Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook’s first cookbook, Zahav, was named the Best International Cookbook in 2016 by the James Beard Foundation. Now the pair is back with Israeli Soul: Easy, Essential, Delicious, an appreciative deep dive into iconic Israeli food, and its release is perfectly timed for Israel’s 70th anniversary. With fabulous photos of food and people, plus instructive, step-by-step photos, Israeli Soul is a home cook-friendly culinary tour of the dishes brought to Israel by immigrants and shaped by cultures “both ancient and modern.” Solomonov and Cook’s exuberant narrative details their “soul odyssey,” searching market stalls, restaurants, street carts and bakeries in big cities and remote villages for the best versions of gastronomic go-to’s like hummus, pita, shawarma and falafel, plus sabich, salads, soups, stuffed veggies, kebabs and sweets. It’s an irresistible invitation to enjoy the legendary soul food of Israel.
National Geographic and America’s Test Kitchen have combined their prodigious talents to produce the lusciously extravagant Tasting Italy: A Culinary Journey. With over 100 recipes, 300 photographs and 45 maps, it’s the perfect gift for Italophiles. It’s a wonderful coffee table book and top-notch cookbook, but it’s also a travel guide to Italy’s 20 regions, filled with vibrant, full-color photos and explorations of the edible treasures that make each area unique—cheese, wine, cured meats, produce and so much more. Brimming with tradition and tested to the nth degree, these recipes showcase the robust regional food that makes Italy a mosaic of magical flavors. Whether it’s Venetian Seafood Risotto, aromatic Tuscan White Bean Soup, Umbrian Sausage and Grapes, golden Roman Gnocchi or a light and bright Sicilian Fennel, Orange and Olive Salad, each dish takes you into the authentic heart of la cucina Italiana.
TOP PICK IN COOKBOOKS
’Tis the season for baked sweets, and Christina Tosi, the two-time James Beard Award-winning baker, mastermind maven and chef/owner of Milk Bar, will amp up your cake-making capabilities. The wildly innovative Tosi, who found most cakes to be boringly blah, decided to find ways to give them the verve and variety her sugary sensations are renowned for. The remarkable results are all in All About Cake. These winners—from bundts and a Strawberry Layer Cake to cupcakes, sheet cakes, fancy layer cakes, cake truffles (yes, you can turn out a Cake Truffle Croquembouche for Christmas), microwave mug cakes and a Banana-Chocolate-Peanut Butter Crock-Pot Cake—tell flavor stories with creative fillings, craveable crunches, hidden gems of texture and Tosi’s signature unfrosted sides. Having at your side a wonderfully opinionated pro like Tosi who can’t—and shouldn’t—curb her enthusiasm and instructional fervor for all things baking is an unbeatable, delectable treat.
This article was originally published in the December 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.