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.”
Keep reading for more picks
During the month of October, Anne Burrell’s schedule will be filled with book signings across the country for the launch of her second cookbook, Own Your Kitchen: Recipes to Inspire & Empower. Check out her book tour schedule below to see if she’ll be near you.
Tuesday, Oct. 15: Woodbridge, N.J.
Event: 4pm, Wegmans (15 Woodbridge Center Drive)
Wednesday, Oct. 16: Uniontown, Ohio
Event: 12pm, Giant Eagle/Market District (1700 Corporate Woods Parkway)
Wednesday, Oct. 16: Solon, Ohio
Event: 4pm, Giant Eagle/Market District (34310 Aurora Road)
Click for all tour dates
Anne Burrell’s back with second helpings — in her new cookbook, Own Your Kitchen, she’s sharing recipes that she cooks when she’s home in her own kitchen. She’s designed 100 recipes that will help home cooks ace essential techniques, like how to make the perfect omelet or butterfly a chicken. She also teaches improvisation: how to work with ingredients you have on hand, and, above all, how to feel confident and stress-free when making meals.
Start building your repertoire with impressive twists on classics, like Anne’s Carbonara Frittata. You can buy Anne’s new cookbook here, or enter for a chance to win one now. To enter: Tell FN Dish which one of Anne’s recipes is your favorite in the comments (you must include the recipe URL). We’re giving five lucky, randomly selected winners each an autographed copy of the book.
Read official rules before entering
This past weekend, Amy Thielen’s Heartland Table (Saturdays at 10:30am/ 9:30c) premiered on Food Network. Born and raised in Minnesota, Amy’s celebrating all things Midwestern and sharing with fans rustic recipes from inside her log cabin, plus introducing the local legends inspiring her dishes. Along with a new show, Amy’s also debuted her cookbook, The New Midwestern Table — including 200 updated classic recipes from her native Midwest. Want to get to know Amy better? FN Dish is giving away five autographed copies of her cookbook to randomly selected winners.
What FN Dish loves about this book is that everything can be made with a trip to a basic grocery store. “If I couldn’t find an ingredient at either of my local grocery stores, and it couldn’t be found in the garden, the yard or the surrounding woods, it didn’t go in the book,” Amy adds.
You can buy Amy’s new cookbook here, or enter for a chance to win one now. To enter: Tell FN Dish what you’re looking forward to the most from Amy’s new show, Heartland Table, in the comments. We’re giving five lucky, randomly selected winners each a copy of the book.
Read official rules before entering
Sunny Anderson’s first cookbook, Sunny’s Kitchen, has been a dream in the making — since she was 16 years old in fact. Growing up in a military family, Sunny traveled the world. “Food was the glue that held us together as we moved from place to place,” Sunny says. Sunny’s Kitchen will offer readers her whole world in just a few bites. Through breakfast, mains, starchy sides and desserts, Sunny draws upon international flavors, as well as local inspirations. Fans of hers will also get a glimpse into her kitchen, family photos and stories that connect the recipes she shares with the moments and people that mean a great deal to her. Rarely does a cookbook make you feel so connected to the author. Take the time to read the foreword, Sunny’s intro and her tips in “how to cook, for real.” It’s worth it. Want to flip through the pages yourself? FN Dish is giving away five autographed copies of Sunny’s debut cookbook to randomly selected winners.
You can buy Sunny’s new cookbook here, or enter for a chance to win one now. To enter: Tell FN Dish which Sunny recipe is your favorite in the comments (you must include the recipe URL). We’re giving five lucky, randomly selected winners each an autographed copy of the book.
Read official rules before entering
You can smell it in the air: millions of long-dormant grills being lit in observance of the rites of warm weather, bright sunshine and long days. ‘Tis the season when our nation smells of wood smoke. ‘Tis summer: the happiest time of year, as far as I’m concerned.
This time of year is also the most delicious. I am 100-percent convinced that nothing served in any restaurant ever tastes as good as food that you, yourself, cook outdoors with friends on a sunny day. Nothing. No competition. This is not to say that everything that comes off a grill is perfect. The experience, however, is perfect, replete, enough.
For this month’s cookbook recommendations, I’ve rounded up four books that approach live-fire cooking from a variety of angles — from grilling to barbecue to smoking and everything in between. Some of these, like the Jamisons’ Smoke & Spice, are long-established classics; others, like Adam Perry Lang’s Charred & Scruffed, are relative newcomers well on their way to achieving similar status. All are full of valuable instruction and fantastic recipes. So whether you’re a novice grill jockey or a seasoned backyard pit boss, the following four Food Network Library favorites will have you all fired up this summer.
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There’s no right or wrong way to learn how to cook. Some people are more logical and some are more visual. For the latter group, traditional cookbooks can be a bit intimidating, which is exactly where Katie Shelly drew her inspiration for her upcoming cookbook, Picture Cook.
Katie doesn’t credit herself with particular culinary intuition or talent. She learned to cook through experimenting and focuses on making “food that is tasty and does the job.” Composed of 50 recipe “blueprints,” her book covers snacktime to dinnertime with illustrated ingredients and steps. Her hope is that home cooks will find the drawings straightforward and easy to improvise.
Do you dive into a recipe right away or watch Ina or Alton make it first? If you’re a person who learns by seeing, perhaps recipe drawings are just the inspiration you need in the kitchen. Let us know what you think — what works for you?
To learn more about Picture Cook, head over to NPR’s food blog, The Salt.
Cookbooks are not the first place one turns to for humor. Funny cookbooks do exist: Peg Bracken’s classic The I Hate to Cook Book (1960) is one; Amy Sedaris’ more recent — and terrific — I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence (2006) is another. But most cookbooks assume people can’t handle too much humor with their how-to. Fair enough.
Cookbooks for rank beginners, however, make up a well-established subgenre that plays by its own set of rules. Rule #1: Keep ‘em laughing. Cookbooks for novices specialize in a very specific form of comic hyperbole, playing up the presumed ignorance of their target reader (usually a recent graduate or a bachelor) who is posited as either starving or idiotic, or both a hapless sloven who has just barely mastered the arts of chewing and swallowing. These books are easy to recognize by their titles: The Bachelor’s Guide to Ward Off Starvation, Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen, and my personal favorite, Your Shirt Is Not an Oven Mitt! (All three, I’m proud to say, have a home in the Food Network Library.)
Get Jonathan’s recommendations
During the month of May, Guy Fieri’s schedule will be filled with book signings in New Jersey and New York for the third installment of the Triple D book series, The Funky Finds in Flavortown: America’s Classic Joints and Killer Comfort Food. Check out his book tour schedule below to see if he’ll be near you.
While you’re there, have Guy sign a copy of The Funky Finds in Flavortown.
Click here to get the info
A quick history lesson: Cinco de Mayo was born on the fifth day of the fifth month of the year 1862, when General Ignacio Zaragoza, with the support of local civilians and Zacapoaxtla Indians, led 2,000 poorly equipped Mexican soldiers to victory over 6,000 French cavalry and infantrymen at the Battle of Puebla. Though Zaragoza’s success was short-lived — the following year, French forces swept through Puebla en route to Mexico City, where they managed to overthrow the still-young Mexican Republic — his victory lives on in Mexico, where Cinco de Mayo is a minor national holiday, primarily observed in Puebla and Mexico City. And also more obscurely but perhaps more passionately, in the United States, where in recent decades Cinco de Mayo has morphed into a major festival of Chicano culture.
It’s with this latter, domestic incarnation in mind that, for this month’s cookbook recommendations, I have plucked some choice morsels detailing the remarkable contributions of Mexican-Americans to regional cooking in the United States. So, just in time for Cinco de Mayo, here is a virtual tour of Mexican-influenced border cooking — from Tex-Mex to Cal-Mex, with a stop along the way in Santa Fe, N.M. — in four cookbooks that beautifully sketch the cultural wellsprings from which these regional cuisines were born.
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