In the weeks since our shelter-in-place order began, people have found numerous outlets for their creativity. Video conferencing with friends, learning a new language and painting are all spiking in popularity.
Cooking will always remain my favorite hobby. Not only does it pair well with streaming new podcasts, but the results are worth the while. And I am far from alone. (As The Washington Post reports, “People are baking bread like crazy, and now we’re running out of flour and yeast.”)
Each of these books is a fantastic primer on cooking, and perhaps includes your future favorite meal. They are also available as eBooks for you to borrow.
EveryDayCook / Alton Brown
Good Eats will forever be a classic of cooking television. It is quirky, scientific and a reminder that food is actually fun. Alton Brown described the show as a mix of legendary chef Julia Child, British comedian collective Monty Python and educational TV program Mr. Wizard.
This cookbook celebrates what viewers love about Good Eats. Brown said he believes in cooking every day, if possible, and that these are the foods he makes regularly. It’s advice worth following.
Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 2 / Julia Child and Simone Beck
Speaking of Julia Child, flip through these digital pages and marvel at her brilliance. Her work here with Simone Beck will bring French cooking to your home. This second volume is a refined version focused for American home cooks.
Food52 Genius Recipes: 100 recipes that will change the way you cook / Kristen Miglore
This is a cookbook subtle in its genius. There is genius in the simplicity of recipes, newfound techniques and, most importantly, taste. A variety of chefs weave new approaches to cooking throughout the dishes in this book.
Strong recipes here include chicken thighs with lemon as well as tomato sauce with butter and onion.
The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook / Deb Perelman
Vinegar slaw with cucumbers and dill. Tomato scallion shortcakes with whipped goat cheese. Spaghetti squash and black bean tacos. Deb Perelman spent more than a decade as a vegetarian. It shows throughout her cookbook (which also includes meat recipes) with strong flavors and textures.
No place is it more apparent than mushroom bourguignon, a standout you will want to make at home while sheltering in place.
Appetites: A Cookbook / Anthony Bourdain
Anthony Bourdain’s heavy influence on how Americans eat and travel is already well-established. I will simply add here that he created a fun cookbook. One highlight: grilled cheese sandwiches with caramelized onions.
Cook like a Pro: Recipes and Tips for Home Cooks / Ina Garten
Lifestyle aficionado Ina Garten, also known for her television program, The Barefoot Contessa, has another batch of recipes in this 2018 book. Cooks at all levels will enjoy her recipes, tips and tricks.