Favorite Cookbooks of 2011

cookbook pile up

As 2011 draws to a close, I look at the stack of books that I’ve collected on my bookshelf (and piled up on my floor…and beside my bed, and stacked in my kitchen…) and wonder how I’m going to cook and bake from them all. I just can’t help it, though—I love cookbooks. And these are the books that I couldn’t resist tackling in 2011, although a few are filled with bookmarks intended for future dinners and desserts, and blog posts. Some are traditional books bound with nice paper, filled with recipes, others are food-related books; memoirs and remembrances. And there are a few entries I’ve chosen that push the boundaries of traditional text, electronically and otherwise.

This year, I found myself drawn to cookbooks with a story to tell, not just mere collections of recipes. Books with a distinct point of view by an author, and essays which took me beyond the page and into their lives, which veered in some rather compelling directions. A few of the books were chef’s memoirs, which I did include even though they don’t have recipes. But something about them added to the canon of cookery books I have and referenced cooking in ways I wasn’t expecting.

Because I live abroad and have limited storage space (and deliveries can be a challenge), I wasn’t able to procure all the books that I wanted to. But this year saw a big uptick in publishers – and readers – jumping onto the e-book bandwagon. While not everyone wants to cook from a computer screen, one advantage is that foreign cookbooks, or out-of-print titles, may have new lives and can downloaded anywhere in the world within seconds.

I’m still a big fan of printed books, but this year was particularly rich for good cookbooks in a variety of formats and I wasn’t able to get my hands on all the ones that I was interested in. So at the end, I listed a few books that are on my wish list, by friends or cooks that I admire. And I hope to get a look at them in 2012.

The Art of Living According to Joe Beef

I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this book. Were these guys for real? The whole concept of some dudes “building a tiny restaurant in the middle of nowhere” had a vague whiff of hipster-cooking in Montreal. But reading the pages, these guys are the real deal and the cooking looks and sounds wonderful at the “tiny restaurant in the middle of nowhere”, which has gotten major accolades from everyone I know who’s been there. Fortunately, the book is nearly free of expletives and this isn’t just a group of “bad boy” chefs in plaid (especially since one is a woman). It chronicles the story of the likable owners who went with their instincts, put out great food, and found success in ways as unconventional as this book.

The Art of Living According to Joe Beef: A Cookbook of Sorts also gets my vote for the best cookbook subtitle of 2011. There are a few non-traditional recipes as well as a stunning Marjolaine cake, plus a chapter on cocktails, for good measure. This may be my favorite all-around cookbook of the year.

As Always, Julia

This compilation of letters between Julia Child and Avis Devoto chronicles the emergence of Child’s career as a cookbook author, who struggled to introduce Americans to French cooking. As Always, Julia is a window into how it came to be, and what effort went into writing one of the most important cookbooks of our generation by a multi-faceted woman who came to be beloved not just by cooks, but by all of America. We all watched her breeze through classic French recipes without a whit of trepidation and this book illuminates how a pen-pal rescued her book and helped get it into our hands.

Menus for Chez Panisse

Having worked at Chez Panisse for a considerable length of time, whenever we had a special menu planned, Patricia Curtain would arrive just before mealtime with the most beautiful menus designed and printed specifically for the dinner. If I was lucky, I’d get one, and consequently I have a nice collection of them squirreled away. (I brought my very favorite one to Paris with me, with a head of red oak-leaf lettuce on it, which still leans against the wall in my kitchen.) For those who’d like to take a peek at some, Menus for Chez Panisse is a compilation of some of her best menus and now anyone can own them as well. Reading through the book was a fond souvenir of what made Chez Panisse so special over its forty-year span, celebrating a number of events – from a New Year’s Eve dinner featuring peacock ravioli, to lunch for the Dalai Lama, who surprised everybody by requesting roast lamb from the menu.

Serve Yourself

Joe Yonan is the cheerful food editor of The Washington Post. But like many of us, although he’s around food all day, when he gets home – if he’s by himself – he needs to get dinner on the table. Although the duck tacos with plum sauce from Serve Yourself sounded good, corn tortillas aren’t plentiful in Paris, so I made pizza with potatoes and blue cheese using his method for making individual pies. This book proves dining alone can be fun…and you don’t have to share!

The Italian Baker, Revised

This reissue means that one of my all-time favorite baking books is back in print. The Italian Baker, Revised covers a range of Italian cookies, breads, and cakes, and is the classic volume on Italian baking. I’ve used this book for decades, and made Carol Field’s Zaletti cookies; buttery rounds of cornmeal dough (which is hard to resist eating raw), with bits of dried fruit in them. Tiny almond paste macarons with a candied Amarena sour cherry in the middle and swirls of Crumiri cookies are highly recommended recipes as well. Every baker should have this book in their collection.

Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch

A chocolate cake with beets was just one of the many inspiring recipes from Tender by Nigel Slater. Using his garden as inspiration, there are just a few sweet recipes but plenty of generous salads, stews, and ideas for side dishes and dinners composed of earthy fresh vegetables. Although I was jealous I don’t have a garden like Nigel Slater, I do have an oven and a mixer, and loved the simplicity of this cake, presented with just a smear of crème fraîche and a sprinkling of poppy seeds. It’s a stroke of baking genius, and a cake I’ll be making again…with beets from my local produce vendor.

Paris 1906

Grant Achatz has always pushed away the edges of what cooking means, and he broke through publishing boundaries releasing his first e-book based on his evolving-concept restaurant, Next. In its first incarnation, which changes entirely every three months (it’s currently “childhood cooking classics”), he took on the classic French cuisine of August Escoffier. (Which brings up an interesting question – why doesn’t some young chef in Paris trying something like this?) You may not be able to tackle all the recipes in Paris 1906 due to ingredients that even Escoffier didn’t know about, but the photography is excellent, and the recipes for updated classics like Duck Leg Confit and Fennel Shortbread are certainly do-able.

40 Years of Chez Panisse: The Power of Gathering

One of my favorite moments of the year was returning to Chez Panisse for its 40th anniversary. Few restaurants last even one-quarter of that time and the fact that it’s still going strong, and continues to be on the forefront of promoting sustainable, local sourcing, and encouraging the younger generation of be aware of where food comes from, is the story behind this book.

40 Years of Chez Panisse chronicles everything from Alice Waters protesting the war at UC Berkeley in the 60s (love the picture!), to the current crop of cooks gathering behind the restaurant to discuss what to do with the crates of produce that arrived from nearby farms. This volume bookmarks a moment in American cooking where many of us finally decided to change the way we shop and eat, and to search out cleaner, better alternatives.

Ideas in Food

Tweaking what we already know about cooking, Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot of Ideas in Food, surprised me with little things that I never thought of. I’ve bookmarked their baked chocolate mousse for all of 2011, and I vow in 2012 to tackle it. But I enjoyed reading this book cover-to-cover, which dispels a lot of cooking myths, and offers interesting twists to dishes we thought we already knew.

Girl Hunter

Although I spend a lot of time hunting down ingredients, I’ve got nothing on Girl Hunter Georgia Pellegrini. With recipes that call for coot and javelina, she’s got me beat. But any book that has the verve to present a recipe for dumplings where the first item on the ingredient list is “1 squirrel, whole or cut into portions” has a certain appeal. (And could anyone ask for a more rockin’ cookbook author photo?) This book is delightfully off-beat and I like the fact it’s not only unapologetic, but matter-of-fact about the subject. For trigger-happy cooks, this is the book for you.

The Mozza Cookbook

Even though I’ve known Nancy Silverton for a number of years, being around her makes me nervous because she’s so friggin’ talented. We talked about recipe resting once and instead of using established formulas for breads and baked goods, she just keeps going at it until she gets it right. And when Nancy Silverton gets it right, she really gets it right. When she opened Mozza in Los Angeles, a lot of people knew she nailed pizza as well as desserts, judging from the rave reviews. I haven’t been to the restaurant, but it’s nice to have all the recipes in The Mozza Cookbook, including her famous Butterscotch Budino with caramel sauce and sea salt, which I did eat here in Paris. It was silky and spectacular.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home

After a few back-and-forth e-mail exchanges about the nature and science of ice cream (between two ice cream nerds), I was interested in taking a recipe from Jeni Bauer’s book, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home for a spin since she uses an unconventional method of boiling the ingredients with starch and adding invert sugar for her popular frozen desserts. I was happy to dig my spoon (repeatedly) into her super-creamy chocolate ice cream. The added bonus of her method is that there are no eggs used, so for those with allergies, you’ve got a whole book of recipes ready to churn.


Who doesn’t like popsicles? And as fans of the frozen treats know, Mexican Paletas are the best. Spicy pineapple (which I tasted at author Fany Gerson’s La Newyorkina stand in New York City) and yogurt-berry are just two of the frozen treats in this book, which inspired me to get off my duff and make horchata, the Mexican rice drink which cooled me down during a particularly hot French summer.

Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Even though she’s gone, and she might find it “new-fangled”, there’s now an electronic edition of the classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking. There are those who aren’t convinced that e-cookbooks are going to take over from print editions, but with winning recipes like Blue Cheese Biscuits, I think it’s great that Julia Child’s recipes continue to live on in an updated format.

Life on the Line

I didn’t count, but I think I cried three times while reading the very moving Life on the Line. It’s not that the book is meant to evoke sentimentality from the reader (I didn’t get the feeling that the chef is interested in people feeling sorry for him), but Grant Achatz’s story, told in tandem with his business partner Nick Kokonas, had me riveted. Diagnosed with tongue cancer and told he would die, like his cooking, Achatz decided to be adventurous and persevered until he beat cancer, and became who many consider the best chef in the world. (I wasn’t able to snag a table on a delicious trip to Chicago this year, but next time, I’m going to call farther ahead than I did.)

Super Natural Every Day

For those who have been following her blog, 101 Cookbooks, Heidi Swanson continues her natural path in Super Natural Every Day, with fresh, vibrant, vegetable-based recipes from her kitchen. These are the ones that she makes for friends and family, and in this beautifully photographed book. Flipping through the pages makes me want to move back to San Francisco just to share with her an unconventionally chilled cup of ice cream more often than I get to do.

The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook

This is the biggest book on jam-making I’ve ever seen, from Blue Chair Jam in Oakland, California. Rachel Saunders takes us through every step of how to make jellies, marmalade, and jams, from classics to those that use unusual fruits, such as bergamots, sweet white nectarines & elderflowers, and plums paired with blushing pink pearl apples.

Salad as a Meal

Not only a proponent of French food, but healthy cooking, Patricia Wells gives greenery its due in Salad As a Meal. I made a lovely lunch of her Turkey with lemons, capers, and cornichons, with plenty of leftovers. Although I’m not sure capers count as a vegetable, there’s plenty of other green-centric recipes in the book that certainly do.

Blood, Bones & Butter

I read this book cover-to-cover on a trip because I was fascinated by this unvarnished glimpse of what it really takes to make it through life, to a point where you can have children, a successful restaurant, and a husband—yet still not quite have it all. I particularly liked the chapter in Blood, Bones & Butter about where a woman’s place in a professional kitchen is, which raised a lot of questions about sexism amongst both men and women. As well as her candid stories, which eventually lead her to an offbeat address in Manhattan, where Prune restaurant continues to thrive, serving food that’s not intended to startle, but simply to feel its customers well. And when in town, I’m often amongst them.

The Rancho Gordo Heirloom Bean Grower’s Guide

I used Steve Sando’s guidebook as inspiration to stew up a big, hearty pot of Chili with Chocolate. I used some of the bags of Rancho Gordo beans, which invariably manage to find their way back to Paris, occupying some of the valuable real estate in my packed suitcase. The Rancho Gordo Heirloom Bean Grower’s Guide is more of a guide than a recipe book, so for those interested in the origins of heirloom beans and their cultivation, along with a handful of recipes, there’s no better teacher than Steve Sando.

Paris Was Ours

This terrific book was full of stories about those who live, or have lived, in Paris, told from a variety of perspectives. Compiled by editor Penelope Rowlands, she was recently quoted as saying she wanted to present viewpoints from “not the 1% of Paris”, and includes stories about being educated in a rigorous school system that doesn’t promote creativity nor room for error. Another from a journalist who moves back to the states to raise a family and finds the French system more accommodating to working women. And finishes with an essay by me, which mixes both the positive…and the perplexing. I thought it was very special to find a book on Paris that was this honest and insightful, rather than a collection of stories about how French women ties their scarves, and was compelled to write at length about Paris Was Ours here on the site.

Babycakes Covers the Classics

I had a super-duper time at BabyCakes in New York City, Erin McKenna’s fabulous vegan bakery, where we had a get-together and even baked up a batch of vegan doughnuts. Her book, Babycakes Covers the Classics, presents gluten-free versions of cupcakes and doughnuts that skip the wheat flour, and processed sugar, but are so good that even my French traveling companion was accro (hooked).

The Art of Eating

The Art of Eating has long been one of my favorite food reads. This literary magazine is intelligent, sensible, and anything but aloof. I used it when I moved to Paris, following their spot-on dining and bakery addresses, which took me off the beaten path – and each one was a delicious “find.” In celebration of its twenty-five years of publishing, Ed Behr releases a book of favorites fromThe Art of Eating in a basic book of standards – with plenty of nods to French classics – a collection of recipes from one of the best food newsletters/magazines being published today.

Easy Chinese Recipes

Asian cooking can often seem intimidating, especially all those folded dumplings, puffy pork buns, and spicy dishes that we love to eat at Chinese restaurants, but look too daunting to make at home. Bee Yinn Low knows her audience due to her popular blog, Rasa Malaysia, so writes recipes that are truly easy in scope, with step-by-step photos to show readers how to roll an egg roll or whip up a batch of won ton wrappers (for those who want to make them themselves.) As a big fan of chow fun (wide rice noodles), I was happy to see a few recipes for them, as well as her “tried and tested” method for making Crispy-skinned Pork Roast in Easy Chinese Recipes. Man, does that look good.

La Tartine Gourmand

Bursting forth with color and freshness, the recipes in La Tartine Gourmand will delight both fans of her blog, La Tartine Gourmand, as well as new readers looking for recipes swapping out other grains for the wheat, and adding lots of fresh vegetables and fruits in their repertoire. Of course, France plays a big role in Béatrice Peltre’s recipes for Île Flottantes scented with lavender and Oeufs en cocotte (baked eggs), jazzed up with smoked salmon and spinach.

Baking with Dorie (app)

Who doesn’t want to be baking alongside Dorie Greenspan? Well, now you can with this app for the iPad, which allows bakers to follow her step-by-step through a few dozen recipes in her kitchen. It’s exciting to be taken through every part of a recipe with a baking master like Dorie Greenspan on her Baking with Dorie iPad app, and kudos to her for being a pioneer in this medium.

Bourke Street Bakery

A visit to Sydney meant two weeks of amazing eating. And during that time, I went to Bourke Street Bakery three times during my stay (crazy much?) because it’s everything one dreams about in a corner bakery – rustic breads, savory tarts, and buttery croissants to enjoy with great coffee. Bourke Street Bakery: The Ultimate Baking Companion allows you to recreate their impressive pastries at home, just in case a twenty-three hour plane ride seems too far for you to go for a dark chocolate, marshmallow, and raspberry tart or a lamb, harissa, and sausage roll. (In the meantime, I’m going to keep waiting until I get enough miles to head back the bakery…)

On a Stick!

My Franco-American roots melded together in Merguez corn dogs from Matt Armendariz’s ode to all things On a Stick! There are plenty of party-friendly recipes from a guy who I personally know likes to have fun – and knows how to party! I stocked up on extra packets of skewers to make a few other recipes from this book. Now I just need to get Matt back to Paris for some more stick-y fun.

It Tastes Better

One of my very favorite moments of the year was an impromptu lunch at Billy Kwong in Sydney, where chef-owner Kylie Kwong invited a group of visiting chefs and friends to lunch. This fireball of a woman grabbed her giant wok, tossed in vegetables, fresh seafood, and chicken, seasoned them all up, and presented us with an outstanding lunch. Just as good was dinner a few nights later and I am thrilled to have many of her recipes in It Tastes Better, a book celebrating sustainable ingredients. Leafing through this book – which is currently on my coffee table, and not because it’s too hefty to pick up! – is inspiring and a terrific read, accompanied by pictures of her favorite purveyors in action.

Serious Eats

Serious Eats: A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Eating Delicious Food Wherever You are by Ed Levine and the staff at Serious Eats is presented in a clean, graphic format, with lots of personal notes from the team at this comprehensive website which is dedicated to the pursuit of good food. There are places around America to find great breakfasts (a top 25 list), a recipe for southern fried chicken that made me stain the tears of my iPad (I have the e-version of this book) because fried chicken is My Favorite Food in the World, and lots of old-fashioned fun could be had with doughnuts and biscuits from all over the map.

Written like a guidebook with addresses and “best of” recipes for each genre, I suggest someone organize a road trip based on all their lists of the best places to chow down, and if someone drives the bus, I’ll seriously be happy to take care of any and all edible leftovers.

The Homesick Texan Cookbook

I can relate to Lisa Fain, because sometimes I feel like a homesick Texan myself, craving the Tex-Mex flavors and the dishes I love to eat when I hit the Lone Star State. Sour cream chicken enchiladas? Poblano macaroni and cheese? Coffee-chipotle barbecue sauce? Yes, yes, and yes. Like Lisa, in New York, I often wait for care packages to arrive, with the necessary ingredients for south- and just north-of-the-border cooking. But I have a bunch of dates chopped in a bowl on my counter right now (yes, really) destined for a batch of her chewy Date bars.

Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook

I was fortunate enough to go to Momofuku Milk Bar, where I tasted Christina Tosi’s famous Crack pie, the surprisingly corny Corn cookies (which I loved the most), and the Compost cookies, which have a list of ingredients plucked right from the snack aisle. You’ll need to track down a few ingredients that you might not have on hand to give some of the recipes in Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook a go. If David Chang is the bad-boy of cooking right now, Christina represents the sweeter side of the Momofuku empire.


Finally released in English, Macarons by pastry chef Pierre Hermé reveals the secrets to making these sometimes tricky little Parisian treats from the man who is arguable the world’s most talented pastry chef. Step-by-step photos plus tips on egg whites and mixing ensure success. I made his Ketchup Macarons, which were…intriguing. But there are virtually all of the flavors that he’s known for in here, such as lemon, coffee, and chocolate, plus his signature Ispahan macarons, scented with rose, lychee, and raspberry.

I wasn’t able to check out these books, which came out this year. But they are by friends, food bloggers, and cooks that I admire, and I hope to add them to my collection in the future.

Short and Sweet by Dan Lepard

Plate to Pixel: Digital Food Photography by Helene Dujardin

Hunt, Gather, Cook: Finding the Forgotten Feast by Hank Shaw

Ruhlman’s Twenty by Michael Ruhlman

Odd Bits by Jennifer McLagan

Easy as Pie (app) by Evan Kleiman

The Bonne Femme Cookbook by Wini Moranville

Basic to Brilliant, Y’all by Virginia Willis

Bi-Rite Market’s Eat Good Food by Sam Mogannam and Dabney Gough

Essential Techniques by Jacques Pépin

Cook This Now by Melissa Clark

The Fearless Baker by Emily Luchetti

The Food52 Cookbook by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs

Good Food to Share by Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan

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  • December 5, 2011 10:51am

    A wonderful range, but no British, which seems a shame. Good to see some Australians represented, and especially good to see that someone is baking decent bread in Australia. The last time I was back there I was horrified by how expensive and unappetizing bread was. The only place we found decent bread was an organic bakers in Bondi.

  • December 5, 2011 10:57am

    As another person with more cookbooks than I can use, I swear I can see the wonderful Mireille Johnston’s “The Cuisine of the Sun” in that photo. Another forgotten author who deserves to be reprinted! I learned so much about traditional French home cooking from her. How to make tarte Tatin, among other things :)

  • December 5, 2011 11:16am
    David Lebovitz

    Susan: I did include Nigel Slater who is British and am awaiting Dan Lepard’s book, Short and Sweet, which I mentioned at the end of the post, but hasn’t yet arrived.

    As one can imagine, there were a lot of books in this write up, am I was happy to include authors from Malaysia (born in China), the UK, France, the US, Australia, Canada, and Mexico.

    Veronica: Yes, it’s a lovely book. One of the good things about electronic cookbooks is that they don’t go out of print!

  • December 5, 2011 11:30am

    Great selection, thanks David, with a nice spread of nationalities. Quite a few of these books have found their way to my shelves (window ledges, desk top, piles on the floor), but there are still quite a few I would like to get. Plenty for the list to go to Santa, then!

  • December 5, 2011 11:52am

    OMG! If you have read and checked out this many cookbooks this year, and it is clear you have – my hat is off to you! I barely get through a few pages of a new cookbook! I want to read it and use it and then life happens. I have a few of these and slap my hand when I go to buy more. I have SO many beautiful cookbooks (gifts etc) that are just not being used and I MUST!
    It is very hard not to write another list from this one for my husband to buy for me for the holidays – but, instead, this year, I will revisit what I have and begin to learn from them.

  • ron shapley(nyc)
    December 5, 2011 12:29pm

    An exhaustive compilation Dave… Congratulations !! My favorite cookbook, though not a traditional cookbook, is Julia’s My Life In France. I’ve read it over several times and is the only book I took with me personally, on my body, when I moved from California to New York. Happy Holidays !!!

  • Kate
    December 5, 2011 12:41pm

    ‘Short and Sweet’ is WONDERFUL – I got it a few weeks ago and it is already my very favourite baking book, I do hope you enjoy it – I think it is the baking equivalent of Nigel S’s ‘Tender’. On the subject of British, Oliver Peyton’s ‘British Baking’ is also great – a beautifully designed book with beautiful recipes.

  • December 5, 2011 1:06pm

    I forgot to say that a new British cookbook I’m really enjoying is Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Veg Ever Day. The recipes are so simple and so good, and he shares Nigel Slater’s enthusiasm for cooking and eating good food every day.

  • Jenny
    December 5, 2011 1:23pm

    I keep telling myself that I can only buy one new cookbook a year but they keep multiplying like rabbits — stacked on the floor, in the kitchen…..it’s nice to see I’m in good company though and hear that others do that to. I recently bought Nigel Slater’s Tender after your post and loved it so much that I got one for my SIL as a Christmas present. She loves to garden and cook and is retiring soon so hopefully it will help her transition to a new life. I doubt if I would have noticed it if not for you, so thanks so much…you are a treasure. I like that your list is not the typical rundown that I am seeing in the US and that you also included apps as well. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas, David

  • Rio Yeti
    December 5, 2011 1:52pm

    Too bad the Next ebook is only for iPhone, iPad…iTunes…. grrr… if only I could buy a pdf somewhere I’d be glad to do it !

    Have you seen the book “Family Meal” by Ferran Adria ? I heard some pros and cons and would like to know what you think of it if you had the chance to check it out.

  • Margaret
    December 5, 2011 2:06pm

    Love that you included e-books and apps as well — guess I have to cave in and buy an ipad or maybe Santa will bring me one for Christmas. Santa are you listening??? I love the printed book and still smarting over the closure of my local Borders but guess I might as well jump on the bandwagon. I too am running out of space for books and like the idea of having a “portable computer” in the kitchen and for shopping as well. I thought that my iphone would suffice, but Steve Jobs “you got me”. Also I have been known to drag out my Dad’s shotgun and kill the squirrels at my Mom’s request at her lake house(they’re terribly destructive). If only I’d had Girl Hunter — I would have cooked the little critters too….

  • Margaret
    December 5, 2011 2:37pm

    PS I had to have The Mozza Cookbook too and can’t understand why I’m not seeing it on more “best” lists this year. Love her cauliflower gratinate….along with everything else in the book…..

  • December 5, 2011 2:46pm
    David Lebovitz

    Margaret: I think Nancy is amazingly talented, which is why even though we’re friends, I’m still intimidated by her. I bought my iPad to see what it was like and haven’t used it as much as I thought I would. It doesn’t take the place of a laptop, in many respects, and since I use an iPhone, that’s more portable and I take it along with me. (If you pulled out an iPad in Paris, I’d be afraid it might get swiped.) But books like Grant Achatz’s book on Paris, and Dorie’s app, are good example of what the iPad can do that other devices really can’t (or don’t do as well.) The new Kindle Fire will be interesting to watch since the price is considerably less.

    Veronica: I have his meat book, which I wrote about a while ago, and that’s great. And I’m sure that his newest book is terrific, too.

    Rio: One of the issues with these new technologies is that the platforms are different. So if you build an application for one, as they did for the iPad, to do it for another device is a whole other project I think. So they likely chose what was the most cost-effective, or popular, or whatever screen had the best resolution (since it’s a very visual app). Have not seen the Adria book.

    Ron: I just looked, and I wrote up that book in my Best of 2006 list! (which seems so long ago. . .)

    Jenny: I’m glad you liked Nigel Slater’s book as much as I did. I haven’t read other “best books of the year” lists yet, but many tend to stay in the same vein. For me, these are the books that inspired me for a variety of reasons. Happy holidays to you, too : )

  • December 5, 2011 3:22pm

    Oh my, you should be ashamed of making your readers WANT so many books… Because that’s what this post makes me want to do : read, therefore, I’m afraid, buy, each one of them…
    Just kidding, of course! Because I’m sure I’m not the only one to LOVE being given the opportunity to start dreaming of yet another cooking-related book!
    Thank you :)

  • December 5, 2011 3:25pm

    P.S. : Blood, bones and Butter, one of the very few on your list that I’ve read for the moment, is a must. I loved that book (and I must say merci again to Clotilde Dusoulier for it, she wrote a beautiful piece on that one).

  • December 5, 2011 3:50pm

    A fantastic list, and a lot of overlap with my own (which I’m still compiling — it’s hard to remember all the delicious things one’s made and eaten over the course of an entire year). There still is nothing like a true cookbook, flipping through, staining the pages, dog-earing favorite recipes… What a treat to own and enjoy them.

  • Margaret
    December 5, 2011 4:01pm

    Thanks for telling me more about what the ipad is good for…guess I’ll keep my eye on the Kindle Fire. Guess I’ll wait until more books and apps are developed for the ipad. Maybe I should take my laptop into the kitchen, but afraid of messing it up. There’s nothing I love to do more than curl up with a good book, but also like the idea of having most of my cookbooks on the ipad along with all the wonderful photography. I just don’t have room for all of them anymore, and the convenience of having them at my fingertips would be great. Big bulky books like Julia’s Mastering the Art are perfect for the electronic format…yes, I think she would be fascinated about it all…

  • December 5, 2011 4:04pm

    I have the same addiction to cookbooks and food memoirs. Do you know about http://www.eatyourbooks.com? I discovered it a couple of years back and was fortunate enough to get one of the limited lifetime memberships made available when the website was just a start-up. A couple of brilliant sisters came up with the idea to index cookbooks and put the indices online. You add your own cookbooks to your library and then you can search YOUR OWN BOOKS for a recipe, by author or ingredients. Coolest tool ever! I can’t tell you the times I have had a stack of books out, trying to find a recipe and not knowing for sure which book it’s in. No more. And, now, thanks to your post, I have a few more on my list that I’d like to be adding to my library. :)

  • December 5, 2011 4:53pm

    great to get a list like this! im always looking for new cookbooks to read. looking forward to getting ‘Tender’ by nigel slater, the letters by julia and avis are on my list now, too. its been a julia child year for me, and im deligthed this book has come out.
    thanks for the tips!

  • Catherine Negus
    December 5, 2011 4:54pm

    What is it about cookbooks that is so addictive? Just reading your list makes me excited to add a few to my “Cookbook Want List” an actual document that I regularly add to, (or subtract from as books are collected) I have cookbooks stacked on tables and on the floor as well as in bookcases, and the thing is, I’m constantly reading them, researching recipes and baking and cooking from them nearly every day. My most recent additions include Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Chocolate Desserts, Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard, The Professional Pastry Chef and The Advanced Professional Pastry Chef, both by Bo Friberg. Several months ago I got The Bourke Street Bakery. There are so many excellent recipes in this book, and I find myself making the Chocolate Sour Cherry Biscuits on a regular basis.

  • naomi
    December 5, 2011 5:10pm

    Thanks for the list – there are a few I’ve seen throughout the year I may delve into now. I also like reading those with more story. I read M.F.K. Fisher’s biography a few years ago; quite an intense life and a good read. Elisabeth David is interesting too; finding out about England’s Julia was a surprise. (I’m sure there are a few who may call Julia Child’s the U.S.’s Elisabeth.) Hope it’s beautiful enough to sit outside and read your new stack, or warm enough inside to cook from the old.

  • December 5, 2011 5:14pm

    Oh my… I clicked on this post expecting maybe 5 to 10 titles, and now you have just tripled my list of books I’ve been wanting to check out! Some of these I was already aware of, but there are several others I had either forgotten about or just hadn’t heard of yet. I’m not sure whether to thank you or curse you! :)

  • December 5, 2011 5:18pm

    David –

    I loved reading this, what a great selection of cookbooks. I have many scattered at home and at the office and now I want to go out and buy several more. Whoever says cookbooks are dead is very, very wrong!

    And many thanks for the call out to The Bonne Femme Cookbook, I appreciate your interest greatly.

    Best, Bruce

  • December 5, 2011 5:27pm

    I haven’t been able to buy many cookbooks this year (poor college student), but when I peek through them at the bookstore, the ones that I’ve really enjoyed this year are the Food 52 cookbook, that Bi-Rite one, and I’m sure I’ll love the Joe Beef book when I can get it. I haven’t seen it at stores yet, but it’s on my Amazon wish list. I saw a Gourmet: Diary of a Foodie episode that featured Joe Beef, and have wanted to know more about that place and those people ever since.

    Oh, and since I saw the Ottolenghi: Plenty book in your stack, that is one book I did buy this year, and while I haven’t made anything from it yet, I still count it as my favorite because it’s just so damn beautiful.

  • December 5, 2011 6:00pm

    I just bought the new book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, called “Veg”, and I love it …
    thank you David for this selection :-)

  • December 5, 2011 6:04pm

    My son came home from a trip to Columbus Ohio with Jeni’s ice cream book.Had never heard of her but tried the recipes – to great success and happy to see her appearing everywhere.

    The thing is – I am trying to not buy anymore cookbooks. I am TRYING to cook from the hundreds that have made their way into every corner and crevice of the home. And this post did not help me with my resolution at all.

  • December 5, 2011 6:06pm

    That’s quite a list, a few there that I’ve been meaning to get myself but haven’t gotten around to. Great post David!

  • Lee Poteet
    December 5, 2011 6:10pm

    I have read your very intriguing list and will be using it in the buying of new cook books beginning at this month. So many of them sound just great. On the other hand, while I would never surrender any of my Julia Child cook books, I began cooking French recipes in high school from a paper back cook book that got lost or taken by one of my children years ago. So as marvelous as the Child revolution was, there were at least a few French cookbooks available to Americans before the publication of Mastering the Art of French Cooking became available. I am sure there are (or were) others quite like me.

  • December 5, 2011 6:14pm

    Great list. There are quite a few that are totally new to me. Have you been able to check out these? Both wonderful.

    Williams-Sonoma Home Baked Comfort

    Gesine Bullock Prado – Sugar Baby

  • December 5, 2011 6:46pm

    “…others are food-related books; memoirs and remembrances.” ooooo, my favorites! As an author myself (gardening) facing down deadlines (with varying degrees of success) vanishing into a stack of books about just this (world-wide, all-engrossing, universal) topic is my go-to refreshment. Thank you so much for this list… I plan to add several more to my bedside – just as soon as I meet this deadline~

  • December 5, 2011 6:52pm

    Oh David, you’re quite the enabler. I read cook books in bed like they’re novels. They are tucked into every free space of my kitchen and overflowing into my living room! Now I have quite a few more to add to my collection. Thank you for a wonderful list!

  • December 5, 2011 6:53pm

    Jeni’s and Helene’s books are sitting on my kitchen counter. No better advice for foodography than “Plate to Pixel” ! I would like to recommend Holly Herrick’s “Tart Love” – I’m addicted to this little peace of heaven and Helene’s photos are awesome!

  • December 5, 2011 7:00pm

    I feel a little possessive of Jeni as she began in my hometown (Columbus, Ohio) and my brother designed her stores. In our neighborhood, there are two other established ice cream shops, but I prefer hers.

  • Susan Marcus
    December 5, 2011 7:00pm

    Must recommend The Table Comes First by Adam Gopnik–quite thought-provoking and philosphical while deeply engaged in the relationship of an informed amateur (in the French sense) and his materials.

  • Jean Marie
    December 5, 2011 7:04pm

    I already have some of these and told myself that I would not ask for any more cookbooks for Christmas because my house looks like yours with them all over the place. But you are indeed an enabler and I’ve now put two on my list – in addition to the old Julia Child French Chef DVDs!

  • jean charles
    December 5, 2011 7:29pm

    Thank you David for this nice overview.
    Good to underline that books sold on i-tunes via ibooks are not readable on a computer.

  • December 5, 2011 7:31pm
    David Lebovitz

    Lee: There were some French cookbooks in the US before Mastering the Art of French Cooking came out. But one part of reading the letters in As Always, Julia pointed out, is how different Julia Child’s book (which she co-wrote with two French women) was going to be. And while some of those others books attained modest success, such as Dione Lucas’ book, but none had the same impact.

    Lorene: As folks who write about food, I think it’s good to read about other writers, as well as read their writings as well. What motivated them, what challenges they faced, etc. It inspiring as well as a learning curve whenever you sit down to write something. The two chef memoirs that I mentioned I found very moving.

  • December 5, 2011 7:31pm

    I’ve kind of been enjoying Gwyneth Paltrow’s My Father’s Daughter. Some recipes look really interesting i.e. hot Nicoise Salad (cooked in the oven, without lettuce, of course). Thanks for the great list!

  • December 5, 2011 7:40pm

    David, thank you for the mention–what a wonderful list! And guess what–I’m making date bars this week, too!

  • December 5, 2011 7:40pm
    David Lebovitz

    Liza: Everyone was ready to pounce when that book came out because people weren’t expecting it to be as good as I’ve heard it is. A friend of mine worked on the book production and said that the author was actually there and involved in the cooking and that it is, indeed, as solid book. I just haven’t had a chance to look at it.

    I should point out that by definition, a Salade Niçoise is never served hot since all the ingredients – or a majority of them – are supposed to be raw. But don’t tell Gwyneth! ; )

    Lisa: I’ve got my dates marinating in a bit of dark rum. I know that’s probably not Tex-Mex…

  • December 5, 2011 7:45pm

    Well, I might as well print this whole post out for my Christmas list, because I now want every book featured. :-)

  • French Basketeer
    December 5, 2011 8:15pm

    I was lucky enough to meet Nancy at her book signing at Chino Farm a few weeks ago; next weekend Alice is coming to Chino Farm to sign 40 Years of Chez Panisse. I rarely buy cookbooks, but seemed those two were definitely “to buy.” Thanks for the validation of my purchases~

  • December 5, 2011 8:27pm

    Hi David, I am a huge fan of your site and your writing. However, and I know you said in the intro, these were books you were going to get to in 2012- I am really surprised to see the babycakes books on your list. I’m a big fan of the bakery and have had some nice stuff (brought all the way to the UK) but the books are a complete mystery. I have tried and tried and tried to make something out of these books that remotely resembles what they sell at the bakery and I’m afraid I’ve given up. I have gone to huge expense to track down all of the ingredients, followed the recipes religiously and nada, niente, nothing has worked. Now, I understand that one or two recipes may be duds, but I have tried at least 30 of the recipes with zero success. Please let me in on the secret! I even watched the video of you and Erin at least 20 times, to see if I was missing something. I still trust you and I still love your work, but these books don’t deliver. Please have a go over the Christmas holidays and tell me where I am going wrong. PS. I’m going out to buy all the other books you’ve listed…..because I still trust your judgement.

  • December 5, 2011 9:08pm

    Great list – some I’d heard of, loads I hadn’t. The Bourke Street Bakery book is superb – try the raspberry and chocolate muffins.

  • December 5, 2011 9:36pm

    Thanks for such an inspiring list! My Wish list has been beefed up quite a bit thanks to you.
    Have you read Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life? That was my favorite book this year, though I think it came out last year. From what I hear she is also working on a second book. I love her stories and her food. So brilliant!
    Now to get my hands on some Bergamot…..

  • Vicky
    December 5, 2011 9:52pm

    Wow, the end of another year is here already!
    Love your selection, I own some of these and many are on my list to get. One that I specially love is The Italian Baker. It’s a great book- one where I had a small part. The Gubana on pg. 220 is one of the recipes that Della Fattoria made for Carol and I got the honor to make it. It come out beautiful and its very tasty.

  • Vicki
    December 5, 2011 9:54pm

    David, I’m surprised to see no mention of Ottolenghi’s Plenty after your post about him and his book last year. I also noticed it in the photo of your book stacks.

  • Catherineap
    December 5, 2011 10:13pm

    I just received as a gift Mourad: New Moroccan by Mourad Lahlou, chef of Aziza here in SF. It’s a great read, beautiful to look at and and definitely one of those cookbooks that will get you out of your comfy chair and into the kitchen to cook all the recipes you’ve dog-eared.

  • December 5, 2011 10:21pm

    Added a few to my wishlist!

  • December 5, 2011 10:41pm

    You just added a whole load of books to my list. With space being an issue, I think your post has converted me to looking at getting them as ebooks instead.

  • Lien
    December 5, 2011 10:43pm

    Thanks David for this wonderful list. This reminds me of books by MFK Fisher and Craig Claiborne.

  • December 5, 2011 11:02pm

    I’m honored to be in such stunning company David, thank you for including and reading Girl Hunter. Hope to see you soon! xo

  • December 6, 2011 12:19am

    Wow. You just reminded me of how long it’s been since I bought a cookbook. I’ve been really good and haven’t bought a single one. The second I move back to Canada, it’ll be a whole year of catching up. I bought Pierre Herme’s Macaron book when only the french version was available, now I have to find a way to swap with someone.

    Oh.. I can’t wait to move back home and break out my collection of books! I like the smell of books. Is that weird to say?

  • Denise
    December 6, 2011 12:27am

    Just a note…I recently found corn tortillas in the import aisle in both the Intermarché and the Casino in Montpellier. Just in case anyone wants to make duck tortillas or anything else that needs them. I could have cried in gratitude. Went directly home and made cheese and onion enchiladas.

  • Leslie
    December 6, 2011 2:17am

    Oh no, that’s way more cookbooks I had planned to buy but they all sound wonderful. BTW, I made your Brown Sugar Shortbread cookies today. Fantastic.

  • Christine
    December 6, 2011 3:12am

    Just wondering… is this a draft version that accidentally got published? The whole piece seems to need a proofread. The first entry on Joe Beef has this odd phrase–“this isn’t just a group of ‘bad boy’ chefs, but in plaid”–and a word missing from the following sentence. The next one on Chez Panisse starts out with a dangling modifier; the one on Tender has a dangling modifier too. The entry on Life on the Line has this sentence: “Diagnosed with tongue cancer and told her would die, like his cooking, Achatz decided to be adventurous…” Well, you get the picture. Love the list, though!

    • December 6, 2011 9:30am
      David Lebovitz

      I edited this post over the course of a few weeks since it was so long (it’s over four thousand words), making changes and so forth. And one of the final times when I hit the “Save” button, my blogging platform closed the window and asked me to log in again, losing all the changes. There’s also a problem with my modem, which cuts out and when I hit “Save”, it disconnects, losing my edits.

      (Also I write in html (code) which makes catching errors more challenging. Here’s a snippet of what I see when I’m writing.)

      Because of the nature of blogging, mistakes and goofs happen and I appreciate when people point them out, as you did (nicely, of course!)
      Glad you like the list : )

  • Cris
    December 6, 2011 4:01am

    Christine – last year (I believe – time seems to run on so fast) David posted that in order to continue to post almost daily, he was going to take the pressure off of publishing ‘perfect’ posts; there would be less editing, more errors, and a happier blogger. I am quite pleased to read a few dangling modifiers, as I do so for free and enjoy the frequent posts.

    Hi Cris: Yes, as I responded a bit earlier, it was a lo-o-o-ng post (and in html), and with over 400 words, so there were bound to be a few goofs. I keep thinking how nice it would be to have a proofreader. Maybe I should put that on my wishlist for 2012! : ) x-dl

  • Lee Poteet
    December 6, 2011 4:03am

    In dark rum? Uh! That makes two of us, but sometimes I also use port.

    I am a little old for Santa, but I am going back over your list, checking it twice and will mail the suggestions to my daughters. Maybe they will play Santa for me as I used to do for them.

    • December 6, 2011 10:29am
      David Lebovitz

      I like port with chocolate, but rum is a nice contrast to sweet dates, and stands up to baking a little better. Happy holidays~

  • ranchodeluxe
    December 6, 2011 4:03am

    David, thank you for the list. One of the year’s best treats! I think I will try the macarons. Just got my ipad2 and have mad love for it. Hoping I can use it for ‘all’ recipes, saving kitchen space at the ranch. You do write beautifully, btw, and spoil me for all other foodie blogs. For sure.

  • December 6, 2011 4:16am

    Thank you for helping me with my Christmas shopping. I am very much enjoying your interesting posts.

  • December 6, 2011 4:47am

    Great list and I hope you get to eat at Joe Beef in Montreal someday – the food is as fantastic as everyone says and the bathroom is eye-openingly amusing…

  • December 6, 2011 4:53am

    A very good list, and you describe in such a way as to compel me to order them all. This post was one of the best reads of the year. A few have caught my eye and I only wish I could cook all day and night to try out the recipes. . The only cookbook I would add has been around for decades and is not sexy, has no pictures and that’s Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classical Italian Cooking. Every kitchen deserves this book. And thanks for reminding me I need to place a rancho gordo order. I also travel back home with suitcase full of beans.

  • Vicki
    December 6, 2011 6:27am

    I learned about Italian food from Marcella Hazan’s Essentials cookbook. I still use her recipes and methods for pesto, Bolognese meat sauce, lasagne, fettucine, the list could go on and on. I’ve never found better recipes than hers when it comes to Italian.

    • December 6, 2011 10:28am
      David Lebovitz

      Her books, of course, are classics and will always be considered the best of their genre. Carol Field’s The Italian Baker is really a classic on Italian baking – so well done – anyone who is a baker should have that in their collection. (I think.)

  • Thea
    December 6, 2011 6:31am

    I like your reason for choosing cookbooks – for me it’s always first about the story. Why I like reading your posts, and then the fab photos. You make food look luscious, luscious enough to make. Thank you.

  • Craig
    December 6, 2011 7:05am

    Hi Dave –

    I was wondering if you have come across the cookbooks at Editions Orphie? A few months ago I came across their bookstore near the Pantheon. They appear to specialize in French-African books. Maybe it was just a fascination with something which I was not familiar, but the cookbooks from Reunion Islands, Guyane, Maurice, Antillaise, Madagascar, and others were really interesting, not like anything I’ve seen here in the States. I guess its because they are all in French – but they were still interesting !

  • December 6, 2011 7:07am

    Joe Beef, on the corner of Notre-Dame Ouest and Charlevoix street, was a 2 minute walk from us and I cannot wait to get my hands on the book! Always a very ballsy menu!

  • Gavrielle
    December 6, 2011 7:45am

    Not a cookbook, but since you enjoyed Nigel Slater’s cookbook you also might enjoy his autobiographical Toast. It’s a very touching and honest work and I enjoyed it a lot.

    • December 6, 2011 10:26am
      David Lebovitz

      Yes, a lot of people really enjoyed that book a lot. I think I need to put that on my reading list for 2012!

  • December 6, 2011 8:35am

    If only there was time (and waistband forgiveness) to read and sample every last one of these recipes… great picks! (Especially dying to read Blood, Bones & Butter…)

  • Adriene Rathbun
    December 6, 2011 8:38am

    Loved reading this year’s list (and the comments). I have a few of them and even found a couple I didn’t know were published. Exited to order some!

    Appreciate all the time, energy & love you pour into your blog. It’s a fantastic read. One of the few I read religiously.

  • Vicki
    December 6, 2011 1:47pm

    Why didn’t you include your new pastry app? I can’t wait to use it in Paris next year!

  • December 6, 2011 3:22pm

    How long it took you to read all these books?

  • December 6, 2011 5:34pm

    OK, I just added quite a few books to my Wish List. Merci David!

    And I have Paris 1906 on my ipad. It is brilliant, but I think I would prefer to have a real book in my collection. Achatz is genius. Just the tiny garnishes alone are uber-inspired, let alone the entire menu.

  • Daniel
    December 6, 2011 7:27pm

    By the way, about making jook (yes, it’s off-topic, but I’ve been browsing the site again), the way to make it so that it would not stick to the pot (one is never supposed to stir the rice while it’s cooking) is by placing a couple ceramic Chinese spoons on the bottom of the pot before your put in the rice and water, and leave them in there throughout the cooking (ideally, jook is cooked in a clay pot, but I’ve used this method in a stainless steel stock pot, and it worked). If you have the time, also soak the rice over night. I’ve even made it with brown rice — it’s a bit gritty, but still works.

  • December 6, 2011 8:04pm

    Yay for Joe Beef! Can’t believe I haven’t been there yet, even though I live just a subway ride away. I can confirm, though, that they are for real and have a very good reputation here in Montreal.

  • Julia
    December 6, 2011 8:33pm

    David, your writing is just too much fun to read. I love how thoughtful all your posts are, including this one. I’ve got to ask if you’ll be putting your out of print books in e-format for those of us who couldn’t get them the first time around? Best, Julia

    • December 6, 2011 11:20pm
      David Lebovitz

      Unfortunately those who didn’t buy the books when they were in print missed the boat. However I did update my favorite recipes from those two books and reissue them, along with a bunch of new recipes, in Ready for Dessert. The technology didn’t exist a few years ago – but on the other hand, it gave me a chance to update the recipes.

  • Tae
    December 6, 2011 8:36pm

    I’d like to recommend Les Petits Macarons: Colorful French Confections to Make at Home, by Kathryn Gordan and Anne McBride, should you ever have room on your bookshelf for another macaron book.

    In addition to showing step-by-step how to make French, Italian, and Swiss shells, there is an easy shell recipe. There are tons of flavors – sweet and savory. Best of all, there’s a troubleshooting guide. It is a beautiful and incredibly comprehensive book.

    Anyway, great list – some new ones to put on mine. I’m glad you mentioned As Always, Julia. That is such a fabulous book.

  • December 6, 2011 11:34pm

    The first couple of sentences totally describe me! I keep looking through my books and everything looks so good,but there’s never enough time to make everything. Makes me think why so many people complain they don’t know what to cook?
    Cooking books in English are not widely available here,but I switched to other languages:))

  • December 6, 2011 11:49pm

    Hi David,

    Thanks so much for including my cookbook in your list. It’s truly an honor to be on the same list as the heavyweight’s in the space. Thank you!

  • December 7, 2011 12:42am

    ODDBITS is particularly wonderful! The author is a neighbour, and something of a local cooking sensation…and, when the book launched back in the fall, she hosted a lovely evening demo…complete with instructions on how to skin a testicle, and how to amp up the flavour of cocoa in ice creams using fresh blood. By the end of the night, I wasn’t quite sure whether I’d prepare many of the dishes at home, but absolutely felt glad that, in a pinch, I now knew how to take a sheep skull and turn it into a decent supper.

  • December 7, 2011 1:31am

    Hands down Joe Beef is the cookbook of the year..

    Have you been to their restaurant in Montreal ? It’s fantastic !

  • Leila
    December 7, 2011 1:45am

    Hi david, I was wondering if you could recommend a children’s cookbook, I am a teacher at a school located right around the corner from the Joe Beef restaurant concidentally. Anyways although the children in my class are 4-5 years old, they are seasoned pros, since we do one cooking activity per week so they can handle some not so easy recipes. Oh, and the book can be in either English or French. Thank you, and I look forward to using your new pastry app when I am in Paris during Christmas.

    • December 7, 2011 5:58am
      David Lebovitz

      Hi Leila: You might want to take a peek at Fanny at Chez Panisse, which was written with children in mind. Another book is Pretend Soup by Mollie Katzen, which features vegetarian recipes.

      Those are two that I’m familiar with, but perhaps some folks with kids can recommend some here?

  • Lydia M. fanfan
    December 7, 2011 7:36am

    Here’s a link to some of my favorite cookbooks https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1326941150376.35443.1736368321&type=1&l=6e2ae28cfd . I just ordered another five today. I too have stacks of books all over the place, and even in my bedroom!! Enjoy the holidays, it’s always a pleasure to read your blog.

  • Kristine in Santa Barbara
    December 7, 2011 8:06am

    Thanks for this list. If it weren’t for your previous write-up of Gabrielle Hamilton’s book, I might have skipped it. Food people recognize other real food people, so I thank you for recommending it. I loved that book! Anyone who has worked in the food biz, especially in the 80s/90s in the US in the big cities will be totally taken with that book.

    All the many wonderful reviews in your post here, but I’m intrigued most by the idea of you and Matt in Paris with sticks. Please make that happen soon.

  • December 7, 2011 10:37am

    Sorry David – the selection was so extensive I must have missed Nigel. A good choice – he is the British working woman who cooks best friend.

  • Margaret
    December 7, 2011 11:42am

    Leila, Marion Cunningham’s Cooking with Children is a good book for teaching children the basics. Here is a link that mentions others but I haven’t tried them.

  • Margaret
    December 7, 2011 11:43am
  • December 7, 2011 6:00pm

    “Sweet Life” will arrive today, my pick for 2011! Can’t wait to read it David.

  • December 7, 2011 6:05pm

    Loved Julia, of course, and have the first printing and new. Also, Paris was Ours is terrific. I sometimes put the laptop on the kitchen counter (covered with plastic wrap!) for advice, yours, but read cookbooks like novels so want the whole experience!

  • eran
    December 7, 2011 8:19pm

    Thank you for this great and inspiring list. My favorite is “German Baking Today” and the swiss ecole Richmont books on baking

  • Shari
    December 7, 2011 9:12pm

    David, every single cookbook on your list I either own, or want! It’s funny, but even in this day and age when a person can find almost any recipe they could possibly want on the internet, there is still nothing like curling up with a new -or old! cookbook and reading it like a novel. It’s one of my favorite ‘comfort’ hobbies.

    ***On a side note, there doesn’t seem to be a way to search your web site. I’m almost embarrassed to tell you that I am looking for a link to a ‘Scotcheroo’ recipe you mentioned a year or two ago. Would you be so kind as to tell me where to find it again? Thank you David, my days are better with you in them.

  • December 7, 2011 11:41pm
    David Lebovitz

    Shari: There’s a search engine bar at the top (right) of the page that you can use to search the site. Enjoy the Scotcheroos!

    Paris to Cape Cod: Am glad you liked Paris Was Ours. It’s not the usual stories about Paris, which I think is what makes it so interesting. There’s so much more to any city than the usual stereotypes and that book really captured what makes Paris so fascinating.

    Margaret: Thanks for chiming in with Marion’s book. She was pretty passionate about children (and everyone) learning to cook for themselves.

  • Shari
    December 8, 2011 12:06am

    David, thank you for answering my stupid question! My computer was being slow, and I actually found the recipe for Scotcheroos while I was waiting for my comment to go through. Doh!

    ***Another funny thing, -I’ve been making ‘old fashioned’ recipes for Christmas this year, -hermits (which are fricken awesome by the way), scotcharoos, and just finished making ‘stained glass window’ candy. Are you familiar with them? They call for the miniature colored marshmallows covered in chocolate, made into rolls covered in coconut and then sliced. I found the recipe (which used to be on the back of the marshmallow package, but isn’t anymore) in an old church cookbook which also has ‘words to the wise’ (it should really be ‘unwise’ ha-ha) at the bottom of each page. The advice was:

    “Before you ask advice, explore your own head; there may be something in it.”

    I got my lesson for the day. : )

  • Margaret
    December 8, 2011 12:31am

    You’re welcome — I thought of another good one that my SIL used for her kids. Williams-Sonoma The Kid’s Cookbook by Abigail Dodge. She is a former pastry chef who trained at La Varenne in Paris and is now a popular teacher. Another good thing about the book is that it has healthy recipes and uses a lot of fresh ingredients

  • December 8, 2011 3:59am

    Hi David, what a great list and I’m so delighted that to find that you included my Paris Was Ours on it! Thanks so much and I send warm holiday wishes (culinary and otherwise!) your way, Penelope

  • December 8, 2011 7:06am

    What a fabulous compilation!

    Thank you for sharing all of them…I know Matt/On a Stick and he’s one of the nicest, most fun, most awesome people who takes the best pictures. And I love On a Stick!

    And could write comments about so many other books/blogger/people and I just love seeing lists like this and your support for the blogging community as well as cookbook authors. Awesome.

  • December 8, 2011 7:18am

    Great list. Thanks! Melissa Clark’s book IS addictive. Love that you put Dorie’s app on there. I continue to think about your sometime-back post about cooking…screens on our kitchen walls, etc. Have to admit that, after all, my ipad has a place on honor in my tiny kitchen now. I find I even cook from my own recipes (online) from the ipad. Would that my fingers could figure out how to stay cleaner. All that said, I’m in the process of building a big new bookcase for cookbooks! It could be the smell of new paper…

  • Stephanie
    December 11, 2011 12:59am

    So happy to see the Joe Beef cookbook featured in this list! It’s such a great example of one of the many wonderful restaurants in Montreal. But really, it’s most definitely not “in the middle of nowhere”. I live close to the restaurant and It’s located on a strip comprised mostly of antique and decor shops. It’s now surrounded by many other lovely, unique and cozy restaurants and pubs. A wonderful area!

  • Leila
    December 11, 2011 8:55am

    Thank-you Margaret & David,

    They were great suggestions I checked out all of them out this past week , picked two and added them to my classroom wishlist.

  • December 14, 2011 5:47am

    I’m not a professional cook (only a lowly food blogger) but I also love collecting cookbooks! My next cookbook purchase is La Tartine Gourmande – I love her blog :)

  • December 14, 2011 7:48pm

    Yes to printed cookbooks! So many books on your list that I hadn’t heard of and that look appetizing and intriguing. A bit jealous you visited Bourke Street Bakery, I bought the book, but seeing the people in baking action, smelling and tasting their products, now that’s on my wishlist too!

  • December 14, 2011 8:09pm

    Thank you for this succinctly written list of the year’s best cookbook offerings. I’ll be purchasing some for people on my list – and have added a few to my own wishlist!

  • December 15, 2011 12:12am

    What a great compilation and set of reviews. Many of these I’ve never even heard of, so now I’m inspired to check them out. I too love cookbooks that offer stories or interesting reads because that’s what I do–read them from cover to cover. Thanks for putting this together.

  • December 15, 2011 5:10pm

    I tell myself, the last thing I need is another cookbook (I just don’t know where to store them anymore), but this is such a fantastic list! There are 5 books that are very tempting!

  • Lucy
    December 17, 2011 7:49pm

    Hi Mr. Lebovitz, I was wondering if you have some recommendations for cookbooks on bread-making. Thanks.

    • December 18, 2011 1:16pm
      David Lebovitz

      I don’t make so much bread simply because in France, we have plenty of boulangeries. You might want to take a look at books by Peter Reinhart, whose books are very thorough and highly regarded.

  • Gej
    December 18, 2011 3:23pm

    Nice post David. Got me curious too – what 10 books quickly come to mind of you think of your 10 favorite Cookbooks of all time? or 20?

  • December 18, 2011 9:27pm

    Thanks David. I hope it’s not too late for me to add some of these to my Christmas letter to Santa:)

  • Lisa
    December 19, 2011 1:26am

    I’ve been dropping hints on the Joe Beef cookbook for a month, so it’s nice to know it’s as good as it looks. We went for dinner there last fall and one of the most memorable things I had was the Bloody Mary (although everything was great). It comes with both an oyster and a lobster claw. So I’m assuming the chapter on cocktails will be excellent.

  • Tera
    December 19, 2011 5:58pm

    @Lucy- You may want to look at Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson also. It’s focus is mainly on a rustic sourdough and the art of baking rather than only formulas. Very tasty and goes along well with the story theme David was talking about. Enjoy~

  • December 20, 2011 8:14pm

    A great round up of books, David. I’m a fan of many of these as well!

  • December 21, 2011 8:16am

    This is such a fun list David. I always love seeing the books that my pals have as favorites. I have heard of about 1/2 of these & now need them all.
    Georgia….a great friend, candid, passionate & the one and only Girl Hunter. Her book is such an intriguing read.

  • December 27, 2011 1:09pm

    Good luck to Nigel Slater, Julia Child, “The Italian Baker” and “The Mozza Cookbook” :-).

  • December 28, 2011 9:33pm

    I always look forward to your book lists! Wise choices this year.

  • Chris Morrison
    December 29, 2011 7:08am

    While not a cookbook per se, and definitely not new, there’s an awesome collection of food essays gathered into an autobiography of sorts, also called “The Art of Eating” written by M.F.K. Fisher. If you’ve never read her collection of stories and essays, pop online and order it. Her stories of being an American in France, albeit in another era, are wonderful and yet another addition to the tradition you’re continuing there now.

  • December 30, 2011 2:21am

    So many cookbooks, so little time. I never seem to lose my fascination with them – despite that they continue to pile up on my kitchen counter. I really should dig into what I’ve got before buying more but this list just looks too good. The Italian Baker and Tender in particular have caught my eye. Thanks for the suggestions.

  • December 31, 2011 7:05am

    Dear David,

    A couple of years ago, our local Montreal newspaper published the Joe Beef recipe for lobster pasta. I’ve made it on special occasions ever since to rave reviews, but have yet to try it at Joe Beef. I hope to rectify that shortly. I’ve seen the cookbook in all our local shops and will now go out to buy it and make a point of going there soon.

    The next time you are in North America, come to Montreal and we will go together.BTW I purchased your ice cream book last summer and everyone says it is the best ice cream they have ever tasted.

    Bonne Annee