2020 Book Sales; Todd Richards' Soul Menu

Plus: Broccolini Pad Thai from Meera Sodha!


Howdy cookbook fans!

I hope your Tuesday is treating you well thus far. We’ve got a lot of news to get through today so I’ll get right to it. Featured this week is Meera Sodha’s new book East: 120 Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Beijing, which is gorgeous and full of tasty treats including a broccolini and tofu pad thai recipe that’s included below. Make it for dinner! If you want!

But first some news.


Shooting The Nom Wah Cookbook has been important to me because it is my visual love letter to Chinatown. Prior to one small web shoot, I had never had the privilege of shooting Cantonese food and people on such a large scale. To be able to photograph people that look and talk just like me, along with the very food and dishes that I grew up with (that you rarely see in mainstream media) has been nothing short of cathartic. 

Photographer Alex Lau on his latest project (click over for more). [Insta]


Cookbook Sales 2020: Bread Books and La Contessa

Let’s check in on book sales, shall we? Overall, according to NPD BookScan, book sales are up 6.4% in the first three quarters of 2020. And a good chunk of those were books about…bread? Thanks to everyone staying home, bread cookbook sales are way, way up. NPD reports the genre grew by 145% in the first three quarters of 2020. That makes for an additional 200,000 bread books sold this year so far. What’s that I hear? More bread bro book deals being signed, off in the distance?

Meanwhile, Ina Garten’s new book Modern Comfort Food is doing numbers, to absolutely no one’s surprise. She’s currently #1 overall according to NPD BookScan, #1 on the NYT Advice, How-To & Miscellaneous list, #1 on Amazon’s cookbooks list, and #5 overall on Amazon. All of this despite calling for flour tortillas in her enchilada recipe. (I got some flack for this on Twitter, to which I say: make food however you think it tastes best, don’t let people yuck your yum, etc, but enchiladas are made with corn tortillas?)

Also, quick note to say that just because book sales are up doesn’t mean your local bookshop is thriving, so make sure you shop your local indie stores when you buy cookbooks. Especially with the holidays coming up.


The Rise is more than a cookbook; it is a conversation, a collaboration, and, above all, a declaration that Black Food Matters. The recipes bear influences from southern cooking, West Africa, the Caribbean, and East Africa, and are accompanied by a collection of chef profiles and essays by Samuelsson’s co­writer, Osayi Endolyn….The Rise begins with a look to the future, exploring where Black food is heading, and then pays homage to cooks on whose shoulders Black chefs stand, and the migration stories that make the cuisine so diverse and rich.

Food writer Klancy Miller on Marcus Samuelsson’s new cookbook, The Rise. [Vogue]


Chef Todd Richards to Open Cookbook-Inspired Stall

You see this go the other way a lot —cookbooks inspired by restaurants—but you don’t often see a food venture inspired by cookbook. But that’s exactly what Atlanta chef Todd Richards is doing: Eater Atlanta reports Richards will open Soul: Food & Culture at Krog Street Market, inspired by his 2018 cookbook Soul: A Chef’s Culinary Evolution in 150 Recipes. The book’s goal is to “highlight what soul food can be for a new generation of cooks,” and the menu at the food stall includes “a hot fried catfish sandwich, a choice of either chicken or catfish and waffles, and four distinct fried chicken sandwiches, ranging from crispy fried and spicy Buffalo, to a sandwich topped with pimento cheese and Benton’s bacon.” Also, that cover just knocks me out every time I see it. I love it.


My very public love for Olney had led to a friendship with his brother and sister-in-law (and fellow Minnesotans) Byron and Marilynn, and their generosity had led us here…to meet Lulu Peyraud for the first time….The proprietress of Domaine Tempier, revered Bandol winemaker, collaborator and inspiration behind my favorite cookbook, Lulu’s Provençal Table, friend, protector, and muse to Olney, sainted mother figure to a generation of Olney acolytes, and a quiet legend in the world of French food and wine, was stopping by to eat her favorite lunch, pieds et paquets, which only Marc cooked to her satisfaction. I was the kid who had grown up worshipping Mickey Mantle and had just gotten a call asking if I could fill in at shortstop for the Yankees.

Writer Steve Hoffman remembers Lulu Peyraud, muse to the great cookbook author Richard Olney and so much more. Peyraud died recently at the age of 102. [F&W]



By promoting pleasure over perfection, Nigella Lawson made every woman feel like a domestic goddess.

Celebrating How to Be a Domestic Goddess 20 years after publication. [Telegraph]


Peanut Butter and Broccolini Pad Thai

Excerpted with permission from East: 120 Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Beijing by Meera Sodha. Flatiron Books 2020. Photograph: David Loftus.

In the late 1930s, Thailand’s prime minister held a public competition to find a new national dish. The winning entry combined rice noodles, vegetables, peanuts, shrimp, and egg. It was named “pad thai” (pad meaning “stir-fry”) in a bid to promote a sense of Thai-ness. This vegan interpretation of that classic dish celebrates the brilliance of the original, while also bringing something new in the form of broccolini.

Note: Pad thai is best eaten with as many garnishes as possible, so feel free to customize yours with fried shallots, pickled vegetables, and crushed peanuts as you wish. Rice noodles are fragile, so be gentle with them.

Serves 4

For the pad thai sauce:

⅓ cup crunchy peanut butter

2 tablespoons tamarind paste

3 tablespoons agave syrup

¼ cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from approximately 2 limes)

For the tofu and broccolini:

1 pound broccolini

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

½ inch ginger, peeled and grated

2 bird’s-eye chiles, finely chopped 

8 ounces firm tofu, drained and cubed 

9 ounces flat folded rice noodles 

canola oil

6 green onions, finely chopped

a handful of sesame seeds 

toasted sesame oil 

a handful of fresh Thai basil leaves, shredded

a handful of fresh mint leaves, shredded

1 lime, cut into 4 wedges

  1. First, make the sauce by putting the peanut butter, tamarind paste, and agave syrup into a bowl, then slowly mixing in the soy sauce, lime juice, and ¼ cup of water.

  2. Next, trim the broccolini, and put the florets into a bowl. Chop the stalks and leaves into ½-inch pieces. Place the garlic, ginger, chiles, and tofu in little piles within easy reach of the stovetop. Cook the noodles according to the package instructions, rinse under cold water, drain, then drizzle with a tablespoon of canola oil and toss gently with your hands.

  3. In a large non-stick frying pan for which you have a lid, heat  2 tablespoons of canola oil on a medium-high flame, then fry the tofu for 5 minutes, turning every minute, until it’s pale gold. Add the garlic, ginger, and chiles, cook for 2 minutes, then add the broccolini stalks and ¼ cup of water, cover the pan, and steam for  2 minutes, until the broccolini is tender. Add the broccolini florets, sauce, and green onions (reserve a handful for garnish), stir to combine, then cover again and leave for 2 minutes.

  4. Turn the heat down to a whisper, add the noodles handful by handful, gently mixing them in until coated in sauce, then turn off the heat. Distribute the noodles between four plates and sprinkle over the sesame seeds and reserved green onions. Drizzle each portion with sesame oil, scatter over the herbs, add a generous squeeze of lime, and serve immediately.


That’s all for today! I will see Friday folks Friday, have a great week.