Here are the cookbooks our Food editors and reporters love right now
In this uncertain time, here are the cookbooks Food reporters and editors turn to for reliably delicious results.March 26, 2020, 10:34 a.m. ET In the age of Google, when practically every recipe imaginable is just a few clicks away, real-life cookbooks are often relegated to a crowded shelf or tossed into the “donate” pile. Now that many of us are stuck at home, perhaps it’s time to dust off (or buy) a good old-fashioned cookbook and dirty the pages by cooking something from it. If you’re in the market, here are the cookbooks Food reporters and editors love for the most reliable results. “Simple: Effortless Food, Big Flavors” by Diana Henry (Mitchell Beazley, 2016) This book delivers on the promise of being truly simple, and Ms. Henry is very smart about the way she combines flavors and streamlines techniques. The ingredients are sophisticated; she doesn’t shy away from the likes of preserved lemons and white balsamic vinegar. But if you’re a condiment hoarder like I am, and you need new and inspired ways to use them, it’s absolutely brilliant. Melissa Clark, Columnist “Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick and Easy Indian Cooking” (Chronicle, 2007) A really great book for starting off with Indian cooking. The chicken recipes are especially good, particularly her quick silken chicken, and the many fragrant variations on the simple theme of vegetables with garlic and ginger. Julia Moskin, Reporter “Time for Dinner: Strategies, Inspiration and Recipes for Family Meals Every Night of the Week” by Pilar Guzmán, Jenny Rosenstrach and Alanna Stang (Chronicle, 2010) This is an excellent cookbook for newish parents, especially those who didn’t cook much before and might find the idea of feeding a family overwhelming. A real hand-holder, in a good way, it is full of smart tips for planning weeknight dinners and easy, simple recipes with short ingredient lists. It was written in 2010 by a team of three moms who are former editors of the shuttered parenting magazine Cookie. And their magazine background shows: There are charts! There are diagrams! For an advanced cook, it might feel a little basic, but for someone who is new to cooking for a family, or just new to cooking the majority of their meals all the time, it’s a great find. Emily Fleischaker, Enterprise Strategy Editor “Rustic Fruit Desserts: Crumbles, Buckles, Cobblers, Pandowdies and More” by Cory Schreiber with Julie Richardson (Ten Speed Press, 2010) Everything that I’ve baked from this book has worked. While the recipes are organized by season, you can easily adapt the desserts to the fruit you have on hand: I’ve used the cornmeal biscuit from the blueberry cobbler to top stewed rhubarb or canned peaches. Ms. Richardson, of Baker & Spice in Portland, Ore., lays out her philosophy at the beginning of the book, championing the freezer as “a pastry baker’s dear friend.” You’ll want to use it to keep pie doughs and crumble toppings at the ready when inspiration strikes. Sara Bonisteel, Senior Staff Editor “Milk Street: Tuesday Nights” by Christopher Kimball (Voracious, 2018) I love the Milk Street books, especially “Tuesday Nights.” Roasted cod with herb butter. Soupy rice with chicken, punched up with fresh ginger. And my favorite: yogurt flatbreads. The best part? The recipes have been tested with all the intensity of a high school student studying for the SATs. Kim Severson, Reporter “The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual” by Frank Falcinelli, Frank Castronovo and Peter Meehan (Artisan, 2010) I feel like I learned so much about cooking from my wrinkly, well-worn copy. It’s good, humble food. The ingredient lists are short, the recipes are simple, flavorful and easy to follow. Some of the dishes take time, but it’s worth it. Extra points for the stock recipes: The vegetable broth, a mix of fresh aromatics and trimmings, is something I make almost every couple of weeks, just one more way to stretch vegetables before throwing them in the compost. Krysten Chambrot, Senior Staff Editor Read more: NYT Food
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