Epicurious's 10 Best Cookbooks of 2008

There's Gourmet magazine. They choose the best cookbooks every year. There's also Bon Appetit. And they also choose the best cookbooks every year. And then, just to make it really hard to keep up, the two magazines join forces online as Epicurious.com and chose yet another list of the best cookbooks of the year. Got that? Good. I'm exhausted. Anyone want to make me an omelette?

 

Fish Without a Doubt: The Cook's Essential Companion (Best Overall)

by Roy Finamore, Rick Moonen

Long an advocate of sustainable seafood, trust chef/restaurateur Rick Moonen to navigate you through the confusion you find in today's fish store.

 

Eat Feed Autumn Winter: 30 Ways to Celebrate When the Mercury Drops (Best Entertaining)

by Anne Bramley, photography by Tina Rupp

Anne Bramley might be the first 21st-century food journalist. She got her start not through magazines, newspapers, web sites or even blogging — no, she made a name for herself with audio podcasts. Her seasonal recipes are geared for farmers' market fans, with lots of squash, sage, beets and the like.

 

A Day at elBulli (Best Cerebral)

by Albert Adria, Juli Soler, Ferran Adria

Many top food professionals call elBulli the single best restaurant in the world. That Ferran Adria would invite us into his kitchen like this is a gift.

 

Turquoise: A Chef's Travels in Turkey (Best Travelogue with Recipes)

by Lucy Malouf, Greg Malouf

While I love that cookbooks are getting better and better photography (think back to Julia Child or "The Joy of Cooking" — wow, have we come a long way!) it would traumatize me to get drips and splatters on a book this lovely.

Oh yeah, and the recipes are delicious.

 

The Modern Baker: Time-Saving Techniques for Breads, Tarts, Pies, Cakes and Cookies (Best Baking)

by Nick Malgieri

This falls short of being "The 60-Minute Baker," but Nick Malgieri shaves a lot of time from a host of the old standards and a wide array of the unexpected.

 

Paley's Place Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from the Pacific Northwest (Best American Regional)

by Robert Reynolds, Kimberly Paley, Vitaly Paley

I was supposed to have a food-oriented trip to Portland, Oregon this Summer. Alas, the trip fell through. Until I'm able to enjoy the cornucopia of Oregon, this book will have to do.

 

Urban Italian: Simple Recipes and True Stories from a Life in Food (Best Italian)

by Gwen Hyman, Andrew Carmellini

I've had Carmellini's roasted Brussels Sprouts three or four times. It shouldn't be legal for Brussels Sprouts to be that good. (They're so good that I've chosen to capitalize the words — Brussels Sprouts.)

If the rest of his food comes close to those Brussels Sprouts then this might be THE cookbook pick up.

 
 

Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, With Recipes (Honorable Mention)

by Jennifer McLagan, photography by Leigh Beisch

Peter S. from Brooklyn, NY says:

Duck fat. Caul fat. Leaf lard. Bacon. Ghee. Suet. Schmaltz. Cracklings. Wipe the drool off your chin and lick ó er, click that book cover to learn more.

 

Cooking with Les Dames d'Escoffier: At Home with the Women Who Shape the Way We Eat and Drink (Honorable Mention)

by Pat Mozersky, edited by Marcella Rosene, photography by Tracey Maurer

This book isn't as stuffy as you might think. These women collectively have enough experience in the kitchen that they transcend stuffy and slide right over to downright clever and informative.