Some Cookbooks I’m Loving Lately

October 2, 2010(updated on October 3, 2018)

stack of recent cookbook favorites

I’m nearly out of empty jars, and other than a small pile green tomatoes waiting to be pickled, I’m currently free from a canning project pile-up. While I look around for my next burst of canning inspiration, I thought I’d tell you some of the cookbooks I’ve been enjoying recently (because one cannot live by canned goods alone). These are the books I’ve been turning to lately for mealtime inspiration as well as general reading material (what? Doesn’t everyone read cookbooks for fun?).

Interior page from Canal House Cooking #4

I am completely enamored of the Canal House Cookbook series. If it hasn’t yet crossed your path, it is half cookbook, half tri-yearly food magazine. Pictured above is a two-page spread from their fourth edition, which shipped earlier this summer. This one contains a slew of summer and early fall recipes. I’m already beginning to reference volume 2, which was the fall and holiday edition from last year.

Interior page from Canal House Cooking #4

I’m particularly fond of this page, which offers a number of compound butters. They are such great ways to totally change the a dish and I never remember to use them. I’m trying to change my ways, though. I’m anxiously awaiting this year’s fall and holiday edition of Canal House.

Interior page from Canning for a New Generation

I do love a canning cookbook that includes some recipes for how to use the contents of those gleaming jars that you’ve so carefully put up. Liana Krissoff’s Canning for a New Generation does just that, making it a really good year-round book for the home canner (if you’re a preserver, consider adding this one to your holiday wish list).

The Meatlover's Meatless Cookbook

I’ve known Kim O’Donnel virtually for more than four years now, but I only met her in person on Wednesday night. Happily, her brand new book The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook is just as wonderful as she is. I’ve been getting increasingly concerned about ensuring that I’m eating more vegetables and less meat, and so I’m looking forward to using this book to do just that.

interior photo page from The Meat Lover's Meatless Cookbook

The photos in this book are also completely stunning. Look at that spread up there! I want to climb right into the scene. While I can’t do that, will be sharing my love for this book by giving a copy to my meat-ambivalent sister for Christmas (I hope she’s not reading this).

Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef

So here’s the thing about Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef. It’s beautiful. The recipes, while completely free of gluten, don’t have that sense that they’re trying to cover up for a missing ingredient. The entire book is filled with lovely, joyful food. It’s a volume for everyone, not just people who need to avoid gluten.

interior page from Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef

I have two neck pumpkins in my apartment right now (neck pumpkins are grown a lot in Pennsylvania and look like huge, overgrown butternut squash) and so I’ve flagged this pumpkin soup recipe as one to make in the next few days. I love that soup season has arrived!

Nuts in the Kitchen

I picked up Nuts in the Kitchen at The Strand when Scott and I were in New York back in August. I bought it strictly because I’ve loved the cookbooks that Susan Herrmann Loomis wrote in the past and so figured I’d like this one too. Happily, it was a good gamble. I’ve yet to actually cook from it, but I’ve been marking pages as if sticky notes grew on trees.

interior page from Time for Dinner

I’ve been reading the blog Dinner: A Love Story for months now (although the site seems to be down right now). It’s written by one of the former Cookie Magazine editor Jenny Rosenstrach and it’s one of my current favorites. While still with Cookie, Jenny wrote a book with two of her fellow editors called Time for Dinner. I resisted buying for a while, trying to convince myself that my cookbook shelves were overstuffed enough, but recently, I succumbed. Though it’s designed to provide dinnertime back-up for parents, it’s also a lovely source of inspiration for those of us who’ve yet to reproduce as well.

And, for those of you who are in the habit of pressure canning chicken stock (truly, it changed my life), the above recipe would take all of ten minutes to make and serve up. The best kind of fast food, if you ask me.

interior page from The Wild Table

The Wild Table by Connie Green is a book that doesn’t actually come out for a few more weeks now. An review copy of it landed in my mailbox late last week, and I fell for it fast and hard. It’s a big, beautiful book with loads of glossy-but-rustic photos of foraged ingredients and the many wonderful things that can be made from them.

Now, living in the city, it’s not always easy to do much foraging. In that way, this is more of an aspirational book for me than an inspirational one. And I’m okay with that.

interior page from Sarabeth's Bakery

This is another book that came to me by way of a publisher’s PR company. Called Sarabeth’s Bakery: From My Hands to Yours, it’s written by Sarabeth Levine, the woman behind the nearly ubiquitous line of homemade-style preserves. She’s also got a charming bakery in New York’s Chelsea Market (but I learned from the book that she got her start by making an orange-apricot marmalade). It’s a hefty tome, mostly filled with recipes for baked goods (as one might expect).

Of course, the section that appeals to me most is the one near the back that offers up some of Sarabeth’s famous spreadable fruits. It’s not an extensive canning section, but adds a nice counterpoint to all the baked goods. This is another one that would make a good holiday gift, should you have someone on your list who deserves a gorgeous baking book.

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21 thoughts on "Some Cookbooks I’m Loving Lately"

  • My husband came across one of our friends foraging in our city for fruit from the fruit trees that, apparently, grow here. I never knew! I want to look around more.

    I’m very interested in the Time for Dinner book. Thanks for the lovely review of cookbooks. I absolutely do read cookbooks for pleasure and inspiration. I just can’t do it when I’m hungry. ha.

  • I have to find that nuts in the kitchen book. Looks interesting.

    What I’ve been cooking out of/using as inspiration lately: Heirloom Beans by Steve Sando. I’m also reading (because yes, I read cookbooks!) The Home Creamery. I will make something out of it, I just haven’t gotten there yet 🙂

    I use sticky notes too.

  • Yumm, they all look fantastic! I’m always thrilled with the quality of photography in modern cookbooks. We really do eat with our eyes, and it’s hard for me to get excited about a recipe when I can’t see a finished result infront of me. (Oh, and it’s breakfast time for me, so I was reading this and wanting to grab that baguette right off the page…)

    …though I did have to look up what a “neck” squash is. Turns out that in Australia, we call them trombone. Heh.

    I tend to read blogs while I’m eating, simply because I’m living in another country for a year and don’t have my stash of cookbooks with me. Can’t wait to get home and rifle through all the pages while I have my coffee… 🙂

  • Ohh, I love to see what cookbooks other people are reading! I made many recipes from Cookie magazine before it closed shop and found them pretty successful. I’m going to add these to my list – thanks!

  • I think I know what I am asking for, for Christmas! That veggie cookbook looks like just the thing to ensure we eat more veggies in creative ways.

  • I am obsessed with Canning for a New Generation. I made the “North Indian Carrot Pickle” yesterday, and even though I’m supposed to wait four days for it to cure I tried it last night. Packs QUITE a punch but it was really good with our dal and naan and yogurt dinner.

  • How lovely! I definitely read cookbooks for fun – my favorites are like comfort food for my spirit and mind 🙂 I’m definitely adding “Canning for a New Generation” to my Christmas list!

    All these books look amazing, though I have had to draw my own line in the sand/bookshelf to keep my collection from getting out of control. Before I get a new book, I have to pick one to give away!

  • I also read cookbooks for fun and right now the cookbook I’m loving is called Cooking from the Garden. I love that it doesn’t have photographs but has wonderful illustrations instead. I’m def curious about the vegetarian cookbook even though we eat a lot of veg already at home.

  • I recently got Canning for a New Generation and can attest to its worthiness. I love it. Seasonally sectioned, it gives both recipes for canning, and what to do with them when they are out of the jar. I like that a lot.

  • Ohmigosh — you are dangerous! I already one-clicked the Canning for a New Generation and it will be here before the weekend — who can wait for Christmas?

  • I bought Canning for a New Generation a few months ago and I love it. I love the little anecdotes she includes and the ideas for how to use the preserved foods. Everything I’ve made from the book have tasted great.

  • Isn’t Canal House magical? Just picked up my first copy (Anthropologie, 3rd ed., on sale, $9.95. FYI!) and I’d like to climb between the covers and sleep there, awhile. Between meals, of course.

    Some of these are new to me, thanks for the grand round-up.

  • I have Canning for a New Generation and just adore it! The pictures are drool-worthy, and I love her approach to canning. It’s become my go-to canning book!

  • Oh my another canning website.I can read about canning 24-7. Just wanted to comment if you want to add another book to peruse when you have time I’ve found a good read in a book called ” My Favorite Ingredients” by Skye Gyngell. I’ve really enjoyed going thru it a few pages at a time. I have all but 2 of the cookbooks you’ve mentioned above and adore them all. I love to sit & peel fruits whilst listening to Thistle & Shamrock on NPR or Prairie Home Companion. Being a misplaced Minnesotan, that last show makes me so homesick at times I have to just grin and bear it-) I’m canning over 300+ Bartlett’s today. Made sliced, spiced, diced w/cinnamon & now making a batch of chutney. After that will be a savory batch w/peppercorns,sage,honey & ??? Haven’t decided yet-goes lovely with lamb & goose tho. I’ve been canning for 40+ years now, am a master gardener, 4H judge,& my hubby & I grow all our own fruits except bananas-) We’ve got apples, pears, sour cherries, peaches, Concord grapes, straw-, blue-, rasp-, and blackberries as well as a large veggie and herb garden. Oh yes & I’ve got a potted Meyer Lemon tree! I’m so thankful to know there are others out there who consider canning/preserving to be such an integral part of their lives. Thanks for fun reading-)

  • After reading your post I have a new book wish list. One of my new favorites is Williams-Sonoma: The Art of Preserving. Gorgeous pictures and great recipe to go along with preserves.


  • I love gooseneck pumpkins! We bought one at the orchard a couple weeks ago. It makes a lovely decoration until my mom turns it into a couple pies. The meatless book looks fantastic. I’d love to cut some meat out of my diet (and my husband’s) so I’ll look into it!