Food Books I Love

Below you’ll find a list of food books that have shaped my cooking and my life. Some of them are cookbooks, while others are just great books about food, chefs, and life.

  • An Everlasting Meal – I’ve written about this book so many times. So many! But honestly, it has had a huge impact on my philosophies in the kitchen, and it’s the only book that I regularly return to and read over and over again. I think it should be required reading for everyone when they enter the real world; It helped me learn how to be truly economical in the kitchen, using leftovers and botched dishes to create something new, and using my ingredients to their fullest extent.
  • How to Cook a Wolf – M.F.K. Fisher wrote this book during WWII, and it’s the book that An Everlasting Meal is based on. It’s a fun read because of the dated bits, but it has some gems about making the most of what you’ve got in the kitchen. While I don’t know I’ll ever cook out of it, it’s a classic, and one with a philosophy I admire.
  • Plenty – This vegetarian cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi changed the way a lot of people think about and cook vegetables. They’re no longer just a side dish! These recipes also opened up my eyes to a whole bunch of ingredients that I’d heard of but never used before. I love anything that pushes my boundaries in the kitchen.
  • Plenty More – The sequel to Plenty, this is really my favorite of the two books. I find there’s a lot more in this book that I crave, from the butternut squash with spicy yogurt and cilantro to the grapefruit and sumac salad. It’s creative but not too hard, and again, I love the sense of adventure in here.
  • The Best New Recipe – Jonah’s parents gave me this book, and while it took me a while to start using it on a regular basis, it’s now a go-to for me, especially for baking. What I love about this book is that it explains the testing that Cooks Illustrated did, and how they came to the recipe they did. It’s smart, and it makes me a smarter cook.
  • Ad Hoc at Home – This book gives you a chance to cook Thomas Keller’s version of comfort food classics. While there are great recipes in this book – the chocolate chip cookies are my favorite ever, and Jonah just made a marinated skirt steak that was out of this world – the little tips in it are what make it a standout in our kitchen. I’ve just learned a lot from flipping through this book.
  • A Girl and Her Greens – This book from April Bloomfield is a recent addition to my kitchen, but I am already loving it. Her love of simplicity but her knack for making things more interesting have inspired me a lot lately. Since Jonah and I eat a lot of vegetarian meals, it’s great to have another book of substantial dishes that are either entirely or mostly vegetarian. Plus her writing is so sweet, it makes me feel like she’s a longtime friend.
  • A Homemade Life – Please tell me you’ve heard of Molly Wizenberg. If not, check her out right now! Molly is the writer behind James Beard Award winning blog Orangette, which is the only blog I have ever subscribed to, and the only one I read religiously the second it comes to my inbox. Her photos are stunning, the writing is comforting, and her recipes are always the exact kind of thing I want to make. This is her first book, and the stories and recipes are just like the blog – lovely, warming, and cozy.
  • Delancey – Molly Wizenberg’s second book, Delancey, is a bit more specific than her first. It’s the story of the restaurant she opened with her husband, and while it’s a quick read, it’s a fun story, and has some scrumptious recipes in it as well.
  • Life, on the Line – No recipes here, just a foodie fairytale. Grant Achatz, the chef behind the stunning Alinea in Chicago, tells the story of how he became the chef he is and the illness that almost took his tongue and his life. It’s an incredible story, and the kind of food Achatz cooks is unlike anything I’ve ever heard of before.
  • My Life in France – A classic from Julia Child! Seriously, this woman has been such an influence on home cooks in America – she gave us permission to explore, to get adventurous, and to push the boundaries. It’s so interesting to hear the story of her life and the magnificent journey behind one of the most famous cookbooks ever.
  • Blood, Bones & Butter – This book, from Prune chef Gabrielle Hamilton, is some of the greatest writing I think you can get from a chef, which isn’t surprising considering she has an MFA in creative writing. This book is the story of how she built her restaurant, and family, from the ground up.

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