There are so many new cookbooks coming out this fall we’ll still be working our way out of the pile come spring. It helps to organize things a little, so we’ve been splitting titles up into various categories (best new baking books, best new healthy cookbooks, the ones that seem especially well suited to weeknight cooking…). And in that spirit of narrowing things down, these are some of the regional and cultural cookbooks we’re most looking forward to this autumn.
“The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery” by T. J. Smith, $37.95 on Amazon
Publish Date: September 2, 2019
As a child, I cherished my incomplete set of “Foxfire” books and was especially fascinated by the sections on how to turn a hog into everything from pork chops to souse meat, so am personally thrilled about this update to the classic Appalachian cookbook. It details aspects of raising, foraging, processing, cooking, and preserving food both animal and vegetable, both cultivated and wild, and is a worthy read even if you don’t aim to smoke your own sausage or cook on a woodstove. To give you some idea of the contents, just look at the evocative chapter listings: The Hearth; The Garden; The Springhouse; The Pasture; The Smokehouse; The Woods; The River; The Gristmill; The Syrup Shed; and The Table. Many of the old-school techniques and hyper-local ingredients in these pages (ramps being a prime example) have become popular to the point of fetishization in cheffy circles, but making use of everything at hand was once the only way to survive—and like all the “Foxfire” books, this is a fascinating look at a traditional way of life that also happens to produce great food. As the book is largely written in the form of individual narration from residents of the area, it’s a wonderful read, not just an instruction manual—though you can certainly use it that way too, for everything from potatoes and cornbread cooked in a Dutch oven to popcorn balls glued together with homemade syrup.Buy Now
“The Jewish Cookbook” by Leah Koenig, $36.13 on Amazon
Publish Date: September 11, 2019
Hear the words Jewish food and you may immediately picture certain dishes (latkes, for instance), but the food of the disapora encompasses a vast range of global ingredients and traditions and is still evolving today; it could be thought of as one of the original fusion cuisines. In this cookbook, Leah Koenig collects an astonishing amount of diverse recipes, from holiday foods to everyday dishes influenced by the techniques, traditions, and ingredients of the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa (and everywhere else Jews have called home)—plus modern interpretations of Jewish classics by celebrated chefs like Yotam Ottolenghi and Michael Solomonov. So you’ll find knishes and kugelhopf, which may be familiar, and other dishes that will become old favorites, like a pasta slow-cooked with chicken, onions, eggs, and cardamom (an Israeli recipe called hamin macaroni).Buy Now
“South: Essential Recipes and New Explorations” by Sean Brock, $28 on Amazon
Publish Date: October 15, 2019
Appalachian native and acclaimed chef Sean Brock has become pretty much synonymous with Southern food, and his “Heritage” cookbook won a James Beard Award (among many other accolades), so this is poised to be a legitimately revered tome. A loving ode to the South’s cuisine, it covers all the key ingredients (grits, okra), techniques (frying, hearth cooking), and recipes (fried green tomatoes, smoked baby back ribs), plus essential knowledge like how to properly care for your cast iron cookware—which you’ll be using a lot when you cook from this book, whether you’re frying chicken or making perfect cornbread. Read an excerpt and get an authentic shrimp and grits recipe from the book.Buy Now
“The Saltwater Table: Recipes from the Coastal South” by Whitney Otawka, $28 on Amazon
Publish Date: October 22, 2019
Yes, another Southern cookbook, but you can’t have too many, and this one focuses on coastal Georgia, which is where chef and author Whitney Otawka runs the restaurant at the Greyfield inn. As you might expect, there’s a lot of delicious seafood in these pages, but also an emphasis on fresh vegetables and other local ingredients. You’ll be all set to pull off Southern feasts for a crowd (whether a Low Country boil, oyster roast, or fish fry), or make smaller scale meals like beer-poached shrimp with citrus and bay leaves; fish, shrimp, and grits; and crispy okra and tomato salad. There are also great baked goods from flaky biscuits with ginger jam to a peach upside down cake you’ll want to earmark for next summer.Buy Now
“Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African-American Cooking” by Toni Tipton-Martin, $31.50 on Amazon
Publish Date: November 5, 2019
Soul food is only one facet of traditional African-American cooking, and the contributions of black chefs and cooks to American cuisine at large has been underappreciated for generations. Toni Tipton-Martin started exploring the subject in the James Beard Award-winning “The Jemima Code” and continues in this book, which draws on three centuries’ worth of black-authored cookbooks and other historic texts. In addition to exploring the many ways in which contemporary American cuisine was shaped by African-Americans (including both enslaved chefs and free black caterers and cooks), there are plenty of recipes you’ll want to make (think Sweet Potato Biscuits with Ham; Whiskey Pecan Pie; and Creole Bread Pudding)—and appreciate even more knowing where they came from. In the manner of all the best cookbooks, this one isn’t just for feeding your stomach, though it definitely will do that handily too.Buy Now
“Feast of the Seven Fishes: A Brooklyn Italian’s Recipes Celebrating Food and Family” by Daniel Paterna, $39.95 on Amazon
Publish Date: November 5, 2019
Veering away from the South, we land in Brooklyn, home to robust Italian-American communities since the late 19th century. Daniel Paterna, a second-generation Italian-American from Bensonhurst (still a big Italian enclave) shares not only fantastic family recipes like traditional stuffed calamari, fried peppers with salt cod, beefsteak with tomatoes, mint and zucchini salad, and marinara sauced crab, but the stories and histories of his family and fellow Italian-Americans through three generations in New York. This is as much memoir as it is cookbook, and sounds like the perfect way to pass a chilly evening (preferably with a big bowl of pasta and a big glass of wine on the side).Buy Now
Check out our full list of the best cookbooks for fall 2019.
Which one are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments!