Hold on to your hats! The NPR holiday cookbook roundup, my go-to guide for the overlooked gems, rightfully-hyped showstoppers, and perfect steals of the cookbook world is now out!
In addition to the top 10 I chose for NPR, you’ll find here all the ones that I loved for one reason or another but couldn’t fit in the top ten. It’s a glorious jumble, and there’s something for every cook on your list. (If you want to learn more about how these books are chosen, you can check out the 7-point rating system.)
The 2012 NPR top 10 (in no particular order):
1. The Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take on Whole Foods by Sara Forte and Hugh Forte
2. Modern Sauces: More than 150 Recipes for Every Cook, Every Day, by Martha Holmberg
3. The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, by Deb Perelman
4. The Science of Good Cooking (Cook’s Illustrated Cookbooks) by The Editors of America’s Test Kitchen
5. Susan Feniger’s Street Food: Irresistibly Crispy, Creamy, Crunchy, Spicy, Sticky, Sweet Recipes by Susan Feniger, Kajsa Alger and Liz Lachman
6. Hiroko’s American Kitchen: Cooking with Japanese Flavors by Hiroko Shimbo
7. Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
8. Canal House Cooks Every Day by Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton
9. The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook: Sweetness in Seattle by Tom Douglas and Shelley Lance
10. Simply Sensational Cookies by Nancy Baggett
…and now, it’s on to THE SHORTLIST.
Best Cookbook for After the End of Civilization
The America’s Test Kitchen D.I.Y. Do It Yourself Cookbook: Can It, Cure It, Churn It, Brew It by America’s Test Kitchen Editors
Best Travelogue Cookbook
Burma: Rivers of Flavor by Naomi Duguid
Best Ambitious Kitchen Primer
Keys to the Kitchen: The Essential Reference for Becoming a More Accomplished, Adventurous Cook by Aida Mollenkamp
Best Gift for Your Most Intrepid Food Friends
Salumi: The Craft of Italian Dry Curing by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn
Best Cookbook to End Up Using One Recipe Over and Over From
Crêpes: 50 Savory and Sweet Recipes by Martha Holmberg (I’m thinking of the basic crêpes recipe.)
Best Reason to buy a Proportional-Integral-Derivative Controller (or Other Control Loop Feedback Mechanism)
Modernist Cuisine at Home, by Nathan Myhrvold and Maxime Bilet
Best Round-the-World Sweets Book
Sugar & Spice: Sweets and Treats from Around the World by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra
Best Round-the-World Bread Book
All You Knead is Bread by Jane Mason
Love-Your-Veggies Expansion Kit
Wild About Greens: 125 Delectable Vegan Recipes for Kale, Collards, Arugula, Bok Choy, and Other Leafy Veggies Everyone Loves by Nava Atlas
The Great Meat Cookbook: Everything You Need to Know to Buy and Cook Today’s Meat by Bruce Aidells
Regional Magnum Opus
Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Stevens Graubart
Most Satisfying Way to Blow 400 Calories a Pop
Baked Elements: The Importance of Being Baked in 10 Favorite Ingredients by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
Retro Indulgence for the Nostalgic and the Hip
Vintage Cakes: Timeless Recipes for Cupcakes, Flips, Rolls, Layer, Angel, Bundt, Chiffon, and Icebox Cakes for Today’s Sweet Tooth by Julie Richardson
The Ploughman’s Lunch and the Miser’s Feast: Authentic Pub Food, Restaurant Fare, and Home Cooking from Small Towns, Big Cities, and Country Villages Across the British Isles by Brian Yarvin
Most Thoughtful Contribution to a Fast-Growing Category
Gluten-Free Baking for the Holidays: 60 Recipes for Traditional Festive Treats by Jeanne Sauvage
Mighty Reckoning with an Important Overlooked Cuisine
Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America, by Maricel E. Presilla
Surprisingly Gifty Single-Subject Paperback
Garlic: The Mighty Bulb by Natasha Edwards
Pleasure-oriented Gluten-Free Book
Small Plates & Sweet Treats: My Family’s Journey to Gluten-Free Cooking, by Aran Goyoaga
Refreshing Discovery in What I Thought Was a Played-Out Category
Mike Isabella’s Crazy Good Italian by Mike Isabella
Pain-Free Introduction to Whole Grains
Grain Mains: 101 Surprising and Satisfying Whole Grain Recipes for Every Meal of the Day by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough
Also, Three Terrific Series Worth Exploring More Deeply.
- The Food and Cooking Of… series from Anness Publishing. Beautifully photographed, slightly hard-to-find introductions to far-flung cuisines. This year’s The Food and Cooking of Scandinavia is particularly lovely.
- The New Voices in Food series from Globe Pequot. Understated paperbacks featuring up-and-coming young chefs. You might walk right past them if you weren’t particularly looking for them, but some of the recipes are gems.
- The Savor the South series from UNC Press. Terrific idea, ingredient-focused, attractively and affordably produced. The first two are Pecans and Buttermilk.
Finally, as always, for cooks who love a good food story, there’s my own A Spoonful of Promises: Recipes & Stories from a Well-Tempered Table.