Our favorite cookbooks of 2022
2022 was a great year for cookbooks. I probably say that every year, but really...this was a strong year with so many amazing titles. Last year, we made a resolution that we would really focus on building out our international cookbook offerings and I've rarely had such fun picking and choosing from the wealth of quality books within this range. And we're not done yet - we STILL have some catching up to do. I like to think we always will. Travel has always been in my bones and international cuisine is one of the great joys of visiting other cultures.
Other favorites from 2022 have been the books that have really made us think, learn, or simply revisit techniques and methods that we had once thought we had fully explored, but in the end realized there is always more learning to be done. Many are just great reads. (I confess, I read cookbooks from a literary and culinary perspective...and I don't always get a chance to cook from each one, but I do try to pick one or two recipes from many of them to try.)
Looking forward into 2023, I think we've been able to develop a more curated eye for the new (and vintage) books that fit within where we want the shop to be, but we also recognize there are a lot of classic books that we have always wanted to carry but just didn't have the space, budget, or time to acquire and offer up for sale. So, I'm thinking that 2023 will be our chance to round out our collection and really focus on listening and understanding our customers' desires.
But, before we get into that, let's end the year by looking back at our favorite new titles of the past year. These are all tremendous works of art and labors of love by those who worked so hard to bring them to market.
Happy final moments of 2022, and first moments of 2023!
1. I am From Here by Vishweth Bhatt
Many first-generation/immigrant cookbooks always beg a healthy round of philosophizing on the question of, "What is American cuisine, anyway?"
Southerners also love nothing more than a good navel-gaze along similar lines, "What is Southern food?" Vishweth Bhatt confronts both these questions straight on in "I Am From Here" by placing traditional Southern ingredients at the center of his ever-evolving immigrant identity.
2. Turkey and the Wolf by Mason Hereford
Oh my gosh, this cookbook is a wonderland of fun and Mason Hereford's personality just shines from every page. I think of Turkey and the Wolf as the Andy Warhol-esque version of a cookbook in that Hereford takes many of the foods we think of as "low" (processed, delicious, and ubiquitous), combines them with gourmet ingredients and the modern palate, and then elevates them into a form of irreverent culinary art.
Now I can't resist putting my childhood cooking secret back into full gear: a shameless pile of Doritos on every deli sandwich. Which makes me so happy and my world is better and brighter for it.
3. Budmo! by Anna Voloshyna
With its emphasis on fresh ingredients, time-honored heritage, and warm hospitality, Eastern European cuisine is having a culinary moment, in addition to Ukraine being of great current interest. This is a fantastic cookbook and Anna Voloshyna's cheerful voice and obvious pride in her country of birth resounds throughout.
4. Pasta Grannies: Comfort Cooking: Traditional Recipes from Italy's Best Home Cooks by Vicky Bennison
Spending time with our family and friends has never felt so important - and so often this means cooking for the ones you love. Who better to take inspiration from than Pasta Grannies who have spent their lifetimes plating up comfort and connection?
5. Koshersoul by Michael W. Twitty
Michael W. Twitty is a man who contemplates complicated and difficult questions and he brings his audience along with him. It's not always comfortable, but it is introspective and honest. The question that most intrigues him is not just who makes the food, but how the food makes the people. Jews of Color are not outliers, Twitty contends, but significant and meaningful cultural creators in both Black and Jewish civilizations.
6. The King Arthur Baking School: Lessons and Recipes for Every Baker by King Arthur Baking Company
I've been an amateur, professional, and baking school baker in previous iterations of my life and King Arthur Baking Company has always been right there with great ingredients and a guiding hand, ready to turn my baked goods into the best they could be. All of their cookbooks are well-tested and well-written, but this one in particular should be in every baker's library.
7. Watermelon and Red Birds by Nicole A. Taylor
Living in Durham, NC, Juneteenth has always been an important celebration in our community and I think this cookbook is an important view into the private obvervances of that momentous day in American History.
8. Masa by Jorge Gaviria & Herriott Graydon
Brimming with history, replicable techniques, and reflections from masa authorities, including third-generation tortillerxs and acclaimed chefs, MASA reveals the beauty and longstanding traditions behind this elemental staple. Mostly, though, this question asks "Why have we gone so long without this book?"
9. Edible North Carolina by Marcie Cohen Ferris & Katherine Hysmith
Ranging from manifesto to elegy, Edible North Carolina's essays, photographs, interviews, and recipes combine for a beautifully revealing journey across the lands and waters of a state that exemplifies the complexities of American food and identity. While North Carolina's food heritage is grounded in core ingredients and the proximity of farm to table, this book reveals striking differences among food-centered cultures and businesses across the state.
10. Mi Cocina by Rick Martinez
I am such a travel-nerd that travelogue cookbooks almost always pique my interest in very profound ways. In Mi Cocina, readers can join Rick Martinez on a once-in-a-lifetime culinary journey throughout Mexico that begins in Mexico City and continues through 32 states, in 156 cities, and across 20,000 incredibly delicious miles. In Mi Cocina, Rick shares deeply personal recipes as he re-creates the dishes and specialties he tasted throughout his journey.
All of the books above are still in stock as of December 31st 2022 - get a copy for yourself!