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The Best Fall Cookbooks of 2019, According to 2018’s Cookbook Stars

published Sep 19, 2019
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Fall cookbook season is Kitchn’s Fashion Week — except instead of trend-spotting runways for new designers, silhouettes, and color palettes, we’re scouring the pages of cookbook galleys to determine the authors, recipes, and ingredients that will be inspiring us in the kitchen this year. It’s not “what to wear,” it’s “what to cook.”

For a next-level assist, we reached out to the authors from Kitchn’s 2018 Best Fall Cookbook List, and asked them to weigh in with a few fall cookbook predictions of their own. So much more than a catalogue of recipe collections, this list is a celebration of talented cookbook authors cheering each other on. Here are this year’s must-have cookbooks to add to your shelves.

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Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking by Toni Tipton-Martin

Without a doubt, Toni Tipton-Martin’s highly researched cookbook detailing the true history of African American cooking is this fall cookbook season’s most anticipated release. It comes highly recommended by many authors on our panel, confirming what we already suspected to be true: that this stunning book will be making itself at home on many a new bookshelf this fall.

“I have been eagerly looking forward to Toni Tipton-Martin’s follow-up to The Jemima Code,” explains Julia Turshen, the 2018 author of Now & Again . “In Jubilee, we will get to see the dishes from so many important African American minds and kitchens brought to life through Tipton-Martin’s modern contextualization and Jerrelle Guy‘s incredible photography. This book is major and important.” Overall Julia believes this book shows that cookbooks can be so much more than recipe suggestions for dinner. “In providing recipes that cover so much history, we will all get to honor generations of African American cooks in our own kitchens.”

Turshen’s passion was echoed by Nik Sharma, whose debut cookbook Season: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food, swept us off our feet last fall. He writes: “This book is going to be a spectacular treasure trove of recipes. And for someone like me who is eager to learn more about African American culinary traditions and its history, it’s high up on my wish list of cookbooks.” Cal Peternell, the author of the veggie-centric 2018 cookbook Almonds, Anchovies, and Pancetta, shared a similar sentiment. “[I’m] looking forward to learning more about the real roots of cooking in America.”

Adeena Sussman, who collaborated with Chrissy Teigen on her second cookbook last fall, Cravings: Hungry for More and who has a gorgeous new cookbook that just came out, explains that she’s been an admirer of Toni Tipton-Martin for some time. “I’m really excited for this one. I can’t wait to discover how salmon croquettes and honey-soy glazed chicken wings fit into the African American cooking canon — and to make these recipes and more in my own kitchen.” Mark Scarbrough, co-author of last year’s The Instant Pot Bible, has actually tried the croquettes and confirms that they’re delicious. “I devoured the salmon croquettes (twice): herbaceous and just right for a creamy dipping sauce.”

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The Jewish Cookbook by Leah Koenig

The second book that many of our sources rushed to pre-order before its pub date? The Jewish Cookbook by Leah Koenig. This comprehensive manifesto on the Jewish culinary tradition has more than 400 recipes, spanning the globe. It also has some added star power, thanks to the inclusion of recipes from Yotam Ottolenghi and Michael Solomonov.

Adeena Sussman says that Koenig is an unparalleled expert in the Jewish food writing space. “Leah’s work speaks for herself — over the past 15 years she’s transitioned from Jewish food writing’s lady-in-waiting to true royalty.” Lisa Ludwinski, the author of last year’s Sister Pie, shares Adeena’s enthusiasm. “I’m super excited about The Jewish Cookbook. Not only is it gorgeous, it seems like a necessary addition to round out any cookbook collection.”

Steven Cook, who collaborated with Michael Solomonov on last year’s Israeli Soul: Easy, Essential, Delicious, says he is looking forward to reading more about the history and traditions that have influenced Jewish food. He writes: “I’m [excited] to read about the perspectives of all the contributors to this book, and how they may be different or similar to my own experience.”

Buy now: The Jewish Cookbook, $42

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Nothing Fancy: The Art of Having People Over by Alison Roman

What would a cookbook launch list be without mentioning Alison Roman, the queen of viral recipes? Her second cookbook, Nothing Fancy, out this fall, is a plea for home cooks everywhere to stop using the word “entertaining” altogether, and we can’t wait to read it.

Chandra Ram, who wrote The Complete Indian Instant Pot Cookbook, can’t wait either. “I absolutely loved everything I cooked from Alison’s first book, Dining In, and am excited to dive into the next one. Her recipes read like a close friend is talking you through how to cook them, and promise good times ahead.”

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Sababa: Fresh, Sunny Flavors from My Israeli Kitchen by Adeena Sussman

Sababa means “everything is awesome” in Hebrew, so it’s no wonder people are flocking to buy Adeena Sussman’s latest cookbook of the same name, which lives up to its promise. Since Sussman lives in Tel Aviv, the book’s 125 recipes — filled with vibrant ingredients and fresh flavors — could not be closer to home.

Nik Sharma can’t wait to get his hands on this defacto (yet accessible) guide to the Israeli kitchen. “This fall I’m particularly excited by Adeena Sussman’s solo cookbook, Sababa. The food is colorful and you can feel Adeena’s vibrant energy come through her recipes. It’s the delicious, unfussy food you want to make in your kitchen.” Steven Cook agrees, citing Sussman’s skills as a recipe developer for home cooks first and foremost. “Sababa because Adena is the epitome of hospitality and her home cooking is as good as it gets. This is a book that I know will become well-worn at our house.”

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American Sfoglino: A Master Class in Handmade Pasta by Evan Funke and Katie Parla

Think of this stunning volume like a pasta-making textbook. Readers will learn how to prepare 15 classic pasta shapes with nothing more than flour, eggs, and a rolling pin right in their home kitchens, followed by a master class in the right sauces to turn them into epic dinners.

Jack Bishop, chief creative officer at America’s Test Kitchen, who helped bring us Sous Vide for Everybody last year and the upcoming How to Cocktail, says that American Sfoglino is the best cookbook title of the fall. “Even though I love my Marcato Atlas, I’m intrigued by the notion of making fresh pasta completely by hand,” he explains.

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Mastering Spice: Recipes and Techniques to Transform Your Everyday Cooking by Lior Lev Sercarz

Leave it to a literal spice master to write the latest home cook’s guide to spices. Without a doubt, Lior Lev Sercarz, renowed spice expert and owner of NYC spice shop La Boîte, is the right person for the job. Steven Cook can personally attest to this fact: “I’m looking forward to reading Mastering Spice, because Lior’s amazing spices are the secret ingredient in a lot of our food, so I’m excited to learn how he cooks with them himself,” Cook told us.

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Cook Like a Local: Flavors That Can Change How You Cook and See the World by Chris Shepherd

Houston chef Chris Shepherd’s goal is to infuse his cooking with the flavors and techniques of traditional immigrant cuisines and treat them with the respect that they so deserve. In this book, he names the cooks who have inspired him to share in his success, and perhaps most importantly teaches people “to be advocates and not appropriators.”

Chandra Ram has witnessed Shepherd in action firsthand, which is why she’s so excited about his book. “I once spent an afternoon driving around Houston with Chris Shepherd eating our way through some of his favorite immigrant restaurants, from a tiny banh mi shop to a rowdy Vietnamese-Cajun crawfish boil to a family-run Indian sweet shop,” she recalls fondly. “His enthusiasm for the flavors and culture immigrants have brought to America is unmatched, and I can’t wait to see how it’s inspired him as a chef.”

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Umami Bomb: 75 Vegetarian Recipes that Explode with Flavor by Raquel Pelzel

Who knew that eight ingredients could join forces to create a collection of 75 different, umami-blasted recipes? Well, Raquel Pelzel does. And so does Adeena Sussman, who asks that everyone put this book on their radar immediately: “The recipes are flavor-packed, plant-forward, and just plain fun. ‘Tomato Butter’ may be my new middle name.”

Canal House: Cook Something: Recipes to Rely On by Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton

Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton want you to cook something (anything!), and will show you just how with their stunningly photographed step-by-step guide that’s filled to the brim with twists on the classics.

Mark Scarbrough, who has already tried a few of the recipes in this book (pre-release!), admits that he’s the target audience here: “I guess I’m done with experiment for its own sake and macho butcher boys. I just want a slight torque on comfort. That’s why I’m most excited about Canal House: Cook Something. The frittatas are amazing, particularly the one with fennel and pancetta. And I love the simple but revolutionary addition of caraway to duck breasts. “

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Milk Street: The New Rules by Christopher Kimball

Christopher Kimball’s latest tome outlines 75 “new rules of cooking” and gives you more than 200 recipes to practice. Mark Scarbrough chimed in once again, recommending this cookbook — he’s already tried the braised whole chicken with harissa and pimiento-stuffed green olives, which he says are “worth the price of admission.”

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A Place at the Table: New American Recipes from the Nation’s Top Foreign-Born Chefs edited by Gabrielle Langholtz and Rick Kinsel

A Place at the Table is the kind of book you’re going to want to really familiarize yourself with, according to Cal Peternell. He says that the book, which features the recipes of 40 acclaimed, foreign-born chefs, is long overdue. “I can’t wait to spill spices and sauces on the pages as I cook my way through,” Cal told us.

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Judy Joo’s Korean Soul Food: Authentic Dishes and Modern Twists by Judy Joo

Cal Peternell is perhaps equally excited for Judy Joo’s latest cookbook which helps home cooks channel their inner Korean home cook, perfecting dishes like kimchi, dumplings, bibimbap, and more. “Every time I eat Korean food, I am reminded why I need to eat more of it, and in every iteration. Pancakes are soul food, right? I sure hope so,” he told us.

From the Oven to the Table by Diana Henry

If you don’t like doing dishes, Diana Henry’s book, which is a series of one-dish/pan recipes is most definitely for you. Nik Sharma tells us, “In addition to her wonderful writing, Diana has created a collection of delightful recipes for everyone that, as the title suggests, move straight from the oven to the table. But her use of flavors is what makes these recipes exceptional and elegant. I want to cook everything from it.”

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Cooking for Good Times: Super Delicious, Super Simple by Paul Kahan

Paul Kahan’s Cooking for Good Times is all about making entertaining more accessible and “low-stress.” He achieves this with mix-and-match recipes, providing ways for readers to customize each to their liking. Chandra Ram calls him “the king of unfussy food with big flavors,” and that “this book is destined to save you from the stress of throwing an overcomplicated dinner party.”

The Little Women Cookbook by Jenne Bergstrom and Miko Osada

Prep for the holiday release of Little Women in theaters by brushing up on the recipes of Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, adapted from vintage Civi War-era cookbooks. Lisa Ludwinski can’t contain her excitement: “I squealed upon hearing about The Little Women Cookbook. I’m a sucker for recipes based on my favorite novels of youth, and have been meaning to re-read Little Women for awhile. This seems like a perfect cookbook-club-meets-book-club opportunity.”

What would you add to this list?