Spring and Summer 2011 Cookbooks: Special Preview

One of the peculiarities of being a cookbook reviewer is that you’re forever looking into the near future of food as the new press releases roll in.  Invariably, they offer tantalizing glimpses of seasonal foods that are several weeks or even months ahead of your garden, your kitchen, and the produce aisle of the grocery store.

As with any fortune-telling endeavor, things start to get a little vague once you get beyond a few months.  But at the moment you can get a fairly decent perspective on the books we may expect to see rolling in through about June.  Most are cookbooks; a few are memoirs and food narratives of other types.  A few seem to me to hold particular promise, so I’ll share them with you here.


Food of life

Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies (4th Edition), Najmieh Batmanglij (Mage Publishing)  The “Bible” of Iranian cooking, according to my Iranian friends.  Now revised and updated.

The Kitchen Garden Cookbook (Dorling Kindersley)  Kitchen garden cookbooks typically feature gorgeous profiles of individual fruits and vegetables.  This should be a doozy, if DK’s usual way with graphics is any guide.


Blood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef, by Gabrielle Hamilton (Random House).  The much-anticipated memoir of the chef at renowned Prune–likely to be edgy and sure to be smart.

Well dressed salads

Simply Great Breads: Sweet and Savory Yeasted Treats from America’s Premier Artisan Baker, by Daniel Leader and Lauren Chattman (Taunton Press)  Experience is everything when it comes to baking books, and these two are veterans.

Well Dressed: Salad Dressings from Vintage Restaurant, by Jeff Keys (Gibbs Smith)  When salad season comes, you just can’t have enough salad dressing recipes–preferably innovative, chef-authored ones.


Ancient Grains for Modern Meals: Mediterranean Whole Grain Recipes for Barley, Farro, Kamut, Polenta, Wheat Berries & More, by Maria Speck (Ten Speed)  10 years after they first started saying it was good for me, I still don’t know what to do with farro.  Maybe this will help.

Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch, by Nigel Slater (Ten Speed)  Liable to be a delectable read, and a gorgeous coffee-table book too.

A Southerly Course: Recipes and Stories from Close to Home, by Martha Hall Foose (Clarkson Potter) If it’s like her last book, it’ll be charming Southern discourse, peppered with recipes, from foreword to index.


Hunt, Gather, Cook:  Finding the Forgotten Feast, by Hank Shaw   (Rodale)  A forage-fest for outdoor chowhounds.

Fearless baker

The Fearless Baker: Scrumptious Cakes, Pies, Cobblers, Cookies, and Quick Breads that You Can Make to Impress Your Friends and Yourself, by Emily Luchetti and Lisa Weiss (Little, Brown)  Sort of a weird time of year to bring out a baking book, but  I’ve come to expect great things from Emily Luchetti.

Eat Greens: Seasonal Recipes to Enjoy in Abundance, by Barbara Scott-Goodman and Liz Trovato (Running Press)  Even more welcome than another vegetable book–a book that gives you lots of new ways around greens–just greens!–at exactly the time you’ll be needing them.


The Butcher’s Guide to Well-Raised Meat: How to Buy, Cut, and Cook Great Beef, Lamb, Pork, Poultry, and More, by Joshua Applestone, Jessica Applestone, Alexandra Zissu (Clarkson Potter) Big meat books are all the rage these days.  Potter’s entry looks promising, presuming they keep up their high content standards.

The Complete Book of Mushrooms: An illustrated encyclopedia of edible mushrooms and over 100 delicious ways to cook them, by Peter Jordan (Southwater)  As I always say, who can resist a big book of fungi?


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