This year, 2015, has seen a constant flow of excellent, exciting cookbooks in all possible flavors. There surely are books that you want for yourself or perhaps to share as holiday gifts.
I've written over 200 cookbook reviews this year, some here at Huffington and more over at Suzi's Blog over at Cooking by Book. That includes 50 Throwback Thursday reviews where I spotlight books from a decade or more ago -- books still very much deserving to be remembered and opened in your kitchen.
For those 150 new books, there has been great diversity and high quality. Here's my selection of the Dozen Best for 2015. Oh, yes, I wrote the reviews in 2015 but some of the books were first published in late 2014. Think of my idea of "2015" as being "expanded." The last few months of 2014 saw some of the greatest books in a decade. You don't want to miss out.
Here's your dozen best.
Saveur magazine is distinguished for its world view and quality. The Saveur Cookbook lives up to that reputation. You have opened your refrigerator and you are holding something in your hand and you don't know what to do? Open up this book for an exceptional inventory of ideas.
Shrubs by Michael Dietsch introduced us to the power of fruit + sugar + vinegar to power a new direction and dimension in cocktails. All our wine and cocktail delights depend on alcohol and alcohol is created by yeast. Proof by Adam Rogers is the clever story of yeast and all those chemical processes we have devised to exploit it. The book is written for humans, not just chemists.
Hot and tropical seem to be on our minds at almost every meal. In The Cuban Table, Ana Sofia Pelaez proves that exceptional cuisine can come from modest sources. Creativity always wins over wealth. Eat Mexico by Lesley Tellez takes you into the back street markets and restaurants of Mexico City for recipes that are vibrant and colorful. And Enchiladas by Cappy Lawton and Chris Waters Dunn may just have you swearing off fast food pit stops in favor of elevating this ultimate comfort food right in your kitchen.
Duck and Waffle by Daniel Doherty displays the wonders of his 24/7 skyscraper restaurant in The City in London. Imagination is ever on display, as in Cornish Pollock Fishballs with Lobster Cream and Parmesan. The Nordic Cook Book by Magnus Nilsson is an epic survey of centuries of cuisine fashioned both by people and by the geography and climate of a beautiful but harsh land.
Not all of us eat meat, or admit we do. The best "meat book" in a decade is Meat by Pat LaFreida. You'll find both recipes and very detailed explanations of animal anatomy that will make you a junior butcher. And Wicked Good Burgers is a paean to this American comfort food that can be, that deserves to be, powerfully delightful.
Did you know that there really is an 11th Commandment: Thou Shalt Serve Dessert? In The Baking Bible, Rose Levy Beranbaum provides a new round of dessert perfection. In another dimension, Dorie Greenspan has authored Baking Chez Moi. Here you find the actual desserts made at home throughout France. This is a cookbook and a culinary anthropology at its sweetest. And lastly, but oh so far from last, Abigail Johnson Dodge has written The Everyday Baker. If you cannot spend a couple of years at the CIA learning to bake, you can buy this book and earn your Masters in Desserts. Or maybe, that Ph.D.
Any of these books will delight you. If you do happen to assemble them all, you are set for a long, long winter.
For many more cookbook reviews and hundreds of excellent recipes, please visit Suzi's Blog at www.cookingbythebook.com. While you are there, you can learn how we use the kitchen for culinary teambuilding.