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These 7 Cookbooks Offer Fresh Ways to Taste the World

By Aislyn Greene

Oct 15, 2021

From the November/December 2021 issue

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From Malaysian cuisine to a deep dive into the food of the Black diaspora, these cookbooks will give you a pop of culinary inspiration.

Photograph by Heami Lee

From Malaysian cuisine to a deep dive into the food of the Black diaspora, these cookbooks will give you a pop of culinary inspiration.

This fall’s most important new food books transport readers to destinations near and far.

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Taste Makers

November 2021, W.W. Norton & Company

Mayukh Sen set out to write about immigration through the lens of food and wound up chronicling seven immigrant women who changed the way people in the United States eat—and were, in some cases, all but lost to history. Meet Chao Yang Buwei, who wrote the first American guide to Chinese cooking and popularized terms like “stir fry”; Elena Zelayeta, who deftly fused the flavors of her home country, Mexico, with those of her adopted state, California; and the progressive French chef Madeleine Kamman, whom the food media pitted against Julia Child. Exploring their legacies, you can’t help but ask yourself, as Sen does: Whose trailblazing stories are valued in America, and whose are overlooked—and why?

Flavors of the Sun

September 2021, Chronicle Books

For 73 years, Sahadi’s in New York City has sold Middle Eastern foods and ingredients—long before the cuisine exploded in popularity in the U.S. In her new cookbook, Christine Sahadi Whelan, a member of the fourth generation to work in the family business, showcases simple, homey dishes that highlight those foods and ingredients. Along with recipes for kale salad with date-syrup dressing and halvah-studded chocolate chunk cookies, readers gain insights into New York’s longest-running specialty food store.

The Latin American Cookbook

October 2021, Phaidon

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This volume isn’t just a cookbook—it’s a historical and culinary map of Latin America, from Mexico to Argentina. Your guide: chef Virgilio Martínez, who grew up in Peru and now runs Mater Iniciativa, a research center in Lima that investigates Latin American food. Martínez traveled throughout the Americas researching hundreds of regional specialities and then combined the recipes under main dishes and ingredients: Honduran tacos (under corn), Chilean beef tartare toast (sandwiches); and even Peruvian alpaca in spicy sauce (Native meats and insects).

Filipinx

October 2021, Abrams

Don’t expect an encyclopedic approach toward Filipino cuisine from this cookbook. Instead, Filipinx chronicles the journey of chef Angela Dimayuga, a first-generation American raised in San Jose, California. Working with New York Times food writer and critic Ligaya Mishan, Dimayuga researched the recipes she inherited from her family—such as the potato croquettes her mother once made and savory bistek, the signature beef dish of her lola (grandmother). She also added her own inventions: a coconut milk–infused take on chicken adobo, for example. It’s a cookbook, yes, but also an exploration of identity through food shaped by place.

Black Food

October 2021, 4 Color Books

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How can you not be moved by a book with chapters titled “Land, Liberation & Food Justice” and “Radical Self-Care”? Such is the beauty of chef and food activist Bryant Terry’s new tome, Black Food. There are recipes (baker Erika Council’s vegan sweet potato biscuits; chef Nina Compton’s lentil, okra, and coconut stew), all prefaced with nuggets of history and memory, but this book goes much further. It’s a tribute to the Black diaspora, with essays, poems, illustrations, and collages from such luminaries as Michael W. Twitty and Jessica B. Harris. Contributions also touch on food beyond the dinner table: an okra-based ancestral bathing practice, the South African village pushing back against industrial farming, and more.

New Native Kitchen

October 2021, Abrams

Until 2021, chef Freddie Bitsoie helmed the kitchen of Mitsitam Native Foods Café at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York City. There he celebrated Indigenous food throughout the Americas, serving wild rice salad and cedar-planked salmon. In New Native Kitchen he brings those recipes to home chefs, offering 100 dishes culled from history. Try your hand at cherrystone clam soup from the Northeastern Wampanoag and spice-rubbed pork tenderloin from the Pueblo peoples. Rounding out the book are historical details, suggestions for ingredient sourcing, and illustrations from Native artist Gabriella Trujillo.

Sambal Shiok

October 2021, Hardie Grant

In her bible-like cookbook, chef Mandy Yin takes us on a journey through Malaysia, her home country, to celebrate its diversity and the many influences on its cuisine, which include the Indigenous Malay people and immigrants from China and India. She dips into childhood memories (“all conversations seemed to come back to what the next meal was going to be”) and the first dish she created after leaving a law practice to open a restaurant (a juicy chicken satay burger). Recipes abound, from Yin’s famous vegan laksa to hawker-center favorite Hainanese chicken rice. She ends, deliciously, with a travel guide to essential restaurants in Malaysia.

>>Next: A Love Letter to “Manti,” Turkey’s Ultimate Comfort Food

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