Best “World” Cookbooks
For a culinary adventure, we're showcasing standout cookbooks featuring the tastiest recipes from around the world.
The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey from Samarkand to New York
The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey from Samarkand to New York By Claudia Roden, Knopf, 1996. Hardcover. $45; 668 pages
Chef and historian Claudia Roden succeeds with a formidable assignment: define and categorize the cuisine of a people spread throughout the globe, many of whom have adopted entirely new cuisines. The Book of Jewish Food samples from all corners of the diaspora, from the roasts and hearty dumplings of Eastern Europe (Ashkenazi) to the spiced stews and date-filled pastries of Spain, Turkey, and the Middle East (Sephardic). Detailed histories and numerous archival photographs make this a rich and varied exploration of Jewish identity (Did you know there were Jewish communities in China? In India?), in addition to more than 800 well researched recipes and tales from Roden’s own upbringing in Cairo.
Roden’s food favors simplicity: short ingredient lists and patient instruction. You feel that a favorite grandmother is finally sharing her secrets. “Take 1 piece of dough, roll it between your palms, and pull it out into a long fat rope … a little fatter at one end,” she instructs in the recipe for round challah. Stew with Stuffed Chicken and Chickpeas, a must-try North African recipe, is a fragrant homecoming dish redolent with nutmeg, cinnamon, and saffron, made comforting with the hearty additions of potatoes, chickpeas, and hard-boiled eggs.
GIVE THIS TO: A curious cultural historian; a cook of any skill level. —Hannah Klinger
The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen: Recipes for the Passionate Cook
The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen: Recipes for the Passionate Cook By Paula Wolfert, John Wiley & Sons, 2003. $35; 350 pages
Delicious things happen when you slow down: Flavors meld, and the cook can ease into a more leisurely pace. “Slow-cooking is relaxing and more forgiving,” Wolfert maintains, “since there’s usually a decent margin of error.” The approach doesn’t refer only to cooking in a slow cooker or slow oven. For Wolfert, the term also applies to braising, marinating, macerating, presalting, pickling, or even allowing bread to go stale.
The slow cooker does make its appearances, as in the intriguing Sephardic Long-Simmered Eggs, a recipe in which whole eggs go for 12 hours with a little olive oil, red onion skins, salt, and ground cumin. The result is unique and worth-it good: firm yet creamy yolks and whites with a beige color and subtle earthy flavor.
In Night-and-Day Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder, the meat cooks at least 12 hours and can go as long as 24. It’s fall-apart tender, moist, and succulent, a revelation among all those versions of slow-cooked pork. There are many more such treasures here—about 150 of them inspired by Wolfert’s travels in North Africa, Turkey, Greece, Spain, France, and the rest of the Mediterranean. All are designed for cooks who will trust in the method and dedicate good time to pulling the richest flavors from the deepest parts of meats, vegetables, and more.
GIVE THIS TO: Cooks who love the rewards of a leisurely, handcrafted dish. —Adam Hickman
A Year of Russian Feasts
A Year of Russian Feasts By Catherine Cheremeteff Jones, Jellyroll Press, 2002. Paperback. $17; 192 pages
This compact book paints a warm and delicious picture of a country whose cuisine is largely misunderstood by Americans. Taken from her three years living in Moscow in the early 1990s, a tumultuous period that marked the fall of the Russian Communist Party, Jones recounts her experiences in Russian homes and shares the true cuisine of Russia, not the poor gruel of the economic crisis nor the overly opulent, frozen-in-the-aspic-of-time foods of a bygone era. She was “never served a Charlotte Russe, Strawberries Romanov, Beef Stroganov, [or] Chicken Kiev” during her time in Russia, but instead “delicious food lovingly prepared by skillful cooks.”
Although the book includes a recipe for Borscht (perhaps the most widely known “Russian” soup), Jones explains that borscht is really a Ukrainian dish and that real Russians prepare Shchi, a cabbage soup that’s simple, delicious, and the perfect comfort food on a cold night. Like Shchi, the rest of the recipes are inviting, simple, and soul-satisfyingly free of fanfare. Potato Casserole with Mushroom Sauce, a real standout, tops baked dill-flecked mashed potatoes with a densely savory sauce.
Each chapter opens with a vignette—tales of a simple meal at a communal apartment, a foray into a Butter Week bliny festival, an autumn wedding—followed by recipes that relate to the scene. Through Jones’ writing and recipes, the cold and frozen images of Russia recede, replaced by thoughts of cozy homes, warm dishes, and welcoming people sharing their proud traditions.
GIVE THIS TO: Comfort-food junkies looking for something a little different. —Tiffany Vickers Davis
The Food of Morocco
The Food of Morocco By Paula Wolfert, Ecco, 2011. $45; 517 pages
Wolfert’s first foray into the lushly flavored North African cuisine, 1973’s Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco, was inducted into the James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame for good reason. This latest effort bolsters her credentials as America’s foremost authority on Moroccan food.
As gorgeous to flip through as it is delicious to cook from, the book is a comprehensive offering of authentic Moroccan cuisine, from couscous dishes and slow-cooked tagines to hearty harira and grilled brochettes. Her Beef Tagine with Roasted Cauliflower is an exceptionally satisfying dish, with complex, nuanced flavor that belies the recipe’s elegant simplicity. The seductively spiced salads that begin traditional Moroccan meals, like Wolfert’s Eggplant Zaalouk, are some of the tastiest light dishes you’ll find west of Marrakech.
GIVE THIS TO: Cooks who have visited Morocco, or anyone interested in authentic world flavors and techniques. —Tim Cebula
Mediterranean Street Food: Stories, Soups, Snacks, Sandwiches, Barbecues, Sweets, and More from Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East
Mediterranean Street Food: Stories, Soups, Snacks, Sandwiches, Barbecues, Sweets, and More from Europe, North Africa, and the Middle EastBy Anissa Helou, William Morrow, 2002. $20; 277 pages
Helou explains that as a child in Beirut, she was forbidden from eating on the street. “Girls from good families don’t,” her uncles told her. But she was enticed by the vivid aromas, the call of lively vendors, and the pleasure others seemed to take. When she grew up, Helou became something of a street-food addict; this most democratic of food “is a great way to get to know both the food and the people of a country you are visiting,” with the added bonus that you can watch the food being cooked in front of you, and learn.
Helou brings the stalls of Damascus and Crete and Istanbul to life through writing and her own photography. Chickpea and Lamb soup, a favorite of Helou’s from Morocco, was an eye-opener both for its depth of flavor and for disproving the kitchen rule about cooking dried beans with tomatoes (the chickpeas softened up just fine). Simply-named Chicken Kebabs deliver deep flavor with easy preparation and few ingredients. Omelets, stuffed breads, soups, and pastries litter the book, offering tasty and inspiring ways to diversify your palate.
GIVE THIS TO: Cooks who enjoy bold flavors. —Tiffany Vickers Davis
Jerusalem: A Cookbook
Jerusalem: A Cookbook By Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, Ten Speed Press, 2012. $35; 320 pages
Ottolenghi’s 2011 book Plenty was an exciting and exuberant take on vegetarian cooking, and with this title the London chef is back with business partner Tamimi, exploring the melting-pot (or is it bubbling-over-pot?) foods of the city in which both were born. Ottolenghi was from the Jewish side of town, Tamimi from the Muslim side, and “the flavors and smells of this city are our mother tongue.”
Well, everyone should speak the language of their Pistachio Soup: Flavored with saffron and a refreshing orange juice spritz at the finish, it’s creamy, tangy, spice-fragrant, and surprising. Or Burnt Eggplant with Garlic, Lemon, and Pomegranate Seeds—a baba ghanoush-type dish with the brilliant pop of juicy pomegranate seeds. For something a little less exotic, there’s Chicken with Caramelized Onion and Cardamom Rice, a lovely one-pot dinner that steps up boring chicken and rice with fragrant spices and sweet currants. Food photos—there are lots of them—are vibrant, beautiful, and exciting, making this a book for perusing as much as for utility.
GIVE THIS TO: Cooks who like bold, cultural mash-up cuisines. —Scott Mowbray
The 10 Best Italian Cookbooks in 2021
Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products you can learn more about our review process here . We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
“An indispensable and comprehensive guide for cooks of every level.”
“An in-depth, illustrated guide to Italian ingredients, techniques, and classic dishes.”
“Unconventional, avant-garde recipes from the rock star of Italian chefs.”
“Lush, colorful photos guide you on this tour of Sicily’s food and people.”
“The companion cookbook to the popular public television series of the same name.”
"A massive collection of thousands of authentic recipes from every Italian region."
“Traditional vegetarian and vegan recipes from all around Italy.”
“Everything pasta, from pairing dried pasta with sauces to making fresh, handmade noodles.”
“An award-winning book covering Italian breads, pastries, cakes, pizza, and focaccia.”
“A compact and easy-to-follow guide to making traditional Italian desserts.”
Simple and hearty, with a focus on quality ingredients, Italian cuisine is one of the world’s most popular and one of the most accessible for home cooks just starting out. But it’s also incredibly diverse, with many facets and regional variations. There’s an overwhelming wealth of Italian cookbooks available, with different focuses and features.
Here are our picks for the best Italian cookbooks currently available, from classics to new releases, for every level of cook from novice to connoisseur.
Best Cookbooks 2020
What a crazy year that was 2020! Despite all the problems, it still manages to be a year that brought us excellent cookbooks. This year was marked by excellent pastry and restaurant cookbooks. As it couldn't be otherwise, there was also room for more comforting foods but also healthier recipes. In short, it was a year that brought a bit of everything to everyone.
Before we leave you with our list we can only wish you a Happy New Year! See you all in 2021!
Now For Something Sweet
The first book in our list of the Best Cookbooks 2020 with a score of 5 / 5 is Now For Something Sweet by the Monday Morning Cooking Club.
This joyful cookbook honors and celebrates the most cherished family recipes alongside moving stories of warmth, family, friendship, community, and survival.
The diversity of recipes is one of the many reasons why we love this book. It is great to have in just one place the possibility to choose between a simple Almond Butter Biscuit and a complex Dobos Torte, a Hungarian Layered Sponge Cake.
This is a book to both treasure and cook from, day after day!
Donna Hay Everyday Fresh
In the second position, with a score of 4.9 / 5, is Everyday Fresh by Donna Hay.
There are days when it feels as though there's barely time to eat dinner, let alone prepare it. Donna knows on days like these, we all need a little Everyday Fresh in our lives.
In this new book, Donna brings a lot of invigorating energy to the table. Taking everyday classics and elevating them with better-for-you ingredients, the book is filled with flavourful, heart-healthy recipes that can be created with very little hands-on time – and no hard-to-track-down ingredients. What’s more, they can all be turned into freezer-ready dishes, ready to be heated up at the end of a long day.
Ekstedt: The Nordic Art of Analogue Cooking
Ekstedt: The Nordic Art of Analogue Cooking is an open-fire cooking essential companion, featuring insightful tips on tools and techniques, plus a collection of recipes to be enjoyed year-round.
In this book, Niklas shares details on how everything is achieved at the restaurant. Nikla's passion is contagious as he moves through techniques such as cold and hot smoking, using embers, hay and open fires effectively and flambadou – cooking by basting with burning fat. The results of Ekstedt's prolific research is evident in his recipes. Wild ingredients and ancient techniques are used to create clean, highly finessed plates of food, such as Langoustines Seared with burning beef fat and served alongside a burning birch wood-Infused ream thickened with ättika and a smoked parsnip.
Matty Matheson: Home Style Cookery
Matty Matheson takes the fourth place in our list with is new cookbook Home Style Cookery
With a 4.8 / 5, Home Style Cookery is Matty's definitive guide to mastering your kitchen, covering everything from pantry staples (breads, stocks, and pickles) to party favorites (dips, fried foods, and grilled meats), to weeknight go-tos (stews, pastas, salads), and special occasion show-stoppers (roasts, smoked meats, and desserts).
In Matty Matheson: Home Style Cookery, Matty combines the best ingredients with his madness, creating a unique cookbook that could only have been written by himself.
Il Buco: Stories and Recipes
Taking the fifth place in our list of the best cookbooks 2020 is Il Buco: Stories and Recipes, with a score of 4.8 / 5.
In honor of its twenty-fifth anniversary comes this full-color culinary celebration of il Buco, one of New York City’s most beloved restaurants, featuring more than 80 mouthwatering recipes and detailing the romantic origins of the restaurant’s philosophy of sourcing the best prime materials, including olive oil, salt, vinegar and all that make the Mediterranean way of life so alluring.
Il Buco: Stories and Recipes is designed to introduce those of you who don't know il Buco to the stories and recipes that have made this restaurant famous.
Everyone Can Bake
Everyone Can Bake by Dominique Ansel takes sixth place in our list of the best cookbooks 2020 with a score of 4.8 / 5.
Name one of the best cookbooks of the season by The New York Times, Chowhound, Eater, Food & Wine, Forbes, and more, Everyone can Bake, is the newest release from the acclaimed pastry chef Dominique Ansel.
In his new book, Dominique shares his simple, foolproof recipes for tarts, cakes, jams, buttercreams, and more “building blocks” of desserts for home cooks to master and mix as they please.
The Irish Cookbook
With a score of 4.8 / 5, The Irish Cookbook takes seventh place in our list of the best cookbooks 2020.
In The Irish Cookbook, acclaimed chef Jp McMahon tells the story of Irish food, its unique culinary origins, migratory influences, and the wild resources that make up the land. Eager to change the perception of Irish food, McMahon recounts Ireland’s remarkably rich food heritage which dates back millennia and celebrates the unique culinary culture of the island and the roots of its hearty flavors and warm hospitality.
This book is a comprehensive collection of 500 authentic Irish home cooking recipes. Several years in the making, The Irish Cookbook celebrates the best that Ireland has to offer. From the oysters and seaweed on its west coast to the beef and lamb from its lush pastures, to the wild forest food, berries, and oats found throughout the island.
Fäviken: 4015 Days, Beginning to End
Taking the eighth place in our list is Fäviken: 4015 Days, Beginning to Endwith a score of 4.8 / 5.
Fäviken: 4015 Days, Beginning to End, is an ode to the extraordinary restaurant that provides a fascinating first-hand account of Fäviken’s evolution. Here Magnus Nilsson offers a valuable examination of the restaurant industry and highlights the important lessons he learned along the way.
The book is a vital commentary on food culture today and includes illuminating essays on subjects like creativity, balancing familial responsibilities while running a restaurant, and the importance of craft over innovation.
The Pie Room Cookbook
With a score of 4.6 / 5, The Pie Room by Calum Franklin occupies the ninth place in our list of the best cookbooks 2020.
The Pie Room Cookbook works like an entry ticket to the pie world of Franklin. Alongside the recipes, Franklin will guide you through the techniques and tools for perfecting your pastry. Within this book, you'll find details including how to properly line pie tins, or how to crimp your pastry and decorate your pies so they look like true show-stoppers.
With photographs of the different tools, techniques, and recipes working as visual guides It's easy to understand everything you are doing. Whether it's something simple like lining pie tins to something more complex like executing some of the advanced recipes.
The Pastry School
Last but not least, the final place in our list is occupied by The Pastry School, with a score of 4.6 / 5.
The Pastry School is a book that offers much more than just a few recipes. This is a comprehensive masterclass in pastry that will teach you everything you need to know to master sweet and savory pies, tarts, and treats at home. The book is organized by food items, which makes it very easy to navigate. Chapters include Fruit, Cream & Cheese, Nuts, Vegetables, Meat & Fish and Crunch & Crumb, featuring more than 50 sweet and savory recipes.
The recipes are diverse, delicious, and easy to follow. The 10 different types of pastry dough make this book accessible for everyone, including vegans and gluten intolerants.
In Bibi’s Kitchen by Hawa Hassan and Julia Turshen
The powerhouse duo of Somali chef Hawa Hassan and writer-recipe developer Julia Turshen have created a cookbook truly unlike any other. Framed through Hassan’s personal and culinary narrative, the book shares recipes from eight bibis, or grandmothers, from eight different spice-rich East African countries that touch the Indian ocean: South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, Comoros, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia, and Eritrea. In Bibi’s Kitchen is a tribute to generational wisdom, a reflection on war and immigration, and a celebration of exceptional women—like Ma Shara, who offers a taste of “the real Zanzibar” through her ajemi bread with carrots and green pepper, and Ma Gehennet, who shares recipes for Eritrean flatbread and chickpea stew. The book’s photography was shot on location, and generous personal anecdotes and historical context make it as effective a travel book as it is a cookbook.
Amboy: Recipes from the Filipino-American Dream
An entertaining cookbook might seem like a bit of a cruel joke during quarantine–but Skye McAlpine's A Table for Friends: The Art of Cooking for Two or Twenty does, actually, deliver on the two as much as it does on the twenty. McAlpine's entertaining relies on celebratory, family-style dishes, the kind that are pretty unfussy to prepare (a roast chicken for dinner, frittata for brunch, a pile of spaghetti for lunch), but that can be dressed up with a gorgeous platter and some peak-season produce.
This is a book to turn to for breezy takes on French and Italian classics. McAlpine, a lifestyle blogger who's known for her beautiful homes in Venice and London (and the seemingly-effortless dinner parties she hosts at each) certainly knows how to make a plate of just-sliced tomatoes, or a simple chocolate cake, look tantalizing. The approach isn't groundbreaking, but the book is beautifully photographed and the recipes work: a version of the aforementioned roast chicken and that dependable frittata are already in near-weekly rotation in my house. Sometimes, when you need a little inspiration for your backyard date night and you're missing the neighborhood trattoria, dependable is exactly the mark.
4. Magnolia Table: A Collection Of Recipes For Gathering Vol. 2
For all your Joanna Gaines fans, she’s back with a second volume of recipes. Now you can binge every season of Fixer Upper while you cook some of the amazing recipes from this Magnolia Table Vol. 2 cookbook.
Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
We all see something different in our mind&rsquos eye when we think and talk about Chinese food. To try and cover as many bases as possible, these three Chinese cookbooks each explore a different tradition, region, or approach to Chinese home cooking.
The Dumpling Sisters Cookbook
Master Chinese cookery at home with sisters Amy and Julie, they also have a blog and Youtube channel so this brings all of that together in a handy guide of delicious recipes.
This is the kind of cookbook that you just keep coming back to, the recipes are achievable and it&rsquos full of tips and tricks to master those Chinese flavours and textures that make us love the cuisine so much.
Simple tips like &lsquoslicing meat against the grain&rsquo and using &lsquolight vs dark&rsquo soy sauce can make all the difference despite seeming like small factors.
You&rsquoll find chapters on dumplings, easy and quick dishes like fried rice, syrupy soy chicken, and stir-fries, noodles, and desserts. This is an all-in-one friendly recipe book that&rsquoll get you cooking in no time.
Complete Chinese Cookbook
This is the book you want if you really want to delve into the traditional cuisine of China and get to know the country&rsquos variations across its provinces.
The complete introduction to the schools of Chinese cooking and how history has greatly impacted Chinese cuisine leaves you fascinated and want to learn more.
The author has been teaching Chinese cookery for over forty years and it shows, the recipes are clear, detailed, and Hom is ready to impart his decades of knowledge to you here.
Aside from hundreds of recipes separated by category, you&rsquoll also receive lessons on how to eat Chinese food, what equipment you need, and menu guidance.
Chinese Takeaway Cookbook
Since Chinese takeaway is a very different beast to standard Chinese and Cantonese cuisine, then it seemed fair to include this for those wanting to make their takeaway favourites at home!
This book is a great way to save money and recreate dishes like &rsquocrispy seaweed&rsquo (a confirmed addiction of mine), &lsquoduck pancakes with hoisin sauce&rsquo, &lsquosesame prawn toast&rsquo, &lsquowonton soup&rsquo, &lsquohoney and lemon chicken&rsquo and other delicious dishes.
You&rsquore also given chapters on Chinese cooking techniques and food etiquette and customs to broaden your knowledge in that area. They also offer a vegetarian version of this book!
A 6-month or 12-month ckbk Premium Membership is the perfect gift for the foodie in your life! Just $24.99 for 6 months or $39.99 for a full year.
Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook by Daniel Humm and Will Guidara
Based on the fine dining restaurant in NYC's Flatiron District imagined by chef Daniel Humm, Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook captures Humm&rsquos delicate cuisines so you can recreate the flavors in your own home. The book is divided into four seasons, with recipes to match. Dishes include the restaurant&rsquos signature black and white cookies, honey-glazed duck with apricot and fennel, and sturgeon with smoked cream cheese and caviar.
4 Must-Have Cookbooks for the Mediterranean Diet
Find your next favorite healthy meal in one of these beautiful new cookbooks.
Voted the "best diet" by the U.S. News and World Report in 2021𠅊nd by countless dietitians—the Mediterranean diet is one of the best eating styles for your taste buds and your body. That&aposs because its moderate approach allows for some indulgence (a glass of red wine? Yes please!) and puts nothing off limits (yep, you can eat carbs), making it a lifestyle diet you can stick with for, well, life. Plus, research shows that following a Mediterranean diet can lower risk for cardiovascular disease, help keep your brain sharper longer, and might just lead to a longer life.
For the uninitiated, a Mediterranean diet plan prioritizes:
- Heart-healthy unsaturated fats like nuts, seeds, fish, and oils
- Lean proteinsਏrom seafood, lean cuts of poultry, pork, and beef, plus quinoa, farro, beans, legumes, eggs, and low-fat dairy
- Complex carbohydratesਏrom plant-based, minimally-processed foods such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, and beans
Nothing is totally shunned, but most Mediterranean eaters aim for moderation when it comes to higher-fat dairy and red meat, and limit added sugars, processed foods, refined grains, and meats. That still leaves a lot of flexibility and healthy, delicious foods on the table.
So if you&aposre seeking new sources of inspiration, you can&apost go wrong with these top-rated cookbooks that celebrate the best of the Mediterranean diet.
Mediterranean Every Day: Simple, Inspired Recipes for Feel-Good Food
Inspired by the author&aposs time spent studying in Italy𠅊nd nonnes she met along the way! The author of this Mediterranean diet cookbook is not only a food and wine writer and recipe developer, but also a registered dietitian. So expect wildly flavorful yet surprisingly healthy recipes in each of the six categories: three-ingredient snacks and cocktails (smoky white bean hummus), salads and soups (smoked salmon Greek salad), beans, grains, and bready things (lentil fritters), colorful pastas (pasta with burst cherry tomatoes and swordfish), gathering dishes (salmon in crazy water), and desserts (rosé-soaked peaches).