The best cookbooks for inspiration and instruction for everyday meals

The Books I Picked & Why

Tasty: Get Great Food on the Table Every Day

By Roy Finamore

Tasty: Get Great Food on the Table Every Day

Why this book?

"Good, simple food is meant to be shared and enjoyed. Cook often." These lines from the introduction of "Tasty" perfectly capture the spirit of this delightfully useful cookbook. Finamore obviously knows his way around the kitchen, and his recipes are both practical and joyful. Clearly written and full of friendly tips and advice, this is a cookbook that more than lives up to its promise of delicious results for everyday meals (from breakfasts to snacks) without taxing the cook. It's also a smart and entertaining read, and just the type of cookbook that will indeed inspire you to cook often.


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Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking

By Samin Nosrat

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking

Why this book?

There may be 2 types of people in the kitchen: those who adhere to recipes and those who would rather improvise. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is for the latter group, while arming the former with the knowledge they need to become more intuitive. Following her own personal journey as a professional cook, Nosrat thoroughly outlines the basic elements that go into cooking any dish: salt, fat, acid, and heat. She then teaches us how to manipulate these elements to achieve success in our own kitchens. Part reference, part cookbook, this informative book combines clear science with the sensual pleasures of good food.


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Eat: The Little Book of Fast Food

By Nigel Slater

Eat: The Little Book of Fast Food

Why this book?

In the opening pages of this wonderful book, Slater writes: "Cooking should, surely, be a lighthearted, spirited affair, alive with invention, experimentation, appetite, and adventure." – and the pages that follow go a long way to make this possible. Jam-packed with over 600 recipes and ideas for simple, comforting everyday dishes, "Eat" is as much fun to cook from as it is to read. The recipes themselves are written in the style of extended tweets, and most are accompanied by ideas for creative variations, helpful notes, and charming narratives. There are few strict rules here, just tons of tempting recipes and even more inspiration to spark your own cooking adventures.


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Vietnamese Food Any Day: Simple Recipes for True, Fresh Flavors [A Cookbook]

By Andrea Nguyen

Vietnamese Food Any Day: Simple Recipes for True, Fresh Flavors [A Cookbook]

Why this book?

Brimming with smart, flavor-packed recipes and expert advice, Vietnamese Food Any Day opens up a world of flavor to cooks at every level and from every background. Drawing on decades of experience writing and teaching about her native cuisine, Nguyen demystifies Vietnamese cooking and shows us how use easy-to-find ingredients (no specialty markets required!) to successfully – and quickly – create sensational, authentic favorites. Whether you're an experienced cook or a novice, the lessons and tips in this book will have a delicious influence the rest of your cooking.


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Small Victories: Recipes, Advice + Hundreds of Ideas for Home Cooking Triumphs

By Julia Turshen

Small Victories: Recipes, Advice + Hundreds of Ideas for Home Cooking Triumphs

Why this book?

The premise behind this jubilant and personal collection is that cooking is "simply a huge and often very fun puzzle of piecing together techniques with different ingredients." Throughout the 98 recipes (everything from breakfast to mains, from drinks to dessert), Turshen highlights essential techniques (labeled as "small victories") and then offers inventive ideas and inspirations for creating other dishes (called "spin-offs"). It's a cookbook designed for anyone looking to become a more relaxed, confident, and creative cook. Turshen's love for cooking and feeding others is infectious, and her down-to-earth approach makes it easy to be swept along. 


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