Warning: this was a dangerous post for me to write. And if you share my total infatuation with great cookbooks — reading them, earmarking them, cooking, and eating from them — it’ll be a risky one for you to read, too.
‘Cause when I spot a shiny new cookbook that’s just waiting for me to dig into, I almost can’t help adding it to my cart. Perfectly timed for a season when we’re spending more time than ever at home, the best new cookbooks of fall 2020 actually get me excited to hunker down and nest my way through autumn. And I’m hoping to invite a small group of friends to join, since great recipes are always more fun enjoyed with others.
Do I need a new cookbook (or four) to add to my kitchen shelves? Absolutely not. But that’s never stopped me from giving into my cookbook collecting temptation in the past, and it certainly won’t now. Scroll on for the 10 best new cookbooks of fall 2020, and I’d love to hear in the comments if you’ve gotten your hands on any of these beauties yet.
We are major fans of Eden’s signature playfulness when it comes to life and food – and her flavor-packed Middle Eastern recipes never disappoint. Finally we’ve got them in a cookbook, with dishes like “roasted whole heads of broccoli topped with herbaceous yogurt and crunchy, spice-infused dukkah; a toasted pita salad full of juicy summer peaches, tomatoes, and a bevy of fresh herbs; and babka that becomes pull-apart morning buns, layered with chocolate and tahini and sticky with a salted sugar glaze, to name a few.”
Dessert Person: Recipes and Guidance for Baking with Confidence, by Claire Saffitz
One of my favorite Bon Appetit editors, Claire Saffitz is a master at breaking down the hard stuff into manageable steps that make you feel like you can conquer any kitchen challenge. In her new book, Saffitz sets out to convert us all into dessert people, with recipes like “Babkallah (a babka-Challah mashup), Apple and Concord Grape Crumble Pie, Strawberry-Cornmeal Layer Cake, Crispy Mushroom Galette, and Malted Forever Brownies.” Watch this video, and prepare to pre-order.
The Mexican Home Kitchen: Traditional Home-Style Recipes That Capture the Flavors and Memories of Mexico, by Mely Martinez
The voice behind the blog Mexico in My Kitchen, Martinez brings an authentic voice to Mexican cuisine in a way that celebrates tradition while managing to be unintimidating. As someone who’s personally obsessed with Mexican food, I’m excited to bring more authenticity into my recipes at home — from caldo de pallo (chicken soup) to carnitas to chiles rellenos, I can’t wait to try them all.
The Barbuto Cookbook: California-Italian Cooking from the Beloved West Village Restaurant, by Jonathan Waxman
The rustic Italian meets modern California cuisine at New York City restaurant Barbuto has always had my heart – it’s frequently my first stop on any trip to the city. With operations currently closed due to Covid, I’m praying they make it to the other side… but until then, this cookbook will get my through. I’ll be “re-creating Barbuto classics, including the famous JW roast chicken, the otherworldly kale salad, specialty pizzas, gnocchi, spectacular desserts, and much more.”
Mediterranean Every Day: Simple, Inspired Recipes for Feel-Good Food, by Sheela Prakash
As a wholehearted devotée of the Mediterranean Diet (for it’s health benefits as much as its deliciousness), I was immediately drawn to this book written by Prakash, who is also a senior editor at Kitchn. Full of colorful pastas, veg-packed salads, and plenty of grain-forward mains, it’s a nourishing approach to cooking that never skimps on flavor. Think “easy crowd-pleasers like Herby Ricotta; weeknight meals like One-Pan Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Bake; and desserts like Roasted Figs with Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt.”
Old World Italian: Recipes and Secrets from Our Travels in Italy: A Cookbook, by Mimi Thorisson
Just when I thought Mimi’s recipes and photos couldn’t get any more swoon-worthy, she leaves her idyllic French countryside life to travel through Italy, capturing her family’s journey and culinary discoveries along the way. “Plump agnolotti bathed in sage and butter from the north, the tomato-rich ragùs and pastas of the southwest, and the multifaceted, seafood-laden cuisine of Sicily. The mysteries of Italian food culture will unravel as you learn to execute a perfect Neapolitan-style pizza at home or make the most sublime yet elemental cacio e pepe.” Yesssss please.
The Flavor Equation: The Science of Great Cooking Explained in More Than 100 Essential Recipes, by Nik Sharma
Sharma is a scientist who explores food and flavor, and for recipe geeks like me (a little Cooks Illustrated as bedtime reading, anyone?) his approach to recipe creation is fascinating. Sharma’s second cookbook, The Flavor Equation, “is an accessible guide to elevating elemental ingredients to make delicious dishes that hit all the right notes, every time.” I love how the recipes are divided by flavor profile: Brightness: (Lemon-Lime Mintade), Saltiness: (Roasted Tomato and Tamarind Soup), Sweetness: (Honey Turmeric Chicken Kebabs with Pineapple), Savoriness: (Blistered Shishito Peppers with Bonito Flakes), and Richness: (Coconut Milk Cake.)
100 Cookies: The Baking Book for Every Kitchen, with Classic Cookies, Novel Treats, Brownies, Bars, and More, by Sarah Kieffer
When I’m stressed, I bake cookies. And no matter how good they turn out, I’m always on an endless quest to find the most perfect version each one. This cookie book is such a treat, and will no doubt become an essential resource for all my baking experiments, and it’s packed with tricks of the trade that’ll take your cookies to professional level. Recipes include “Marshmallow Peanut Butter Brownies, Olive Oil Sugar Cookies with Blood Orange Glaze, Red Wine Cherry Cheesecake Swirl Bars,Pan-Banging Ginger Molasses, S’mores Cookies, and Snickerdoodles.” Fall baking? Sign me up.
East: 120 Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Beijing, by Meera Sodha
I’ve been eating more plant-based meals lately, and I’m always on the hunt for ways to add variety so we don’t get bored with the same grain bowls, salads, or pastas on repeat. I’m really looking forward to the drop of Sodha’s third cookbook, East. “Taking you from India to Indonesia, Singapore, and Japan, by way of China, Thailand, and Vietnam, East will show you how to whip up a root vegetable laksa and a chard, potato, and coconut curry; how to make kimchi pancakes, delicious dairy-free black dal and chili tofu. There are sweet potato momos for snacks and unexpected desserts like salted miso brownies and a no-churn Vietnamese coffee ice cream.” One thing is sure, with this book as my guide, my vegetarian meals will be anything but boring.
The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food, by Marcus Samuelsson
I loved reading Samuelsson’s beautiful memoir a few years back, and his latest cookbook celebrates contemporary black cooking through delicious recipes and storytelling about his own fascinating journey coming up through the food world. Described as an “unforgettable feast of food, culture, and history to highlight the diverse deliciousness of Black cooking today,” I can’t wait to dive in.