Best of 2020: Cookbooks
Wed, 12/09/2020 - 3:02pm by eapearce
Many of us delved deeper into the world of home cooking than ever before in 2020. Although I didn’t ever jump on the bread-baking wagon, I did enjoy trying out dozens of new recipes from all over the world this past year. And now that it looks like we’ll be spending another winter cooking at home, I’m looking for new cookbooks to peruse and get inspiration from! Cookbooks also make lovely holiday presents, so what better time to check out some of the best releases of the past year and place some on hold for yourself or purchase one for a loved one? Here are some of the best cookbooks of 2020:
In Bibi’s Kitchen is a beautifully photographed cookbook of recipes from eight different eastern African countries. Chef Hawa Hassan, who was born in Somalia and immigrated to Seattle when she was a child, interviewed a variety of African women (“bibi” means “grandmother”) to hear about the recipes that they’ve cooked throughout their lives. Hassan says that her intention in creating the cookbook was to “sustain a cultural legacy,” and now cooks can honor these African food traditions at home, with the help of In Bibi’s Kitchen.
East, by Meera Sodha, is a colorful new cookbook featuring vegan and vegetarian recipes from Asia. The recipes are delightfully accessible and feature easy-to-find ingredients that still allow you to create dishes packed with delicious and unique flavors. The book has recipes of all types: sides, main dishes, salads, noodles, curries, tofu, desserts… all inspired by or directly from East Asian countries. I bought this book for my sister for her birthday and I hope she’ll let me borrow it!
None of the recipes in Ina Garten’s newest cookbook, Modern Comfort Food, are necessarily revolutionary, but they are all delicious and, just as the title says, deeply comforting. In other words, they’re perfect for the chilly winter ahead. Many of the recipes in here will be familiar to home cooks, but Garten does offer fresh takes on classics like tuna melts and cheesy chicken enchiladas. I love that she isn’t afraid to still throw good ole Ritz Crackers into recipes! Modern Comfort Food is an especially good choice for anyone cooking for a family.
I often find that baking cookbooks can be a little daunting for those just getting into the world of baking. So many complicated processes to make the perfect dessert! Enter Snacking Cakes, by Yossy Arefi. This new cookbook features everday cake recipes made with simple ingredients and most importantly, ONE BOWL! You don’t need any fancy kitchen tools (not even a mixer!) and you don’t need a million cake pans in different sizes to make the delicious cakes featured here. I love how Arefi encourages bakers to enjoy their cakes on “their own terms.” Make a cake to eat in the morning, with your afternoon tea or coffee, or heck, even for a late-night snack. This is the baking cookbook I’ve been waiting for!
Yotam Ottolenghi is familiar to many home cooks for his amazing takes on how to prepare vegetables. In his latest cookbook, Ottolenghi Flavor, he dives in deeper into techniques in informative essays. Some of his suggestions are a little complicated for weeknight cooking, but if you have the time to try them out, the process can be part of the fun and the outcome is always delicious. I also liked how Ottolenghi talks so much about seasonality in this newest cookbook; we all know that vegetables taste better in season, but he helps explain why and really delves into the different flavors that in-season vegetables can bring to a dish.
It’s just wonderful how many new and wonderful cookbooks are being published all the time, and 2020 really was an excellent year for them. Get your hands on some of the ones mentioned above, or on some of the dozens of other amazing cookbooks published this year!