- Andrew Webb
- Food & Drink Editor
From Scandinavian living to foraging to the food history of New York, here’s our Food Editor’s round up of some of the best food books published this year.
Salt is Essential, by Shaun Hill
Shaun Hill’s 50 years as a chef afford him a unique view on the world of food and how it’s changed over that half-century. The result is this polemic, in which Hill offers up his thoughts about topics such as why local and seasonal are not necessarily indicators of quality, to why soy beans are best left for cattle feed and Budapest is a paradise for the greedy. Recipes range from Warm Rock Oysters with Spring Onion Butter Sauce to Pork in Shirtsleeves and Buttermilk Pudding with Cardamom. There’s a real sense of the man in this, a refreshing book that eschews soft-focus lifestyle food and tells it like it is.
Gather, by Gill Meller
As part of the River Cottage cabal for over 11 years, Gill Meller knows the surrounding Dorset landscape like the back of his hand. Gather taps into that experience with 120 recipes from seashore to woodland, orchard to garden, field to farm, and moorland to harbour. In our have-it-all age, a little time spent connecting with the environment is no bad thing. Gather is a celebration of British seasonal cooking at its best.
Food City: Four Centuries of Food-Making in New York, by Joy Santlofer
Five years in the making before her untimely death, Santlofer’s book was completed by her family and is not only a lasting legacy to her, but a beautifully detailed tour of the Big Apple, incorporating the texture and details of everyday life – the sound of stampeding cattle, the smell of burning bone for char, and the taste of novelties such as chocolate-covered matzoh and Chiclets. With a focus on bread, sugar, drink, and meat, Food City recovers the fruitful tradition behind today’s local brewers and confectioners, recounting how food shaped a city and a nation.
Summers Under The Tamarind Tree, by Sumayya Usmani
Former lawyer-turned-food writer and cookery teacher Sumayya Usmani captures the rich and aromatic pleasure of her native Pakistani cooking through more than 100 recipes. With a rich coastline, Pakistan boasts an array of spiced seafood and fish dishes, while its borders with Iran, Afghanistan, India and China ensure strong Arabic, Persian and Asian influences, as well as the legacy of the Raj in the form of Railway Mutton Curry.
Scandinavian Comfort Food: Embracing The Art Of Hygge, by Trine Hahnemann
In 2016, the concept of hygge is a welcome relief from endless books and articles about clean eating, and Hahnemann’s book is full of fresh, seasonal ingredients to create a balance of indulgent and wholesome recipes. From barbecued langoustines and meringue layer cake, to radicchio with blueberries and sweet rye rolls, with hygge, Hahnemann shares an important part of her culture that is good for the soul, teaching us how to be kind to ourselves and find contentment.