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The best cookbooks of 2014 by the experts

Who knows cookbooks better than the owners of specialist cookbook stores? They stock and sell thousands of cookbooks and because their stores are focused on food and drink books, they are true experts.  They read the books, cook from them and then share their knowledge with their customers.  When shopping for cookbook gifts this holiday season, think about supporting your local bookstore.  

We asked for best cookbook lists from the cookbook stores that feature in our directory.  All these lists will be included in our Best of the Best list, which is being unveiled shortly. 

USA

Omnivore Books - owner Celia SackMrs Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry

Tacolicious by Sara Deseran
Heritage by Sean Brock
The Banh Mi Handbook by Andrea Nguyen
Flour + Water: Pasta by Thomas McNaughton
Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi
The Vegetarian Flavor Bible by Karen Page
Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry by Cathy Barrow
A Boat, A Whale and a Walrus by Renee Erickson
Shrubs by Michael Dietsch


 

Kitchen Arts & Letters - Nach Waxman &  Matt Sartwell Prune

Liquid Intelligence by Dave Arnold
Heritage by Sean Brock
Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour
Prune by Gabrielle Hamilton
A Change of Appetite by Diana Henry
Sugar Rush by Johnny Iuzzini
My Paris Kitchen by David Lebowitz
Bitter by Jennifer McLagan
The Banh Mi Handbook by Andrea Nguyen
The Vegetarian Flavor Bible by Karen Page

 

Rabelais Books - owners Don & Samantha Lindgren Heritage

Bitter by Jennifer McLagan
Apples of Uncommon Character by Rowan Jacobsen
Eating With the Chefs by Per-Anders Jorgensen
Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry by Cathy Barrow
The Fat Radish Kitchen Diaries by Ben Towill, et al.
Shroom by  Becky Selengut
Heritage by Sean Brock
A New Napa Cuisine by Christopher Kostow
Flavor Flours by Alice Medrich
Eat: The Little Book of Fast Food by Nigel Slater

 

The Book Larder - owner Lara Hamilton

A Boat, A Whale, and A Walrus

A Boat, A Whale, and A Walrus by Renee Erickson Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi
Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour
A Change of Appetite by Diana Henry
Flavor Flours by Alice Medrich
Prune by Gabrielle Hamilton
Shroom by  Becky Selengut
Sherry by Talia Baiocchi
Mexico: The Cookbook by Margarita Carrillo Arronte
One-Hour Cheese by Claudia Lucero

 

Powell's City of Books - cookbook buyer Tracey T.

The Forest Feast

One-Hour Cheese by Claudia Lucero
Dumplings All Day Wong by Lee Anne Wong
The Banh Mi Handbook by Andrea Nguyen
Asian Pickles by Karen Solomon
Salad Samurai by Terry Hope Romero
World Spice at Home by Amanda Bevill and Julie Kramis Hearne
The Forest Feast by Erin Gleeson
Huckleberry by Zoe Nathan and Josh Loeb
Preserving by the Pint by Marisa McClellan
Saveur: The New Classics Cookbook by James Oseland

 

The Cookbook Stall - owner Jill Ross

Huckleberry

Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook
Heritage by Sean Brock
Sugar Rush by Johnny Iuzzini
Huckleberry by Zoe Nathan
Death & Co by David Kaplan, Nick Fauchald & Alex Day
Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef by Massimo Bottura
Mallmann On Fire by Francis Mallman
Prune by Gabrielle Hamilton
Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan
Mexico: The Cookbook by Margarita Carrillo Arronte

 

CANADA

All the Best Fine Foods - cookbook manager Alison Fryer

North

Made in Quebec by Julian Armstrong
North: The New Nordic Cuisine of Iceland by Gunnar Karl Gislason and Jody Eddy
Prune by Gabrielle Hamilton
Make It Ahead by Ina Garten
Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi
JK: The Jamie Kennedy Cookbook
Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook
The Great Lobster Cookbook by Matt Dean Pettit
Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan
Bitter by Jennifer McLagan

 

Barbara-Jo's Books to Cooks - owner Barbara-Jo McIntosh

Baking Chez Moi

Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding by Justin Gellatly
The Vegetarian Flavor Bible by Karen Page
Salmagundi by Sally Butcher
Indian For Everyone by Anupy Singla
Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan
Relae: Book of Ideas by Christian F. Puglisi
Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi
My Portugal by George Mendes
Bitter by Jennifer McLagan
A Change of Appetite by Diana Henry

 

Good Egg - owner Mika Bareket

A Change of Appetite

Heritage by Sean Brock
Relae: Book of Ideas by Christian F. Puglisi
Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi
A Change of Appetite by Diana Henry
Mexico: The Cookbook by Margarita Carrillo Arronte
Bitter by Jennifer McLagan
Death & Co by David Kaplan, Nick Fauchald & Alex Day
Comptoir Libanais by Tony Kitous and Dan Lepard
Thailand by Jean-Pierre Gabriel
Eating With the Chefs by Per-Anders Jorgensen

 

Appetite for Books - owner Jonathan Cheung

Bitter

Prune by Gabrielle Hamilton
Bitter by Jennifer McLagan
Heritage by Sean Brock
Made in Quebec by Julian Armstrong
Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi
Honey & Co. by Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich
New Feast by Greg & Lucy Malouf
My Paris Kitchen by David Lebowitz
Nick Malgieri's Pastry by Nick Malgieri
Death & Co by David Kaplan, Nick Fauchald & Alex Day

 

AUSTRALIA

Books for Cooks - owner Tim White

Sepia

The English and Australian Cookery Book by Edward Abbott
Relae: Book of Ideas by Christian F. Puglisi
Heritage by Sean Brock
Sepia by Martin Benn
Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi
Dabbous by Ollie Dabbous
Phillipa's Home Baking by Phillipa Grogan & Richard Cornish
A Food Lover's Pilgrimage to France by Dee Nolan
The Vegetarian Flavor Bible by Karen Page
Mexico: The Cookbook by Margarita Carrillo Arronte

 

Scrumptious Reads - owner Julie Tjiandra

Organum

Organum by Peter Gilmore
el Bulli the Collection
Eating With the Chefs by Per-Anders Jorgensen
Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour
Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi
Bistronomy by Katrina Meyninck
Bar Tartine by Nicolaus Balla, et al
Mr. Hong by Dan Hong
Kitchen by Mike by Mike McEnearney
Adam's Big Pot by Adam Liaw

 

EUROPE

Books for Cooks (London) - owner Eric Treuille

Plenty More

Favourite Recipes from Books for Cooks 7, 8 and 9
Cooking for Chaps by Gustav Temple and Clare Gabbett-Mulhallen
A Modern Way to Eat by Anna Jones
The Art of Eating Well by Jasmine & Melissa Hemsley
Party Perfect Bites by Milli Taylor
Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi
Organum by Peter Gilmore
Green Kitchen Travels by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl
North: The New Nordic Cuisine of Iceland by Gunnar Karl Gislason and Jody Eddy

 

De Kookboekhandel (Netherlands) - owner Jonah Freud

Liever lokaal

Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi
Het krokettenboek by Johannes van Dam
Groentebijbel by Mari Maris
Vegetarische Tajines & Couscous (Vegetarian Tagines & Couscous) by Ghillie Basan
Vis uit blik by Bart van Olphen
Liever lokaal by Annette van Ruitenburg and Rene Zanderink
Melk & Dadels by Nadia Zerouali
Honey & Co. by Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich
Over Rook by Meneer Wateetons
De Banketbakker by Cees Holtkamp

 

Cook + Book (Netherlands) - owner Riejanne Schimmel

Persiana

Home Baked by Yvette van Boven (English translation will be available in 2015)
Soep (Soup) by Janneke Philippi  (Only available in Dutch)
A New Napa Cuisine by Christopher Kostow
Huxtabook by Daniel Wilson
Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour
Een nieuwe kijk op eten (A Modern Way to Eat) by Anna Jones
Tasty Express by Sneh Roy
Nieuwe klassiekers (The New Classics) by Donna Hay
Mijn Franse keuken (My Little French Kitchen) by Rachel Khoo
Desire by Sergio Herman

Hold the mayo

Mayonnaise

You may have seen the news article a few months ago that multinational giant Unilever, maker of Hellman's Mayonnaise, was suing the (very small) producer of Just Mayo, a vegan "mayonnaise." Unilever brought the lawsuit claiming that Just Mayo's label was misleading, and that because it contains no eggs, the product doesn't meet the legal definition of mayonnaise.

Yesterday Unilever announced it was dropping the lawsuit to allow Hampton Creek to address its label issues directly with regulatory authorities and industry groups. (Just in time for holiday deviled egg trays!) Just Mayo's CEO, Josh Tetrick, praised the decision. Keeping an upbeat attitude, he noted that the lawsuit had provided his company with a windfall of publicity, boosting sales and giving the company "the opportunity to tell our story to millions of people."

Critics of the lawsuit noted that some of Unilever's products that were labled as mayonnaise weren't exactly mayonnaise either. Just after filing the lawsuit, the company "tweaked references on its websites to products to refer to them as "mayonnaise dressing" rather than mayonnaise."

We'd love to year what you think of the lawsuit and Just Mayo's label. Is the label inherently misleading, or was Unilever overreacting by filing a multi-million dollar suit?

Photo of How to make mayonnaise with an immersion blender from indexed blog The Kitchn 

The only recipe box you need

Recipe box

Quaint recipe boxes like the one pictured above used to be commonplace, but these days your recipe box is just as likely to be virtual. Many recipe websites include a "recipe box" feature, but you may not be able to rely on it. For example, if you're a user of Serious Eats, you may have noticed that as of December 10, their recipe box is no longer. They are not planning to replace it.

Serious Eats used a third-party vendor, Ziplist, to manage its recipe box and shopping list. Many recipe websites use a similar third-party service that is not developed or managed by the site itself. Therefore they all run the same risk of the vendor pulling the plug, leaving users in the lurch. The recent Serious Eats event prompted us to remind everyone of the convenience of using Eat Your Books to organize all of their recipes, regardless of where those recipes are located. Basic Membership is free and includes unlimited online recipes.

Over 80 websites and blogs, like Serious Eats, are fully indexed on EYB. All you have to do to see all recipes from that site in your search is to add the site to your Bookshelf. You can easily do this by browsing the list of indexed blogs and clicking the +Bookshelf button. If you have favorite recipes from a site, you can Bookmark them and add them to categories of Bookmarks that you control, making the customization superior to website recipe boxes. You can use indexed recipes to develop shopping lists, too.

And of course you aren't limiting yourself to one site - you can add multiple blogs to your Bookshelf, plus you can index recipes that you find on other sites. (Add those recipes via the Bookmarklet.) You can index your personal recipes, too, a feature not offered on other websites. Upgrade to a Premium Membership to add unlimited cookbooks to your Bookshelf (the Basic Membership is limited to five cookbooks).

If you still have recipes in a virtual recipe box on another site, it's a good idea to take a few minutes to add them to your EYB Bookshelf before that recipe box goes the way of the dodo bird.

Featured Cookbooks & Recipes

Do you find other people's comments on recipes helpful? Have you written your own recipe Notes? It's a great way to remind yourself how a dish turned out and share your experience with the EYB community. On each Recipe Details page you'll find a Notes tab.

Adding online recipes to your EYB Bookshelf is a really great way to expand your personal recipe collection. You can now do this even if you have a free membership!

We're featuring online recipes from these books, magazines and blogs - check them out.

Happy cooking & baking everyone!
 

 
From US books:

25 recipes from  Joan Nathan's Jewish Holiday Cookbook


12 recipes from A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking by Marcy Goldman


4 recipes from Better Homes and Gardens Very Merry Cookies, indexed by an EYB member


25 recipes + 3 videos from Scandinavian Christmas by Trine Hahnemann,
indexed by an EYB member


42 recipes from A Kitchen in France: A Year of Cooking in My Farmhouse by Mimi Thorisson


6 recipes from French Roots: Two Cooks, Two Countries, and the Beautiful Food Along the Way by Jean-Pierre & Denise Lurton Moullé


12 recipes from Paris to Provence: Childhood Memories of Food & France
by Ethel Brennan & Sara Remington, indexed by an EYB member
 




Today is the LAST DAY for Buy 1, Get 1 Free EYB gift vouchers for the holidays!
(Ends Dec. 18th)

 

A stellar year for women in food

Barbara LynchIn 2013, TIME Magazine published an article titled The Gods of Food, which attracted notice for its glaring omission of women. Time took some heat for the article and 2014 began with low expectations for the treatment of women in the food industry. However, The Braiser reports that despite the dismal outlook, the year proved great for women as they dominated the James Beard Awards and received many other accolades.

The Braiser lists twelve women who "owned" 2014, and EYB members will recognize many of the names. First on the list was restaurateur Barbara Lynch. To say she was busy in 2014 would be a grave understatement. In addition to running her restaurant empire, Ms. Lynch earned a James Beard Foundation award for Outstanding Restaurateur, appeared on Top Chef, and is preparing to compete in the Bocuse D'Or in January.

A Lynch protégé, Kristen Kish, is also on the list. This year the Top Chef winner competed in Top Chef Duels and landed on the cover of Cherry Bombe magazine. Speaking of that publication, founders Kerry Diamond and Claudia Wu were heralded for their pioneering magazine that highlights not just big-name chefs, but also "the gals in the industry we may not have heard of before."

April BloomfieldAnother woman from the publishing field, Dana Cowin, makes the Braiser list as well. The editor of Food & Wine was lauded for leading the way in giving female chefs their due. In January, Food & Wine will publish an entire issue dedicated to female chefs. Other familiar names mentioned in The Brazier article include chef/authors April Bloomfield, Gabrielle Hamilton, and Nancy Silverton.

Some less familiar names include Katie Button, a James Beard-nominated chef from North Carolina who took "her chops on the road for the most dramatic chef show to come out this year, World's Best Chefs, to interview some of her former bosses, like Adria and José Andrés." Another newcomer is Rosio Sanchez, who worked with Rene Redzepi at Noma. Redzepi selected Sanchez to open a Mexican taqueria, Hija de Sánchez, in Copenhagen next year. 

Fermented foods continue upward trend

Bread & butter pickles

Restaurant discovery service Urbanspoon compiles restaurant reviews from various sources including bloggers, food critics, and local diners. After sorting through the data from their app's Popular Dish feature, reviews, comments, and user data, the service has come up with their predictions for 2015's food trends, along with the top cuisines of the current year.

The reigning cuisines in the US & Canada for 2014 were Spanish-style tapas, Italian, Mediterranean, Southern (US) and soul foods, and Japanese. The popularity of pickles and other fermented foods soared this year, and the service predicts that trend will continue, and in 2015 we'll see "cauliflower, onions, eggplant, zucchini and fennel bulbs get dunked in vinegary, herbal and garlicky solutions." (See Susie Chang's recent report on pickling and preserving cookbooks for 2014.)

Other Urbanspoon predictions for the new year include smoked vegetables and the return of old-fashioned desserts and candies, especially brittle. Look for the terms "artisanal" and "homemade" to preface the treats.

North American trends seem to be in line with what's expected in Australia. One Australian source predicts a fermenting frenzy: "Originally popular amongst the raw food enthusiasts, the trend of using microbes in your own kitchen is set to go mainstream with DIY lessons going beyond creating homemade yoghurt. Think sauerkraut (fermented cabbage), kombucha (fermented tea), kimchee (fermented vegetables) and kefir (cultured milk product)." Tourism Australia's predictions for next year also include smoked foods (everything from meat to fruit), plus savoury cocktails, an emphasis on vegetables, and outrageous sweets.

No one seems to have made similar pickle predictions for the UK for 2015. Members there will have to fill us in on whether 'fermenting frenzy' is taking hold in the UK as much as it is across the pond.

Photo of Bread & butter pickles from Food Wishes by John Mitzewich

Gil Marks, Jewish food historian, dies at 62

Encyclopedia of Jewish FoodOlive trees and honey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gil Marks, a culinary historian who wrote about Jewish food and culture, has died at the age of 62. Marks authored several books on Jewish food and in 2005 won a James Beard Award for his book Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes From Jewish Communities Around the World. He is probably better known, however, for his more recent Encyclopedia of Jewish Food.

Marks' books "not only provided a recipe-by-recipe chronicle of kosher menus through the centuries but also examined the role of food in the establishment and growth of cultural traditions," according to his obituary in the NY Times. At the time of his death, he was working on a new book called American Cakes. Portions of that work have appeared on the website The History Kitchen. 

In addition to being a culinary historian who focused on the relationship between Jewish food and culture, Marks was previously a guidance counselor and history teacher at Yeshiva University High School for Boys in New York. He also worked in Philadelphia as a social worker before returning to New York, where he lived for most of his life. Marks had recently moved to the West Bank near Jerusalem.

 

The Cookie Countdown

I am, and always have been, a cookie person.  I'm happiest when there's a nearly-full cookie box or jar somewhere in the kitchen, just waiting for me to have an excuse: a story filed, a disagreeable chore completed, or just plain "lunch dessert".  A cookie doesn't make you feel as guilty as a big juicy slab of pie, or a dense wedge of cake.  It's just a cookie - sweet, perfect, and of short duration.

The difficulty at this time of year is deciding which of my many, many favorite cookies will get my attention.  Last year, it was all star cookies, of which my perennial favorite (and the one I always make time to make) is La Befana, the sprinkle star from Gina dePalma's Dolce Italiano, which has never once let me down.

If I've really got my ducks in a row, I might have time to make stroopwafels, which require a bit of careful timing and keeping your wits about you so you don't burn yourself on the waffle iron. You also have to eat them while they're warm and still pliant, but that's the least of our problems.

My husband's favorite cookie - and one I'm also crazy about - is the double dark chocolate cherry cookie from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book.  He makes giant double batches with jumbo bags of chips and cherries from Costco, and he gives them out to his students.  But there's always some left over for the rest of us.

This year around Thanksgiving, I discovered another favorite cookie - The "Ischler" - from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Baking Bible.  It's a sandwich cookie filled with apricot preserves and ganache, and I think it will be my Death Row request cookie if I ever find myself in that situation.  

While I've been dreaming about cookies, my cousin Barbara and my aunt Mimi have been making them. We got an incredible package this week in the mail, overflowing with little meringues and wrapped truffles and, best of all, crisp pecan sand tarts.  Barbara says these are the Joy of Cooking sand tarts, which means now I have another cookie to add to my Try list.  My plan is to use them for this year's reindeer cookies - oh, I forgot - that's another favorite, but mostly because we get to practice our royal icing technique on them.

My long-term ambition is to someday get all these cookies done early enough to mail them to friends and family, the way Barbara does.  But for now, it's just one more thing I'll be dreaming about.  What's your cookie of choice? 

Tips for perfect sugar cookies

Iced sugar cookies

If you haven't started your holiday baking yet, there is still time to make plenty of treats. Iced sugar cookies are a classic holiday treat, and they are tons of fun to make and decorate. However, they can be a little fussy and if you're not careful you can end up with misshapen, broken, greasy, or burnt cookies. Don't panic, though, we've got great cookie tips from your favorite indexed blogs.

The Kitchn shows us how to avoid the top 5 mistakes in making sugar cookies. The number one tip is to make sure your butter isn't too soft. Sometimes we get in a hurry and try to rush the butter softening by using a microwave, but this frequently results in butter that's too warm. When that happens, your cookies can turn out greasy and won't hold their shape well.

You also want to avoid overworking the dough, which will lead to tough cookies. Use a gentle hand and mix "the dry ingredients only until they're just incorporated, and not a second longer. Once the dry ingredients are added, less mixing equals more tender cookies." The third tip is to chill the dough before rolling and cutting to make it more compliant. Visit The Kitchn for the remainder of their tips.

In addition to this great advice, Food52 offers suggestions for improving your cookies. Their first tip is to "Cream, cream, cream, cream the butter." Why is this so important?  Because the creaming "process actually helps to "dissolve" the sugar into the butter, which makes for a properly mixed cookie. This process -- done correctly -- takes 4 to 5 minutes on medium-low speed." You don't have to worry about over-mixing until you add the dry ingredients.

Another solid piece of advice is to not add too much flour. More flour leads to tough cookies, not the soft, chewy masterpieces you're after. When rolling out the dough, a "light dusting to your surface and your rolling pin should do the trick. Plus, if you've rolled your soft dough into a 1 inch-thick disk, you don't have very far to go to roll out the dough to the proper thickness." Read more tips at Food52.

Finally, the "golden" rule that both blogs emphasize: don't bake the cookies until golden. Although many recipes will tell you to do just that, it is not good advice for rolled sugar cookies like this. They should appear set around the edges, and the edges should just be turning color, but the tops should be pale for the most tender cookies.

Photo of Iced sugar cookies from Cooking Light Magazine

Returning the star

Michelin stars

A Michelin star rating can put a restaurant on the map. It can also put it in a straitjacket, which is why a number of chefs are giving back their stars, says Fortune magazine. Another issue plaguing starred restaurants isn't the constraint placed upon them, but rather that diners have come to expect a certain type of atmosphere. Some avant garde restaurants don't fit into that mold and diners can feel let down.

Australian chef Skye Gyngell learned this the hard way. "People have certain expectations of a Michelin restaurant, but we don't have cloths on the tables, our service isn't very formal. You know, if they're used to eating at Marcus Wareing [a two-star restaurant in London's Berkeley hotel], then they feel let down when they come here," Gyngell told Australia's Good Weekend magazine. Gyngell took the star off her London restaurant, Petersham Nurseries Café, and quit a short time later. She has since opened a new restaurant, which does not have a star.

Chef Julio Biosca returned his Michelin star for a different reason. While he respects the star system and recognizes that his Michelin star helped popularize his restaurant, he also felt pressured by it.  Biosca "felt that he'd been awarded it for a certain culinary project, which included a tasting menu and complicated dishes, and the award gave customers very specific expectations. The star was an honor but also a straitjacket" that limited his creative ability.

The decisions made by these chefs are not the norm. "A Michelin star is the life goal of many restaurateurs, and the distinction has immense marketing power. "Michelin puts you on the gastronomic map, literally," says Spanish food critic Julia Pérez Lozano.

But keeping the Michelin star is not a guarantee of success for a restaurant. Restaurants that are awarded stars often feel pressure to invest in decor and service and to raise prices. Even though the star rating may increase traffic in the restaurant, it doesn't always translate into financial reward as nearly half of starred restaurants aren't profitable.

Seen anything interesting? Let us know & we'll share it!

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