Anyone else reading cookbooks all the time for the sheer comfort of it? Same here.
I’ve never in my life been a cookbook reader, and suddenly, mid-pandemic, it’s like someone flipped a switch and suddenly I’m checking out every readerly cookbook I can get my hands on.
I hold Molly Yeh and Deb Perelman and Priya Krishna and Melissa Coleman fully responsible. Their cookbooks are beautiful and full of friendly and relatable stories, and I feel like they’re my kitchen friends (the kind of friend who’s way smarter than me about everything involving food and photography and writing and every other useful life skill — and I adore ’em anyway).
And since I’ve been in the kitchen a lot over the past year (we’ve been “traveling” by making recipes related to places we’ve actually visited in the past), it’s been a quiet little victory to expand my cooking horizons and really fall into the rhythm of cooking.
Now I wouldn’t say this new habit is a problem, but one of the challenges is when library holds on multiple cookbooks arrive on the same day. And cookbooks — the pretty ones filled with photos — are heavy monsters to carry. So there are days I feel like a pack mule just getting the library books home. (Such problems!) And then I have a stack of cookbooks distracting me from other reading. (Again, not an actual problem)
And truly, some of the cookbooks are just for browsing… I’ll flip through and look at every recipe, mark a few that I’d like to try, and that’s that.
But other cookbooks are so much more than that. My most recent cookbook reading delight was Molly Yeh’s Molly on the Range, which describes her life as a Chinese American/Jewish food blogger (and Juilliard-trained percussionist), transplanted to the rural Midwest — to an actual farm, because of love. Her voice is original and funny, and her recipes are creative yet approachable. And she makes me really want to try to bake challah. She gives me faith that it might not be a total flop if I attempt it. (Stay tuned… I’m probably gonna flop. At least at first.)
And I actually bought a copy of Melissa Coleman’s The Minimalist Kitchen, which cleared my very high bar for cookbook purchases (more than 75% of the recipes are things I actually want to cook — and feel capable of cooking).
So I’m asking everyone — I’m definitely asking you —
What are the readable cookbooks you love best?