Here Are the New Cookbooks You Should Buy Based on Your Favorite Subject in School

updated May 24, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

The words “back to school” are honestly a trigger for the tumultuous time in life when I was required to spend literally all of my money on textbooks. Can you imagine dropping $88 for a USED 8-pound copy of General Chemistry, doing the same for every other class, and then dealing with the ensuing guilt of never opening any of them once? Yes, because you probably did too!

Nowadays, back-to-school time is a lot more fun — especially because I have a job and choose to allocate my funds towards new cookbooks (which will definitely be put to better use than those old textbooks). I speak for most of us at Kitchn when I say that we’re a bunch of nerdy home cooks who would never pass up the opportunity to learn a few more tips and tricks.

In honor of back-to-school and fall cookbook season, let’s typecast each other by deciding which cookbook to buy based on our favorite subjects in school. This list is kind of like the Mean Girls cafeteria seating chart … only not mean.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

1. Literature

In her latest cookbook, Carla Hall gives readers a lesson on the origins of America’s favorite comfort cuisine, tracing its culinary heritage from Africa and the Caribbean to the American south. Just like the best works of literature, this book is a celebration of identity and memory.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

2. Math

Kind of like calculus, baking is a precise art that takes a bit of time to master — and there is no better teacher than Milk Bar genius Christina Tosi. Like the best mathematicians, Tosi makes baking come alive in unbelievable ways. Watch and learn.

Pre-order now: All About Cake by Christina Tosi

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

3. Science

Remember feeling like a mad scientist in chem lab? If you loved the thrill of understanding the methodology behind each concoction, you’ll also love this textbook-sized cookbook about fermented foods. Chefs René Redzepi and David Zilber, of the legendary restaurant Noma, will walk you step by step through their recipes for kimchi and kombucha (and more). Be prepared to write a lab report.

Pre-order now: The Noma Guide to Fermentation by René Redzepi and David Zilber

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

4. Social Studies/History

History repeats itself — and the important thing to do is learn from it. That’s what Julia Turshen is encouraging us all to do when we get stuck in a leftover rut. Her latest cookbook features “endless ideas for reinventing leftovers.” Gather around the table to enjoy an inspiring menu that might remind you of something you’ve tried before — but better.

Buy now: Now & Again by Julia Turshen

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

5. Art

Give yourself a little more time to make more art by relying on an at-home sous vide machine (we love the Joule and Nomiku). Make delicious meals with minimal effort! This upcoming cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen will show you the path of least resistance.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

6. Phys. Ed.

If you’re up for a challenge that tests your physical and mental strength, this badass cookbook by Sarah Glover is right for you. Amidst her expert tips for cooking a four-course meal over an open flame, Glover takes her readers on a culinary adventure through the outdoors. After cooking your way through this, you’re going to deserve a merit badge or two.

Buy now: Wild: Adventure Cookbook by Sarah Glover

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

7. World Languages

The Instant Pot is the latest cooking gadget that’s sweeping the world, and Melissa Clark is speaking your language. Within these pages are 75 recipes for family-friendly dishes from almost every culture: chipotle pork tacos, matzo ball soup, pesto risotto, and more. The Instant Pot is truly a world traveler.

Pre-order now: Comfort in an Instant by Melissa Clark

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

8. Classics

Cal Peternel thinks we should eat the way that people have been eating forever: veggie-forward dishes seasoned with a little meat and fish (i.e., pancetta and anchovies). It’s sustainable, economical, and, *chef’s kiss* classic.

Pre-order now: Almonds, Anchovies and Pancetta by Cal Peternel

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

9. Free Period

We’d all be better off if we spent a majority of our free time trying embody Ina Garten. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of your regularly scheduled programming to pretend you’re in a gorgeous barn in the Hamptons surrounded by hydrangeas, making slow-cooked truffled scrambled eggs.

Pre-order now: Cook Like a Pro by Ina Garten

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

10. Independent Study

It’s time to take initiative. If your ambitious academic endeavors leave you feeling a little lonely, Anita Lo has got you covered, as far as mealtimes are concerned. In this cookbook, Lo outlines over a hundred recipes which take less than 30 minutes to make and yield enough to feed one.

Pre-order now: Solo: A Modern Cookbook for a Party of One by Anita Lo

So, what’s your new cookbook?