Food books that rocked my year

For better or worse, a lot of cookbooks just magically appear in our household. Some go out just as quickly, but a handful make a more lasting impression. Here’s a few that we fell for this year.

Jerusalem: A Cookbook
I think this is topping most people’s list this year. Yotam Ottolenghi grew up on the Jewish west side of Jerusalem; Sami Tamimi grew up on the Arab east side. Their common language is food, and astonishingly good food it is. Gorgeously photographed and compellingly laid out.
Kokkari: Contemporary Greek Flavors
A local favorite restaurant, Kokkari brings the flavors of Greece to San Francisco, through a Californian lens. Another gorgeously shot book (the photographer convinced the owners and publisher that they simply had to go to Greece to get beauty shots), we’ve cooked out of this a few times and every recipe has been a winner. 

The Art of Living According to Joe Beef
The guys at Montreal’s restaurant of the moment include lengthy musings on the philosophy behind their food. Alternately respectful of the classics and infused with irreverent attitude, as with the “Hot Oysters on the Radio,” actually served atop a vintage radio. You can use a plate.

A true collaboration between writer and photographer, Cheryl Sternman Rule and Paulette Phlipot’s lush, colorful book is an absolute celebration of produce at its absolute peak. True food porn, in the best sense of the term.

The Art of Fermentation
Thanks to my work with Punk Domestics, I spend a lot of time thinking about fermentation. Sandor Katz, the unrivaled expert in the matter, released this brick of a book, with the most in-depth discussion on fermenting just about everything. I file this as an evergreen reference, right next to Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking.

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School
A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, Kat Flinn became fascinated with those who couldn’t cook. She somehow persuaded nine “hopeless” home cooks to let her into their kitchens, reorganizing and teaching them basic cooking skills. In one way or another, their lives were transformed. With her engaging voice, it may transform yours as well. 
Suffering Succotash
I somewhat famously have an aversion to oranges. dpaul detests cilantro, a common affliction. Stephanie Lucianovic, a recovering picky eater, went deep to learn the science behind food aversions — and how to overcome them. But this is no dry tome. With her wit and wisdom, she makes this a thoroughly enjoyable read. Don’t miss the section on The Picky Eater’s Guide to Surviving a Dinner Party.