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I typically get sent what must be hundreds of pounds of cookbooks in the fall and so have a fair idea of the landscape of new books. Owing to an uncommon amount of travel, I haven’t had the opportunity this year. But I was sent one book to blurb (“say nice things about”) that goes above and beyond any cookbook I’ve seen since Nathan Myrhvold and company’s Modernist Cuisine.

That book is The Food Lab, by Kenji López-Alt, Managing Culinary Director of Serious Eats, named for his cooking column there. That column first appeared in 2009. Over the next half-decade, this uber food geek tackled all kinds of cooking experiments to determine the very best way to cook, say, eggs. Kenji has combined knowledge gleaned over half a decade, reshaping it and putting all this knowledge, all this work, in a single volume, and it’s an absolutely extraordinary work that combines the science of cooking, recipes, useful photography, and an engaging and passionate voice in the food world. If this doesn’t win best cookbook of the year at the Beard Awards, something’s seriously wrong with the system.

It’s extraordinary.

But it’s not for everybody; no single book is (indeed, desserts, cakes, are nonexistent in the book, reflecting the author’s interest in the savory side of cooking, an affinity I share). The Food Lab is for the cook who wants to understand cooking better, to learn the whys, and to be a better and more confident cook.

My trusted assistant, Emilia Juocys, offers a few of her favorite more recipe-centric books.


The books I selected vary from BBQ to vegetables, from amazing cookies to my favorite region of Mexico. I hope you enjoy these books as much as I do. They all share great new recipes and allow you to update your ever-evolving flavor profile. Enjoy your holiday season. —EJ


V Is for Vegetables: Inspired Recipes & Techniques for Home Cooks—from Artichokes to Zucchini

By: Michael Anthony


Immersed: The Definitive Guide To Sous Vide Cooking

By: Phillip Preston

Food52 Genius Recipes

By: Kristen Miglore


Hartwood: Bright, Wild Flavors from the Edge of the Yucatán

By: Eric Werner and Mya Henry


Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto

By: Aaron Franklin and Jordan Mackay


Cookie Love: More Than 60 Recipes and Techniques for Turning the Ordinary into the Extraordinary

By: Mindy Segal and Katie Leahy


The shopping links for the week:

© 2015 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2015 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.