Here at the BookTrib office, the cookbooks arrive in the mail about mid-morning—just in time to start our stomachs rumbling. We can’t help but be inspired to kick up our cooking game as we flip through the gorgeous photos and mouth-watering recipes.
This week we have cookbooks that serve up the kind of food many of us grew up with—red velvet cake and fried chicken from Savannah, bisque and jambalya from the Big Easy, garlic-and-pepper infused pastrami from Jewish delis, and porchetta and lasagne just like your nonna used to make. And to top it all off—a cookbook from the restaurant that has all the celebrity chefs raving. Hungry yet?
This is Camino by Russell Moore and Allison Hopelain with Chris Colin (Ten Speed Press; October 13, 2015)
“Russell and Allison have created something extraordinary, and this book captures the heartbeat of the restaurant—its energy, creativity, community.” —Alice Waters, owner of Chez Panisse and author of The Art of Simple Food
“Russ Moore shares his recipes and stories so anyone can recreate the foods of Camino at home, all filled with the earthy, seductive flavors that come out of his kitchen. This is my favorite cookbook of the year!” —David Lebovitz, author of My Paris Kitchen
“What’s important but is impossible to describe is the strength and utter brilliance of his flavor combinations and the downright simplicity of it all. Moore has a palate that cannot be stopped…” —Mark Bittman, the New York Times
Camino in Oakland, CA is the kind of restaurant that other top chefs swoon over. Run by married couple Russell Moore and Allison Hopelain, cooking supertars like Yotam Ottolenghi, Sean Brock and Deborah Madison are rapturous about its wood-fired food. The cookbook provides basic techniques and improvisational riffs on Camino’s use-it-all ethic with mouthwatering results.
Pastrami on Rye: An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli by Ted Merwin (New York University Press; October 6, 2015)
“Combining a flair for anecdote with exhaustive research, Merwin has produced an exuberantly readable history of delis, and he reveals how their prepared foods helped free early 20th-century women from daily kitchen drudgery.” —Booklist
“Try reading Ted Merwin’s new book, Pastrami on Rye without having your mouth water. Merwin offers plenty of delicious descriptions as he traces how delis rose up first as take-out services for Jewish immigrants, to gathering places for Jewish communities, to symbols of integration — as pastrami piled high became popular nationwide.” —New York Post
“A pleasing exercise in culinary and cultural history, evoking some favorite New York-centric comfort foods…Suffice it to say that the author…does a solid job of locating the delicatessen…as a cultural and culinary center of New York Jewish life.” —Kirkus Reviews
This book will make you want to jump onto a Metro-North train to New York City and chow down at one of the surviving Jewish delis. You can practically smell the pastrami, pickles and corned beef as Merwin offers appetizing anecdotes about how immigrant food became an American institution. Absolutely delicious!
Besh Big Easy: 101 Home Cooked New Orleans Recipes by John Besh (Andrews McMeel Publishing, September 2015)
“John Besh’s cookbooks are, generally speaking, great—fun to read, dependable to cook from. In his latest, Besh Big Easy, he strips his signature New Orleans-style food down to its roots.” —Epicurious
“Dedicated to accessibility, James Beard Award–winning chef John Besh really is trying to make New Orleans classics like gumbo and po’boys easy for the home cook. With 101 recipes at hand, there’s no reason to not bring the French Quarter home with you.” —Food Republic
A touch of Creole, a touch of Cajun and a big helping of the New Orleans classics grace this spicy collection of authentic recipes. From gumbos to fricassees to jambalayas, James Beard Award-winner John Besh makes his native food easily accessible and downright delicious. Laissez les bon temps roulez! (Let the good times roll!)
A Real Southern Cook: In Her Savannah Kitchen by Dora Charles (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, September 2015)
“Ms. Charles is a meticulous and methodical cook…[She] stresses the importance of selecting good raw ingredients and building flavor at every step, like saving what she called fry-meat-grease from bacon, sausage, or pork chops to rub on sweet potatoes as they bake…” —The New York Times
“After soaking in pages of fried spareribs, red rice, and coconut cake, I just wanted to be at Dora’s house when supper was served.” —Vivian Howard, chef and owner, Chef & the Farmer and creator of the PBS documentary A Chef’s Life
“Dora Charles and her family recipes are legendary in Savannah, and finally she has written them down for the rest of us.” —Nathalie Dupree, author and television personality
While Dora Charles isn’t exactly John Besh’s neighbor—641 miles separate the cities—the home cooking of Savannah, GA hits many of the same Southern comfort food notes. Hush Puppies, tomato pie, chicken-fried chicken, fried green tomatoes evoke the kind of nostalgia that makes us hungry. In addition, this acclaimed local chef shares her secrets for crunchy fried chicken, foolproof biscuits and savory turkey wings. Whether you want to master the Southern cooking basics or set an impressive holiday table, Charles has the recipe you’re looking for.
Per la Famiglia: Memories and Recipes of Southern Italian Home Cooking by Emily Richards (Whitecap Books; November 15, 2015)
Whether you have Italian ancestry or just love Italian cooking, Richards makes even the most classic dishes easy and accessible. Her notes in her recipes are particularly helpful and we love how she includes the classics and modern variations.
Cooking with Microgreens: The Grow-Your-Own-Superfood by Sal Gilbertie and Larry Sheehan (Countryman Press, 2015)
Sal Gilbertie is known throughout Southwestern Connecticut for his beautiful herb gardens and nursery business. He shares his expertise by teaching readers how to grow microgreens (tiny sprouted plants) at home and recipes that use these compact nutrition powerhouses.
Craft Cider: How to Turn Apples into Alcohol by Jeff Smith (Countryman Press, September 2015)
Most Americans don’t realize the truth behind the Johnny Appleseed myth—his apples weren’t meant for lunch boxes or pies, but rather to be brewed into alcohol. The resurgence of interest in hard cider makes this a perfect time for a book that tells you how to make your own and what to do with it once it’s made. Move over beer, it’s cider time.