Best Cookbooks 2017

13 Jan

Better late than never, right?

These lists can be a bit silly because I obviously did not read nor cook from every cookbook released this year. I am a proud cookbook whore, however, and read and cooked from quite a few. These are the cookbooks I particularly loved this year, you can’t go wrong with any of them. 

And remember, if you are building a cookbook library, always a great thing to do, I have a good primer here: Building Your Cookbook Library Vol. 1.

On to the best… If you don’t want all five (!!!), see which food type strikes your fancy and pick that one. Or just buy:



Based on the recipes from one of Los Angeles’ most highly acclaimed restaurants, this is my cookbook of the year. From the wonderful recipes, much easier than you might expect, to the technique beautifully taught including marvelous pantry items to have in your cupboard and fridge, this is a book I will use the rest of my life. These are rustic dishes exploding with fresh vegetables and amazing flavors. Fish, chicken, beef, lamb, soup, vegetarian… the book has it all. I also love how easy the book is to use… many cookbooks have spines that make them difficult to prop open on the counter. Gjelina has a wonderful spine I wish every cookbook publisher would mimic. It easily flops open and stays open right where you want it. Read, cook and enjoy.



Heaven. I’ve written here and here about the cookbook nights my beloved friend Tiffiny and I have, where we pick a new cookbook and try a dozen or so new dishes from the one book. We did this again last summer with La Vie Rustic and the meal was out of this world. These are french inspired dishes that are remarkably simple: when Tiff and I started to go through the book to pick recipes, we were a little worried it would not end up being a stellar, showy cookbook night, given the simplicity of most of the dishes. Goodness, were we wrong. From the best pate any of us have ever had, to killer main courses and sides, this is also a book I will return to over and over. Just wonderful. 



My good friend and fellow Yogi Marc Peters (wonderful guy) lives in Portland, Oregon with his family. One one of my trips up there, he introduced me to Toro Bravo, a fabulous tapas restaurant with continual waits out the door. Damn, was that good food. Finally, the chef, John Gorham, came out with a huge, amazing cookbook filled with all the recipes from the restaurant and a ton of stories as well. If you get this, don’t be initially thrown by the first half of the book, which is all stories, no recipes. The stories are wonderful, instructive, and hilarious, and there are plenty of incredible recipes in the second half. The book, the food, the restaurant are all one hell of a party. 



Any reader of the blog knows my love for Patricia Wells, about whom I’ve written many times, including a post about how she changed my life. Here is her masterwork, a great reference book with many, many recipes both old and new. Included are a mind-blowing french fry recipe I’ll be posting about in the coming months and a no-rise pizza dough that is also out of this world. All of the recipes follow her simple, fresh approach to the best food possible. She’s a great lady and this is a great book.





For me, this probably comes in second for cookbook of the year. Wow. Incredible book. It starts with Jeremy Fox’s moving, rough, personal story, then dives into his approach to cooking, which has been lauded for years and years. An amazing reference book and teaching bible as much as it is a recipe book, it’s hard not to order you to order this book right now. He may be a Michelin starred chef but the recipes are very approachable for the home cook.

Do you have a cookbook that inspires you? Let us know in the comments!

Looking forward to another great year with all of you. I always intend to post more, then life gets the best of me. I’ll do my best and so appreciate all the faithful readers and comments. Here’s to a glorious 2018! With lots of wonderful food and films!


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