The Test Kitchen’s Favorite Cookbooks of 2010

stack of Cookbook
It’s been a great year for cookbooks. We asked the SAVEUR Test Kitchen staff to share the books that have inspired and excited them most in 2010. Hunter Lewis, test kitchen director, and Ben Mims, assistant test kitchen director, came up with a list of 13 favorites. Editor-in-Chief James Oseland added one to the list, too! Here are their top tomes of the year. Maxime Iattoni

Keys to Good Cooking: A Guide to Making the Best of Foods and Recipes

by Harold McGee ‘A concise, Cliffs Notes-style volume with its table of contents right on the front jacket, Keys to Good Cooking calls out quick advice in bulleted, readily digestible form…It will teach you the basics on every technique from foaming eggs to flipping crepes, and the lessons will sink in deeper because you’ll learn the simple science behind them…’ See the full review by Hunter Lewis » Amazon

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In The Kitchen With A Good Appetite

by Melissa Clark In the cookbook-ization of her recurring New York Times column of the same name, Clark shares delightful personal stories for each recipe. A pleasure to read, and to cook from. Amazon

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James Beard’s American Cookery

by James Beard, with a foreword by Tom Colicchio The reissue of this American classic is, according to Hunter Lewis, ‘A gem.’ Featuring the original text and color illustrations and a new forward by Tom Colicchio, this classic tome of James Beard’s favorite recipes deserves a place in every kitchen. Amazon

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Forgotten Skills of Cooking

by Darina Allen Inspired by the courses taught at Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery School in East Cork, Ireland, this book is a treasure trove of useful information, with over 700 authentic recipes. It’s hard not to fantasize about running away to live in the Irish countryside as you learn how to keep your own chickens, make your own butter, forage for edible plants, and bake bread. Amazon

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Ethan Stowell’s New Italian Kitchen

by Ethan Stowell From the proprietor of four hugely popular Italian-inspired restaurants in Seattle, this book is full of seasonally ingredient-driven recipes and uniquely unexpected flavor combinations. The homemade pasta recipes are particularly inspiring, and simple enough to be actually achievable at home. Recipe: Mediterranean Mussel and Chickpea Soup with Fennel and Lemon Amazon

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The Vegetarian Option

by Simon Hopkinson Vegetables take center stage in this book from the British food writer and chef, but this is not just a book for vegetarians. Hunter Lewis explains that, ‘This one rocks! Authoritative, relaxed, and really makes me want to cook.’ Amazon

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Tartine Bread

by Chad Robertson From the master baker of the Bay Area’s famed bakery Tartine comes this baking cookbook full of beautiful photos, and inspiring bread. Amazon

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Heart of the Artichoke and Other Kitchen Journeys

by David Tanis The second from Chez Panisse chef David Tanis, this book is a pleasure to read and hold. Seasonal menus are presented with simple–yet impressively sophisticated–recipes. Hunter Lewis ‘loved his first one’ and says there’s even ‘more good stuff’ in this one. Amazon

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by Diana Henry This book really ‘makes me want to cook,’ says Hunter Lewis. And with recipes that tour the world while showcasing great food food that can be created without depleting extra resources, we can all afford to cook sustainably. Amazon

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by Trish Hilferty and Tom Norrington-Davies ‘The book teaches readers how to roast wild birds like grouse and widgeon, make ragouts of venison and hare, and prepare wild boar vindaloo. (It also includes a section on cooking just-caught fish.)’ See the full review by Betsy Andrews » Amazon

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My Sweet Mexico

by Fany Gerson ‘I’ve been obsessed with Mexican sweets ever since I tasted my first pan dulce at a tiny Mexican bakery in Jackson Heights, Queens. I then went to Mexico and fell in love with the pan de muerto, the fresh churros in the markets, elaborate sugar skulls, decadent milk fudge cups studded with pecans, cajeta-drenched crepes, and simple candied pumpkin, cooked until tender in a bath of piloncillo, orange juice, and cinnamon. Seeing all these sweets in Gerson’s book given the devotion and treatment they deserve made me excited to be able to recreate them in my own kitchen.’ –Ben Mims Recipe: Flan Imposible (Impossible Chocolate Flan) Amazon

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Jamie’s America

by Jamie Oliver ‘I’ve always been a fan of Jamie Oliver and his books, and this one makes me respect him even more. Even though he wasn’t able to get to every part of America to give us a true guide to American cooking, he hits the main sectors of the country with arguably the best food traditions and presents them in their true form. It’s a book that’s worth keeping around to reacquaint ourselves with the amazing food we have in this country.’ –Ben Mims Amazon

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Farmers’ Market Desserts

by Jennie Schacht ‘This is just a great fruit dessert cookbook. All the recipes are familiar yet have just the smallest twist to make it totally standout from others like it. And the recipes don’t just incorporate the produce, they make it shine by adding just enough of other ingredients to pull a dessert together but always leaving the produce the main flavor. I’ve made dozens of recipes from the book already when I need something simple but showstopping and this book has yet to let me down.’–Ben Mims Amazon

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Thai Street Food

by David Thompson ‘David Thompson’s first book Thai Food was remarkable, but this book is even more extraordinary, because what Thompson is doing now is exposing everyone to authentic Thai cuisine by way of the country’s street food. This book is warmer, more accessible, and altogether unforgettable.’ –James Oseland Amazon

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The Essential New York Times Cookbook
The Essential New York Times Cookbook Michael Kraus

Other great books from this year:

The Essential New York Times Cookbook_ by Amanda Hesser

India Cookbook by Pushpesh Pant

The Food, Folklore, and Art of Lowcountry Cooking by Joseph Dabney

One Big Table by Molly O’Neill

High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America by Jessica B. Harris