Best Cookbooks of 2009

… and the winner is, by a whisker, Momofuku by David Chang and by Peter Meehan

We amalgamated 49 Best of 2009 lists from TV, Radio, Newspapers, Magazines, Websites, Blogs and Booksellers across North America (these are listed below). Momofuku and the #2 cookbook, Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller, were neck-and-neck for most of the time, but Momofuku just won out in the end.

For those of you interested in data:

  • From 49 lists there were 524 votes
  • 219 different cookbooks made the list
  • 132 cookbooks had only one vote
  • Five of the top 10 cookbooks were published by Clarkson Potter and Knopf, both imprints within the Random House Group

1. Momofuku by David Chang and by Peter Meehan

David Chang is the hottest chef in America, and Momofuku is the book that shares his sought-after recipes with explosive Asian flavors, his food inspirations, his tricks of the trade, and a behind-the-scenes look at his now world-renowned restaurants.

2. Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller

Keller showcases dishes that can be made every day (and not just for special occasions). Invaluable lessons, secrets, tips and tricks – as well as charming personal anecdotes – accompany recipes for such classics as the best fried chicken and beef Stroganoff.

3. Gourmet Today by Ruth Reichl

Gourmet Today responds to our changing foodscape with more vegetarian recipes, more recipes for popular dishes from every corner of the world, more recipes for stunning meals ready in 30 minutes or less and more simple ways to prepare all the vegetables in the farmers’ market, and more recipes for the new ingredients flooding our market.

=4. My New Orleans: The Cookbook by John Besh

Bite by bite John Besh brings us New Orleans cooking like we’ve never tasted before. It’s the perfect blend of contemporary French techniques with indigenous Southern Louisiana products and know-how.

=4. The Craft of Baking by Karen DeMasco and Mindy Fox

Building on the savory cooking philosophy of using seasonal ingredients to create dishes with pure flavors, Karen makes acclaimed desserts that are both simple and elegant. Now, she shares her secrets and techniques in her first cookbook, The Craft of Baking, designed to help home bakers think imaginatively in order to expand their repertoires with new and fresh combinations.

6. Rose’s Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum

Eagerly-awaited by her legions of devoted fans, this is a must-have guide to perfect cake-baking from this award-winning master baker. This comprehensive guide will help home bakers to create delicious, decadent, and spectacularly beautiful cakes of all kinds with confidence and ease. Everything you need to create heavenly cakes every time.

=7. Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich

In this warmly written, lushly illustrated new cookbook, Lidia delves into the regional cooking of many lesser known parts of Italy – Molise, Liguria, Umbria, Abruzzo, Calabria, Valle d’Aosta, Le Marche, Trentino Alto Adige, Basilicata, and Sardinia – and explores hidden treasures in the well-known gastronomic domains of Lombardy and Emilia Romagna

=7. New American Table by Marcus Samuelsson

Acclaimed for the distinct and diverse cuisine he has created at Aquavit and Riingo, Samuelsson shares more than 300 recipes that embody the uniquely inclusive spirit of American cuisine, from high-end fare to street food; down -home Southern cooking to Southwestern flavors to Asian cuisines, and beyond.

=7. The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern: Knockout Dishes with Down-Home Flavor by Matt Lee and Ted Lee

Easy, healthy dishes for every day, that don’t compromise an ounce of deep southern flavor. Simple Fresh Southern speaks to the way contemporary Southerners cook and eat, with dishes like Garlic-Chile Crabs, Duck with Raspberries and Rosé, Pork Loin Chops with Mushroom Chutney.

=7. The Pleasures of Cooking for One by Judith Jones

From the legendary editor of some of the world’s greatest cooks – including Julia Child and James Beard – a passionate and practical book about the joys of cooking for one. Judith Jones demonstrates that cooking for yourself presents unparalleled possibilities for both pleasure and experimentation.

Runners Up

Sources for Data

This Best of 2009 List is a compilation of 49 different Best of 2009 Lists from the following:

TV & Radio


Newspapers and magazines

Associated Press, Food & Wine Magazine, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, Denver Post, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, LA Daily News, Philadelphia Enquirer, Montreal Gazette, The Globe & Mail (Toronto), Chicago Daily Herald, Tulsa World, The Detroit News, The Advocate (Baton Rouge), The Arizona Daily Star, Nashua Telegraph, The News Tribune (Tacoma, WA), Minneapolis Star Tribune, The Modesto Bee, The Austin Chronicle, Mobile Press- Register, Time Out New York, Imbibe Magazine, Publishers Weekly

Websites, online magazines and blogs, Eat Me Daily, Susie’s List-Eat Your Books, Serious Eats, Good Bite, AOL, Wall Street Journal Blog, Food52, David Lebovitz, Michael Ruhlman, Cooking With Amy, Dorie Greenspan, Andrea Nguyen, Amateur Gourmet, Stovetop Readings, Metropulse, January Magazine, The Daily Green

Booksellers, Omnivore Books of San Francisco