Best Cookbooks from Around the World
September 29, 2017 7:10 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking to pad out my cookbook shelf with some of the absolute must-haves from all over the world. Which cookbooks should I get?

What cookbooks would you recommend as the best with regards to concentrating on one geographical area or ethnicity? I've seen this great list and am purchasing several of these later today. My personal wants with regards to the cookbooks are great photography, local flavor stories to go with the recipes, written in English or translated well, and recipes that don't contain ingredients impossible to procure in the US or online, but please feel free to mention your favorite amazing cookbooks that lack something on my want list. Pretend money is no object (even though it is....but a girl can dream).

I am not looking to include any more American cookbooks, as I have several and am happy with the ones I do have.
posted by the webmistress to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
I picked up Fresh India by Meera Sodha recently - it's Indian/British Indian vegetarian food and everything I've made from it so far has been extremely delicious, plus there are lots of little stories about people she's known and recipe inspirations.

If 100% vegetarian is not your jam, she's also done Made in India, which I believe was very well-received.
posted by terretu at 7:15 AM on September 29, 2017 [2 favorites]

I've enjoyed three cookbooks that Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid wrote together as combination food/travel porn and somewhat practical cookbooks (Beyond the Great Wall, Hot Sour Salty Sweet, and Mangos and Curry Leaves). Many of the recipes require access to ethnic grocery stores but are reasonably practical.
posted by Candleman at 7:24 AM on September 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

In support of Alford and Duguid's works that cover international recipes even in single ingredient topics like Home Baking; The Seduction of Rice and Flatbreads. Duguid in the last few years has done a book on Burmese cooking and I think she is working on more.
posted by jadepearl at 7:28 AM on September 29, 2017

Jerusalem is great.
posted by sulaine at 7:36 AM on September 29, 2017 [5 favorites]

Serious Eats just published their guide to "22 Essential Cookbooks for Every Kitchen" earlier this week. At quick glance, it seems to be a mix of geographies and nationalities.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 7:58 AM on September 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

Joudie Kalla's Palestine on a Plate is superb, as is Salma Hage's The Lebanese Kitchen.
posted by standardasparagus at 8:20 AM on September 29, 2017

Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
Madhur Jaffrey's Lord Krishna's Cuisine
posted by ottereroticist at 8:54 AM on September 29, 2017

I do not have the Claudia Roden book on that serious seats list but I have her Jewish food anthology and it is excellent (could perhaps use more pictures - its got great stories and background, and the recipes and variations listed are uniformly excellent, its not a gorgeous book in the way that the Ottolenghi books like Jerusalem and Plenty are).
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 9:14 AM on September 29, 2017

While Steven Raichlen's Planet Barbecue is an American book in the sense that it's written by an American author, its focus is global-to-the-exclusion-of-the-US, collecting the best BBQ/grill recipes from a staggering array of countries and cultures. I'm hugely impressed by this book: great research, great recipes. (It's the "answer book" to his BBQ USA, which collects American recipes - this one has none, IIRC.)
posted by Dr. Wu at 10:18 AM on September 29, 2017

Anything by Najmieh Batmanglij for Persian food and history. Darra Goldstein's The Georgian Feast is a treasure from 1993. Japanese Cooking, A Simple Art by Shizuo Tsuji does call for some hard-to-find ingredients but otherwise fits your criteria.
posted by VelveteenBabbitt at 10:45 AM on September 29, 2017 [2 favorites]

Slightly off-the-wall suggestion, but Cook and See by Meenakshi Ammal is the ne plus ultra of Tamil Brahmin cooking, a style which is pretty far from the naan-and-spicy-curry combinations that most people in the West think of as Indian food. I'm not sure how easy it is to find (Amazon does seem to have used copies) but and the style is rather charmingly archaic, but IMO it's well worth it if you want to explore this kind of cuisine.
posted by Tamanna at 12:51 PM on September 29, 2017

French Provincial Cooking by Elisabeth David. Catalan Cuisine by Colman Andrews. Thai Food by David Thompson.
posted by ouke at 2:39 PM on September 29, 2017 [2 favorites]

My favourite cookbooks tend to be text-heavy, and neither of these have any photography at all; but, fwiw, Food In England by Dorothy Hartley is completely fascinating, more as a historical text than a practical cookbook; Jane Grigsonā€™s English Food is in a similar vein but a bit more useful to cook from. As an English person, both of them really taught me a lot.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 2:55 PM on September 29, 2017

Try Natural Cooking the Finnish Way . We have Pork and Small Turnip Pot quite often but glancing at it again I see other recipes I have forgotten about and plan to try again. It's very different from the Middle Easter/Asian/South Asian cooking that we seem to do the most and seems appealing for winter cooking.
posted by Botanizer at 3:09 PM on September 29, 2017

I think these have all already been mentioned, either in this thread or your linked Goodreads thread, but I love the Alford and Duguid books and Fuchsia Dunlop's books. The Breath of a Wok is wonderful.
Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table is awesome too.
posted by bluebelle at 5:57 PM on September 29, 2017

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