10 Cookbooks to check out while you have the time

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 25: Anthony Bourdain signs copies of his new book " Appetites: A Cookbook" at Barnes & Noble Union Square on October 25, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Debra L Rothenberg/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 25: Anthony Bourdain signs copies of his new book " Appetites: A Cookbook" at Barnes & Noble Union Square on October 25, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Debra L Rothenberg/Getty Images) /

The pandemic definitely had us staying home a tad more than perhaps even we homebodies would have liked, but we sure got to catch up on our reading, and for us foodies, what else is there to read but recipe books and cookbooks by our favorite celebrity chefs? Things haven’t returned to normal per se just yet, so we decided to take a look at 10 Cookbooks to check out while you have the time.

We decided to scour the annals of time for this one, as the classics still can’t be beat, as well as selections from the not so distant past, and interspersed are of course some new releases that are most definitely worth your time and you should definitely check out. (Basically, there are cookbooks for everyone.)

10 cookbooks you’ll want to give a read for inspiration and new meal ideas

10. Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ by Rodney Scott

Named the Best Chef Southeast by the James Beard Foundation, this man most assuredly knows how to BBQ. From Hemmingway, South Carolina, he is considered a pit master extraordinaire and for very good reason.

He learned the tricks of the trade in his family’s BBQ restaurant and those tricks are well-delivered here in this compact book, where Epicurious states that he teaches the reader how to BBQ in the 30 pages at the start of the book.

Good BBQ isn’t always easy to come by, no matter how many out there claim to be Grill Kings in their own right. In this book, he teaches those tricks that’ll garner you the respect you seek if being a pit master in your own life is something you want to achieve.

9. Cook, Eat, Repeat by Nigella Lawson

At 61 years old, Lawson has undoubtedly paid her dues in the culinary arts. Her plethora of cookbooks, TV shows and reputation speak for themselves.

In this book, Lawson unleashes a severe brand of knowledge enjoyed by only those having survived for years and years in the industry, and for the casual cook, it’s oftentimes those with the most amount of years served, that are the best teachers. In cooking, that’s usually the way it goes.

8. Impossible To Easy by Chef Robert Irvine

Speaking of paying one’s dues, Chef Robert Irvine has certainly followed suit to the classically trained chefs the world over that have worn the chef’s hat.

It was off the heels of his immense growth in popularity from being on the Food Network’s Dinner: Impossible, that he released this cookbook to some pretty serious acclaim.

The book covers classic dishes, as well as the chef’s own take on fads in the industry at the time. Specific recipes of note include: Duck Confit with Three-Bean Cassoulet, Artichoke Hearts Stuffed with Crab Salad, Veal Chops with Honey-Roasted Figs, Shrimp and Mellon Gazpacho (don’t knock it ’till you try it), Lobster Napa Cabbage Wraps, Cranberry Clafoutis (think crème caramel, but oh-so-much-more in terms of berries and not simply a caramel base), and a plethora of other dishes.

Filled throughout are also anecdotes from his time on the line and his belief on what are the better fats, acids and equipment to use in the kitchen. And coming from the likes of him, that knowledge is definitely pure gold.

7. Fit Fuel by Chef Robert Irvine

He also authored this book which came out a few years back, but it is maybe a tad more relevant nowadays, seeing that so many people couldn’t go to the gym throughout this pandemic, and eating right just makes sense when trying to diminish those inches on the old waistline.

Yet when it comes to eating healthy, Chef Irvine never sacrifices taste. He seasons appropriately and the food in the book does not disappoint if you want to bump up the weight on the bar, and take it off the scale.

6. Eat better, Feel better by Giada De Laurentiis

So to stay on the healthy kick, if you will permit us, dear readers, this book takes you down another path to health and wellness, and like with Irvine, taste is never forsaken with Giada either.

Promotions for the book state that in it Giada teaches trick on how to select the foods that will make you not only feel better, but end up with a healthy mind to boot, hence the title.

In the book, she takes the reader through a new beginning, what she calls a “3-day reboot,” and details the concepts of intermittent fasting, self-care routines and even meditating—all practices she apparently believes and practices herself.

Recipes included are: Quinoa Pancakes, Roasted Cauliflower and Baby Kale Salad, Chocolate and Orange Brown Rice Treats, as well as so many others.

Who says healthy food has gotta taste bad?

5. Fix It with Food by Michael Symon

Maybe the title says it all. Maybe Michael Symon saw the pandemic and all the plethora of problems that were unleashed unto the world as a result of it, and the sad state of affairs that were unearthed with the dawning of 2020, but according to him and in his infinite knowledge, all can be fixed with food…good food, that is.

And although this book is simply dated back two years, that doesn’t mean you can’t order a copy and start working on some of the epic recipes thought up by the Iron Chef and Cleveland-based chef and owner of Lola, now does it?

4. Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook: Strategies, Recipes, and Techniques of Classic Bistro Cooking

And talk about a fountain of knowledge. The culinary world and the writing world lost a genius when this man passed in 2018, but what he left behind was undoubtedly some of the greatest food writing (and fiction) known to man.

He inspired the likes of Chuck Palahniuk, and myself included to put pen to paper. I also just so happened to have the same part-time job as he, as I worked on my writing.

But in this cookbook, he put forth the knowledge he picked up as chef at Les Halles in New York City.

Who doesn’t like bistro food—French Bistro food? Nobody, or at least I hope nobody. There is something for everyone at a bistro and likewise in this book.

Seeing that you may have  wee bit of time, if I were you I’d also take a gander at his entire catalogue of books and cookbooks, specifically Kitchen Confidential, his tell-all bout the restaurant and food industry as a whole. Just a heads-up, dear readers, it isn’t for the faint of heart.

*See also: Appetites: A Cookbook, his only other recipe-based book to come out since the aforementioned Les Halles. In it, Bourdain featured recipes for the home cook, of course pushing the bold and adventurous tastes he showcased on his magnitude of television shows and in his writings, with recipes that were already old stand-bys of his and recipes he picked up on the road over the years.

3. Jacques Pépin Quick & Simple

Speaking of French cuisine, perhaps there’s no one who did and does it better than good old Jacques Pepin. He has the simple tactics of a French chef that made the world of French cuisine what it undoubtedly is. The book is filled with simplicity, a respect for the ingredients and an overall love that shines through every page and ingredient list.

He has an impressive bibliography as well, but this book actually came out in 2020, so it’s relatively recent. But feel free to peruse his entire list of works as well, as you won’t be disappointed.

2. Bobby Flay at Home

And yet another soothsayer amongst chefs, Tex-Mex master, Bobby Flay, another Iron Chef to make it to this list, foresaw a need for home cooks to come out of their shells and in 2019 released this golden piece of knowledge that’ll surely help you whip up some recipes, simple recipes at that, that your family will love and praise you for.

Some of the recipes included are: Spanish-style shrimp and grits, pumpkin pancakes with apple cider syrup, crispy bacon glazed with pomegranate molasses, and even some bold offerings like deviled eggs topped with fried oysters.

1. The Chef Next Door by Amanda Freitag

A regular judge on the Food Network program, Chopped, Freitag brings her knowledge to the pages of this book that’s certainly also worth your time; especially if you want to deliver that extra kick and level of experience to your next family get-together.

Freitag started her culinary career in 1989 after graduating from the CIA (the Culinary Institute of America). Since embarking on that journey, she has made stops at some of the most impressive kitchens around Europe (primarily Italy and France—specifically at  L’Arpège under renowned chef, Alain Passard) and has made quite the name for herself thereafter.

In the book, she helps the reader understand the importance of seeing that restaurant caliber meals are possible to recreate in the home kitchen.

Next. Fast Food: 10 greatest Taco Bell menu items of all-time. dark

Okay…so technically, we gave you eleven cookbooks if you count Appetites: A Cookbook by Anthony Bourdain, but we hope you’ll be inspired to read them, try the recipes and share your thoughts on how it goes, dear readers.