Dishing Up Spring Cookbooks

While the rush of big cookbooks comes every fall, spring is also a season marked by cooking guidance, before the surge of books on grilling. As we are tracking the Spring Reading Lists for novels and nonfiction, we are making note of the cookbook selections (see links at right, under Season Previews).

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Eater offers a list of “Every Spring 2017 Cookbook That Matters.” Looking at coastal cookery from both sides, they highlight “a gorgeous new volume by San Francisco pastry chef Elisabeth Prueitt of Tartine fame” and “a definitive and entertaining history of Balthazar, one of Manhattan’s most treasured restaurants.”

Tartine All Day: Modern Recipes for the Home Cook, Elisabeth Prueitt (PRH/Lorena Jones Books)

At Balthazar: The New York Brasserie at the Center of the World, Reggie Nadelson (S&S/Gallery Books)

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Bon Appétit limits their picks to the “11 Spring Cookbooks You’ll Actually Cook From.”

Among their choices are In My Kitchen: A Collection of New and Favorite Vegetarian Recipes by Deborah Madison (PRH/Ten Speed; OverDrive Sample), one of the grande dames of vegetarian cooking. “When she includes a recipe for brown rice porridge with nut butter and chia seeds, it’s because she’s been eating it since before the Instagram founders were born. #respect.”

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat with art by Wendy MacNaughton (S&S) is also included. “This is a new kind of book. Lots of words to live by before you get to her kitchen basics and, finally, recipes more than halfway through … Just reading [it] will make you a better cook, adept at seasoning, balancing, understanding what it really is you’re doing and why.”

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A foodie haven, San Francisco produces a number of cookbooks. A fact recently covered by the city’s paper, San Francisco Chronicle, “10 spring cookbooks for your Bay Area food collection.”

The titles listed will appeal to regions beyond the Bay area, including  Nopalito: A Mexican Kitchen by Gonzalo Guzman with Stacy Adimando (PRH/Ten Speed; OverDrive Sample) “a worthy addition to your home library.” Picking up on the national trend of Asian cookery, the paper also features Burma Superstar: Addictive Recipes From the Crossroads of Southeast Asia by Desmond Tan and Kate Leahy (PRH/Ten Speed; OverDrive Sample), “A celebration of Burmese culture and foods.”

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Publishers Weekly underscores the continuing interest in cookbooks through multiple lists (scroll to the end of the main article for the full range). Addressing the question of why cookbooks are still popular even though so much information is available for free online, Abrams cookbook editor Camaren Subhiyah says, “There are millions of recipes and video tutorials at our fingertips … but it’s not always the best format for learning and you’re not always getting quality information from a credible source.”

Titles range from books that address the fundamentals, such as Patricia Wells’ distillation of a life time of teaching in My Master Recipes (Harper/Morrow) to single focus titles such as The Book of Cheese: The Essential Guide to Discovering Cheeses You’ll Love by Liz Thorpe (Macmillan/Flatiron) and Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients by John Whaite (Kyle), a winner of The Great British Bake Off  who offers “Pared-down recipes [that] aim for less-stressful home cooking.”

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