Pete Mulvihill of Green Apple recommends

Don't forget: this book is available at 20% 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.

An easy month for the Bookworm—the A16 Food + Wine cookbook has arrived. Need I say more, or are you ready to plunk down already?

I have regrettably not yet eaten at A16, but even the most cursory glance at the pictures made me literally pick up the phone and call for a reservation (alas, it’ll be a few days yet). Oh, heavens! The food looks just like I like it: fresh and simple and divine.

Raw Zucchini Salad with Green Olives, Mint, and Pecorino: no exotic ingredients and only about 15 minutes of work? Sold.

Bruschetta with Dungeness Crab, Rapini, and Anchovy: same story—good, fresh ingredients carefully prepared to speak for themselves. Nothing complicated here.

Beyond apps, things can get more complicated. Thanks to my two-year-old twins, I won’t be oven-drying my own tomatoes for Bucatini with Oven-Dried Tomatoes, Garlic, Chiles, and Bottarga. But with a simple cheat, here’s a southern Italian summer classic in no time.

Other recipes certainly involve longer cook times (like the many braises) or more complicated techniques, especially when you get to the pork section.

For the advanced cook, there are definitely challenges herein: mixing sausage fillings and stuffing casings; cooking your own headcheese; or making Zampone, a boned pig’s foot stuffed with sausage filling—some tricky butchering work indeed, based on the 16 illustrations accompanying the instructions.

Word on the street is that the wine program at A16 is at least half the fun (and my visits to their sister restaurant SPQR confirms this—I had a fantastic bottle of a varietal that I had never heard of for something like $30). Accordingly, there’s a basic guide to southern Italian wine at the front of the book and suggested pairings throughout.

And the book’s packaging and price reflect value, too. It’s a beautiful book full of sharp photographs, and retails for only $35 (or $28 for you)—not bad at all for such a useful and lovely book.

I think this is the best cookbook we’ve received this year. Enjoy!

Thanks for reading.