Best of 2012: Cookbooks

It’s that time of year, when media outlets big and small get preoccupied by the holidays and fill airtime, column inches, and posts with annual retrospectives. There’s still time to finish your holiday shopping, so consider giving some of the best cookbooks of the past year.

Esther Sung at Epicurious has ten recommendations, including her suggestion for a “recipe to try” from each volume.

Corinne Bowen at Vegetarian Times has five e-cookbook recommendations, while the VT editors have five traditional print picks that you could win if you’re willing to fork over an email address to enter the drawing.

Jay Cheshes of Time Out New York offers picks for the dozen best international cookbooks of the year.

KRCW’s Good Food offers nine selections from Evan Kleiman.

T. Susan Chang offers a list with a contrarian theme for NPR. As she writes,

The rebels, rule breakers and renegades who rule this year’s Top 10 list aren’t looking for a Ph.D. in Traditional Cooking. They’re pleasure seekers whose books are filled with quirky facts, gorgeous pictures, ingredients deployed in unexpected places. They’re informative, thoughtful and well packaged, and traditional only in the sense that they make classic perfect gifts.

Finally, Chris Nuttall-Smith provides suggestions for Canada’s The Globe and Mail, broken down into five mini-lists of books that would be ideal for domestic gods and goddesses, global palates, sweet teeth, home chefs, or kitchen newbies.

A number of books appear on more than one of these (and other) lists, including Canal House Cooks Every Day by Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer; Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi; Vietnamese Home Cooking by Charles Phan; Dirt Candy by Amanda Cohen and Ryan Dunlavey; Fäviken by Magnus Nilsson; Burma: Rivers of Flavor by Naomi Duguid; and Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel.

(By the way, if you’ve ever wondered how some celebrity chefs manage to be such prolific cookbook authors, I have two words for you: ghost writers.)

Coming up tomorrow: the best food books of 2012.


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