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C100B Cookbook Round-Up

Our editors and contributors highlight the latest top culinary guides.


Nathan Myhrvold and Francisco
Migoya, The Cooking Lab, $535Not content to rest on their laurels after changing the way the world’s best chefs cooked everything after the release, in 2011, of Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking, Myhrvold and his modernist-cuisine team have been getting specific. After that first self-published, US$625 boxed set, which sold 200,000-plus copies, came Modernist Bread. And now, the team has given the modernist treatment to the world’s favourite food, pizza. The new, three-volume (plus kitchen manual) boxed set packs everything you’d ever want to know about pizza (and plenty more) into some 1,700 pages, provides more than 1,000 recipes, contains 3,700 photographs and weighs 16 kilograms — the rough equivalent of how much pizza the average American consumes monthly. —STAFF


Michael Smith
Penguin Canada, $40Equal parts manifesto fêting the joys of “culinary farming” and “live-fire cooking” practised at P.E.I.’s gourmand Inn at Bay Fortune and handy souvenir of same, Farm, Fire & Feast features recipes by renowned chef and author Michael Smith, created in his role as proprietor of the Inn. As Smith explains in his intro, the Inn works in tandem with — and in support of — local bounty and suppliers, all of which is admirable and reads deliciously. While some dishes are scaled large and are more complex than the home chef might be used to, many are divine and doable, including a recipe for garlic-garlanded Hasselback Potatoes with Green Cream. But for farm-fresh, flame-obsessed fans, this book is gold. —KIM HUGHES


Lori McCarthy and Marsha Tulk
Boulder Publications, $39.95Part scrapbook, part cookbook, Food, Culture, Place is more outdoor adventure than tutorial — a love letter to the foodways and rural culture of the authors’ beloved Newfoundland. Chef Lori McCarthy of food-experience tourism company Cod Sounds alongside recipe developer and photographer Marsha Tulk have a story for every meal here. The book is organized by season, showcasing ways to eat wild game and fish throughout the year. Expect a mix of imagery — styled dishes, raw ingredients, landscapes and how-to panels. Rubber-boots-on-the-ground candids of hunting and fishing, planting and picking, pickling and preserving, and cooking on open fires are contrasted with black-and-white memories of long-deceased relatives doing the same. Eating wild is how they grew up, and this ode to wild tastes is their way to keep traditions of Newfoundland food alive. —DOUG WALLACE


Virgilio Martinez (author), Nicholas Gill (contributor)
Phaidon Press, $59.35Phaidon’s hefty new title, The Latin American Cookbook, is a blend of history lessons and dinner-party inspiration. Virgilio Martinez and Nicholas Gill have accumulated an impressive collection of recipes by travelling this vast region and learning first-hand from the people who cook these dishes every day. As Martinez reminds us in the foreword, “No matter where you are, you are eating Latin American on a daily basis, whether you realize it or not.” Latin America has become the world’s pantry, with native ingredients like potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and corn filling plates the world over. Keep reading and you’ll find recipes for dishes you’ll recognize — arepas, tacos and tamales — as well as more obscure dishes using local meats and insects. There are history lessons, too. To wit: Uruguay’s pie-sized tuna empanadas are as close as you’re going to get to the ones made by Galician immigrants in the 1800s. —MAIA FILAR


Noor Murad and Yotam Ottolenghi
Appetite by Random House, $37.50Consistently mixing unexpected flavours to achieve shockingly good, primarily vegetarian results, Yotam Ottolenghi and his team take their recipes more mainstream with this book, using fewer ingredients and, what’s more important, ingredients you may already have on hand. That said, be prepared to zing them up the Ottolenghi way with “staples” such as tahini, za’atar, rose harissa and black lime. Co-written by Noor Murad — head of the test kitchen’s London-based team — OTK contains sections on the pantry and the vegetable drawer, dressing up cupboard basics and accessible vegetables until you barely recognize them, along with an out-of-character chapter on one-pan suppers and another showcasing frozen vegetables, pastry, fish and fruit. Little sidebars tell you how to switch up the recipes to satisfy your own tastes. And kudos for encouraging the use of leftovers here, too — inspired home cooking doesn’t have to start from scratch. If the previous book, Flavor, possibly, went over the heads of many a home cook, this one will make you more familiar with your kitchen cupboards than you already are. —D.W.


Bertrand Grébaut and Théophile Pourriat, with Benoît Cohen
Phaidon Press, $79.95A decade ago, when chef Bertrand Grébaut and Théophile Pourriat launched Septime, the culinary thinking behind the little restaurant on rue de Charonne in the 11th arrondissement of Paris was revolutionary. All wines served were low-intervention. And the food was presented to be the same — no fuss in the plating or presentation, while the complex techniques used in their preparation were discreet, rather than showy. But over the intervening years, this unfussy showcase for the best French producers evolved from iconoclastic to iconic. Just a month before publication of this, their long-awaited first book, Septime landed at number 24 this year on the acclaimed World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. It was one of just three French restaurants to make the top 50 (and was outranked only by Arpège, whose chef, Alain Passard, penned a short introduction for this tome). Septime has also begat three sister restaurants — the neighbouring wine bar La Cave, which serves cheese, charcuterie and sundry small plates; the more internationally accented seafood restaurant Clamato; and the country farmhouse restaurant and inn, D’une île. This typically beautiful cookbook from Phaidon spans the entire journey, with captivating to best match one to the other, along with stunning photography from Alexandre Guirkinger. There are plenty of recipes from the four restaurants, some of which you might conceivably have a go at (say, D’une île’s free-range chicken baked with hay in a dough-sealed cocotte), plus many others that you shouldn’t even consider but will still enjoy reading about (like Septime’s jugged Chausey lobster with civet sauce, fermented berries and dried beef). The Bloody Caesar from Clamato’s cocktail list might inspire some patriotic pride. —STAFF


Edited by Bryant Terry
Potter/Ten Speed Press/Harmony, $54Black Food is the collection of recipes and knowledge that I have been hoping for — the telling of a story of nuance, struggle and celebration that teaches while it feeds. From the table of contents, one sees that there is a range of stories being told. Editor Bryant Terry uses time, storytelling and flavour to thread vastly diverse Black voices together. For my Thanksgiving table, I made the buttermilk biscuits from the Spirit section and the sweet potato pie from the Migration chapter. The biscuits were exactly that perfect flaky tenderness that I have heard described so often, and the pie was smooth and more subtle than I imagined it would be. Both were delicious and left me feeling connected to the land around me here, so many latitude degrees north. —JOSHNA MAHARAJ


Lynn Crawford and Lora Kirk
Penguin Canada, $40While Lynn Crawford and Lora Kirk’s more than 140 recipes often add a twist to classics — say, a punch-up sauce or an exotic spice — they’re all family-friendly, ranging from simple but flavour-packed comfort food, like spaghettini with fontina and black truffle, to recipes that are a tad challenging for the home cook, such as the multi-ingredient chilies rellenos with two salsas. The numerous side dishes are easy to make but bountiful in flavour, such as blistered beans and Moroccan couscous. Those with a sweet tooth will love the Dessert section, which features the likes of coconut cream pie. The Pantry section is a treasure trove of insider tricks for making the best stocks, sauces, spice blends, dressings, marinades and flavour boosters. Anyone who wants their meals to pop will love this book. —MARGARET SWAINE


Priya Rao and Jennifer Huether
E-book, $15.95; hard copy, $29.95 (available at select locations)Part of Canada’s first wave of Master Sommeliers, Jennifer Huether has been exploring the sustainable aspects of wine for years, from organics and biodynamics to low-intervention and all the other currently hip and trendy topics. The Social Herbivore — purported to be the world’s first book on how to match plant-based food with wine — is a basic introduction aimed at an entry-level vegan wine fan. (That is, a vegan who’s a fan of wine, not a fan of vegan wine — big difference.) The 40 recipes by Priya Rao — who is not a chef but “a very good cook who loves to entertain” — are straightforward riffs on simple dishes like crab cakes (made with chickpeas, hearts of palm, artichokes and nori), fall harvest moussaka and green soba salad. Huether’s wine suggestions read like mini lessons in the art of pairing in general, and they are smart and inspiring, never mind the level of consciousness of the protein. —DICK SNYDER


Gísli Matt (author) and Nicholas Gill (contributor)
Phaidon Press, $79.95This enticing book’s narrative is focused on a specific geographic place and a family who lives there, highlighting the deep connection that chef Gísli Matt and his family have to their tiny Icelandic home. I have a hard time finding a dish to try, as the recipes are filled with Icelandic ingredients, but I am captivated, imagining the smell of the ocean and wondering what it’s like to live beside an active volcano. Matt has so brilliantly found a way to use this heat for an Icelandic barbecue in kelp and the warm soil of the volcano. In this same spirit, he makes a rye bread that his mother cooks, low and slow, in the volcanic soil. I don’t have an active volcano, but my oven has been on low for the past 11 hours as I attempt to recreate those circumstances, salivating with anticipation. —J.M.

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