Phew! I emerged from last week’s Edible Austin Eat Local Week with some great new finds (post to come soon) and a little worn out, only to realize that I hadn’t finished my holiday shopping. Hopefully, you don’t find yourself in the same predicament, but just in case, I raided my bookshelf and thought I’d share some of my great cookbook finds from the year.
If you have a dessert lover in your life, you can’t go wrong with Deborah Madison’s Seasonal Fruit Desserts. It is obvious from the first page that Deborah loves fruit and celebrates everything about it. The photos and stories are lovely and the recipes are fantastic.
Another favorite from the year is the beautiful Edible Communities book, Edible: A Celebration of Local Food. Part travel guide, part cookbook, I enjoyed reading the book from cover to cover. Learning of the local food adventures across North America has never been quite so fascinating. I felt like I was on a long journey as I read each story.
I had the pleasure of meeting Melissa Clark, columnist from the New York Times, during the Texas Book Festival this year. Melissa is delightful, but her cookbook, In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite, is even more so. Her recipes are straightforward in a way that only a mom could understand the importance of and yet are packed with flavor. From Cheater Pork & Ginger Dumplings to an easy recipe for Bacon & Pecan Pralines, you will not get bored with this book. It’s worth buying just for the Better Fried chapter.
The last two books I received this year focus on our food traditions and heritage. The first, Cooking with Italian Grandmothers, features interviews and recipes from twelve grandmothers in the different regions of Italy. Jessica Theroux lovingly recounts her visits and I felt as if I was sitting in the kitchen of each woman as I read their stories. It made me want to be Italian – or at least eat that way.
Finally, I had the pleasure to visit with Joan Nathan during her recent visit to Austin and have thoroughly enjoyed her cookbook Quiches, Kugels and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France. My stepmother is Jewish and I have attended more than a few family passover dinners, bar and bat mitzvahs. Trust me that nothing as lovely as the Friday Night Algerian Chicken Fricassee or Moroccan Braised Lamb with Couscous graced our tables. Joan weaves stories of French food artisans and Jewish traditions with mouth-watering recipes that anyone of any faith will truly enjoy.
I hope someone on your nice list will enjoy one of these selections. Please chime in with your favorites from 2010 as well. The more the merrier!