Kindle. Nook. iPad. Sony, Kobo, BeBook. Swipe all you like, but when it comes to cookbooks, there’s no substitution for turning paper pages. We love to give (ourselves) epicurean inspirations and this holiday season we’re asking Santa for a few new BK-minded beauties. (On our wish list but not shown here—the just-out Candy 101 guide from the sugar-wielding scientists at Liddabit Sweets, see p. 48, that will soon have you making your own barley lollipops.)
So save the Nook for the knapsack or nightstand, and hit the kitchen with these cookbooks until their pages are splattered and seasoned. —Ed.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve wanted to be chef Caroline Fidanza since your first dinner at Diner 12 years ago. Now that she’s written Saltie with the first-rate first mates at her shipshape Williamsburg sandwich shop, you can pretend you really are. From the Captain’s Daughter sandwich to that trademark buckwheat-black-olive shortbread, these 100 recipes let you cook like Caroline and her crew—even on Mondays, when Saltie is closed. (Anchovies sold separately.)
It’s hard to believe Whole Larder Love isn’t a Brooklynite book by birth. The way Aussie author Rohan Anderson chronicles his “grow, gather, hunt, cook” lifestyle—complete with arty photos, tips on what to put in your fly-fishing bag and handwritten musings on the deeper meaning of pickling and butchery—you’ll swear he splits his time between Bushwick and the Catskills. Appropriately the smart people at Powerhouse Books down under in DUMBO have brought the naturalized edition to Brooklyn’s shores—it’s well worth hunting down.
Yes, Preserving Wild Foods teaches you to turn mulberries (which the authors forage in the verdant pastures of Bed-Stuy) into jam, transform crabapples into mostarda (move over, cranberry sauce) and ferment your own Asian fish sauce (rule number one: Ignore your wife’s pleas to throw it away). But while the book is about smoking, curing and otherwise preserving wild edibles, you can make these recipes without day-tripping upstate or getting arrested for picking lamb’s-quarters in Prospect Park, because the techniques work just as well on chanterelles hunted at the Greenmarket or Union Market. Our advice? Buy yourself the book now and next year you can give everyone on your list a jar of handmade Maraschino cherries.