Best cookbooks of the 21st century (so far)

It is difficult - nearly impossible, for me - to consider that we are 20 percent of the way through the 21st century. Nevertheless, it is true. That means we have 20 years of cookbooks to think about when discussing the best books of the century. Helen Rosner at The New Yorker breaks down which books she believes are standouts

Despite the major shift to the digital age and dire predictions that their death was imminent, cookbooks have not only survived, they have prospered. Part of the reason for this, explains Rosner, is that cookbooks transformed right along with technology, becoming more than mere instruction manuals, instead "existing in service of something more-a mood, a place, a technique, a voice." In other words, they tell a story. 


Rosner has whittled down the thousands of releases to a mere ten, based on the way she cooks, eats, and reads. The first book hails from the beginning of the century, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's The River Cottage Cookbook, which Rosner considers to be among the first to remind us "that what we eat isn't just food on a plate but part of a thrilling natural cycle, our human lives brushing up against countless others, plant and animal alike."

Bookending the list is 2018's Feast: Food of the Islamic World by Anissa Helou. Rosner is struck by the blocks of different recipes for a single dish. While at first glance it might seem that these are repetitive, but by "outlining their minute differences side by side, Helou reveals the habits, rituals, and histories that make up a vast and heterogeneous religious culture and cuisine." See the rest of the list at The New Yorker's website. Which ten books would you choose? 


  • Cati  on  7/16/2019 at 4:13 AM

    Did you mean the title to say Best Cookbooks of the 21st century (so far)?

  • Jenny  on  7/16/2019 at 10:32 AM

    Oops, we fixed!

  • lgroom  on  7/17/2019 at 9:13 PM

    Feast is certainly one of the best cookbooks I've ever seen.

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