Kitchn Editors Share the Cookbooks They’re Actually Using This Summer

published Jul 30, 2018
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(Image credit: Alexis Buryk)

There are so many cookbooks out there. Like, a lot. How are you expected to weed through the duds and find the one that’s going to actually inspire you? Let us try and help.

As food editors and writers, there are a ton of cookbooks that come across our desks. While it’s hard to give each and every one the attention they deserve, there are a few we turn to over and over again — the ones we keep on our bookshelves when we move and are dog-eared and splattered with some kinda sauce. Here are the ones we’re most excited about right now for summer (and beyond).

1. New Favorites for New Cooks by Carolyn Federman

“We got Carolyn Federman’s cookbook New Favorites for New Cooks this spring, and my 6-year-old dog-eared a few pages right away. We’ve made the strawberry-almond milkshake at least a dozen times this summer for breakfasts and after-camp snacks. She also loves the easy egg salad and the two-minute green bean recipes, which she can make with minimal supervision.” —Meghan Splawn, Associate Food Editor

2. Dinner: Changing the Game by Melissa Clark

“I really love the book because it’s given me the experience and confidence to cook and serve things in ways I hadn’t before. There’s a lot of sheet pan cooking; just seasoning things and tossing them under the broiler or in a super-hot oven to encourage intense browning and charring in ways most recipes just don’t. It’s really great to turn to when you’re feeling stuck because there’s just always something really delicious and unique there to inspire you.” —Kaitlin Garske, Senior Social Media Manager

3. More with Less by Jodi Moreno

“Kelli actually hooked me on the book when I was at her place and she had the lemon caper vinaigrette from it on hand for lunch. I love that it’s super approachable and fuss-free, but leans healthy and veg-heavy. And the first chapter is all sauces and dressings, which has made summer cooking so easy and fun! There’s also a whole chapter on fish which I love because I am always looking for more inspiration in that department.” —Sheela Fiorenzo, Assistant Food Editor

Buy Now: More with Less, $25

4. Short Stack: Cucumbers by Dawn Perry

“More than anything, cookbooks help me break out of my routine and remind me of all the interesting ways to prep and use seasonal produce. The Short Stack books are so great for that. Dawn Perry’s Cucumber Short Stack, for example, reminded me that the hydrating veggie goes so far beyond flimsy slices. There’s this spicy soba cucumber salad that’s just perfect for the hottest days of summer.” Grace Elkus, Senior Food Editor

Buy Now: Cucumbers, $13

“This is the cookbook I turn to when I want to avoid produce FOMO — you know, that feeling when the market is exploding with fresh ingredients and you don’t want to miss out on experiencing any of it! It’s filled with smart, beautiful recipes that showcase what each of the six seasons (he parses out summer into three separate seasons because it has so much going on) has to offer. I consult it before going to the farmers market each week — it’s basically my summer cooking bible!” Lauren Kodiak, Managing Editor

Buy Now: Six Seasons, $22

6. The Pretty Dish by Jessica Merchant

“Merchant has a great way of balancing nutritious and more indulgent ingredients into one dish, like her peach panzanella with bacon and burrata.” Tracey Gertler, Production Assistant

Buy Now: The Pretty Dish, $19

7. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer

“Without fail every summer you will find me popping open this book to make ice cream almost every week. Since there’s no scoop shop in NYC (yet?), this is the next best thing to getting my hands on some Jeni’s. There’s just the right mix of classic and creative flavors, and the ice cream base calls for cream cheese, which makes for an extra-rich and dreamy texture.” Kelli Foster, Associate Food Editor

8. Cherry Bombe: The Cookbook by Kerry Diamond and Claudia Wu

“First off, this cookbook does what so many people ask for and actually provides a photo for every single recipe. And don’t let the high style of those photos fool you; the food itself isn’t just for show! It’s smart, delicious, interesting, and extremely cookable. I made Preeti Mistry’s wildly good vindaloo ribs and a Greek-inspired cake that uses (ingeniously!) phyllo dough in a yogurt base for the most surprising yet easy dessert I’ve made all summer long.” —Faith Durand, Editor-in-Chief

9. The River Cafe London by Ruth Rogers and Sian Wyn Owen

“Simple (but special) ingredients are transformed into dinner magic with the help of this cookbook. One of my favorite dishes I’ve made so far is a zucchini pasta dish. You basically cook down the zucchini so it’s a little mushy — almost like a sauce — and you pour it over pasta and add a ton of lemon zest and Parmesan. I also have my eye on the chocolate nemesis cake for a friend’s birthday.” —Ariel Knutson, News & Culture Editor

Buy Now: River Cafe London, $30

What cookbooks do you turn to most in the summer?