and all the other recipes – from confit of chicken gizzards to deep South “ramen” – are equally creative takes on modern Southern cooking. Oh, and that whiskey food group? It is well-represented in drinks like a “smoked” Sazerac and a classic bourbon milk punch.
For the consummate food-obsessed host or hostess: Summerland: Recipes for Celebrating with Southern Hospitality by Anne Stiles Quatrano
While Summerland also focuses on Southern food, it feels more like a dreamy, timeless afternoon spent on the farm. The book is organized into twelve monthly chapters, running from September to August, with each chapter giving a menu for a different seasonal event. January’s “Fireside Brunch” includes Southern classic hoppin’ John for good luck; April’s Easter brunch features a roasted asparagus and farm egg emulsion; and, my favorite, August’s “Fig Feed” spotlights all things fig, from a Fig Fest Cocktail to branzino steamed in fig leaves with fig butter and pecans. When I’m not cooking from this book, I’ll be gazing at its beautiful, serene photography and plotting my next dinner party.
Really good deli food – pastrami, brisket, bagels, the list goes on – is another genre of food that can be hard to come by in the Twin Cities. But whether you live in a deli-starved area or would just like to stop having to wait for a table every time you want some matzo ball soup, The Artisan Jewish Deli at Home will have you cooking kugel and latkes at home in no time. The book’s design is a little bit retro, but when it comes to egg salad, sauerkraut, and schmears, the look almost seems to fit.
For the beginning home bartender: The Curious Bartender: The Artistry and Alchemy of Creating the Perfect Cocktail by Tristan Stephenson
Obsessed with home bartending as I am, I have looked at a lot of cocktail cookbooks in the short span of this cookbook round-up column. This book is as densely packed with information as a more advanced home mixologist could want, but still comes with considerably more approachable cocktail recipes than many other books out there. (Read: recipes that don’t require you to make multiple syrups and compotes and infusions before even getting to the cocktail mixing itself.) The book offers both a basic/classic version of each recipe, and a more advance version of each recipe; for example the classic Sidecar (cognac, cointreau, and fresh lemon juice) and its derivative, the Side Caress (with a homemade tartaric acid solution).
Claire Stanford is a writer and editor at Simple, Good, and Tasty. She last wrote An Interview with Elissa Altman, Food Blogger and Author of Poor Man's Feast. She also wrote this cookbook round-up in late summer 2013. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her at @clairemiye.