Most people post this kind of cookbook round-up at the end of December or at the very beginning of January. Makes a whole lot of sense doing it then, too. It’s a nice way to recall a year’s worth of books and set the slate clean for the new year. Sadly, I didn’t get to it at the end of December, or even the beginning of January. I could have given up, but I really wanted to revisit these titles. So here we are. A 2015 list at the start of February. Better than not at all.
Before I get to the books, I want to take a moment to talk about a trend I’m seeing. It used to be that a preserving book was just a preserving book. But as canning and fermenting begin to play a larger and larger role in our culture, I’m seeing a number of books out there that aren’t preserving books, but do contain a strong thread of jamming, pickling, or from-scratch condiment making. So much so that I struggled a little with the books to include in this stack. So consider this an imperfect, slightly subjective collection.
The Canning Kitchen – Written by Canadian blogger Amy Bronee, this lovely little book contains both classic preserves and really nice twists on traditional recipes. The chutney section is particularly inspired.
My Pantry – Alice Waters petite compendium of her favorite extracts, chutneys, whole grain items, sweet preserves, dairy items, and simple cured meats. I have her Salt-Preserved Kumquats on my to-do list for this month.
Preserving – Originally published in France in 1948 under the title, Je Sais Faire les Conserves (I Know How to Make Preserves), by famed French food author Ginette Mathiot. The book has been updated and translated by author and food blogger Clothilde Dusoulier and has plenty to offer a new generation.
Brew Better Beer – I’ve never brewed beer, but this book by Emma Christensen make me want to. Easy-to-follow recipes, gorgeous photography, and lots of useful advice, this is such a useful book for people looking to explore this hobby.
The Homemade Vegan Pantry – A plant-based approach to building a from-scratch pantry by Miyoko Schinner. If you were intrigued by my soup base last week, this volume has even more to offer with easy concentrates for tomato, mushroom, and cream of broccoli.
DIY Canning – This is one of those strange author-less books we’ve been seeing lately and some of the recipes are eerily similar to those that I and other authors have published over the years. Despite that, the soups and stews section towards the back of the book is useful and worthy.
The Hands-On Home – This epic volume by Erica Strauss is far more than just a canning book. It’s a seasonal guide to home care, cooking, gardening, and preserving. It’s the perfect volume for the minimalist DIY-er.
Food Gift Love – As we all know, giving the gift of food is one of the best ways to make someone feel welcomed, comforted, or appreciated. Maggie Battista captured that sense of giving with this book and its many recipes for preserves, baked goods, flavored salts, and more.
Preservation Society Home Preserves – Written by Preservation Society founder and head preserver Camilla Wynne, this book pushes well beyond the traditional array of flavor combinations and offers recipes that are unconventional and endlessly appealing.
Preserving the Japanese Way – Written by Nancy Singleton Hachisu, a native Californian who married a Japanese farmer, this hefty book is gorgeous and comprehensive. In it, Nancy shares the traditional making and preserving skills that she’s garnered over 25 years of living in rural Japan. It’s a book that I plan to spend years exploring.
Brown Eggs and Jam Jars – This approachable book by Aimée Wimbush-Bourque bursts with delicious words, recipes, and images. The book is organized by season, and is then broken down further by the special activities that time of year contains. Lots of preserves in this one, along with other staples of a family kitchen.
New German Cooking – Penned by Jeremy and Jessica Nolen, the husband and wife team behind the Philadelphia restaurant Brauhaus Schmidt, this book is on this list for its practical collection of pickles, breads, condiments, and spreads. I’ve been meaning to make the beer mustard for ages now.
So that’s the list for 2015 (let me know if I forgot any!). Just for comparison’s sake, here’s the 2014 edition of this post. It’s interested to see the differences.