So you devoured A Homemade Life and loved the prose-filled stylings of Molly Wizenberg’s cookbook/memoir. Here are five other text-heavy cookbooks that you might enjoy.
This text-heavy giant is a workhorse in the kitchen. If it was a player on your favorite NFL team, it would be the veteran center. A quiet and stable leader on the field, it knows its job and works hard to protect you, the kitchen quarterback. This book doesn’t include stories for each recipe and is instead laden with the steps the masters in the Cooks Illustrated test kitchen took to insure that these recipes really are the best. I’ve had people tell me that my chocolate chip cookies are “effing delicious.” Here is my secret: follow the recipe in this book exactly as printed.
You know you just need to go and buy a copy of a cookbook if you check it out from the library more than five times in one year. I finally picked up a copy and have been cooking a recipe from it about every two weeks. While this book doesn’t include a story alongside each recipe, it does come from the author of a successful blog, Heidi Swanson from 101 Cookbooks. Each recipe also has a descriptive paragraph about the ingredients or includes a memory from Swanson’s travels or from the time she was creating the recipe. I’m not concerned with eating only organic and I’m definitely not a vegetarian but I love this book. The recipes are flavorful and exciting on their own, but you can always throw in some meat or cheese if you are in to that kind of thing (I know I am).
Jerusalem is a gorgeous cookbook. It has big beautiful photographs of all the recipes. It’s closer to a standard cookbook than Wizenberg’s book and yet still has great text to attract the reader. Each recipe includes short snippets from the authors’ time growing up in Jerusalem and it has information about the fancier ingredients. It’s by the guys behind famous London restaurants Ottolenghi. Dudes, if you want to impress some hottie by making them an exotic dinner, look no further.
Tacos are the best food in the world. I write this without hyperbole. I could eat them every day. Since I want to eat them all the time anyway, this selection from Rick Bayless is perfect for me. It is closer to a regular cookbook than the others on the list. Every recipe does include a paragraph about riffing on the recipe which includes substitutions you can make or information about specific chile peppers. The introduction to each chapter also includes a few pages about the ingredients used in that chapter. I find it to be a good introduction to more wordy cookbooks and it has simple recipes that help me meet my goal of eating tacos or Mexican food a few times a week.
I’m including this pick for my mom, who is a huge fan of paperback murder mysteries. She has dubbed these “comic books for adults” and reads a wide-variety of series from different mystery subgenres. If you have a hobby or interest, there is probably a murder-mystery series about it. She reads ones about scrapbooking, home renovation, three different series all set in Florida, one starring a NJ-based P.I., some about Alaska and many about cooking. One of her favorites is the work of Davidson, who writes a series starring a caterer/detective. In addition to the punny titles, the books include recipes that the heroine makes for her events in between solving the murder.
What are your favorite text-heavy cookbooks? Do you know about other books that include recipes and yet aren’t about cooking? I’d love to know more.