As our views on food change and more and more Americans head into the kitchen, the cookbook has become an increasingly valuable tool.
It’s a refreshing change from the last decade or so, when the cookbook felt like a coffee table book for your kitchen or a vanity project for a chef looking to raise his profile.
Those days are over.
This year was an especially great year for the cookbook, as some of the world’s most important chefs released tomes of their own and seminal works such as John Martin Taylor’s iconic “Hoppin’ Johns Lowcountry Cooking” were re-released to influence and inspire a new generation of home and professional cooks.
Here are my top 5 cookbooks of 2012:
5. “The Foothills Cuisine of Blackberry Farm,” by Sam Beall and Marah Stets: I’ve long been a fan of cookbooks that make vegetables and produce look beautiful and vibrant, and this is one of them. It’s a visually stunning and fitting salute to the food of the Smoky Mountains.
4. “Come In, We’re Closed,” by Christine Carroll and Jody Eddy: I love anything that offers a glimpse behind the swinging doors and into the innerworkings of restaurant life and culture. This cookbook, which contains more than 100 recipes from staff meals of some of the world’s best restaurants, including McCrady’s in Charleston, does just that.
3. “Fäviken,” by Magnus Nilsson: You’re not cooking a darn thing in this cookbook, but the passages penned by Nilsson are must-reads for anyone truly passionate about food. A work of art.
2. “The Food Truck Cookbook,” by John T. Edge: As someone in love with the sandwich and street food arts, I’ve been waiting for this compendium of recipes from some of the nation’s most beloved mobile kitchens.
1. “A Girl and Her Pig,” by April Bloomfield: A book I’ve cooked from several times and am endlessly impressed with. No frills, just really good food.