5 Cookbooks to Bring You Joy

  1. Healthier Together: Recipes for Two–Nourish Your Body, Nourish Your Relationships: A Cookbook

When my sweet-toothed mother decided to go gluten-free this year, I wanted to make some of her favorite treats so that she didn’t feel she was missing out on anything. I made Liz Moody’s brownies, which I found through her cookbook promotions on social media, and even I couldn’t resist standing over the pan and picking at them! They were so deliciously chocolatey and moist, it’s hard to believe they’re gluten, refined sugar, nut, and dairy free. Her recently published cookbook, Healthier Together, has other delicious and healthy recipes such as General Tso Cauliflower, Better-Than-Bar-Food-Nachos, and The Best Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies (which seriously might be the best). The fact that these are healthy, satisfying recipes leaves you feeling guilt-free, and if you have any dietary restrictions, you don’t have to feel like you’re missing out on your favorite comfort foods. The other pro about her cookbook is that all the recipes are for two, so while you may not have any leftovers, you can get closer with your partner through cooking meals together! Math isn’t my strongest skill, so the fact that I don’t have to waste time thinking about dividing and/or multiplying measurements brings me tremendous joy. 

“There’s a “Fancy Food” section that mimics the elevated cuisine found in a dimly lit restaurant of a date night. And there’s a “Better Than Takeout” section for when you’d normally order in Thai or pizza,” she writes in CookingLight, “Instead of resenting food for separating you from your community, the book encourages you to embrace food’s ability to strengthen relationships by cooking together and supporting each other.” 

  1. John Whaite Bakes: Recipes for Every Day and Every Mood

This is a cookbook I’ve written about in a previous blog post on the mindfulness of baking. John Whaite won the Great British Bake Off in 2012, and has since published cookbooks as well as started a cooking class which can be found here. This cookbook is a favorite as mine as no matter what mood I am in, there’s a chapter for it. I often turn to “Calming a Bag of Nerves,” when my stress levels are high, or “The Mood for Food and Love,” when I want to make something special for my partner. The Pizza Puttanesca is a favorite of mine that I would definitely recommend for a date night.

When talking about how cooking and baking helps to manage his depression, he told Farhana Dawood of BBC, “When I’m in the kitchen, measuring the amount of sugar, flour or butter I need for a recipe or cracking the exact number of eggs – I am in control. That’s really important as a key element of my condition is a feeling of no control.”

Reviewers love the book as it’s easy to tell that John Whaite is not only passionate about cooking but about uplifting people and supporting culinary therapy. 

  1. Where Cooking Begins: Uncomplicated Recipes to Make You a Great Cook: A Cookbook

Carla Lalli-Music is a wonderful woman who understands that cooking should be laid-back, fun, and satisfying for everyone involved. It was through her recipes and videos that I was able to dip my toe into baking, so of course, I had to snag her cookbook. As Bon Appetit’s Senior Food Editor, her sharp wit, warm heart, and effortlessly cool cooking style is what helped me understand cooking and baking in a way I never had before. She’s engaging and fun, and hearing her talk about the perfect sandwich construction surprisingly makes me want to know more. Her cookbook is modern, it understands that budgets are a thing, and most importantly, makes you confident that cooking can bring you uncomplicated joy. Whether it’s a skirt steak or Coffee Crème Caramel, opening her cookbook is enough to create excitement. 

It’s no surprise that her cookbook was chosen as Bon Appetit‘s March Cookbook Club Pick. Her co-worker (author of the article) wrote, “Now, no matter whether Carla’s off shooting a video in Italy or doing a guest-chef gig on her book tour, I’ll have the solace of knowing she’s right there—on my bookshelf!—to offer guidance and solutions at a moment’s notice. And it means that every person who’s not quite as lucky as I’ve been to work alongside Carla for six years now has access to this brilliant mind and her inspired approach to cooking via these extraordinarily beautiful pages.”

  1. Dining In: Highly Cookable Recipes: A Cookbook 

Alison Roman’s recently published cookbook is another cult favorite, from the beautiful pictures to the satisfying recipes that would make any take-out addict want to dust off the pots and pans. “This is not a cookbook, it’s a treasure map,” wrote Samin Nosrat, author of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. With over a hundred recipes, this cookbook makes you want to rent a small, cozy apartment in Brooklyn and dedicate your weekend to the art of cooking. Her cookbook has everything from simple sides such as Olive Oil-Roasted Vegetables, to comfort food like Shrimp in Shells with Lots of Garlic and Probably Too Much Cheese. Not only does her cookbook contain a wide variety of dishes, but her writing style makes cooking for any novice feel less daunting and more of a fun, creative activity for a quiet weekend night. 

Christine Mulke, Editor-at-Large of Bon Appetit wrote, “Sorry, restaurants. Superstar Alison Roman has given us recipes so delicious, so meltdown-proof — and so fun to read — we’re going to be cooking at home for a while. Possibly forever.”

  1. A Place at the Table: New American Recipes from the Nation’s Top Foreign-Born Chefs

If you’re looking to expand your palate, or if learning about new cuisines and cultures brings you as much joy as it brings me, this cookbook is definitely for you. A Place at the Table is a compilation of some of the most beautiful stories and recipes from the top chefs of the United States, worth a read even if you don’t plan on picking up a cutting board or boiling a pot of water. This cookbook celebrates diversity, inclusion, and heritage. Every culturally-rich recipe is interwoven with compelling stories about the hope and struggle that come with being a foreign-born chef in the United States.

Jeremy Repanch from Robb Report summed it up perfectly when he described it as “a celebration of how immigrants have expanded and enhanced the American palate.”

Do you have a cookbook that brings you joy? I’d love to hear about it!

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