It's no secret that the restaurant scene comes alive in the spring, with every food joint around seemingly debuting a new menu and slew of specials inspired by the abundance of new produce that becomes available on the market. And while, on first glance, it may appear like chefs and foodies have spent the majority of winter hibernating in a well-oiled-machine-like kitchen routine, it's no coincidence that this season brings about the largest release of new cookbooks, too. For as many taste palates as there are, this spring and early summer there is also a book that will undoubtedly please and excite each one. Whether it's a cookbook right out of the kitchen of a famed restaurant or a memoir about the rags-to-rise story of an iconic chef, these titles will heighten all of your foodie senses with accounts and recipes oozing flavors and smells right off of the page.
Ahead, 18 food-focused books worth picking out from hundreds of new releases. Instead of heading out to brunch right about now, we suggest you try one of these.
Jack’s Wife Freda: Cooking From New York's West Village by Dean Jankelowitz and Maya Jankelowitz
If you're a resident of New York, chances are you're familiar with (and love) this restaurant, which always has a wait on weekends. With outposts in SoHo and, more recently, West Village, the husband-and-wife duo behind the most delicious of Jewish comfort foods is on a mission to make green shakshuka eggs, peri-peri sweetbreads, and grilled halloumi with grapes a staple in every household. You won't hear us complaining.
Shake Shack: Recipes & Stories by Randy Garutti, Mark Rosati, and Dorothy Kalins
The buzz surrounding the release of this book was comparable to the frenzy surrounding every new Shake Shack menu addition. Opening up with a foreword by Danny Meyer, Shake Shack: Recipes & Stories starts with the background of the beloved burger giant and history of burgers in America before revealing the secrets behind the components that make every Shake Shack meal beyond addictive.
Egg Shop: The Cookbook by Nick Korbee
A stomach child of another New York brunch institution of the namesake name, Egg Shop is, yes, a culinary breakfast bible but also a guide to mastering the most innovative savory preservatives, fusion delights (hello, century yolks with fried rice congee), and sweet side snacks. You will want to host a brunch party as soon as you're done scrolling through this one.
Clara Cakes: Delicious and Simple Vegan Desserts for Everyone! by Clara Polito
The creation of 20-year-old vegan baking phenomenon Clara Polito, Clara Cakes is an approachable look at making vegan desserts. Recipes range from easy-to-make chocolate chip cookies to seemingly-hard-but-actually-super-easy-to-make cornflake breakfast cake. We're also fans of the book's graphics with a retro feel, colorful pops of color, and flower prints.
Every year, I go vegan for six weeks as a way to reset my system, and every year, I turn to Ella Mills from Deliciously Ella for recipes to keep me on track and motivated. Having pored through recipes like mushroom risotto with basil cream and vegetable paella from last year's Deliciously Ella Every Day, this year I looked to Deliciously Ella with Friends for can't-believe-it's-vegan dishes like fried avocado wedges, chickpea chili, and sweet potato rösti. Editor's note: This book is currently only available in the U.K., so prepare to order from overseas. It's worth the shipping cost.
The Pizza Diet by Pasquale Cozzolino
There has been no discovery more exciting to me recently than the one presented by the executive chef of Ribalta: You can lose weight by eating pizza. After gaining weight post-move to the U.S., Pasquale Cozzolino reverted back to a Mediterranean diet consisting of one Neapolitan pizza a day. The result? A hundred pounds lighter and a foolproof recipe for the unique pizza dough that contributed to the weight loss, as well as other Italian dishes that don't sacrifice taste for health.
Nopalito: A Mexican Kitchen by Gonzalo Guzmán and Stacy Adimando
From Mexico City to Yucatan and Puebla, the head chef behind San Francisco's famed Nopalito restaurant explores all the different flavors that Mexico has to offer through a West Coast lens in this new cookbook. Expect beloved favorites broken down for at-home preparation, as well as other flavor-packed dishes and techniques that make California at the forefront of Mexican cuisine outside of its home country.
At Balthazar: The New York Brasserie at the Center of the World by Reggie Nadelson
This book, which follows on the heels of 2003's The Balthazar Cookbook, once again solidifies the iconic status of one of Manhattan's most famous French brasseries. This time, journalist Reggie Nadelson was given access to the restaurant's kitchen, staff, and archives to create a colorful account that covers ground from New York's culinary beginnings to the opening of Balthazar and its modern-day presence.
Maggie Austin Cake: Artistry and Technique by Maggie Austin
Fact: Maggie Austin is the best wedding cake decorator currently out there. The ballet dancer-turned-pastry chef creates some of the most visually stunning cakes you will ever lay your eyes on. While this is not a cookbook per se—it's actually not a cookbook even a little bit—foodies will nevertheless be fascinated with the study of Austin's signature techniques. With instructions and step-by-step photos that include asymmetrical ethereal frills, watercolor designs, and the most delicate sugar flowers that you will have a hard time believing are not real, this entire book is a treat.
This cookbook gets the Assouline treatment and, as such, should be handled more as an art book than a cookbook—not to say that the recipes aren't fantastic because they are. Featuring 50 of Georgia O'Keeffe's favorite dishes, like Brightest Borscht (and by bright, it's really vibrant, like bright fuschia vibrant) and Golden Baked Southern-Style Spoon Bread, prepared for her by caretakers (including Margaret Wood), this book explores the artist's fascination with food as both an art form and means of well-being. Set against the vibrant backdrop of New Mexico, a place where O'Keeffe resided for the second part of her life, this book bursts with flavor and color accentuated by the artist's artwork and archival images of her years in the dreamy desert landscape.
BIANCO: Pizza, Pasta, and Other Food I Like by Chris Bianco
Another man after my own heart, James Beard award-winning chef Chris Bianco of Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, Arizona, debunks what it takes to make a great pie. From fundamentals like types of flour and water, a how-to on crowd-favorite tomato sauce, the best topping combinations, and dough-perfecting strategies and techniques, by the last page of this illustrated cookbook, you'll be ready to open your own pizzeria.
Tartine All Day: Modern Recipes for the Home Cook by Elisabeth Prueitt
We get access to another popular restaurant's kitchen this spring, with James Beard award-winning Elisabeth Prueitt yet again taking us on a kitchen tour of the uber-popular Tartine Bakery (the first book,Tartine: Sweet and Savory Pastries, Tarts, Pies, Cakes, Croissants, Cookies and Confections, came out more than a decade ago). In addition to frills-free recipes for every meal, this book is intended to give cooks of all levels tools to make home cooking healthy, delicious, and, most importantly, easy.
Out of Line: A Life of Playing with Fire by Barbara Lynch
If you are either a foodie or have spent any significant time in Boston (check both for yours truly), you're familiar with renowned chef Barbara Lynch. But before she became one of the most celebrated chefs in Boston—and thanks to a Top Chef stint, now around the country—she was one of seven children born to a single mother and raised in a housing project in one of the city's roughest neighborhoods. In her new memoir, Lynch recalls the journey from her Southie upbringing and the theft and drugs that colored her difficult youth to becoming a leader of New England's modern haute cuisine. It's a story of self-reinvention, peppered with odes to South Boston and narratives as flavorful as some of the dishes that she puts out.
Dinner: Changing the Game by Melissa Clark
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. New York Times' food columnist Melissa Clark puts out yet another cookbook this season, and this one is focused on making familiar dishes that are impressive and delicious, yet take no toll on the cook preparing them. Readers of her previous cookbooks will recognize her approachable style and have an added bonus of more than 100 new recipes introduced to their cooking arsenal.
Stirring Up Fun with Food: Over 115 Simple, Delicious Ways to Be Creative in the Kitchen by Sarah Michelle Gellar
Sarah Michelle Gellar wrote this cookbook. Enough said. Well, actually the comfort recipes—which include crispy asparagus fries, nest eggs, and truffle mac and cheese cupcakes—are pretty solid, too. But Sarah Michelle Gellar. Now enough said.
What to Eat for How You Feel: The New Ayurvedic Kitchen by Divya Alter
With our recent obsession with how food can affect how we feel on the inside and look on the outside, we ate (no pun intended) Divya Alter's new book, that explores the principles of Ayurvedic cooking and eating, right up. While the author does go into the principles of holistic eating, it feels approachable and not new age preachy. The recipes are similarly easy to follow with fun touches in the form of sidebars that suggest substitutes for the different digestion elements. If you are looking to take your eating habits to the next level of healthy, use this as your definitive guide.
This book explores exactly what it sounds like: Jewish cuisine around the world. King Solomon's Table opens up with an intro from Alice Waters and takes us on an international journey from India and France to Italy and Mexico in hopes of uncovering the fascinating historical details and narratives that showcase the diversity of the food. Expect to want to try and recreate most of the 170 recipes, featuring the likes of Yemenite chicken soup, smoky shakshuka, and socca.
Good Clean Food: Super Simple Plant-Based Recipes for Every Day by Lily Kunin
With the words "clean food" mindlessly thrown around to mean anything nowadays, Good Clean Food has come at a perfect time to debunk any myths and provide vibrant, nourishing, plant-based recipes (85 of them!) for any meal. In addition to bursting with stunning photography and helpful tips for healthy eating, this book also features a foreword from the legendary Bobbi Brown.