Books for Cooks

The Arcadia Mobile Market Seasonal Cookbook by Juju Harris, photographs by Molly M. Peterson 

Local Flavors

The District now has nationally recognized culinary talent, as well as a growing farm and artisanal food scene. It’s reflected in more cookbooks by local chefs and food-inspired publications. This year, Washington became the happy recipient of the re-introduction of  “Edible DC” (, free at select locations, $32 annually for mailed print edition). Part of the national Edible brand, the metro area is primed for this – and Kristen Hartke, Edible DC’s editor, lives on the Hill.

The Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture, offers an array of programs and a mobile market (you’ve probably seen the bright green school bus). “The Arcadia Mobile Market Seasonal Cookbook” by Arcadia Culinary Educator, Juju Harris, with photography by Molly M. Peterson (, $20) is a resourcefully written cookbook featuring well-tested recipes drawing on seasonal, cost-effective ingredients.  A gift that gives twice – sales support distribution of the cookbook to SNAP and WIC Mobile Market customers.

Alexander Justice Moore’s “The Food Fighters: DC Central Kitchen’s First Twenty-Five Years on the Front Lines of Hunger and Poverty” (iUniverse, $20.95) takes a look at an institution started by Robert Egger in the 1980s. Written by an insider, it’s an inspirational book explaining Egger’s approach to combating hunger while creating opportunity (culinary training) – and how it’s become a national model in the process.  

New Latin Flavors” by award-winning chef Richard Sandoval (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $29.95), offers recipes for vibrant Latin dishes inspired by his restaurants.  A native of Mexico City, this ‘Top Chef Masters’ personality has opened restaurants not only in Washington, DC, but NYC and Dubai. 

Award-Winning chef and Dupont Circle restaurateur Luigi Diotaiuti’s “The Al Tiramisu Restaurant Cookbook” (, $45) celebrates the chef’s rich Italian heritage with recipes like Placido Domingo’s Antipasto Platter, Cream of Chestnut Soup and a classic Tiramisu. The Italian-born chef is a DC’s Who’s Who, honored as part of the American Chef Corps, an elite group of 80 culinary ambassadors affiliated with the US Department of State.


Spirits Merry and Bright

Becky Sue Epstein’s “Brandy: A Global History” (Reaktion Books, $19.95) tells the tale of this spirit that’s made from distilled wine has been produced and consumed since the Middle Ages This book joins others in the series, new titles released annually – and they’re the perfect size for a stocking stuffer.

Sherry: A Modern Guide to The Wine World’s Best-Kept Secret with Cocktails and Recipes” by Talia Baiocchi (Ten Speed Press, $25) showcases a wine that is now in a renaissance. You’ll find recommendations for producers, food preparations and pairings, and this editor-in-chief of online magazine ‘Punch’, Baiocchi offers up a list of sherry-friendly cocktail bars – in the District visit Jaleo, The Passenger and Mockingbird Hill.

Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails” by David Kaplan and Nick Fauchald pays homage to its East Village namesake, ranked one of the top ten bars in the world since opening. Amateur or expert will complete a cocktail education with this comprehensive collection of the bar’s best drinks.  With a section on tools and ingredients, this might just replace “Old Mr. Boston” for chapters on the philosophy of drink-making.


Vegetarian & Vegan

Bryant Terry, a national leader in the healthful eating movement brings together flavor-packed African, Caribbean, and Southern food in “Afro-Vegan” (Ten Speed, $27.50).  Whatever the season, this beautiful collection will have you coming back to recreate these recipes sure to become a part of your repertoire.

Take a look at Aglaia Kremezi’s “Mediterranean Vegetarian Feasts” (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $35), even if you love meat. These plant-based seasonal dishes provide master recipes inspired by eastern Mediterranean and north African flavors, whether feta skillet pies with spinach and herbs or a hearty Tunisian chickpea soup.

 “Vegan Without Borders” (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $40) by Robin Robertson, by this longtime vegan and author of 20 cookbooks puts a global spin on vegan cooking. Try the Sizzling Saigon Crepes, Black Bean and Butternut Tortilla Bake or Korean-inspired Sweet Potato dessert.

A name synonymous with vegetarian cooking, Deborah Madison brings us “The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone” (Ten Speed, $40). With greater emphasis on tempeh rather than tofu, and adding ingredients like farro, smoked paprika, curry leaves, coconut oil and dairy substitutes, this book only improves on the classic. 


Around the World

If you’re a fan of Middle Eastern cooking, there are a couple of cookbooks out this year worth your time.  “Olives, Lemons & Za’atar” by Rawia Bishara (Kyle Books, $30) is based on the chef’s offerings at her much-acclaimed Brooklyn restaurant Tanoreen. Stunning photography accompanies enticing recipes and stories. Joumana Accad’s “Taste of Beirut” (HCI Books, $19) combines Mediterranean flavors with global influences. Accad grew up in Beirut, has lived in Paris and the United States, and returned home to write this cookbook with variations on classics like falafel loaf and hummus to pomegranate and milk pudding.

Mexico the Cookbook” by Margarita Carrillo Arronte (Phaidon, $49.95) is sure to be your comprehensive go-to cookbook for Mexican home cooking. One of Mexico’s most respected in the culinary world, Arronte, a leader of the Slow Food Movement in Baja, offers up 650 authentic recipes from regional snacks and street food to drinks and desserts. 

As Ireland’s best-known food ambassador, television personality and bestselling author Darina Allen brings you culinary expertise in “30 Years at Ballymaloe: a Celebration of the World-Renowned Cookery School” (Kyle, $35. In this tribute to her cooking school located on her 100-acre farm you’ll also learn about foraging and fishing – all with the Irish knack for telling a story.

As part of Ten Speed Press’s best-selling slow cooker series, Neela Paniz brings “The New Indian Slow Cooker” (Ten Speed, $20) with more than 60 fix-it-and-forget-it recipes for favorite curries, chutneys and more. A Bombay native, this winning ‘Chopped’ contestant, provides three decades of cooking experience in classic and innovative recipes.



If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant, one of the best parts of the shift is the family (staff) meal.  “Eating with the Chefs: Family Meals from the World’s Most Creative Restaurants” by Per-Anders Jorgensen (Phaidon, $60) offers recipes from 18 top-rated restaurants like Noma, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and The French Laundry, all hand-picked by the author for unique staff meal traditions, that develop a team and encourage friendships.

North: The New Nordic Cuisine of Iceland” by Gunnar Karl Gislason (Ten Speed, $40) is an up-close look at Iceland’s food scene with indigenous ingredients. Chef Gislason‘s Dill restaurant’s debut in 2009 coincided with Iceland’s banking collapse – but he persevered and has honored Iceland’s culinary heritage to international acclaim. This book serves double duty – on your coffee table and in your kitchen.

The lauded London-based chef, Yotam Ottolenghi is back with “Plenty More” (Ten Speed, $35), sharing his vegi-Renaissance.  Bringing out the best flavors, he champions vegetables, grains and legumes in recipes like root vegetable pies and ricotta fritters with orange and honey. 


Family Time

Food, Family and Tradition: Hungarian Kosher Family Recipes and Remembrances” by Lynn Kirsche Shapiro (The Cherry Press, $35) is a celebration of the resilience of Holocaust survivors through stories and food. Original recipes from potato kugel to brisket to blintzes and plum preserves, this book looks at the family traditions and richness of Jewish life in Eastern Europe prior to the Holocaust.

David Venable’s “Back Around the Table” (Ballantine, $30) brings his on-screen infectious energy to this book with his favorite recipes for comfort food.  With quick recipes for entertaining to slow braised meats, you’re bound to find your own favorites to add to your repertoire. 

The annual round-up of Books for Cooks wouldn’t be complete without a Mark Bittman offering and “How to Cook Everything Fast” (Houghton Mifflin, $35) gives those with busy schedules some short-cuts and game plans for becoming a more intuitive cook, with his trademark commonsense advice.

You could be reading Jenny Rosenstrach’s “Dinner the Playbook” (Ballantine, $20) on the metro each day –a smart way to keep the dinner menu rotation out of the pasta, pizza burgers rut. You get weekly meal plans for a month, with organizing tips and kid-vetted recipes. Even if you only get through a week of recipes, it’s an inspired start.

The Family Cooks” by Laurie David (Rodale, $28) was devised to give parents a roadmap for healthful eating habits. Celebrating the flavors of each season, you’ll find clever recipes for ravioli cupcakes, oven-grilled corn, and crispy tofu and broccoli stir-fry – with a section on DIY condiments and prep that can be done on Sundays for the week ahead – even without children, you’ll appreciate this book.


Food is Fun

Judith Jones, a longtime Knopf editor, is known for her work with Julia Child as well as other notables like James Beard, Edna Lewis, Joan Nathan and Jacques Pepin. Now, her “Love Me, Feed Me” (Knopf, $24.95) shows how to cook for man’s best friend, explaining the nutritional benefits of supplementing or substituting store bought kibble with home-prepared ingredients – and heartfelt stories of life with her own dogs.  

Food Truck Road Trip: A Cookbook” by Kim Pham and Philip Shen (Page Street Publishing, $22) takes you on a road trip sampling cuisines from street food vendor offerings, as diverse as the melting pot of America, whether Chocolate Chip Espresso Cookies from La Bella Torte in New York or Sam’s Famous Lobster Roll from Sam’s Chowdermobile in California.

To go with the new blender on a holiday wish list is “The Blender Girl” by Tess Masters (Ten Speed, $20), a self-professed blendaholic. With a popular recipe blog, Masters’ solution to time-starved lives is the blender, with versatile recipes for everything from smoothies to a flourless triple-pecan mousse pie and artichoke white bean dip.

Food Writing takes center stage with “Best Food Writing 2014” edited by Holly Hughes (Da Capo Press, $16) in this collection that is as much about food as it is people. Hughes has been editing this series since its inception in 2000, and in this rendition you’ll find something for everyone by notables like Dan Barber, Monica Bhide and Adam Gopnik.


Just Desserts

In one of the most anticipated cookbooks of the year, Dominique Ansel’s “The Secret Recipes” (Simon & Schuster, $35) you’ll get more than the cronut, (the croissant-donut hybrid) with recipes that offer bakery expertise, whether amateur or professional. One of the most beautiful books with some charming stories, you’ll see the magic he makes in New York, the city he now calls home.

Let Us All Eat Cake: Gluten-free Recipes for Everyone’s Favorite Cakes” by Catherine Ruehle (Ten Speed, $25), shows you how to recreate classic cakes, cupcakes and other sweet treats with recipes modified for a gluten-free diet. You’ll also find modifications for vegan, sugar-free, dairy-free and nut-free diets.

Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere” (Houghton Mifflin, $40) will be an instant classic for your kitchen library. With nearly two decades of living in France, Greenspan assembled treats from the 17th century (frozen chocolate mousse and profiteroles) to her own creations like a Gingerbread Buche de Noel, just in time for holiday preparations. 

Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails
Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean & Southern Flavors Remixed
Mexico the Cookbook
Plenty More
Food, Family and Tradition: Hungarian Kosher Family Recipes and Rememberances.
Love Me, Feed Me
The Secret Recipes

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