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
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: 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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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?