The kids may dread going back to school, but we're more than a little excited to hit the books—the cookbooks, that is.
Fall brings a wealth of new releases, including the latest from chefs Yotam Ottolenghi and Jacques Pépin; technique-driven books from Mark Bittman and Alice Waters; debut works from Dale Talde, Alex Stupak and The Dead Rabbit team; and a slew of titles that makes us want to book a trip to Mexico, stat.
Here are the 18 cookbooks we can't wait to take to the kitchen.
Asian-American: Proudly Inauthentic Recipes from the Philippines to Brooklyn, by Dale Talde and JJ Goode (Grand Central Life & Style, September 15, $32)
Born out of his Filipino roots and a lifelong obsession with American fast food, Dale Talde's "proudly inauthentic" approach means we get to enjoy creations like Buttered-Toast Ramen and Kung Pao Chicken Wings. In his first book, Talde shares dishes from his mini Brooklyn restaurant empire, including Pretzel Pork-and-Chive Dumplings, as well as his thoughts on MSG, bodegas and, yes, authenticity.
Besh Big Easy: 101 Home Cooked New Orleans Recipes, by John Besh (Andrews McMeel Publishing, September 29, $25)
NOLA icon John Besh's fourth cookbook is more practical than any of his previous volumes. There's plenty of New Orleans flavor, but Besh wrote this book less as a James Beard Award-winning chef with a dozen restaurants to his name and more as a busy dad eager to serve his family the kind of delicious, soulful food he was raised on (think hearty, one-pot dishes like Chicken and Sausage Gumbo). Throughout, Besh shares memories of a lifetime living and eating in New Orleans, plus snapshots of his favorite local spots.
Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul in the Kitchen, by Jacques Pépin (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, October 6, $35)
Legendary French chef and cooking teacher Jacques Pépin has devoted his latest cookbook to the everyday food he cooks at home. The emphasis is on good taste with minimal fuss. Most of the food leans French—think Gougères with Cheese and Tomato Tatin, but you'll also find Grilled Chicken Tenders with Chimichurri and Chirashi Sushi. And those gorgeous paintings sprinkled throughout the book? Those are by Pépin, too.
The NoMad Cookbook, by Daniel Humm, Will Guidara and Leo Robitschek (Ten Speed Press, October 13, $100)
When they wrote their first cookbook, Eleven Madison Park, the superstar restaurant trio aimed for accessibility, but this time around, they are more faithful to the professional kitchen. Not every dish is complicated, but you're going to need a scale. Thankfully, the NoMad's beloved Whole Roasted Chicken with Black Truffle Brioche Stuffing is included. In a bonus cocktail book, NoMad mixologist and bar manager Leo Robitschek offers a service manual that touches on everything from bar spoons to flaming citrus twists.
NOPI: The Cookbook, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully (Ten Speed Press, October 20, $40)
Yotam Ottolenghi's latest release features cooking that's more involved than his fans are used to—it's also less veggie centric. The food comes from NOPI, the London fine dining restaurant where coauthor Ramael Scully is head chef. Dishes like Spiced Buttermilk Cod with Urad Dal have been streamlined, but this is definitely a restaurant cookbook. Ottolenghi's signatures—intense flavors, unique combinations, vivid compositions—persist, but thanks to Scully's Malaysian roots, they intersect boldly at the Asian pantry. A thorough glossary will help you navigate all those new ingredients.
The Nordic Cookbook, by Magnus Nilsson (Phaidon Press, October 26, $50)
This massive book aims to capture the essence of Nordic cuisine, using food to explore a shared history and culture. Author Magnus Nilsson, head chef of Sweden's Fäviken Magasinet, is upfront about the impossibility of his task and openly declares the incompleteness of his work. Nonetheless, the deep dive into the food of Denmark, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the Faroe Islands delivers more than 700 recipes. The directory should help you find ingredients, though puffin may still be tricky to track down.
Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking, by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, October 6, $35)
For Israeli-born chef Michael Solomonov, opening Zahav in Philadelphia was about bringing the Israeli dining experience to America, and now, with his first cookbook, he aims for an even larger audience. Zahav features an entire chapter devoted to tehina, the sesame seed paste that is the backbone of Solomonov's famous hummus and used to make countless sweet and savory dishes like Fried Potatoes with Harissa Tehina and Tehina Shortbread Cookies.
The Mission Chinese Food Cookbook, by Danny Bowien and Chris Ying (Anthony Bourdain/Ecco, November 10, $35)
Danny Bowien is known for doing the unexpected—the original Mission Chinese Food in San Francisco began as a pop-up inside an existing Chinese restaurant—and in his new cookbook, he again defies expectation. Sure, there are recipes, including his famous Kung Pao Pastrami. There's also the obligatory chef backstory, but Bowien, naturally, takes a unique approach. In a series of conversations, the chef and his team discuss everything leading up to present day, including Bowien's childhood in Oklahoma, his first job in New York and opening their second MCF location in NYC.
DOWN MEXICO WAY
Hartwood: Bright, Wild Flavors from the Edge of the Yucatán, by Eric Werner and Mya Henry (Artisan, October 20, $40)
With its generous storytelling, lush photography and wood-fired cuisine, Hartwood is nearly as transporting as the open-air restaurant Eric Werner and Mya Henry run in the wilds of Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula. Werner is the chef and does most of his cooking over fire, but, here, he offers guidance on achieving similar effects at home for dishes like Grilled Lobster with Creamed Yuca. Tucked within the dreamy pages you'll find practical information, such as how to clean and season your grill and a step-by-step guide to grilling whole fish.
Mexico from the Inside Out, by Enrique Olvera (Phaidon Press, October 19, $60)
Fifteen years after opening his now-legendary Mexico City restaurant, Pujol, and one year since making his American debut with New York's Cosme, Mexican chef Enrique Olvera has written his first cookbook in English. Most of the multicomponent, professional-level recipes are from Pujol, including its signature play on Mexican street corn (Baby Corn with Chicatana Ant, Coffee and Chile Costeño Mayonnaise). The second half of the book is for the rest of us and features more accessible dishes, including tostadas and chilaquiles. And for anyone who doesn't know what it means to nixtamalize, Olvera includes thorough breakdowns of ingredients, equipment and techniques.
Tacos: Recipes and Provocations, by Alex Stupak and Jordana Rothman (Clarkson Potter, October 20, $32.50)
Alex Stupak's journey from celebrated pastry chef at Alinea and WD-50 to Mexican cooking evangelist is well documented. In his first cookbook, Stupak, the chef/owner of three Mexican restaurants in NYC, focuses on tacos, starting with corn and flour tortillas, followed by salsas and moles, and then a broad range of traditional and innovative fillings.
Bien Cuit: The Art of Bread, by Zachary Golper with Peter Kaminsky (Regan Arts, November 17, $50)
In five short years, Zachary Golper's Brooklyn bakery, Bien Cuit, has achieved near cult-level popularity. His debut cookbook is a stunner, full of beautiful food porny close-ups of bread. If you have the ambition and patience—most of the recipes require hand mixing and long fermentation—you can make Golper's much-lauded baguettes and sourdough, as well as Olive Bread, Ciabatta and Port and Fig Rolls. Golper also shares his wisdom on local wheat, starters, measuring with a scale and why bread that's almost but not quite burned, or bien cuit, tastes so good.
The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook: Artisanal Baking from Around the World, by Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez and Julia Turshen (Clarkson Potter, October 13, $35)
Less than a decade after launching Hot Bread Kitchen, an NYC-based bakery and social enterprise that trains and empowers immigrant women to succeed in the food industry, founder Jessamyn Waldman Rodriquez has collected the recipes and stories behind her mission-driven bakery. Hot Bread Kitchen favorites, including Moroccan M'smen, Persian Nan-e Barbari and Traditional Onion Bialys, are all here, plus dishes from the home kitchens of the Hot Bread Kitchen family.
The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science, by J. Kenji López-Alt (W. W. Norton & Company, September 21, $50)
Based on his Serious Eats column of the same name, J. Kenji López-Alt's cookbook is a rigorous and scientific approach to home cooking. In other hands, this could have veered into textbook territory, but López-Alt is so full of enthusiasm and curiosity for his subject that he's written a page-turner. Whether it's scrambling eggs or grilling steak, López-Alt delivers the best, most efficient method. Outside of the recipes, you'll find this to be a comprehensive resource on ingredients, equipment and technique.
Mark Bittman's Kitchen Matrix: More than 700 Simple Recipes and Techniques to Mix and Match for Endless Possibilities, by Mark Bittman (Pam Krauss Books, October 27, $35)
New York Times columnist Mark Bittman is the master of uncomplicated cooking, and fans will no doubt be familiar with the concept behind his latest cookbook: Learn a handful of basic recipes and with a little creativity, you can prepare a lifetime of satisfying meals. This is a visually driven book that eschews traditional recipes for charts and brief descriptions. You'll find chickpeas four ways, gazpacho 12 ways and nine quick stocks, as well as Bittman's "recipe generators" for paella, sandwiches and hard-boiled eggs. And for anyone who struggles to create a dinner party menu, Bittman offers a matrix that takes you from cocktails to dessert.
My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life, by Ruth Reichl (Random House, September 29, $35)
When Gourmet closed in 2009, the food world was devastated and editor-in-chief Ruth Reichl was not just unemployed but lost. Finding sanctuary in the kitchen, Reichl spent the next year rediscovering the healing powers of cooking. In her first cookbook in 43 years, Reichl shares the recipes that helped her find her way. With minimal fuss—no stylists or extra lights; the book was photographed at Reichl's Hudson Valley home—and reflecting her life on Twitter, each recipe includes a tweet Reichl sent the day it was made. Among the treasures, you'll find Cider-Braised Pork Shoulder, Congee and Perfect Pound Cake.
My Pantry: Homemade Ingredients That Make Simple Meals Your Own, by Alice Waters (Pam Krauss Books, September 15, $25)
Alice Waters may be the face of our farm-to-table ethos, but when it comes to turning all those organic veggies and sustainably raised meats into actual meals, the Edible Schoolyard founder says the real secret is a well-stocked pantry. In this slim volume, Waters shares recipes for the various spice mixtures, condiments, cheeses, preserves and stocks that fill her larder. You'll find staples like almond milk, as well as seasonal or special-occasion items like dried fig leaves. In lieu of photos, the book features illustrations by Waters's daughter, Fanny Singer.
The Dead Rabbit Drinks Manual: Secret Recipes and Barroom Tales from Two Belfast Boys Who Conquered the Cocktail World, by Sean Muldoon, Jack McGarry and Ben Schaffer (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, October 13, $27)
Like their award-winning cocktail bar in lower Manhattan—The Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog was named World's Best Bar at last summer's Tales of the Cocktail—Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry's long-awaited first book is devoted to historically inspired cocktails. Drinks like the Pistache Fizz, Red Cup No. 2 and Mulled Egg-Wine are not classics but rather long-forgotten drinks that have been updated and enhanced. In addition to their thoroughly researched sours, cobblers, juleps, smashes and slings, Muldoon and McGarry tell their origin story, dating back to their days in Belfast. For anyone interested in cocktail culture, it's a fascinating read.
Please check your inbox to verify your email address.