Best of the best cookbooks 2018

It's hard to believe, but this is the tenth year that Jane has sifted through hundreds of 'best cookbook' lists from all over the world to determine which book is the #1 book of the year. And it's also difficult to believe, but the same author has had the top book six out of the ten years we've been putting this list together - Yotam Ottolenghi, whose Ottolenghi Simple annihilated the competition. No one seems to be able to top Ottolenghi if he decides to publish a book - not even Dorie Greenspan (Everyday Dorie, #4) or Ina Garten (Cook Like a Pro,#9).

cookbook collage

This year's surprise finish goes to The Noma Guide to Fermentation by René Redzepi & David Zilber (#2). Who would have guessed that a specialty book filled with pickles, vinegars, kombucha, vinegars and garums would be so popular? (Speaking of garum, if you are interested in learning even more about this ancient condiment, I recommend reading Mark Kurlansky's Salt: A World History, which explores the history of all things salty, including preseved items like garum.)

Other notable finishers on the 2018 list are Season, Big Flavors, Beautiful Food by Nik Sharma (#3), Now & Again: Go-To Recipes, Inspired Menus + Endless Ideas for Reinventing Leftovers by Julia Turshen (#6), How to Eat a Peach by Diana Henry (#7), and Israeli Soul: Easy, Essential, Delicious by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook (#8). The next ten books could have easily been in the top 10 in other years, but the competition this year was tremendous. That list includes Rose's Baking Basics by Rose Levy Beranbaum, The Nordic Baking Book by Magnus Nilsson, and Joe Beef - Surviving the Apocalypse by David McMillan, Frédéric Morin & Meredith Erickson.

In addition to the overall lists, Jane has assembled lists for the UK & Ireland, Canada, and Australia & New Zealand, plus specialty lists for drinks/cocktails, memoirs/general food writing, and vegan/vegetarian. For the UK, the top book was How to Eat a Peach by Diana Henry, followed by Ottolenghi Simple and Asma's Indian Kitchen by Asma Khan.

Canada's top book was Joe Beef: Surviving the Apocalypse by David McMillan, Frédéric Morin & Meredith Erickson with Set For the Holidays With Anna Olson coming in second. There was a 4-way tie for third place in Canada!

Turning to Australia and New Zealand, top honors went to The Noma Guide to Fermentation, followed again by Ottolenghi Simple. Lateral Cooking by Niki Segnit and Eat at the Bar by Matt McConnell tied for third place.

The top cocktail books were Apéritif by Rebekah Peppler and  Cocktail Codex by Alex Day, David Kaplan & Nick Fauchald. There was a tie for first place in the vegan/vegetarian category between Chloe Flavor by Chloe Coscarelli and Superiority Burger Cookbook by Brooks Headley. Top honors for memoirs/food writing went to Let's Eat France by François-Régis Gaudry.

See the complete lists, plus find out where the underlying data came from, on our Best Cookbooks of 2018 page

Also our beloved bookstores have shared their best picks and those can be found in our Best cookbooks by the experts 2018  post.

The best cookbooks of 2018 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, please think about supporting your local bookstore.  

We asked for favorite cookbooks of 2018 lists from the cookbook stores that feature in our directory. Some of the books listed were published in 2017 in the USA but in 2018 in the bookstore's country. All these lists will be included in our Best of the Best list, which is being unveiled shortly. 

USA

Korean BBQ

Omnivore Books - owner Celia Sack

Korean BBQ by Bill Kim
Repertoire by Jessica Battilana
The Noma Guide to Fermentation by René Redzepi & David Zilber
Rose's Baking Basics by Rose Levy Berenbaum
Israeli Soul by Michael Solomonov & Steven Cook
Cooking South of the Clouds by Georgia Freeman
Season by Nik Sharma
I Am a Filipino by Nicole Ponseca and Miguel Trinidad
The One Bottle Cocktail by Maggie Hoffman
Feast by Anissa Helou

 


Season

Kitchen Arts & Letters - owner Matt Sartwell

Season by Nik Sharma
A Very Serious Cookbook by Jeremiah Stone & Fabian Hauske
Room for Dessert by Will Goldfarb
Buttermilk Graffiti by Edward Lee
Israeli Soul by Michael Solomonov & Steven Cook
Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi
Everyday Dorie by Dorie Greenspan
Feast by Anissa Helou
How to Eat a Peach by Diana Henry
Jam Session
by Joyce Goldstein

 

 

Ottolenghi SimpleBook Larder - owner Lara Hamilton

Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi
The Noma Guide to Fermentation by René Redzepi & David Zilber
At My Table by Nigella Lawson
You and I Eat the Same by Chris Ying, René Redzepi and MAD
How to Taste by Becky Selengut
Everyday Dorie by Dorie Greenspan
Now & Again by Julia Turshen
Israeli Soul by Michael Solomonov & Steven Cook
How to Eat a Peach by Diana Henry
Let's Stay In by Ashley Rodriguez

 

 

 

Food52 Genius DessertsPowell's City of Books - cookbook buyer Tracey T.

Food52 Genius Desserts by Kristen Miglore
Home Cooking with Kate McDermott
Sister Pie by Lisa Ludwinski
Tiffin by Sonal Ved
Cook's Illustrated Revolutionary Recipes
The Campout Cookbook by Marne Hanel & Jen Stevenson
How to Taste by Becky Selengut
Now & Again by Julia Turshen
The Noma Guide to Fermentation by René Redzepi & David Zilber
Season by Nik Sharma

 

 

The Noma Guide to FermentationRead It and Eat - owner Esther Dairiam

The Noma Guide to Fermentation by René Redzepi & David Zilber
Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi
Israeli Soul by Michael Solomonov & Steven Cook
Everyday Dorie by Dorie Greenspan
How to Eat a Peach by Diana Henry
Korean BBQ by Bill Kim
Buttermilk Graffiti by Edward Lee
Matty Matheson by Matty Matheson
Soul by Todd Richards
Between Harlem and Heaven by JJ Johnson & Alexander Smalls

 

 

 

Israeli SoulNow Serving - owner Ken Concepcion

Israeli Soul by Michael Solomonov & Steven Cook
Cooking South of the Clouds by Georgia Freeman
The Noma Guide to Fermentation
 by René Redzepi & David Zilber
Repertoire by Jessica Battilana
Apéritif by Rebekah Peppler
Japan The Cookbook by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
Cooking in Iran by Najmieh Batmanglij
Korean Home Cooking by Sohui Kim
Solo by Anita Lo
Joe Beef: Surviving the Apocalypse by David McMillan, Frédéric Morin & Meredith Erickson 

 

 

CANADA

Vegetarian Viet NameAppetite for Books - owner Jonathan Cheung

Vegetarian Viet Nam by Cameron Stauch
Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi
Israeli Soul by Michael Solomonov & Steven Cook
Joe Beef: Surviving the Apocalypse by David McMillan, Frédéric Morin & Meredith Erickson
Montréal L'Hiver by Susan Semenak & Cindy Boyce
Milk Street Tuesday Nights by Christopher Kimball
Uncomplicated by Claire Tansey
The Last Schmaltz by Anthony Rose & Chris Johns
The Noma Guide to Fermentation by René Redzepi & David Zilber
How to Eat a Peach by Diana Henry

 

 

 

AUSTRALIA

Eat at the BarScrumptious Reads - owner Julie Tjandra

Eat at the Bar by Matt McConnell
You and I Eat the Same by Chris Ying, René Redzepi and MAD
The Vegetable by Caroline Griffiths & Vicki Valsamis
Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden
From the Earth by Peter Gilmore
PlantLab by Matthew Kenney
Eat Local 2 by Brenda Fawdon
Lateral Cooking by Niki Segnit
How to Eat a Peach by Diana Henry
The Life of Tea by MIchael Freeman & Timothy d'Offay

 

 

EUROPE

De ElizabethDe Kookboekhandel (Netherlands) - owner Jonah Freud

De Elizabeth by Jonah Freud
Zout vet zuur hitte (Salt Fat Acid Heat) by Samin Nosrat
TLV by Jigal Krant
Simpel (Ottolenghi Simple) by Yotam Ottolenghi
The German Cookbook by Alfons Schubeck 
Kookbijbel (Lateral Cooking) by Niki Segnit
Bon Appétit by Jonah Freud
Hoe dan?! by Maroeska Metz 
Stamppotbijbel by Werner Drent
De Grote Oven van van Boven by Yvette van Boven

 

 

 

TimeCook + Book (Netherlands) - owner Riejanne Schimmel

Time by Gill Meller
Koekjesbijbel (translated: 'Cookiebible') by Rutger van den Broek
Zes seizoenen (Six Seasons) by Joshua McFadden
TLV by Jigal Krant
Kleine taartjes (translated: 'Tartlets') by Meike Schaling
Zout vet zuur hitte (Salt Fat Acid Heat) by Samin Nosrat
Simpel (Ottolenghi Simple) by Yotam Ottolenghi
Noma's handboek voor fermenteren (The Noma Guide to Fermentation) by Rene Redzepi & David Zilber
Een jaar koken in de Provence (translated: 'A year of cooking in Provence') by Marita van der Vyver
JapanEasy by Tim Anderson

Epicurious breaks the mold with new cookbook awards

Readers of this blog are no strangers to cookbook awards. Each year, we provide full coverage of prestigious awards from the JBF and IACP, plus report on Food52's The Piglet and other awards from across the globe. One entity that has heretofore not assembled any cookbook awards is the culinary website Epicurious. This December, that changed, with the announcement of their 1st Annual Cookbook Awards

cookbook collage

The Epicurious awards don't follow the typical format, don't have a list of semi-finalists, and aren't voted on by any governing body. Let's face it - this is just a list of great cookbooks that the editors at Epicurious love, with categories created to suit the chosen books. For example, one category is 'Best Use of Heat', and the winner is Melt, Stretch, Sizzle: The Art of Cooking Cheese: Recipes for Fondues, Dips, Sauces, Sandwiches, Pasta, and More by Tia Keenan. Says editor Soleil Ho, "the cheese in  Melt inhabits a fantasy world of brilliant gold and neon. Sandwiches ooze and fondue glimmers with the kind of palette that would put Jem & the Holograms to shame."

The rest of the awards follow suit. 'Best History Lesson' goes to Provisions: The Roots of Caribbean Cooking by Michelle Rousseau and Suzanne Rousseau; the winner of 'Best Reminder to Call Your Mother' is The Last Schmaltz: A Very Serious Cookbook by Anthony Rose. And who can argue with 'Best Argument for Excess' going to the Chewy chocolate chip cookies in Everyday Dorie: The Way I Cook by Dorie Greenspan? Surely not me.  

Leaving a cookbook legacy

If you have a significant number of cookbooks, you may have thought about what will happen to your collection when you are no longer around or able to keep it. You might have a plan for some or even all of your books, perhaps bequeathing them to friends, family, or the local library. But what would you do if you had over 5,000 books? If you are Carolyn and Randall Abney, you create an entire library in collaboration with a prestigious university.

The story begins over 20 years ago when the couple relocated abroad from their home in Georgia. At the time, neither Carolyn nor Randall cooked much since they were busy with their careers. Carolyn was successful in a variety of pursuits, including real estate and finance, but it was Randall's work in a media-related job that led them to London. The move resulted in Carolyn having a lot of time on her hands. Since food in the UK proved to be expensive and not particularly to her liking, Carolyn enrolled in cooking classes and began to enjoy making the couple's meals.

Randall Abney
Randall Abney with a very small selection of his and Carolyn's books

As her cooking skills increased, Carolyn started to collect cookbooks, a habit that continued as she and Randall moved from country to country. Cookbooks were the perfect souvenir to remind them of places they lived in or visited, like Italy, France, the Netherlands, and Malta. Carolyn's passion for cooking expanded along with the cookbook collection, and when the couple lived in Italy, she taught cooking and wine classes and was the wine writer for The Florentine, Tuscany's only English-language newspaper.

When they returned to Athens, Georgia in 2008, Carolyn and Randall began collecting US books, initially focusing on Southern cookbooks. As collections are wont to do, theirs continued to expand, eventually growing to thousands of cookbooks - not including their other books, which number over 6,000. These cookbooks aren't just items for display, as the Abneys use them daily, preferring to look for recipes in their collection before turning to the internet or other sources. They try to make 3 to 5 new dishes per week, an ambitious goal.

As their collection grew ever larger, the Abneys began to think about the long-term plan for the books, and in 2012 they decided to donate the cookbooks to a library. Key meetings with culinary historians and professionals shaped their plan and set it into motion. One occurred when Randall met John T. Edge, the founder of the Southern Foodways Alliance. The SFA has a food writing and cookbook library in Oxford, Mississippi dedicated to Southern books. However, the collection is not easily accessible, as the public is not allowed to browse through the stacks and the library's antiquated card catalog access means that you must know the title or author of any book before viewing it.

A visit to The Southern Food & Beverage Museum, a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the food, drink and the related culture of the South, also influenced the Abneys. Based in New Orleans, the SoFAB Museum includes a culinary library that serves as a valuable tool for researching Southern food culture. The Abneys were also inspired by discussions with chef (and cookbook author) Hugh Acheson, who also lives in Athens. Acheson requires all of his employees from the dishwashers to the chefs to bring a recipe in with them to a weekly staff meeting. The executive chefs of Acheson's restaurants use these recipes as a starting point for items that eventually make it on the menu.

If their books ended up in a library, the Abneys wanted everyone to be able to access them, not just chefs or researchers. In 2015, the pair entered into talks with the nearby University of Georgia, an institution they knew well since both of them are fellows of its Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications. UGA houses several different libraries, and decided that the Abneys' collection would be a good fit for one of their special collections.

As people learned about the Abneys' plans, they began to contribute books to the couple for eventual placement in the library. Many of these books are church or community books, which as Carolyn notes are not just about cooking. The books "represent a slice of life in that small town, church group, or community," she says. They have received books from nearly every state in the US. "It's like people dropping off zucchini from their gardens," Carolyn jokes about the hundreds of books that end up on their doorstep.

You might think that after amassing thousands of volumes, the Abneys would tire of cookbooks, but the couple remain enthusiastic about them. Carolyn is fascinated with the history of cooking viewed through the lens of cookbooks. She enjoys seeing how people migrated from writing recipes that assumed a certain level of knowledge - that everyone would know what a knob of butter was, for example - to recipes that spell out the smallest details. She noticed how British cookbooks referencing ration tickets reduced the number of servings for recipes as ingredients became scarce. Carolyn also explained that you can learn how ingredients move from one region or country to another by reading cookbooks. For instance, you can trace the introduction of balsamic vinegar from Italy to the US in the 1970s, aided in part by Marcella Hazan's recipes.

When you have as many books as the Abneys, it's almost impossible to come up with a favorite. The couple did provide details on the rarest book in their collection, however. It is a 1939 booklet distributed at the opening of the film Gone with the Wind at Loews Grand Theater in Atlanta. The White Flour Co. of Atlanta created the pamphlet, which featured 30 recipes, specifically for the film's premiere.

Carolyn and Randall are committed to seeing their cookbook library become an invaluable resource to community members, cooks, chefs, and researchers. So far, the couple has donated over 3,000 books to the library, and their friend Tim Dondero (a local chef and restaurateur) has donated a similar amount. Cataloguing that many volumes is a large undertaking, and since UGA is in the process of converting all of its libraries to a digital catalog search engine called GIL-Find, progress has been slow. Recently the Abneys contributed funds to help expedite the process, and currently about 700 books are available to the public. The couple hope to eventually have 25,000 books in the library. Duplicates will be donated to other libraries such as the SoFab Museum, and to culinary training programs. If you have books that you would like to donate to this project, you can email Carolyn at CCAbney@gmail.com.  

This cookbook sets the mood with color

Gorgeous, color-saturated photographs of food are a given on Instagram and in most modern cookbooks. One of 2018's new cookbooks takes this concept to the extreme: Pantone Foodmood. Yes, you read that correctly, this is from the color company Pantone, which produces exacting color specifications for corporations, graphic designers, and everyone interested in the world of color.

Pantone Foodmood

It's often said that we eat with our eyes first, and color is an important aspect of that first impression. In this cookbook, Pantone brings its expertise on eye-appeal into the kitchen. Fifty-six step-by-step recipes are gathered around eight colors and their variations, including: Yellow featuring things you would expect like egg dishes and citrus tarts; Magenta represented by Sea bream tartar with rose petals; Green, which highlights vivid vegetables; Blue - a difficult food color - celebrated with items like Salad with borage flowers; Purple featuring Fox grape pudding; and Orange, Red, and Brown, which are relatively easy to match in various foods.

Each recipe collection is introduced with an essay by a Pantone color expert, and each is styled to perfection and photographed in Pantone's full-color glory. The images are playfully constructed, often echoing the small rectangles reminiscent of the iconic Pantone color swatches. Added features include menus combining colors for occasions, cuisines, and other themes. While the recipes may not be earth-shattering, the book does provide a unique perspective into food and how its colors can speak to the modern eater. 

 

Indexing a masterpiece - The Escoffier Cookbook

The average cookbook contains about 175 recipes. Indexing a book with that many recipes takes some time, as Members who have volunteered to index a book well know. Some books fall well below this average and a few books exceed it by a significant number of recipes. Even the most prolific cookbook authors, however, generally do not exceed a few hundred recipes. Only a few books clock in at over 2,000 recipes, and fewer still exceed 3,000, including Larousse Gastronomique (3,880), and Joy of Cooking, 6th edition (3,181).

Indexing books like these is a significant accomplishment, which is why we are excited to announce that we've just finished indexing another such masterpiece, The Escoffier Cookbook: A Guide to the Fine Art of French Cuisine. This is the American edition of Auguste Escoffier's chef d'oeuvre, Le Guide Culinaire. The Escoffier Cookbook contains a whopping 2,703 indexed recipes. Although the book title notes that it contains 2,973 recipes, the indexer explained that often titles of food types or descriptions of foods were numbered, and these do not count as recipes in our index.  Even more impressive, this edition (based on the abridged 1907 English language edition) is only a subset of the more than 5,000 recipes in the original 1903 French version, which was meant to be a used as a guide for culinary apprentices.

The Escoffier Cookbook

My copy of The Escoffier Cookbook is the thirtieth printing of the book, and dates to 1973. Inside the book jacket, the book is described as "The Bible of Culinary Art" and "not for the beginning amateur in cookery." As you start reading the book, you realize the truth of that statement. The recipes are written with the understanding that you are familiar with many cooking terms and know what phrases like a "hot oven" mean. The instructions are not always detailed and are written in narrative format. Take recipe No. 431, Victoria Poached Eggs, for example:

Garnish some tartlet-crusts with a salpicon made from three oz. of spiny or Rock lobster meat and one-half oz. of truffles, mixed with three tablespoons of Diplomate sauce (82). Place an egg, coated with the Diplomate sauce, on each tartlet. Arrange, and set to glaze in a hot oven. 

There are no Instagram-worthy photos or illustrations of any kind in the book, only succinct recipes and forthright instructions. Fundamental techniques are explained in eloquent detail, such as recipe 249 - Poachings. Taking up nearly two pages, the description does a better job of explaining the technique than many modern books I've read:

However nonsensical it may sound, the best possible definition of a poaching is a boiling that does not boil. The term poach is extended to all slow processes of cooking which involve the use of a liquor, however small. Thus the term poach applies to the cooking in court-bouillon of large pieces of turbot and salmon, as well as to fillets of sole cooked with a little fish fumet, to hot mousselines and mousses, cooked in moulds, to quenelles which are cooked in salted water, to eggs announced as "poached," to creams, various royales, etc. It will readily be seen that among so many different products, the time allowed for the cooking in each case must differ sometimes widely from the rest. The treatment of them all, however, is subject to this unalterable principle, namely, that the poaching liquid must not boil, though it should reach a degree of heat as approximate as possible to the boiling-point. 

In addition to defining cooking techniques of the time, the book contains many ingredients that, while they may have been commonplace in 1903, are unfamiliar to modern day cooks. We had to add around 100 ingredients to the EYB Library to finish indexing The Escoffier Cookbook. A few of the more unusual ingredients include:

  • snipe intestines
  • gosling blood
  • tropical swallow nests
  • plover eggs
  • pimpernel (an aromatic herb)
  • lark pâté

In addition, there were about 20 different flavored '...ice' ingredients, including blood orange ice, violet ice, filbert ice, and brandy ice, all used in making one of the 88 recipes for frozen "bombe" desserts that seemed to be popular at the turn of the 20th century. 

Please join me in extending a well-deserved 'thank you' to the indexer who tackled this challenging project, and to everyone who helped cross-check the index. To the other 220 people in the Library who also own the book, let's get to work on one of the 2,703 recipes. I have my eye on recipe 2425 - Hot Viennese Fritters (aka beignets)!

If you don't already own the book, you can purchase The Escoffier Cookbook through the usual sources, and you can likely find it it at a used bookstore or thrift store at a bargain price. I paid less than $5 for my copy at a secondhand store. It's a great read, not only for the recipes but also for the insights on how people ate at fine dining establishments in the early 1900s. Now that it is indexed, there is no reason not to have a copy in your collection. 

Omnivore Books celebrates ten years

In the last couple of years, we have brought you plenty of bad news about cookbook stores closing down or facing a precarious financial situation. That's why we are excited to share some good news: San Francisco's Omnivore Books is celebrating its tenth anniversary! Eater interviewed owner Celia Sack on how her store has not only survived, but has thrived in the past decade

Omnivore Books

Although she started her store in the depths of the Great Recession, Celia had one advantage in that she had a great deal of experience as a rare books specialist at an auction house in San Francisco. Having such a depth of knowledge about antiquarian books gave her a leg up on the rare cookbook market. 

One comment that Celia made in the article really struck a chord with me, when she compared cookbooks to albums: "My partner gave me a really good talking point: She said, when you get recipes online, it's like putting together a bunch of songs on Pandora that you like. But buying a cookbook, it's like buying an album." Much like an album reveals a lot more about an artist than a single can do, so too does a cookbook provide insights on the author. "It's nice to get to know the author you're working with and their style," says Celia.

Congratulations to Celia and Omnivore Books. Here's to many more successful years! 

Mark Hix adores this classic cookbook

Mark Hix is a celebrated food writer and renowned restaurateur. He has five acclaimed restaurants, pens a weekly column in the Independent on Saturday magazine, and has written several award-winning cookbooks. Hix has an impressive 2,500+ volume cookbook collection, but he admits he really only reads a few of these with any regularity. One of those is Anna del Conte's seminal work Gastronomy of Italy. Hix explains his love for this particular cookbook

Gastronomy of Italy

He admires Gastronomy of Italy so much that he purchased a second copy as a backup. In addition to the accurate and authentic recipes found in its pages, what Hix appreciates about the book is Anna's writing style. It "really encapsulates the Italian approach," he says. He also draws parallels between Italian dishes and those found in his homeland. "Take the classic bifsteak Fiorentina, the simple approach to fish, and to vegetables and salads - all these Italian stalwarts find an echo in what we make in the UK," Hix notes. 

One of his favorite recipes from the book, Caponata, is included in the article. Hix likes the addition of chocolate to the ingredient list, finding that it contributes to the perfect balance of sour and sweet. The dish is easy to make and doesn't require hunting down exotic ingredients, making it even better. 

For the love of cookbooks

In July 2017, Debbie Vanni lost almost every one of her cookbooks from fifty years of collecting due to a flood. Vanni, who runs the website theculinarycellar.com, was devastated. Many of the books held special meaning to her, like her grandmother's 1914 Fannie Farmer cookbook. Says Vanni, "Inside she had written her name and address of where she lived while in college.  Whenever I would look at her handwriting, it's like I could feel her with me, and I miss that treasured book more than anything else that was on my shelves."

books on shelves

Following the flood, one of the Culinary Cellar's blog readers, Elaine Wallace, read about the devastation that Vanni had experienced and decided to do something to help. Wallace too had a large cookbook collection - 850 books - and had been contemplating what would happen to her collection once she was no longer around. She hated the thought of the collection being split up, sold piecemeal at a garage sale. So she made the difficult decision to give her entire collection to Vanni. 

There was one wrinkle: Vanni lived in northern Illinois, and Wallace lived in Wichita, Kansas, about 700 miles away. Shipping costs were going to be prohibitive, and the two wondered how to accomplish the transfer. A family friend and all around good guy Del Boyle stepped in to assist. He rented a truck and made the roundtrip from Illinois to Kansas and back, hauling the precious load. 

The books are now loaded onto Vanni's shelves, and she took particular delight in one volume, The Dessert Lover's Cookbook by Marlene Sorosky. It was the last book to be brought up following the flood, and Vanni is tickled that she has a replacement for such a hard-to-find cookbook. 

Update 8/17/18: Following the wonderful response to this post, Debbie has now received more than 2,000 cookbooks from well-wishers. Cookbook lovers really are the best people!

Anthony Bourdain's recommended reading

Die-hard fans of Anthony Bourdain loved reading his books nearly as much as they loved watching his entertaining travel programs. It's sad to know that we'll never enjoy another Kitchen Confidential or Medium Raw. The next best thing might be to read books that he recommended. Now we can do just that, because the New York Public Library has compiled a list of books and authors recommended by Anthony Bourdain.

cookbook collage

The list was compiled from interviews Bourdain gave in the years following the release of Kitchen Confidential. It will come as no surprise that the themes Bourdain enjoyed "tended towards 20th-century archetypes-bohemians, adventurers, rockers, spies, existentialists, cowboys, addicts-who lived lives of creativity, appetite, and adventure." 

You'll find books on food and cooking, plus fiction and nonfiction tomes as well. In addition to specific books, the listing also includes authors. A few highlights from Bourdain's recommended food and cookery books is shown below. Get out your library card (or update your Amazon cart)!

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

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