May 2013 cookbook roundup

Every month Susie Chang reviews new cookbook releases and notes trends in the United States. And she may also occasionally throw in a review of a "not-quite cookbook."  And for our non-U.S. members, Jane and Fiona provide similar reviews for new U.K., Australia, and New Zealand releases.


Taken overall, cookbook selections are looking curiously scant for May: few major names (the teachers, the chef-owners, the major media food writers) are releasing books, and there are no doorstop references (except for maybe Bon Appétit's big grilling book) in the works.  There are strangely few greenmarket books and only a few summer entertaining/cocktail books, although as usual there's no slacking in the barbecue department.  Either the spate of summer books we saw in March is all we're getting, or a delayed spate will surprise us after Memorial Day… 

Bacon Nation


Bacon Nation: 125 Irresistible Recipes, by Peter Kaminsky and Marie Rama:  Publishing a bacon book may be like shooting fish in a barrel, but one can't blame folks for wanting it published by Father's Day.





Fish Market


Fish Market: A Cookbook for Selecting and Preparing Seafood, by Kathy Hunt  : No summer is complete without a seafood primer, and Hunt's book is the latest effort at demystifying the catch.  I haven't seen it yet, so can't say whether it offers a sustainability angle (like most fish books in recent years).



River Cottage Veg


River Cottage Veg: 200 Inspired Vegetable Recipes, by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall: Hard to believe that just a decade ago people simply thought of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall as someone who knew how to cook offal. The River Cottage publishing juggernaut continues with its most healthful selection yet. This book has previously been published in the UK as River Cottage Veg Every Day.




The Prophets of Smoked Meat


Prophets of Smoked Meat:  A Journey Through Texas Barbecue, by Daniel Vaughan and Nicholas McWhirter:  More a documentary than a cookbook - and an interesting gift for those who want to read about barbecue, not just eat it.




Bakeless Sweets



Bakeless Sweets: Pudding, Panna Cotta, Fluff, Icebox Cake, and More No-Bake Desserts, by Faith Durand: Part of this summer's turn-off-the-oven trend, by Kitchn executive editor Durand.




True Brews


True Brews: How to Craft Fermented Cider, Beer, Wine, Sake, Soda, Kefir, and Kombucha at Home by Emma Christensen: Another book from the Kitchn!  and right on top of the current craze for crafting your own drinks. 




Smoke and Pickles


Smoke and Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen, by Edward Lee:  Not just smoked things and pickled things - an internationally inflected book in which the definition of Southern cuisine expands to include curries, adobos, kal bi, and miso.  (This is a Korean "Lee,"  not a scion of Robert E. or Matt and Ted.)


Salt Block Cooking


 Salt Block Cooking: 60 Recipes for Grilling, Chilling, Searing, and Serving on Himalayan Salt Blocks, by Mark Bitterman:  This has to be included if only because having a book devoted to a single trendy ingredient usually marks the apex of the trend.  Will that be the case for pink Himalayan salt (commonly known as "rock salt")?



Crackers & Dips cover  


Crackers & Dips: More Than 50 Handmade Snacks by Ivy Manning : Why buy crackers when you can so easily make your own with whole-grains and no preservatives? There are recipes for gluten-free crackers as well as a whole chapter of dips for pairing.




The new wine country cookbook 



The New Wine Country Cookbook by Brigit Binns : A love letter to California's Central Coast wine country.  Wine-friendly and wine-inclusive recipes showcase the best the region has to offer.




The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook



The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook by Tracey Medeiros: Small, independent farms are the lifeblood of Vermont's agriculture - here the best are profiled and their produce used in rustic-yet-refined, Vermont inspired recipes.





This month's trends:

Ice cream sandwiches, not baking (that is, baking without turning on the oven), DIY beverages (especially sodas)



And here are the new arrivals from the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand:

 From the U.K.:

Perfect Host


Perfect Host, by Felicity Cloake: A Guardian columnist (and winner of "Food Journalist of the Year") produces a guide to stress-free and fun entertaining - after-work, weekends, picnics, seduction, every different occasion is covered.




Elizabeth David on Vegetables


Elizabeth David on Vegetables, by Elizabeth David:  A collection of the best recipes from the celebrated British cookbook author, published to commemorate the centenary of her birth.  This is the first time these life-time's worth of vegetable recipes from the culinary legend have been published in one book.






Chocolat, by Eric Lanlard:  Master Patissier Eric Lanlard shares more than 100 of his favourite recipes that use the ingredient he loves the most - chocolate. Eric has been twice winner of Continental Patissier of the Year but the recipes are not just for pastry wizards - there are simple-to-make bakes and sauces as well as show-stopping party pieces.



The only recipes you'll ever need


The Only Recipes You'll Ever Need, by Tony Turnbull:  A novel concept from the Food Editor at The Times.  Take the standard ingredients/styles of cooking that most people cook every night and present 4 alternative ways to prepare them. He uses 60 different ingredients/dishes and has 4 variations for each, so 240 recipes in total.





And from Australia & New Zealand:

Not Quite NigellaNot Quite Nigella by Lorraine Elliott:   From passionate home cook to Australia's most popular food blogger, Not Quite Nigella  is the go-to internet destination for hundreds of thousands of food lovers from around the world. This is the story of Lorraine's journey revealing the pitfalls, triumphs and challenges of becoming a full-time food blogger, and shares the best of her new-found wisdom: the secret to winning a man's heart through food, the key to baking perfect macarons, tips on hosting unforgettable dinner parties, and how to create a successful blog. 





Baked: Treats for Breakfast, Lunch and Tea  by Dean Brettschneider:  Known as the Global Baker, Dean shares the recipes and tricks of the trade from his wonderful bakeries that he has established in Shanghai and Singapore.  Taking inspiration from all corners of the globe, Dean terms his baking as New World style. His recipes encompass what his bakeries are about - simple and stylish and include delectable treats for breakfast, lunch and dinner and anything in between.




Csiro Well-Being


The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet - Recipes on a Budgetby Manny Noakes & Peter Clifton:  The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet has inspired thousands of Australians to lose weight and improve their overall health. This brand new collection of more than 135 recipes shows you how to eat well without breaking the bank or compromising on quality or nutrition



The Bookery cook

The Bookery Cook  by Jessica, Georgia and Maxine Thompson:  The Thompson sisters - Jessica, Georgia and Maxine created a blog,, to celebrate their love of food. Instead of photographing their chosen dishes, they made contact with artists all over the world, who supplied dedicated artworks, in a huge variety of styles and media, to illustrate the recipes. This book will appeal to lovers of art as much as lovers of food. 




The Original Levanese cookbook

The Original Lebanese Cookbook  by Dawn, Elaine and Selway Anthony: The Original Lebanese Cookbook, published in 1978, was the first authentic and comprehensive book of Lebanese cookery ever published outside of Lebanon and is back in a beautiful new edition. The collection of 150 Lebanese recipes passed down from mother to daughter for generations, includes favorites such as Kibbi, Tabbouleh, Hoummus and Baba Ghannouj and a generous selection of meat-free and dairy-free meals.



1 Comment

  • debbypo  on  6/3/2013 at 12:57 AM

    Every year the start of the farmer's markets brings me back to my first farmer's market when my now 30 year-old was just a toddler. The look of delight as she put an enormous red apple to her little face was so joyous that someone publicizing the then-new market on our local cable station came hurrying over and interviewed us both as part of a public service announcement. Another great memory is the late lamented Labrador who pulled the little girls to the market and then walked back helping to pull a wagon-load of produce. The food I anticipate the most each year is probably the asparagus. Such a wonderful harbinger of spring. The vision of Vermont in the cookbook just published bring back the memories of youthful visits to my cousins in a little town and treks to their local Cabot cheese factory. Simple goodness. Such goodness.

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