my favourite cookbooks of 2022
Gifting time is here! Check out my choices for the cookbooks of the year.
It feels like we are travelling through our cookbooks, more and more. Vicariously going long-haul as we find ourselves constrained in the pocket. Scrolling through lists of the best selling food books of the year finds us leaping from country to country. Amazon’s bestsellers reads more like a travel brochure.
Here’s a selection of the four books I’ve enjoyed most this year. It’s not been an easy shortlist, so let me know what I missed.
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Dev for many years. He’s always, always been passionate about vegan food that you simply can’t recognise as anything but delicious. He takes inspiration from his travels and never compromises on flavour. His pan-global, zero-waste style keeps you guessing. From rapid curries to slow casseroles, Dev’s book will take you on a journey through his life and with combinations you’ve never had before. Read my review here.
It’s been so exciting watching Nicky absolutely smash her way to this amazing career: from a fledgling YouTube channel that now boasts over 300,000 subscribers, to one of the most delicious Instagrams you’ll ever see Kitchen Sanctuary is a wealth of family-friendly, everyday recipes. They are all winners and ones your whole family will love, and every recipe has a QR code that will take you to the video version. A treasure trove of favourites you’ll reach for again and again. I recommend her chicken a la king, a real old-fashioned dish that’s desperate for a comeback.
Well is it a cookbook? Yes. There could be no doubt that this book would be on the list, Blumenthal fanboy that I am. Yes there are recipes, but nothing bonkers or outlandish – well apart from the chapter dedicated to eating crickets but let’s come back to that – but the good stuff is literally in the margins. Any reader of Terry Pratchett will tell you some of his absolute best writing is in the footnotes. As it is here, where Heston ruminates further on why an ingredient works, or how to push a recipe further, or how to stimulate the other senses while eating. There is a whole page dedicated to the mindful eating of an egg sandwich! Along with esoteric sketches from David McKean this is one to make you think about what you cook, and what you eat.
Oh the crickets? A whole section decrying how we do need to reduce meat intake (no arguments) and then how you can replace that protein with insects. Mostly it’s in the form of tasteless cricket powder. Mostly.
I really didn’t expect to put a book by an actor in this list! But Stanley has a way of entwining his life with food that is utterly irresistible. More than Heston’s above this isn’t quite a cookbook – more an autobiography interspersed with the recipes from key moments of his life. I have a soft spot (more of a doughy middle) for Italian food, and for the charmingly robust way Italian American food amps everything up. And hearing Stanley talk about growing up with a pot of Sunday gravy on the go, and how he spends Christmas, is all utterly charming. In some ways the book is infuriating – it’s hard to get further than three chapters without wanting to skulk into the fridge for a snack. But it’s a delight.
That was my year in cookbooks – what were your favourite books this year?
Previous years’ lists: