2011: The missing cuisine

The last week of the year has a special gift for the cookbook-obsessed: perspective. From our vantage point at the very end of a long, busy year of food publishing, we can see trends that weren’t so obvious before.  There was a great swell of Mediterranean cookbooks, including a sudden spate of rustic Italian.   There were long, loving glimpses of the home kitchens of chefs.  And there were mountains of cookies.

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But as I sort through the piles, I notice one usually-stalwart category was missing in American cookbook publishing in 2011–Chinese cuisine.  I think Terry Tan published an important Szechuan cookbook in the UK, though I never saw it here, and there were a few quick-and-easy generic Asian books.  But nothing on the order of Grace Young’s marvelous Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge (2010) , Eileen Yin-Fei Lo’s Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking (2009) or Fuchsia Dunlop’s Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook (2007).  I guess I’d gotten a bit spoiled, expecting another blockbuster, world-changing Chinese cookbook (preferably addressing a neglected region of that vast terrain) every year.

But I see Fuchsia Dunlop’s got another title coming in 2012, so there’s hope. And while I’m making my next year’s list, Santa, I could use some more in-depth books on Indian cooking, a book just for layer cakes–not too simple and not too complicated either–and anything focused on West or East African cuisines.  Also a really good shellfish book.

How about you?  Is there a gap in your cookbook shelf that just cries out to be filled?  Or is there that one category that never seems to have enough books?  

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