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After a long (and undeniably difficult) winter this past year, we’ve all been looking forward to spring. Sunny skies and longer days, flowers creeping out of the ground, and the promise that summer is finally on the horizon. As the season sets in, so too has an impressive crop of new cookbooks. We started asking our editors back in February to share which books they were excited about—in the end, a list of 23 emerged, spanning early March all the way to mid-June.
The spread includes Simply Julia by Julia Turshen, Rice by Michael W. Twitty, and Mister Jiu’s in Chinatown by Brandon Jew and Tienlon Ho. You’ll also find Reem Kassis’ The Arabesque Table, and Cook, Eat, Repeat by Nigella Lawson, which is making its way stateside in April. There’s a book full of gluten-free recipes, a barbecue book, and a wine book, too. We can’t wait to crack these open and bring them into our kitchens—read on for all 23 books we’ll be diving into this spring.
Rice by Michael W. Twitty
“There’s an old saying (now available in convenient meme form) that ‘rice is life.’ It’s an ingredient that crosses cultures and continents to become the core of dishes like Jollof rice, pilau, red beans and rice, Hoppin’ John, Moros y Cristianos, and countless others that speak of the history, places, and people from which they spring. It’s culture, identity, sustenance, currency, labor, terroir, and so much more, and who better to delve into this transcendent grain than Michael Twitty, the multiple James Beard Award-winning author of The Cooking Gene? The UNC Press “Savor the South” series allows authors space to deeply explore the place of particular foods—tomatoes, corn, bacon—within Southern cooking, and pair rigorous historical study with recipes suited toward the home cook as an edible lesson. Twitty’s installment artfully positions rice as a staple of a truly global South—with pain, resilience, and joy at its core—while empowering readers to understand what’s special about these regional varieties and explore the pleasures of Charleston red rice, rice pudding, jambalaya, rice fritters and more from the comfort of their own kitchens.” –Kat Kinsman, senior editor
Rice: A Savor the South cookbook, $20 at amazon.com
The New Cucina Italiana by Laura Lazzaroni
“Full disclosure: Milano native Laura Lazzaroni was once the editor-in-chief of Food & Wine’s Italian language edition; is the biggest bread nerd you might ever meet (with a book and a tattoo to prove it), and an all-round bad-ass. One of her second book’s central theses is that the chefs leading the charge to develop a new Italian cuisine have realized they must let go of what their nonne’s taught them. ‘Kill the nonne’ might sound a bit harsh,’ she says [but] ‘These new chefs are not covering old songs, they are trying to write original music that people still connect with.’
What follows is an introduction to the champions of the new Italian cuisine, with recipes. There’s the ‘absolute’ chef and mentor Niko Romito of the three Michelin star Reale in Abruzzo; the brash and polarizing fine dining upstarts Isabella Potì and Floriano Pellegrino of Bros’ in Puglia; and the forces of ‘neo trattorie’ like charismatic offal king Diego Rossi of Trippa in Milan, one of the city’s hottest reservations. Through 24 evocative profiles, Lazzaroni outlines the passions and ideologies that drive Italy’s new guard while also taking the reader on a culinary journey that highlights the importance of regional ingredients and biodiversity. That journey extends from the green hills of Piedmont in the north where chef-farmer Juri Chiotto makes the creamiest gelato she’s ever eaten (infused with hand-cut hay!), to the ancient city of Caiazzo—between the mountains and the sea—in the south, where one of Italy’s best pizzaioli, Franco Pepe, creates pizza that’s both custardy and crunchy.
I won’t lie, many of the recipes in the book sound so delicious yet so darned complicated (Starter-Marinated and Fried Guinea Fowl that marinates up to 10 days; Pasta with ‘Beef Butter’ and Licorice that requires you to smoke beef suet), but no matter, this is only a cookbook if you want it to be.
‘You definitely don’t have to use it as a cookbook,’ Lazzaroni says in the introduction, ‘you could also use it as a guidebook, connecting the dots of these restaurants, north to south.’ And that’s exactly what I plan to do: connect the dots, book some plane tickets when the world has righted itself again, and taste the new cucina Italiana for myself.” –Melanie Hansche, deputy editor
The New Cucina Italiana: What to Eat, What to Cook, and Who to Know in Italian Cuisine Today, $33 (list price $40) at amazon.com
The Noble Rot Book by Dan Keeling and Mark Andrew
“I look forward to new issues of Noble Rot magazine whenever I can get my hands on them, which is why I’m especially excited to have a full volume exploring the natural wines of Burgundy and beyond to add to my little bar cart book collection.” –Oset Babür, associate restaurant editor
The Noble Rot Book: Wine from Another Galaxy, $35 (list price $45) at amazon.com
Simply Julia by Julia Turshen
“I’m forever grateful for Julia Turshen’s gift with creating recipes that somehow always strike a perfect balance between creative, approachable, and damn delicious. Many of my go-to, don’t-think-just-cook recipes come from her previous two books, and having already marked up almost half of her newest release, I can tell it’s going to be a spring and summer filled with falling in love with whatever Julia tells me we’re cooking next.” –O.B.
Simply Julia: 110 Easy Recipes for Healthy Comfort Food, $22 (list price $32.50) at amazon.com
Jew-ish by Jake Cohen
“In his first cookbook, Jake Cohen puts inventive twists on all kinds of traditional Jewish recipes, creating new classics that are perfect for entertaining—whether you’re hosting a big Shabbat or having a few friends over for dinner and a movie. Cohen’s creativity shines in recipes like Cacio e Pepe Rugelach and Matzo Tiramisu. His Macaroon Brownies, which we featured in Food & Wine‘s March 2021 issue, are simultaneously tender and dense—a crowd-pleasing dessert that satisfies folks on Team Cakey AND Team Fudgy.” –Nina Friend, associate features editor
Jew-Ish: a Cookbook: Reinvented Recipes from a Modern Mensch, $23 (list price $30) at amazon.com
Mister Jiu’s in Chinatown by Brandon Jew and Tienlon Ho
“Chef Brandon Jew is behind one of the most innovative Chinese-American restaurants today, located in the historic Chinatown in San Francisco. Jew and co-writer Tienlon Ho, tell the story of this neighborhood through the lens of the restaurant and a mix of deeply personal stories and recipes. Jew’s style—which fuses his classical French training and American upbringing with Chinese traditions—means recipes like squid ink wontons, orange chicken wings, and mushroom mu shu. The book is also part travelogue of Chinatown, with hundreds of photos that show not only dishes but also the small details that make the neighborhood so important. It will make you want to cook a dim sum spread immediately while also booking a ticket to San Francisco to see it all for yourself.” –Khushbu Shah, restaurant editor
Mister Jiu’s in Chinatown: Recipes and Stories from the Birthplace of Chinese American Food, $35 (list price $40) at amazon.com
Mango and Peppercorns by Tung Nguyen, Katherine Manning, and Lyn Nguyen with Elisa Ung
“The beauty of this book is that it combines recipes with memoir, and each works to enhance the other. The Vietnamese recipes help tell the story within the memoir—a story of the American Dream, how Tung Nguyen escaped from Vietnam in 1975 and ended up in Miami, taken in by a graduate student named Kathy Manning. Five years later, the two women opened a restaurant together, Hy Vong, and their story continued to blossom.”–N.F.
Mango and Peppercorns: A Memoir of Food, an Unlikely Family, and the American Dream, $22 (was $25) at amazon.com
Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ by Rodney Scott and Lolis Eric Elie
“Rodney Scott isn’t just a legendary pitmaster or a James Beard Award–winning chef—he’s the king of BBQ. In his first cookbook, Scott tells the story of how he went from his family’s barbecue joint in Hemingway, South Carolina, Scott’s Bar-B-Q, to opening his own spot in Charleston, Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ. The book delivers on flavor, too, with recipes that run the gamut from barbecued spare ribs to smoked chicken wings.” –N.F.
Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ: Every Day is a Good Day, $25 (list price $30) at amazon.com
Zoë Bakes Cakes by Zoë François
“Zoë François’ newest cookbook, Zoë Bakes Cakes feels a bit like attending pastry school through a book. She skillfully shares her craft with simple and streamlined recipes, and the results are extravagant. From marbled pound cakes to fruit-drenched pavlovas to layer cakes sandwiching rich fillings wrapped in swirls of decadent frostings, François thoughtfully guides readers through nearly every style of cake one could want to bake. The step-by-step photographs showcase not only beautiful photography, but clear and precise explanations of technique, from the basics to more complicated methods. Prepare to bake some celebration- (and insta) worthy treats.” –Kelsey Youngman, associate food editor
Zoë Bakes Cakes: Everything You Need to Know to Make Your Favorite Layers, Bundts, Loaves, and More, $25 (list price $30) at amazon.com
The Italian Deli Cookbook by Theo Randall
“Before he owned his eponymous restaurants in London, Bangkok, and Hong Kong, chef Theo Randall ran the kitchen at River Café in London. River Café is known for its simplicity—Italian food without the fuss. Randall’s cookbook has a similar approach to Italian cooking, using staples from Italian delis—like cured meats, smoked fish, and jarred vegetables—as the foundation for an entire world of innovative recipes.” –N.F.
The Italian Deli Cookbook: 100 Glorious Recipes Celebrating the Best of Italian Ingredients, $35 at amazon.com
Water, Wood, and Wild Things by Hannah Kirshner
“Hannah Kirshner’s Water, Wood, and Wild Things is part memoir, part cookbook, and part love letter to Yamanaka, the Japanese mountain town where Kirshner apprenticed with craftspeople. Kirshner’s portrait of the community is vivid and full of detail—it is as close to traveling anywhere outside the country that I got in the last year.” –Margaret Eby, senior editor
Water, Wood, and Wild Things: Learning Craft and Cultivation in a Japanese Mountain Town, $23 (list price $26) at amazon.com
À Table by Rebekah Peppler
“Leafing through my copy of Rebekah Peppler’s new book left me with a deep, overpowering ache to host friends for a dinner party complete with XL gougeres, coq au vermouth, and a fig clafouti. I’m counting down the days, and instead living vicariously through the breathtaking photography in these pages.” –O.B.
À Table: Recipes for Cooking and Eating the French Way,$30 at amazon.com
The Flour Craft Bakery & Cafe Cookbook by Heather Hardcastle
“From coffee cake to focaccia, all of the recipes in this gorgeous book are gluten-free. The author, Heather Hardcastle, is herself gluten intolerant, as well as the owner of The Flour Craft Bakery and Café, which has two locations in Northern CA. Both the bakery and the book are the culmination of a 20 year mission in which Hardcastle worked to develop the very best gluten-free versions of her favorite foods—without sacrificing taste, texture, or quality of ingredients.” –N.F.
The Flour Craft Bakery & Cafe Cookbook: Inspired Gluten Free Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, Tea, and Celebrations, $35 at amazon.com
To Asia, With Love by Hetty McKinnon
“Hetty McKinnon can tell me to do literally anything to a vegetable––anything!––and I’ll go ahead and do it. That’s how much I trust her. Her third book, Family, is one that I immediately recommend whenever someone mentions that they’re looking to refresh their weeknight cooking routine with healthy, allergy-conscious meals, and I’m thrilled that To Asia, With Love is going to bring practicality and pizzaz to noodles, rice bowls, dumplings, and, of course, vegetables in a way that Hetty can best.” –O.B.
To Asia, With Love: Everyday Asian Recipes and Stories From the Heart, $30 (list price $35) at amazon.com
The Arabesque Table by Reem Kassis
“I love me a big, encyclopedia-style cookbook, and no one does this particular style as beautifully as the folks over at Phaidon. This new release from Reem Kassis has been on my must-read list for a while, which should come as no surprise given how obsessed I am with The Palestinian Table.” –O.B.
The Arabesque Table: Contemporary Recipes from the Arab World, $36 (list price $40) at amazon.com
The Pepper Thai Cookbook by Pepper Teigen and Garrett Snyder
“Pepper Teigen’s voicey, unpretentious ‘Oh this? This isn’t that hard!’ approach to modern Thai cooking (with a little bit of insight from Chrissy and John, of course) is exactly what I needed at this stage of my quarantine cooking, and for that reason alone, this book is sure to be in heavy rotation all spring.” –O.B.
The Pepper Thai Cookbook: Family Recipes from Everyone’s Favorite Thai Mom, $18 (list price $30) at amazon.com
Cook, Eat, Repeat by Nigella Lawson
“When I find a cookbook I’m excited about, I tend to tear up sticky notes and dot them throughout the pages to mark recipes I can’t wait to make—and I have the feeling that’s going to be the case with Nigella Lawson’s latest release, Cook, Eat, Repeat. There’s the Crab Mac N’ Cheese, which she says serves two, but quips ‘although I fear I could eat all of it without too much trouble’ (same). I also have my eye on the Mine-All-Mine Sweet and Salty Chocolate Cookies, sprinkled with flaky sea salt; Burnt Onion and Eggplant Dip, with a taste described as ‘rich, deep smokiness;’ and so, so many more. Lawson’s warmth and deep passion for food rings clear in the book, as seen in a chapter entirely dedicated to anchovies, “A Is For Anchovy,” and another, “Pleasures,” that begins with explaining why she’d ban the phrase ‘guilty pleasure.’
“No one should feel guilty about what they eat, or the pleasure they get from eating; the only thing to feel guilty about (and even then I don’t recommend it) is the failure to be grateful for that pleasure,” she writes.
The book is also filled with thoughtful touches, from a section on make-ahead and freezing notes in the back to labels in the recipe index that indicate vegetarian-friendly recipes, gluten-free-friendly recipes, and more. For anyone who feels that food is love and is grateful for the small joys it can bring, you’ll definitely want to save a spot on your shelf for this—I know I will.” –Bridget Hallinan, staff writer
Cook, Eat, Repeat: Ingredients, Recipes, and Stories, $27 (list price $32) at amazon.com
Black Smoke by Adrian Miller
“There would be no barbecue culture in the United States without the artistry and labor of Black people, and yet their faces and stories have largely been erased or omitted from the endless TV shows, books, and magazine features on the topic. Adrian Miller, the James Beard Award-winning author of Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time, seeks to give these craftspeople their due in his highly-anticipated and deeply researched exploration of the contributions that Black pitmasters, entrepreneurs, restaurateurs, and chefs have made to this beloved cuisine. This is not just an essential history lesson (though seriously, it should be taught in elementary schools and graduate seminars); you may wish to purchase an extra copy because with 22 recipes sourced specifically for the book, those pages are bound to get messy.” –K.K.
Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue, $30 at amazon.com
Just a Few Miles South by Ouita Michel, Sara Gibbs, and Genie Graf
“Folks from outside the state often lump Kentucky in with the rest of Southern cuisine or reduce it down to fried chicken, bourbon, and a once-a-year Derby pie. Those are a great starting point, but real Bluegrass denizens know that’s just the tiniest slice of a distinctive and agriculturally-driven food culture. Chef Ouita Michel is a trusted steward of this tradition, amassing a loyal following at her many restaurants where she crafts food that never forgets where it’s rooted—while thoughtfully branching out. This new compendium of recipes from across her empire celebrates the region’s historic dishes (yes of course there is burgoo and Hot Brown), while lovingly casting a spotlight on the people who are making dishes like Bourbon Banh Mi and a Wallace Cubano into new Kentucky classics.” –K.K.
Just a Few Miles South: Timeless Recipes from Our Favorite Places, $25 at amazon.com
Ripe Figs by Yasmin Khan
“Yasmin Khan’s latest cookbook, Ripe Figs, is filled with recipes and stories from her explorations of Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus. Her writing and the accompanying photography showcase the people and ingredients of each country as her recipes guide you through their local cuisine, making the book read like an inspiring walk through a local market, with an (engaging!) history lesson along the way. The book is a real celebration of the region, and her closing index, with recommended menus, and notes about vegetarian, vegan, and dairy-free offerings, invites everyone to join in.” –K.Y.
Ripe Figs: Recipes and Stories from Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus, $30 (was $35) at amazon.com
Bavel by Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis with Lesley Suter
“Los Angeles is a city bursting at its brim with great restaurants, so to stand out amongst them is no small feat. But that is exactly what Bavel, chefs Ori Menashe and Genevive Gergis’s stunning downtown restaurant, does. The food is as exciting as the space, and the cookbook is as exciting as the restaurant. Menashe and Gergis are known for their flavor-packed cooking that draws from Middle Eastern flavors and techniques, but refuses to be contained to the borders of one country. The book is very much the same: there are recipes for puffy flatbreads and fiery sauces like zhoug, tender turmeric chicken with a pungent and delicious toum, and many tempting dessert recipes from Gergis, one of the best pastry chefs in the city.” –K.S.
Bavel: Modern Recipes Inspired by the Middle East, $32 (list price $40) at amazon.com
The Pasta Man by Mateo Zielonka
“If you log on to Instagram these days, it’s hard to avoid the pull of the several accounts dedicated to pasta-making. One of the best ones is run by Mateo Zielonka, a chef based in England who is working on opening his first restaurant in London (yes, it centers around pasta). Zielonka is skilled at shaping dough into every shape imaginable, from paper-thin sheets of lasagna to perfect pouches of tortellini. He does it with grace and ease and his new book, The Pasta Man, shows you how to do the same. Zielonka has convinced me that I, too, can easily make stunning striped ravioli featuring streaks of beetroot-dyed dough—all I have to do is try.” –K.S.
The Pasta Man: The Art of Making Spectacular Pasta, $25 at amazon.com
Ciudad de Mexico by Edson Diaz-Fuentes
“Everything about chef Edson Diaz-Fuentes’ London restaurant, Santo Remedio, conveys the color and flavor of Mexican cuisine—from the artwork to the design to the food itself. Fuentes’ gorgeous cookbook serves a similar purpose, taking readers on a journey through the ingredients, traditions, and recipes he grew up with.” –N.F.
Ciudad de Mexico: Recipes and Stories from the Heart of Mexico City, $40 at amazon.com