We’re on the home stretch to the holidays, and the excellent cookbooks are filling our shelves quicker than you can say “gaeng gai sai aloo”! While there are many more on the way—and I’ll be sure to report back next month—here’s a taste of what you may want under your proverbial tree this year, if you can wait that long. If you can’t, head over to your local bookstore now and start stocking up.
Don’t forget: the books mentioned below are available at 20 percent off for tablehopper readers for two weeks following this mention at Green Apple Books—simply use the code “tablehopper” at checkout (either at the store or online) for your discount.
I’ve worked within a few blocks of Burma Superstar and Mandalay for 19 years now, and I’ve seen no reason to try to re-create their magic at home. But I’m probably not as adventuresome as you, so come check out Burma: Rivers of Flavor (after eating—or else you’ll never be able to wait for your meal). It’s 350 pages of noodles, curries, and fresh salads, all deliciously photographed to tempt you right into the kitchen.
I spent a few weeks last summer in southern Sweden (via Home Exchange, which I highly recommend as a way to travel with kids). And I fell in love with the food, enough so that I have since actually gone to Ikea for groceries only. Leagues above Ikea is Fäviken, a northern Swedish restaurant that only serves food produced on-site. How does this translate to someone without their own 20,000 acres? Well, most of the methods and recipes—for yogurt, breads, pickles, etc.—are easily reproduced by the home cook. But this book may be better for inspiration (unless you have sourced the crispy reindeer lichen).
Here’s the first book from SF’s own Charles Phan, chef-owner of The Slanted Door. The book is everything you want from a cookbook: inspiring, easy to follow, thorough, and clear. Thanks to lots of photos, succinct recipes, and a focus on technique and ingredients, Vietnamese Home Cooking makes Phan’s food truly doable for any semi-adventurous home cook.