The best cookbooks of October

Seira Wilson on October 28, 2020
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The best cookbooks of October

October is a wealth of riches when it comes to new cookbooks, including Ina Garten's latest, dessert cookbooks to make your sweet tooth ache with longing, Marcus Samuelsson's celebration of Black cooks, and so much more. 

After reviewing the mountain of new cookbooks and food writing on my desk, I quickly decided to throw out the idea of selecting only 10 titles for the Best Cookbooks of the Month. It was painful enough to keep it under 20, and when you get a look at the list, I think you'll see why.  Here's a little taste of what you'll find.


Modern Comfort Food: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten

Comfort food is calling to us this year so the timing couldn't be better for Garten's newest Barefoot Contessa cookbook, Modern Comfort Food.  Here Garten takes classics and gives them a twist—one of my recent favorites being her recipe for outrageous garlic bread. 85 recipes cover everything from cocktails to dessert, and if you think that's a grilled cheese sandwich on the cover you're both right and wrong: that childhood (and all ages) favorite gets a little more sophisticated, but no less simple, as a Cheddar and Chutney Grilled Cheese. A kitchen cookbook shelf staple to add to your collection.


The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food by Marcus Samuelsson

This special cookbook by one of my favorite chefs is a gorgeous celebration of Black cooks and their valuable contribution to the contemporary culinary world. Samuelsson tells his own story and profiles Black chefs, writers, and others from across the country with 150 recipes highlighting this vast wealth of creativity and influence that deserves to be acknowledged and honored. The Rise is a cookbook for our times, one that elevates awareness and brings a feast of delicious dishes to home cooks everywhere.


Dessert Person: Recipes and Guidance for Baking with Confidence by Claire Saffitz

This debut cookbook from celebrated baker and former host of popular Bon Appétit test kitchen programming, Claire Saffitz, is one I've been waiting for. Dessert Person has Saffitz's relaxed style, and each recipe is easy to understand and includes prep time and skill level right on top of the page. One of my favorite features in the book is her recipe matrix, where you can chart both skill level and total time to select the perfect recipes—genius! Incredible flavors and gorgeous photographs make this a go-to cookbook for both new and experienced bakers.


In Bibi's Kitchen: The Recipes and Stories of Grandmothers from the Eight African Countries that Touch the Indian Ocean by Hawa Hassan with Julia Turshen

Hawa Hassan and Julia Turshen have created a unique cookbook-slash-travelogue that journeys to eight African nations including Mozambique, Tanzania, and Eritrea. 75 recipes highlight the flavors of each region, and readers will learn about the history of these dishes and the personal stories of eight bibis (grandmothers) who have shared them with family, friends, and newcomers. These are recipes that nourish both body and soul, and In Bibi's Kitchen invites us to cozy up around the table to learn, explore, and cook.


The French Laundry, Per Se by Thomas Keller

In his introduction, Keller calls this book a tribute to "our shared humanity, our need for community, and our capacity for generosity." The French Laundry, Per Se is, as one would expect, a gorgeous cookbook with 70 recipes that speak to the elegance and creativity for which both restaurants are known. Keller adds personal touches throughout the book, in essays and introductions to farmers and purveyors. While largely aspirational for the home cook, Keller also includes 40 recipes to elevate the basics. I expect to see The French Laundry, Per Se on many wish lists this upcoming holiday season....


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