I've been taking a look at some of the 2016 best cookbook lists, looking for inspiration for the new year. I need some. After a steady rotation of cooking the same comfort foods regularly as my family began healing from divorce, I've been getting back in the kitchen. I'm trying new recipes again, cooking for family, friends and the occasional date.
Although I have the internet and two bookshelves full of cookbooks, a new cookbook or two to keep the ideas flowing isn't out of the question. I took a look at Washington Post's 31 Best Cookbooks of 2016, Epicurious's 24 Best Cookbooks of 2016, USA Today's 16 Best Food and Beverage Books of 2016, and Saveur's The Best Cookbooks of 2016 to get an idea of what cookbooks I'd missed over the past year as I was busy cooking a lot of meatloaf and chicken pot pie.
The lists are worth a look because there are dozens of cookbooks that focus on cuisines from all over the world or on a specific area of cooking that went unnoticed by my radar this year, and possibly your radar, too. These five cookbooks are the ones that particularly caught my attention.
"The Short Stack Cookbook" by Nick Fauchald and Kaitlyn Goalen: Until I read about this cookbook, I was unaware of Short Stack, a series of small-format cookbooks with 20-25 recipes from "America's top culinary talents." There's a new edition of a single-subject (rhubarb, chickpeas, eggs and more) cookbook released regularly, and this cookbook is a full-length cookbook with over 100 new recipes. Honestly, I'm more interested in the small-format cookbooks than the newly published full-length one and may order the Cherries edition, which Saveur says is "a dream" with recipes for "cherry tortellini, homemade brandied cherries, cherry miss."
"Simple: Effortless Food, Big Flavors" by Diana Henry. This cookbook "dips into many cultures and comes up with original combinations," according to The Washington Post. Epicurious says the recipes are so much simple as they are "simplified versions of stylish recipes." The ingredients are said to be ones that someone who cooks regularly should already have at home or can be picked up quickly in the grocery store. It looks like this one isn't for a novice cook, but for someone like who is very comfortable in the kitchen, it should have recipes that are unlike ones I've tried before. I'm definitely looking for that.
"Dorie's Cookies" by Dorie Greenspan. To be in this cookbook, every cookie had to "be so special that it begged to be made again and again." Epicurious says that "it's packed with crystal-clear recipes for everything from simple scoop-and-bake Lemon Sugar Cookies to stunning Pistachio-Berry Slims." Both of those cookies sound so good to me that I want the entire book.
"Cooking for Jeffrey" by Ina Garten. Ina, better known as The Barefoot Contessa, has never let me down with a recipe. Her recipes are easy to follow. Her new book is filled with recipes she's cooked for and shared with her husband for dishes that have been made with love. The Washington Post says the Skillet-Roasted Lemon Chicken is "destined for classic status." I need to make that.
"Cook's Science" by Cook's Illustrated Editors. This cookbook highlights 50 favorite ingredients and tells how to get the most out of them. Epicurious says it has information about the most flavorful part of a wedge of Parmesan (get it from the outer edge of the wheel) and tips like put tomato leaves in with tomatoes to give them more flavor. The Cook's Illustrated team spends hours upon hours testing recipes and cooking techniques, so I trust that this book will have plenty of cooking advice that will help me up my culinary game.
Are there any new cookbooks you think should be on my list? Add your thoughts in the comments.