Reader Requests: Fruit, Projects, Laos, More!
The cookbook of your dreams just might be in this email.
Howdy cookbook fans!
How the heck are you? Apologies for not sending this out last week but I had some personal issues come up. In any case, I’m back finally with READER REQUESTS! These requests came from paid subscribers and is one of the many perks of being a paid subscriber to this newsletter. If you’d like to join their ranks, and get the opportunity to request personalized book recs from time to time, you can try a paid subscription for 30 days, free!
But first, a small request: if you are a drinks writer who has written/published a book, would you mind filling out a quick survey? Friends of SPN Emma Janzen and Evan Rail are putting together some data on book deal transparency and want to know what you made (or did not make) off that book! The book could have been about cocktails, spirits, wine, beer, NA drinks, cider, tea, whatever—if your book’s subject matter is a liquid, they want to hear about it. Results are anonymous, of course, and you can give them as much or as little info as you like. You can see preliminary results here.
Okay enough of that! Today we are talking about FRUIT and FREEZERS and PROJECT COOKING and MY BOYFRIEND THINKS HE’S CUTE (I mean he is cute but also he tried a thing here)! I’d love to hear what other books you’d recommend to folks in the comments (commenting is another perk of paid subscription!) so get to it.
I would love to see cookbooks about working with fruit. We’re forgoing dessert for awhile and eating fruit instead. I always scoffed at “fruit for dessert,” but it is of course delicious. I’d just love to be more creative with it!
Well you sure picked a good time of year for it! I’m not really sure if these all count as ummmm forgoing dessert but I’ll do what I can. First of all, I love Nicole Rucker’s Dappled, which covers seasonal, creative riffs on baking classics. In a similar vein, you might also like Chez Panisse Fruit by Alice Waters, which I can guarantee has non-desserty fruit recipes. For a book that is as good of a read as it is for recipes, look no further than The Book of Difficult Fruit by Kate Lebo. The Cardamom Trail by Chetna Makan offers plenty of fruit recipes complimented by the flavors of Indian cuisine. And finally, if you’re in more of a preservation mood, It Starts With Fruit by Jordan Champagne has you covered.
Do you have any favorite "big complicated projects" cookbooks? Scenario: it's someone's birthday or anniversary or a really boring weekend with miserable weather, and it sounds fun to spend 5 hours in the kitchen. What cookbook(s) do you turn to? (One that comes to my mind is Dishoom [by Shamil Thakrar, Kavi Thakrar, and Naved Nasir.)
DO I EVER. This is honestly one of my favorite categories of cookbook. So! First of all, I too love Dishoom for this purpose (but if that description is scaring any readers from checking it out, know there are simple recipes in it as well). The DIY Cook by Tim Hayward is another favorite, with each chapter centered around one type of project-y dish (cassoulet, banh mi) and variations on said dish from around the world. Soul by Todd Richards is a chef’s look at Black Southern cooking, and a great way to use up all kinds of summer produce in elaborate, restaurant-level dishes (though this is another one that has simple stuff in it alongside the projects). When colder weather hits, I like Madeleine Kamman’s Savoie for intense, elaborate, dairy-laden, layered potato dishes that need to bake for hours (plus it’s the only cookbook i know of that starts with a geology lesson). And finally, for when nothing but a mole and handmade tortillas will do, it’s gotta be Patricia Quintana’s The Taste of Mexico.
I would love English Laotian cookbook recommendations if you know of any other than the ones I have which are, Hawker Fare, Phia Sing’s books, the Boat Landing cookbook, and Austin Bush’s Food of Northern Thailand (not Laos but bordering).
I am including this question because the answer is NOPE. Which is a shame, because Laotian food is so, so, so delicious. If any publishers/editors out there are interested in publishing more Laotian cookbooks, me and this reader are ready and waiting to read them. Some of these, like Food From Northern Laos: The Boat Landing Cookbook, are out of print and quite expensive. (I miiiiight have some ideas for you on who could write it.)(Not me, if that wasn’t obvious.) And for readers, LW’s list is a pretty good place to start learning about Laotian food.
What cookbooks do you buy for a person who has all the cookbooks? Do they even want cookbooks?
This one is from my partner Raphael. The answer is: please do not buy me cookbooks UNLESS they are somehow weird or rare or unusual or I have said I wanted them in the past. (After receiving this email, I asked him to buy me this cookbook, and he did. Thanks Raphael!)
Is there a 'good' cookbook that not only offers terrific recipes but also tells you HOW to freeze/ thaw/ reheat, maybe two portions?
Books on ‘how to freeze stuff’…I would suppose that many of your readers already know about 'freezing' and I could be in the minority.
Got two questions about freezer cookbooks, so you are obviously not alone! First of all, old standby The Joy of Cooking is newly updated and has a bunch of information on freezing (and, um, everything else). It’s Always Freezer Season by Ashley Christensen and Kaitlyn Goalen is a great guide to using your freezer as a pantry, as is Modern Freezer Meals by Ali Rosen. Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love by Noor Murad and Yotam Ottolenghi is fun book on pantry cooking and covers freezer strategy. And finally, I love Julia Turshen’s Now & Again for a fresh look at making leftovers on purpose, and how to repurpose them.
Okay that’s all for today! If I didn’t answer your question, it’s because I’m saving it for another round later this summer. Paid subscribers, see you tomorrow for your regularly-scheduled cookbook news-a-thon.