Cookbook authors on the books they keep returning to

What is better than finding out which cookbook an author thinks is indispensible? Learning the same from a half-dozen authors. Over at The New York Times, they’ve assembled a sort of cookbook author relay race, in which one recently published author recommends his or her favorite title from the past year or so, then passes on the honor to that book’s author, and so on.

Alison Roman, author of the recently-released bestseller Nothing Fancy, starts us off with Niki Segnit’s Lateral Cooking: One Dish Leads to Another. She chose this volume because of its unique format. “A delightful read, it’s essentially a guide on how to draw the line from one technique (say, a custard for ice cream) to countless other dishes,” she says. The baton lands in Segnit’s hand next, who selects Dishoom: From Bombay with Love: Cookery Book and Highly Subjective Guide to Bombay with Map by Shamil Thakrar, Naved Nasir and Kavi Thakrar. While most people who have heard of Dishoom know about the black dal, Segnit says you should start with the rajma (curried kidney beans).

Dishoom’s authors in turn pick Midnight Chicken (& Other Recipes Worth Living For) by Ella Risbridger due to its storytelling. Although good recipes are at the book’s core, the Thakrars and Nasir explain that Midnight Chicken is more than a mere collection of recipes, becoming “an education on the transformative power of food.” There are three other stellar cookbooks discussed in this relay race. This is the kind of exercise I can fully embrace.

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