Midson's favorite cookbooks of 2012: part three
It's incredibly difficult to do justice to the thousands of remarkable cookbooks published in 2012, but after spending days -- weeks -- roaming through the recipes and lush food porn of hundreds of them, I've picked out my favorites. These are the cookbooks that stock my selves at home, and the cookbooks that are on my holiday shopping list for my favorite foodniks. My syllabus of top picks represents just about every kind of cook, from the meat junkie to root vegetable fiends. I've split the list into three parts (click on the link below to read the first and second installments).
The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, by Deb Perelman. $35; hardcover; 336 pages. Food blogger Deb Perelman isn't a chef, and by her own admittance, she's never worked in a restaurant, but her cookbook, the recipes of which she tested multiple times in her own kitchen, are blissfully accessible to even the most novice home cook, which isn't to say that they're dumbed down -- but they are down to earth, organized and easy to follow (and more important, they work), and she sprinkles each recipe with stories, wit and humor, while simultaneously offering suggestions on ingredient substitutions and tips to keep things simple. The photography is gorgeous, too. In a word: smitten.
Jerusalem: A Cookbook, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. $35; hardcover; 320 pages. Both authors of this exquisite cookbook were born in Jerusalem -- they now own several restaurants in London -- and their exotic tome, which encompasses a collection of fascinating recipes, is not only a carnivore's bliss, but also a vegetarian's paradise, thanks to a large number of recipes (none of which are ordinary, including the hummus) devoted to fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains. The explosive flavor combinations are unbelievably well-balanced, and each recipe is complemented by a short description of the origin of the dish or, in some cases, a personal flashback from Ottolenghi or Tamimi. Some of the ingredients require trips to a local Mid East market, but if you don't want to explore, they offer plenty of workable replacements.