New Cookbooks - 2012
  • So many new cookbooks out there - I'd love to hear about the ones that interest YOU. I'm looking forward to Smitten Kitchen's and The Sprouted Kitchen's cookbooks.

    I recently found this interesting article on new cookbooks on NPR. And I'm sure there are other good cookbook roundups.

    What new cookbooks (or magazings) are catching your eye?
  • I just got Lunch in Provence -- beautiful photos, narrative--I don't know about the recipes yet.
    I also have Smitten Kitchen on order--and Berlin Kitchen and Bouchon Bakery
  • I just received Baked Elements and am having a lot of fun with it.....the chapters are organized according to (the authors' favourite) ingredient which is helpful to me as my baking choices are often ingredient driven.

    I have Ottolenghi's newest, Jerusalem: A Cookbook on preorder but I wish now I'd purchased the UK version. The North American version of Plenty has quite a few conversion errors in it and I don't mind working with weights and metric measurements.

    I'm also looking forward to Smitten Kitchen and Bouchon Bakery but they're going on my Christmas list.

    QS, thank you for that link - there were a few I wasn't familiar with. More to add to the wish list ;)
  • Really, I don't need any more recipe books, but I see that Nigel Slater is about to publish Kitchen Diaries II, apparently including lots of recipes seen in his recent TV shows. I favour his less is more approach, the polar opposite of Ottolenghi. The urge to pre-order is becoming irresistible.

    Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall has just come up with a book featuring three principle ingredients per recipe, but think I might resist temptation, having read a selection in The Guardian.

    If you want a really beautiful book (my next door neighbour who has no pretensions a a cook but loves to read was entranced), you can't go past The Food of Spain by Claudia Roden.
  • I'm eagerly awaiting Ina Garten's Foolproof Cookbook due out next month. Three of the recipes from this book are in the October issue of Food Network Magazine which arrived in my mail a couple days ago. The recipes are Lobster Mac and Cheese, 1770 House Meatloaf, which is a meatloaf from a restaurant that she says her and Jeffery have ordered many winter nights, Easy Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Croutons, and Salted Caramel Brownies.

    Herbivoracious really looks good and I've drooled over quiet a few of the recipes from the blog of the same name but haven't tried any yet.

    I won Hero Food and Cindy's Suppers this year from blogs but haven't tried recipes from either. They seem to have recipes with ingredients that are harder to find here. I'll give them another look soon and see if I can find something to try. The last two books are from a link on the link QS shared above. Thanks QS.
  • I hardly need any more cookbooks--but I too am continually tempted--there are a couple of Nigel Slater books I don't have and keep thinking about buying. I have
    the Food of Spain and like it but haven't really used it yet. I have the "Baked" books and like them very much except for one thing--the choice of typeface , type size and color mystifies me--I find the ingredient lists very hard to read. Tartine has a similar style and several other recent cookbooks have adopted this pale color ttpe on a block of another pale color for ingredient lists--anyone else find this style difficult?
  • I've found a few more to add to my wish list: Burma and We love Madeleines.

    I'm a huge fan of the Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford books which are so much more than just cookbooks - Burma is Naomi's 1st solo effort.
    And I have a madeleine pan that is crying out to be used but very few recipes.....I'd love a book dedicated solely to the little cakes.

    Kateq, I've noticed the trend as seems to be about favouring appearance over functionality.
  • Those terrible fonts, font sizes, and color combinations might reflect too many youngsters as editors! My aging eyes also find many current cookbooks to be NOT USER FRIENDLY -- but maybe only if you are older than...
  • @bunyip - I have neither Nigel Slater nor Yotam Ottolenghi cookbooks - and my bookshelf is already so full. I am sure I will regret starting this discussion!
    And @Zosia - a cookbook of Burmese cuisine - what an idea!
    I'll never forget the ginger salad I tasted in a Burmese restaurant back in the mid-late 80s. Sigh...
  • I am a weak and feeble woman, I confess. After I logged off yesterday I went to Book Depository and bought both Nigel Slater and High F-W. Both hardbacks. I can just hear Mr Bunyip "Where are we going to bloody put them?"
  • Oh bunyip - I've had such a stressful day, and you made me first smile, and then laugh. I sneak cookbooks into my house, fearing what my husband might say. I've found that a reasonable hiding method is to reorganize all the bookshelves, and to move the cookbooks (while padding the supply). I think Mr Bunyip is a lucky man.
  • My copy of "My Berlin Kitchen arrived yesterday, and I've read it halfway through. It's charming and there are already a number of recipes I know I'm going to try. I too am a fan of Duguid/Alford (their recipe for Naan in their "Flatbreads" book is wonderful)...I'm sure I won't be able to resist her Burma book for long.
  • Another Slater Diary, and I see Madhur Jaffrey has a new book, Ultimate Curry Bible. I was already asking Santa for Herbivoracious and one of Ottolenghi's books. My shelves are so full already. Every new book is a challenge to put away. Oh dear, oh dear.
    Another list of fall cookbooks:
  • Thanks kaye16. I really like seeing the lists from other countries!
  • Definitely Ottolenghi's Jerusalem. It's my birthday next month, and I've been telling everyone about the book, so I hope somebody must have got the message. In the meantime, I'm still very busy not buying older cookbooks, let alone new ones. It's funny that Pie by Andrea Boggiano appears on the Indepedent list - it was published a few years ago, and I recently remembered it and put it on my list.
    QS, I also sneak cookbooks into the house, and I'm fairly certain I could keep them unnoticed for a while if I didn't have the irresistible urge to show them because I'm so happy with my purchases! So there I go, confessing everything...
  • Interesting article! I like Nigel Slater a lot so it's interesting to see what his top five are. I've never owned or read a cookbook by Nigella Lawson--I am now thinking I should give her a go. I love Elizabeth David's books and those of Marcella Hazan as well (I don't know that I entirely agree with his opinion of her writing--I do agree that her recipes are impeccable but I think she is informative in general ways as well). I have long wanted the Stephanie Alexander book, but anytime I see it for sale, it is very expensive and very expensive to ship. David Thompson's book is on my wish list.
  • Interesting indeed - I know nothing about any of those books! I also found the links to other cookbook author's favorite cookbook lists to be quite interesting. Thanks, Kaye. I'm going to search the library for a copy of that Nigella Lawson cookbook.
  • kateq, you would not regret purchasing the Stephanie Alexander. It truly is a monumental work, a labour of love which took her years. If you get it from Book Depository the price is inclusive of shipping. Everything Slater says about it is true. Of course the seasonal references and some of the ingredients are Australian but you can adapt or modify as required. It's what Slater says about Nigella - relax, which is very much his own style.

    Something interesting which this discussion is throwing up is the Great Trans-Atlantic Book Divide. So many American Cookbookers (kateq being a notable exception) have only American books, mostly by authors I have never heard of. Likewise the Brits (and I include those of us from Oz and NZ) apparently possess no American books, or at least none that have not been published in local editions. TV seems to be slowly changing this: Nigella and Jamie Oliver sell adapted American editions. And of course the movie spiked sales here of Julia Child, who is to the US as Delia Smith is to the UK and Margaret Fulton is to us.

    I realise that straightforward instructional books do not travel well. However, where a book features gastronomical musings, travel writing, anecdotes and even jokes (think of Claudia Roden) we owe it to ourselves to be less parochial all round. Part of the problem is just getting to hear about the existence of books, but that surely is what the internet is for.
  • Thanks for the info re: Book Depository--I'll check it out...I think you are right about the "great Divide" and about it changing because of the internet. I know I learned about some fabulous chefs/cooks and their books from blogs and boards--the whole world of Greek cooking really opened up for me because of a wonderful woman I got to know thru the net. And researching recipes on the net brings up so many books, magazines that one would never know if only looking in a local bookshop or even library.
    I also think everyone would love the Omnivore Bookstore's newsletter re: cookbooks--you can sign up on the website. Omnivore is one of the best cook book stores in the States and the woman who runs it is really amazing in her knowledge of what's going on all over the world in terms of cook books.
    BTW, I have yet again given in to temptation and ordered the Nigella book recommended by Nigel Slater.
  • I also agree with bunyip - there are many cookbooks and cookbook authors from other regions of the world that I do not know about, but who warrant my attention.
    And upon thinking about it, I certainly tend to "know" about other regional cuisines from American cookbook authors - and that is ridiculous! And this is one of the reasons I love this site so much.

    And I guess that brings us to a key question - for a truly international cookbook collection, say of 100 books, what should one buy?
  • Great discussion! There's a huge post at Publisher's Weekly online talking about new titles and trends in the industry - not only electronic cookbooks, but cookbooks taken from blogs and websites (Epicurious, for example), and a specific mention of a 'bloglike quirkiness' showing up - maybe this is related to the layout complaints a few of you have!

    I have been dropping serious Christmas present hints about 'Modernist Cuisine at Home', which is a relatively affordable $100 or so, compared to the enormous size and cost of its big brother.

    Also, great suggestion about Omnivore Books, @kateq - Celia Sack, the owner, was very kind to Cookbooker when we were starting up, and has a wealth of knowledge. They're at
  • @Queezle - this list from the Guardian might be a useful place to look for UK (and some international) picks from a worldly publication. This was the roundup of the best food books from 2000-2010.
  • as a total aside, Bunyip mentioned Claudia Roden--I LOVE her books--she would be a lovely candidate for a future challenge, I think.
  • Celia Sack (I should have remembered her name) did this lovely recipe keeper sort of book last year--I gave a couple as Christmas gifts and kept one for myself...she's brilliant!
  • and, one more post--Andrew, I do NOT thank you for that guardian link--just what I needed--dozens more books which seem absolutely essential....
  • ;) so sorry!
  • On the subject of electronic cookbooks raised by Publishers Weekly, I have the Kindle edition of The Flavour Thesaurus, a fascinating little book. It really is superior to the hard copy because of the internal hyperlinks enabling you to jump around between all the endlessly cross-referenced ingredients. I am not convinced that devices are going to replace regular books in the kitchen any time soon, but this book (which doesn't contain many actual recipes) is ideally suited to the iPad.

    I have just acquired a very user-friendly iPad app called My Recipe Book. I knew there had to be a better way of storing all those scrappy, yellowing bits of paper with recipes on them, either hand written or cut out of magazines and newspapers. Even better, it has this amazing feature that lets you go to on-line recipe sites like Taste or Epicurious (it comes with a selection but you can add more) and download recipes with the greatest of ease. So help me, it even has video tutorials if you can't follow the written instructions.
  • I enjoy hearing how you use your kindle and your ipad. I'm in a very early stage of remodeling my kitchen, and am intrigued by some designs that make a place for electronic media - e.g. in an upper cupboard door. Only recently have I started to use my iphone to follow recipes -- but the screen is too small and the phone is too vulnerable sitting on my counter!
  • I just picked up my library's copy of Sprouted Kitchen. What an awesome looking cookbook!
  • I just received the new Omnivore Newsletter.
    some good looking stuff....
  • kateq, thank you for the link (I think ;) ). I already have Burma on preorder because of this thread and now I see more that I'd like.

    I'm really tempted by Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries 2, which isn't available here until Oct 23, but I do wonder how you determine if you're ordering the original UK publication or a version that's been adjusted for the North American audience - it's not always clear. Assuming the recipes have been thoroughly tested for the original, do they get re-tested using North American ingredients and measures? (I'm thinking of baked goods in particular)
  • My guess is that they'll just convert the measurements but won't re-test as the recipes don't really change. Do you really think UK and North American ingredients are that different? I would expect that some are more available in one place than in another, but I wouldn't expect any major changes to made in a cookbook, except for maybe a preface or list of possible substitutions.
  • For the most part, I would agree that ingredients aren't very different with the exception of flour, which is why I mentioned baked goods specifically. I've had a few failures baking from the book Ottolenghi - my only experience so far baking from a British book - because of the flour (I know this because I've re-made the recipes successfully with different flour).

    My other concern is conversion errors.....I've noticed some in the North American version of the book Plenty but who knows how many I've missed!
  • Interesting - I didn't know flour could be such a problem! So the recipes actually worked if you used a different flour with the amount given in the recipe? What kind of flour did you use?
    Actually, I had originally ordered the American version of Plenty (I liked the cover photo :) ), but I exchanged it for the British version when I read one recipe using 6 cups of baby spinach - I'm fine with measuring flour, sugar, butter and so on in cups, but for vegetables I definitely prefer weight!
  • There is a good essay on the problems with trans-atlantic cookbook exchanges, focusing on flour - here. Its quite surprising to me that there is a difference.
    And to up the intrigue even further, here is a link that talks about the difference between Canadian and US flours. Zosia - is there a difference in your experience?
  • Don't hate me -- but here's another article about good new cookbooks.

    I already have the Bouchon book on order...
  • There are huge differences among American (that is US) flours as well. I use King Arthur for my all purpose flour (it is more expensive but truly worth it)--if I make, for example, scones with another AP flour, there is a clear difference in the dough and I have to alter the amounts of butter and cream accordingly. When I make pizza dough, I seek out 00 flour from Italy because it really does make a qualitative difference in the dough.
  • friederike, British "plain" flour is most similar to our cake/pastry flour here (Canada) in terms of protein content but is unbleached. My first efforts were with a low protein (10%) bleached flour; the results weren't disastrous but there was an improvement in texture (less dense, more tender, moist cake) when I used a soft, unbleached pastry flour with 9% protein.
    I'm a definite convert to weighing ingredients since first doing this in baking a few years ago and I wish more North American publications included the weights.

    Queezle Sister, your first link isn't working for sounds like an interesting article.
    I'm aware that there's a difference between Canadian and US flours and, as kateq noted with US flours, there's variation among Canadian brands as well. I rely on 2 brands of all purpose, and a 3rd brand for cake flour that I've had success with and make sure I use my American measuring cups (I have metric as well) - or weigh if that info is provided - but if I do end up with a tough or dry cake/muffin, my first thought goes to the flour. I don't seem to have issues with bread flour.
  • Sorry about that. The link is pasted below:

    Yet another version of flour, invented in the US, is worth a mention. Unifine flour is ground by an entirely different process. Instead of the traditional rollers, the unifine process puts the grain through a flywheel, and supposedly explodes each grain. The result is much finer flour, and flour that retains more of its nutritive value. And you can order it through Amazon.

    A bit of family history here (I apologize). My mother (and Peckish Sister's and Burning Brother's) did her masters work studying this flour, how to use it, and its nutritional value. I guess she was an original "flour girl" at Washington State University.
    More information here:

  • Interesting! I knew about the different types of flour, I just didn't know they would differ so much per country. I might have to go back to revisit some recent recipes and see whether there is any systematic reason why some of them may have failed, eg. all from cookbooks from the same country. I had always heard that, especially with shortcrust pastry, the problem might also be adding too much liquid or kneading for too long, which activates the gluten contained in the flour and makes the dough elastic and prone to shrinking. Obviously, if the protein content is different from what it should be, that might have been the real reason the recipes didn't work.
  • What a fascinating discussion about flour! I'm not a great one for cake baking. In Oz I know that for domestic use you can get bakers' flour (more gluten), the Italian style 00 flour and sundry specialty flours made from chickpeas or whatever. I just use plain, self-raising and the wholemeal varieties of same, which produce satisfactory results for my modest and infrequent efforts. (Actually I make pastry quite often, but it's just food processor shortcrust, and nobody complains about my scones.)

    As to the new Nigel Slater book, I've got it and I wouldn't worry about adapting the recipes. The baked goods, such as they are, all give the ingredients by weight - metric, but surely conversion to pounds and ounces can't be that difficult.

    The thing about Slater is that the book is more like a blog - there's a whole page where he bangs on about his favourite frying pan, for example. A lot of the recipes are vague about quantities ("a generous handful") and really are meant to inspire you. I can't imagine that people in the US would have major problems with the ingredients. Fruit and veggies are the same everywhere. Problems with poultry and meat would mostly be down to nomenclature - Google is a wonderful thing for translating cuts of meat! Biggest problem would be fish, but you just have to adapt the recipes.
  • Flour is fascinating! I've been making bread recipes from Chocolate & Zucchini, the blog, and luckily Clotilde, the author, has spent time in North America and does her best to translate French flours - which are also quite different and are labelled according to 'ash' content apparently. They are generally lower gluten than Canadian flour, which makes a difference in bread and other baking.

    I found this table comparing Canadian, American and UK flours here:

    Also a great discussion on The Fresh Loaf here:

    I'd never heard of unifine flour before - thanks @Queezle! Fascinating stuff.
  • Wikipedia has some information on the 'ash' level: - there must be some direct connection between the amount of ash produced and the protein content, but I'm not really sure what that is.
    I looked for a table giving the protein levels for UK flours and found this: - it looks like UK AP flour is generally lower in protein than all other flours.
    And for the scientifically interested, there is this link:
  • bunyip, thanks for your description of Nigel Slater’s style as I’m not too familiar with him. One of the reviewers on amazon uk listed all of the recipes in the book – so many of them look wonderful and it sounds as though the book is a good read as well.
    One more for the wish list!

    Queezle Sister, have you ever used the unifine flour? I took a look on Amazon but couldn't find it....does it go by another name?

    I've just taken a quick look at all of the "flour" links and one thing that doesn't seem to get addressed (unless I've missed it) is the effect of bleaching the flour, a process which is used in North America which inhibits gluten formation. We have the option here of regular or unbleached all purpose, bleached or unbleached cake/pastry etc..... I don't believe any European flours undergo this process.

    I just saw that the wiki and scientific articles do address it
  • I've not used unifine - we only recently discovered that it was still made. Last year one could order from Amazon, but maybe not this year.

    Here is a link to the flour:

    Its not cheap, but I should try it - if for family history reasons if nothing else. My brother has baked with it, and I think he really liked it.
  • I now find that Anchor make low protein cake and pastry flour, both plain and self-raising. Should I try it for scones?

    I'm not interested in baking my own bread. You can buy such a fantastic range these days, even in the supermarkets. That said, I am in awe of people who bake their own, as I am of people who make their own puff pastry.
  • I use King Arthur AP flour for scones--a higher protein flour. I use cake flour for shortbread.
  • bunyip said:

    nobody complains about my scones.

    What is it they say...."If it ain't broke, don't fix it"! :)
  • Bunyip--Zosia is right! :)
  • David Lebovitz' blog features My Berlin Kitchen today - it is a nice write up, and it includes a beautiful plum tart with a yeasted dough.
    I mention this not only because this looks like such a nice book, but also for all of us who are intrigued by a yeast dough for sweets, but are disappointed with the Shulman version.

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