The Best Spanish Cookbooks: Food Of Spain & Rustica

Two cookbooks to keep close this month

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When you're tackling new terrain in the kitchen, it's important to arm yourself with proper reference material.

So as we ready ourselves for a month of Spanish eating, drinking and cooking, we're relying heavily on two cookbooks that debuted last year.

If you're playing along at home–and with recipes such as romesco, ajo blanco, and more forthcoming, we hope you do–keep these titles close at hand:

The Food of Spain by Claudia Roden ($29; click here to buy): This hefty tome is equal parts cookbook and history lesson. It accurately explores the nuances of the country's regional cuisines through essays and recipes both well known (like rice with mushrooms) and obscure (like tuna hand pies).

Rustica by Frank Camorra ($35; click here to buy): From a Barcelona-born chef who has a tapas restaurant in Australia, this beautiful cookbook shines a delicious spotlight on the contemporary home cooking of Spain. Certain recipes draw from longstanding traditions—particularly that of resourcefulness and thrift—but the book feels anything but stodgy. While the last of the fava beans are still around, try the cold fava-bean soup recipe.