With the days getting shorter and cooler, it’s no surprise that many of us are looking to find joy through culinary comforts. So, we’ve selected eight new food books to inspire everyone from the reluctant cook to the experimental foodie as we begin to retreat back indoors. Whether it’s discovering new ways to unlock flavour from veggies, learning about the rich and diverse heritage of African cooking or travelling to northern Thailand with a Toronto chef, these picks will ignite your culinary spark.
Hawksworth: The Cookbook by David Hawksworth, Jacob Richler and Stéphanie Nöel ($45, Appetite by Random House) —Air Canada culinary ambassador chef David Hawksworth teaches the building blocks of great cooking with recipes inspired by his gastronomic journey and his Vancouver restaurants Nightingale, Bel Café and Hawksworth. While some of the recipes are quick and easy, such as Potato Gnocchi with Roasted Tomato Sauce, Burrata and Basil, others like Roasted Lamb Chops with Truffle Mousse, Smoked Carrots and Pomme Purée will challenge even the most talented home cooks.
The Mexican Home Kitchen by Mely Martínez ($37, Quarto Cooks) —From homemade carnitas (pork tacos) to caldo de res (beef and vegetable soup), home cook and blogger Mely Martínez’s recipes teach the joys of authentic Mexican cuisine. Her enthusiasm and passion come through with fresh perspectives on the country’s diverse flavours – perfect for moving beyond yellow–boxed dinner kits on #TacoTuesday.
Big Macs & Burgundy: Wine Pairings for the Real World by Vanessa Price and Adam Laukhuf ($32, Abrams Image) —This book deconstructs the basics of pairing, proving you don’t need truffle–dusted Jerusalem artichokes or sous–vide pheasant loins to appreciate an exceptional (or perfectly ordinary) wine – the authors declare Spanish brut cava and French fries a pairing worthy of a last meal. An essential resource for wine lovers who are turned off by all of the esoteric jargon.
Ottolenghi Flavor by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage ($45, Appetite by Random House) —How many ways are there to slice, dice, peel or fry an eggplant? The Israeli–British chef’s latest Middle East–inspired recipe collection is a manual for learning new techniques to unlock flavour from vegetables (like charring and infusing) and pairing unexpected ingredients. Get creative with dishes like Kimchi and Gruyère Rice Fritters, or Chaat Masala Potatoes with Yoghurt and Tamarind, which will impress even the most stubborn carnivores in your life.
Eat a Peach: A Memoir by David Chang and Gabe Ulla ($37, Clarkson Potter) —You won’t find any recipes in David Chang’s poignant memoir. What you will read is an honest and raw account of the chef’s struggles and successes on his journey to culinary superstardom. From his childhood in suburban Washington D.C., to the opening of his first restaurant – Momofuko Noodle Bar in Manhattan’s East Village – and the subsequent growth of a restaurant empire, with a podcast and two Netflix shows to boot, it’s a tale of soaring highs and crushing lows.
In Bibi’s Kitchen by Hawa Hassan with Julia Turshen ($45, Ten Speed Press) —There’s much to learn in this groundbreaking cookbook, which doubles as a tale of multigenerational, cross–cultural connectedness. Each page is an intimate, heartwarming look into the homes, kitchens and everyday lives of bibis (grandmas) in eight African countries. And, of course, it’s an opportunity to try out mouth–watering recipes like Ma Vicky’s Matoke with Steamed Spinach, a hearty stew centred on green plantains, beef and coconut milk.
Kiin by Nuit Regular ($38, Penguin Random House Canada) —The executive chef and co–owner of Toronto eateries Pai Northern Thai Kitchen, Sabai Sabai, Sukhothai and Kiin, takes readers with her on a homecoming trip to northern Thailand, revealing her infectious love of the ingredients, markets and flavour palette of the region. Go ahead and ditch that store–bought curry paste, because the aromas wafting from these 120 recipes, such as Pad Woon Son Suki Heng (Glass Noodle Stir–Fry in Fermented Tofu Sauce) or Nham Ngeaw Phrae (Rice Vermicelli in Tomato Pork Bone Soup), will have you coming back for more.
Flavorbomb by Bob Blumer ($35, Appetite by Random House) —In his new book, Montreal–born Bob Blumer – eight–time Guinness World Record holder (yes, he peeled 50 pounds of onions in just 2 minutes and 39 seconds) and host of Food Network’s Surreal Gourmet and Glutton for Punishment – makes his case for a playful approach to cooking. The first half of the book offers tips, techniques, ingredients and strategies, while the second half is dedicated to the self–described culinary charlatan’s “Flavorbomb” recipes, such as his Bang Bang Thai Chicken Burger or Grilled Oaxacan Shrimp with Blistered Jalapeno Salsa Verde.