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by Leila Clifford, Food Network Kitchens Intern
Every season, Food Network looks forward to a new crop of cookbooks and passing our favorites around the office; these are the ones that keep disappearing from people’s desks this fall.
Edward Lee’s new cookbook, Smoke and Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen, is an almost-universal favorite for its innovative flavors and new takes on American cuisine. Rob Bleifer, Food Network Kitchens’ executive chef, said of Edward’s book: “Lee’s approach to ingredients often surprises me. Sorghum, for example — sorghum in everything. It’s cool.”
We’re also big fans of Fuchsia Dunlop’s newest book, Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking. “The recipes are very doable and fast, and your pantry doesn’t need to be jam-packed to execute Fuchsia’s dishes,” said Jonathan Milder, culinary research librarian. “She doesn’t dumb it down — she makes you realize how simple Chinese home cooking really is. Give me steamed whole fish any day and chili bean paste on everything.”
On the more chef-centric side of things is David Kinch’s book, Manresa: An Edible Reflection. Vince Camillo, a food stylist, feels that “David’s recipes are reflections of his interests and his relationships with food and the environment. If you have an interest in horticulture or basic gardening then you’ll quickly find another reason to enjoy this book.”
It’s not every day that a cookbook successfully translates restaurant cooking to the home, but Le Pigeon: Cooking at the Dirty Bird does just that. The food is sophisticated, clever and joyful. As Rupa Bhattacharya, food and beverage editor, said, “Gabriel Rucker has a food sensibility borne of genuine love for food, and that comes across in how fun his recipes are.”
Office Coordinator Loan Nguyen has been on a quest to master Filipino cuisine. “My mother-in-law tells me it’s just about taste, but since I didn’t grow up eating pancit and adobo I wanted to know more. Marvin Gapultos’ book, The Adobo Road: A Filipino Food Journey-From Food Blog, to Food Truck, and Beyond, has served as a great guide as I continue to figure out what defines Filipino flavors and cooking.”
Smoke and Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen, Edward Lee (Artisan, 2013)
Edward’s personal culinary journey has taken him from New York to Lyon to Kentucky, and his book is reflective of his diverse background and his explorative nature. With recipes like Curry Pork Pies as well as Chicken and Country Ham Pho, Edward explores flavors in a unique and adventuresome way.
Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking, Fuchsia Dunlop (W. W. Norton & Company, 2013)
This is Fuchsia’s third cookbook, and it draws in many ways from her first, The Land of Plenty. True to Chinese home cooking, many of the recipes are grain- and vegetable-centric, with dishes such as Sour-and-Hot Mushroom Soup that are given depth of flavor with the simple addition of a “secret ingredient” like dried shiitake mushrooms.
Manresa: An Edible Reflection, David Kinch and Christine Muhlke (Ten Speed Press, 2013)
Manresa is a very personal cookbook, with precise, direct recipes distilled from David’s careful notes from each night’s service at his Los Gatos restaurant. It’s also full of gorgeous photography and thoughtful essays on David and his team’s approach to food.
Le Pigeon: Cooking at the Dirty Bird, Gabriel Rucker, Meredith Erickson, Lauren and Andrew Fortgang (Ten Speed Press, 2013)
There are very few chefs who can convince publishers that what their cookbook needs is an entire chapter of tongue recipes — fortunately, Gabriel is one of them. The book takes you behind the scenes at the eponymous restaurant, with special focus on their purveyors and extended community.
The Adobo Road: A Filipino Food Journey-From Food Blog, to Food Truck, and Beyond, Marvin Gapultos (Tuttle Publishing, 2013)
This is a colorful crash course in Filipino cooking, with everything from classic chicken adobo to modern twists like squash and long bean risotto. Marvin draws from his Filipino upbringing, his food blogging and his long days of cooking aboard The Manila Machine, his Los Angeles-based food truck, to create a book that he hopes “will spark a new and lasting interest in Filipino food and culture.”