Best Cookbooks of 2010!

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Thai Street Food
By David Thompson
This might be the most beautiful cookbook ever published. It’s made for the coffee table, but it’s also a very workable book. Granted, some of the recipes took me a couple of days to assemble. But still. We’re talking truly authentic recipes from the world’s most famous and devoted disciple of Thai cuisine. Thompson owns Thai restaurants in Sydney, London and Bangkok and splits his time between Bangkok and London. In this book, he takes us along on the most incredible tour of Asian street food ever documented. Brilliant. Breathtaking. Ground breaking. (Ten Speed, $60)

 

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Jamie’s America
By Jamie Oliver
This is easily my favorite new book. It’s funny that it took an Englishman to truly capture the spirit of regional American cooking better than any American chef has ever done before. This is the companion book to Jamie’s television show, so of course there were a lot of resources employed in it’s production. But still. This is an awesome book that belongs on every foodie’s wish list. Oliver covers all the important staples, from Mexican influenced chicken mole and ceviche to Texas-style barbecue and Southern fried chicken—with dozens of mouthwatering photographs documenting the journey and the food. This is a must-buy. (Hyperion, $38) 

 

 

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Ethan Stowell’s New Italian Kitchen
By Ethan Stowell
I’ve never been to any of Ethan Stowell’s several restaurants in Seattle, but after seeing the photos and recipes in this book—braised veal cheeks with porcini mushrooms and fava bean agnolotti with snails and herbed butter, for example—I’m starting to think it’s time to revisit the Pacific Northwest. (Ten Speed, $35)

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Ready for Dessert
By David Lebovitz
The chocolate cake on the cover of this book is reason enough to buy it. Just look at it! And there’s tons more chocolate stuff inside—tarts, mousse, pots de crème. And lemon soufflés, orange-almond bread pudding, grape pie… (Ten Speed, $35)

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Meat
By James Peterson
James Peterson has written some of the most comprehensive and educational single-topic cooking books of our time, including Sauces and Baking. In his latest book, he tackles meat. He discusses beef, pork, rabbit, duck, lamb… even goat and goose with unflinching authority. And although the book includes more than 175 recipes, I anticipate using this book more as an essential reference tool than actually as a cookbook. (Ten Speed, $35)

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Bon Appétit Desserts
Edited by Barbara Fairchild
This book is special for a couple of reasons. First, it’s the culmination of 50 years of amazing desserts. Second, it marks the end of an era with Barbara Fairchild at the helm of the brand. The book includes 680 recipes, including white chocolate cupcakes with kumquats and banana layer cake with caramel cream and sea-salt pecans. (Andrews McMeel, $40)

 

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The Book of Tapas
By Simone and Ines Ortega
This is probably the definite book of Spanish tapas, with tons of great recipes for all the classics, like gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp), albondigas (meatballs) and patatas bravas (spicy potatoes), many of which are accompanied by great photography. Celebrity chef Jose Andres helped adapt this book for it’s American/English language edition. (Phaidon, $40) 

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India Cookbook
By Pushpesh Pant
This book is going to take up a lot of room on your shelf. It’s fat and bulging with amazing recipes (more than 1,000). But wow, what a treasure trove of Indian specialties from north to south, east t
o west, by a number of chefs and culinary experts around the world. Samosas! Tandoori chicken! Chutneys, curries… (Phaidon, $50)
 

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Around My French Table
By Dorie Greenspan
Dorie Greenspan is one of America’s most prolific cookbook writers, and this looks to be one of her masterpieces. Mostly French home cooking, these are recipes for everyday gatherings and casual dinner parties alike: gougères, crispy skinned roast chicken, vanilla éclairs, chocolate mousse. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $40) 

Radically_simple

Radically Simple
By Rosanne Gold
I haven’t heard much from Rosanne Gold in a long time. She was prolific back in the 90s. (She was culinary director of Windows on the World, which of course fell victim of the World Trade Center disaster.) Well, she’s back with a superb follow-up to her popular Recipes 1, 2, 3. She makes throwing a fabulous dinner party ridiculously easy. Wow, every dish is gorgeous. See, this is what happens when chefs step back, remove a few ingredients and let the remaining items shine through in all their glory, uncluttered and pure. With recipes such as corn soup with green apple and scallions or sirloin steak with “magic green sauce”—This book is truly brilliant and inspiring. (Rodale, $35) 

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Food & Wine, Reinventing the Classics
Edited By Dana Cowin
This is one of the easiest cookbooks to come along in a while, which is surprising since so many of the recipes in Food & Wine come from restaurant chefs and can be notoriously difficult to make. Lots in here to fall in love with, like macaroni and cheese, Thai green curry chicken wings or a perfect pasta carbonara. (American Express, $30) 

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The Essential New York Times Cookbook
By Amanda Hesser
This is a modern revamp of the classic NY Times Cookbook by Craig Claiborne, which was a staple on my kitchen shelf for many years (until I dropped it into a pot of soup and threw it away). It’s a massive book with more than 1,000 recipes, many of which sound great, including Le Cirque’s famous spaghetta primavera and Thomas Keller’s gazpacho. Unfortunately, there are no photos, which will makes this one a very hard sell. Some of the recipes are illustrated with drawings—but nobody likes drawings. We want to see pictures, especially when the book is this expensive. So, I’m only half-heartedly recommending this one because, for the price, there are many other more worthwhile options. (W. W. Norton, $40)

 

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