There always seems to be a rush of products released in the months before the holidays. Cookbooks are no different. In what seems like a slowly sinking market for print books, cookbooks remain one of printings strongholds. According to the NPD Research, Inc., the rise in cookbook sales coincides with more people taking up cooking at home.

Now more than ever, cookbooks have gone beyond recipes, embracing entire cultures, lifestyles and narratives that make each book a lot more than just a collection of recipes. And you can bet that most modern cookbooks are laden with glossy, high resolution photos of dishes pre- and post-cooking. We have come a long way since the black and white sketches that appeared in seminal cookbooks like The Joy of Cooking. In many cases, cookbooks are as fun to look at as they are to read, and are left to simmer on coffee tables as often as they are taken into the kitchen.

Of course, any cookbook worth its salt has to provide delicious recipes to truly be a hit. The following list has all those features in abundance. Best of all, they provide a snapshot of both the old and new of American cuisine. These cookbooks reflect the diversifying palate of America, looking back on tradition as much as they are embracing new ones.


Sababa: Fresh, Sunny Flavors From My Israeli Kichen

By: Adeena Sussman

Price: $35

Full disclosure, Blue Lifestyle was sent a copy of this remarkable cookbook, and it has barely left the kitchen since! The recipes and stories inside Sussman’s book will capture both your taste-buds and imagination. This cookbook is filled with hits, from ridiculously good tahini-glazed carrots, to lamb marinated in a combination of green chile, cardamom and cilantro sauce. Sussman takes you on her herbacious personal journeys through Tel Aviv, giving the reader a new perspective into Israeli cuisine.


South: Essential Recipes and New Explorations

By: Sean Brock

Price: $40

Chef Sean Brock takes a wide-angle view of Southern Cuisine in latest cookbook, drawing inspiration from the foothills of the Appalachians, to the Gulf coast. These chef driven recipes can sometimes take a while to prepare, but the pay-off is worth it. Inside, readers will find recipes for classic Southern dishes like banana pudding, as well as innovative recipes drawing on ingredients often overlooked, such as the native pawpaw. And while you are waiting patiently for your recipes to come good, you can try quick and easy preparations like the pan-seared chicken breast with black pepper and peanut butter gravy (just the right amount of weird and delicious). South is pushing the boundaries of modern Southern cuisine, drawing from the South’s deep roots as much as it is looking toward the future.


Amá: A Modern Tex-Mex Kitchen

By: Josef Centeno’s

Price: $29.95

Some people have said Tex-Mex is due for America’s next great food revival. The cuisine is gaining traction beyond the Southwest’s borders. Chef Josef Centeno’s Southern California Tex-Mex cuisine, now available for home cooks with the release of his cookbook Amá, is a great example. You can find cashew based “queso” that will fool even the most stringent of non-vegans, as well as more intimate dishes inspired from family experiences, like a broiled grapefruit topped with butter and piloncillo sugar. A transplant from San Antonio, Centeno shows how location can blur the edges of any food-genre, even one with a name as location specific as Tex-Mex.


Maangchi’s Big Book of Korean Cooking: From Everyday Meals to Celebration Cuisine

By: Maangchi with Martha Rose Shulman

Price: $35

Youtube sensation Maangchi has released a new cookbook focused on bringing the full diversity of Korean cuisine into your home. The book has recipes to fit any mood or palate, with dishes for vegetables, meat, fish and (of course) a whole chapter dedicated to that fermented wonder — kim chi. The book even has  a whole chapter dedicated to vegan Korean Buddhist Temple cuisine. The variety and sheer deliciousness of the recipes will keep you coming back for more. This the perfect cookbook to get in advance of the holidays. What better way to break up the stuffing/gravy/cranberry sauce hegemony that takes over every holiday season than some tteokbakki! Good eats, that.


By Aldo Moreno

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