Mmaybe you cook, maybe not. Maybe you get your recipes online and just don’t see the point in owning a stack of cookbooks. Or maybe you have a shelf full of cookbooks and cherish each and every one of them. Whichever side of the cookbook fence you find yourself on, there are most likely people in your gift circle who would love to receive a new cookbook this year.
According to NPD Books, the company that offers sales tracking information on physical and digital book sales in the United States, sales of printed cookbooks grew 8.2% last year, thanks at least to part of the pandemic and people spending more time at home and in the kitchen. And as of October, year-to-date sales of baking cookbooks were 42% higher than in 2020.
Just about every entity that has anything to do with food (and some that doesn’t, i.e. businessinsider.com) is currently releasing its list of “Best Cookbooks of 2021”. Here at Weekly Source, we’ve compiled our own list, complete with a few cookbooks with local connections and a bit of something for everyone.
Let’s start with “Big Boards for Families” by local author Sandy Coughlin, founder of the recipe and hospitality blog Reluctant Entertainer. His recently published book, published by Fair Winds Press, is about creating big, beautiful food boards that bring everyone together around the table. The book has over 50 board ideas, including recipes offering a variety of ingredients and customizable options, from a taco board for weekend breakfast to a lemon and lemon salmon board. pistachio through a board of Funfetti cookie dough, plus tips and resource information. Coughlin’s daughter, Abby, took the awesome photos in the book, which will make you want to make your own big food board.
The second cookbook with a local connection is Alicia Witt’s new “Small Changes: A Rules-Free Guide to Add More Plant-Based Foods, Peace and Power to Your Life”. This HarperCollins release, written by Witt, a now Nashville-based actor, features food photography by local photographer Tambi Lane and recipe and food style tests by yours truly, food writer Donna Britt. Witt shares his philosophy on how a few small changes in your daily habits can help you create a healthier, more mindful lifestyle. From superfood pancakes and creamy mushroom pasta, to mint chocolate avocado mousse, to the best homemade granola this writer has ever eaten, Witt’s recipes are solid and delicious. Most of them are meant to serve one or two, but you can always double them.
Our list continues with a book that makes it to nearly every other “Best of” cookbook list this year. Freddie Bitsoie and James O. Fraioli’s “New Native Kitchen” explores Native American recipes from coast to coast, like chocolate bison chili and sweet prickly pear pork chops, and offers interpretations. modern 100 recipes. Navajo Bitsoie is the former executive chef of Mitsitam Café at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian and one of the few Native American chefs at the forefront of native food education in the Americas. Fraioli is a 2014 James Beard Award winner and has nearly two dozen cookbooks to her name.
“Celebrate with Kim-Joy: Cute cakes and pastries to make every occasion joyful” is the latest from Kim-Joy, finalist for The Great British Baking Show. Here you will find 60 sweet recipes full of color, fun and imagination to celebrate everything from birthdays to weddings to Christmas. Vegan and gluten-free alternatives come with step-by-step photographs and a dash of positivity. Kim-Joy is known for her adorable and creative pastries. The child in everyone will appreciate his fantasy and his characteristic kindness.
If you are looking for a cookbook for a cooking beginner, you can try Samin Nosrat’s beautifully illustrated “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat” which outlines the basics of cooking in this James Beard Cookbook of the Year 2018. Nosrat is a columnist at The New York Times and host of the original Netflix documentary series based on her book. This read is a reference on when to salt your chicken or how to make the perfect focaccia bread.
Last, but not least, is Pati Jinich’s “Treasures of the Mexican Table: Classic Recipes, Local Secrets” featuring over 150 iconic Mexican dishes. The host of the three-time James Beard award-winning PBS series “Pati’s Mexican Table” brings culinary treasures from her homeland to this new book. Jinich set out to highlight Mexico’s culinary diversity and ingredients in this massive book (over 400 pages) and that’s exactly what she’s doing. The recipes, much passed down from generation to generation, accompany Jinich’s stories and each has been tested in his American cuisine.
So while this list may be shorter than others, this handful of offerings will at least get you started exploring all of the season’s culinary offerings. Enjoy your lunch!
Sales of printed cookbooks rose 8.2% last year thanks at least in part to the pandemic and people spending more time at home and in the kitchen. And as of October, cumulative baking cookbook sales were 42% higher than in 2020. Alicia Witt’s Small Changes has local connections.