Life is what you make it: cookbooks 2022

Call it ‘our babkas, ourselves’: this season’s baking books reflect societal priorities highlighted in recent years. Some titles link baking, community and social justice; others offer welcome assurance from household names; still others focus on process and practice — rather than perfection and product — with guides to creating desserts that nurture the mind as well as the body.

butter days

Maya-Camille Broussard, Netflix star Cooking team, is one of those who use the bakery as an agent of good. In Pie Justice (Clarkson Potter, Oct.), named after her Chicago bakery, she shares her recipes for Strawberry Basil Pie, Blue Cheese Praline Pear Pie and other sweet and savory goodies, and also discusses continuous inspirations behind his work. Broussard founded Justice of the Pies in 2014 in memory of his father, who was a criminal defense lawyer and passionate baker, and always had an eye for social justice and equality in hospitality. Her restaurant is registered as a social enterprise and runs a number of programs for the surrounding community, such as a basic cooking skills workshop for children facing food insecurity.

In the book, she profiles other activists whose missions align with hers — Jordan Marie brings three white horses Daniel, who raises awareness for missing Indigenous women, and Christopher LeMark, who aims to de-stigmatize therapy in communities of color, to name just two – and pair them with unconventional pies. The fried bread and buffalo pies are a nod to Daniel’s Lakota heritage, while the lemon espresso pie is a tribute to LeMark and his charity Coffee, Hip-Hop & Mental Health. “Because I lead with a social mission and from a philanthropic perspective, I wanted to shine a light on other people who are using their work to positively impact the lives of others,” says Broussard. “And I wanted to take this opportunity to let their stories inspire me.”

Esteban Castillo’s blog, Chicano eatswon the 2017 Flavor Best New Voice Readers’ Choice Award and inspired a 2020 cookbook of the same name. In chicano gratins (Harper Design, Nov.), Castillo appeals to home bakers who feel their cultural tastes and traditions are overlooked by typical baking books.

“When the lockdown happened, when everyone turned to baking, people in my community realized the resources for the things they wanted to cook weren’t there,” he says. “For people in my community, cooking from a cookbook and following a recipe is still a foreign concept; we learn by listening to and observing our elders.

In his new book, Castillo draws on his experience at his family’s Mexican American panadería, where he had access to fresh pan dulce every day. “These places serve as a cultural oasis,” he says. “They make the most of what they have, including aqua fresca and savory things like pambazos and tortas – we stretch and reuse. I wanted to reflect that in this cookbook.

Smart cookies

Avid consumers of food media will find a host of household names on the covers of baking books this fall. The King Arthur pastry school (Countryman, October), the produce giant’s first full-color cookbook, compiles 100 foundational recipes for yeast breads, flaky pastries, cookies, cakes, and more. Clarkson Potter’s offerings include All about cookies (November), by Christina Tosi, television personality and founder of Milk Bar; What’s for dessert (November), by Enjoy your meal kitchen test alum Claire Saffitz (2020s dessert person, 215,000 printed copies sold); and Nadiya’s daily cooking (September), the latest cookbook from Britain’s Greatest Baking Fair season six winner Nadiya Hussain.

The long duration GBBS launched the careers of many bakers, several of whom have books to appear. Edd Kimber was a 24-year-old bank clerk when he won the show’s first season in 2010; today, he has over 400,000 Instagram followers and a whirlwind career as a food writer. He follows A baked tin and A mold cooks easily with Petit fours (Kyle, Oct.), a collection of recipes for singles, small households and students. Inventive ideas include rhubarb and raspberry pies (for four, with storage tips) and the emergency chocolate chip cookie for one.

Season Five GBBS semi-finalist Chetna Makan (202,000 Instagram followers), whose previous books include Chetna’s Healthy Indian: Vegetarian and 30 Minute Indian from Chetnashares more Indian-influenced recipes in The easy cooking of Chetna (Hamlyn, September). TPthe opinion of said his dishes “perfectly combine the promise of familiarity and adventure.”

The last season of GBBS featured its youngest contestant to date and its first vegan contestant: Freya Cox, then 19 years old. Simply vegan cuisine (Harper Design, Sept.), she helps vegans sweeten their repertoires with scones, stollen and Swiss rolls using ingredients or substitutes available in most well-stocked supermarkets. Cox’s Chocolate Orange Battenburg Cake uses store-bought vegan marzipan; the royal icing on its gingerbread cookies is made with aquafaba.

The great British pastry fair is about the only credit not listed on Erin Jeanne McDowell’s food media resume, which includes current gigs as New York Times Kitchen contributor and baking consultant to Food52 as a whole (plus her 240,000 Instagram followers). Her third cookbook, Salty cooking (Harvest, Oct.), builds on the 2020s The Pie Book (55,000 print copies sold), which she notes included a chapter on savory pastries. The new book covers breakfast (chicken and waffles, baby Dutch), lunch (seed burger buns, pizza) and dinner (meat and potato pie) and offers customizations for many recipes .

“An entire chapter is dedicated to ‘things that look like dough,’ like dumplings, pancakes, waffles,” McDowell explains. “Savory pastry is global: it plays an important role in places where pastry is not a dessert.” Throughout, she provides essential pastry education, illustrating basic techniques and providing preparation and storage tips. “I work pastry in all elements of my life, not just desserts. It’s the most accurate representation of how I cook in my everyday life and for my family and friends.

Two birds, one scone

Many titles look at the joys of baking: mental health, balance, connectedness. In The spirit of dough (Chronicle, March 2023), Jack Hazan, therapist and owner of Jack Bakes in Brooklyn, organizes 75 recipes into themed chapters based on common mental health needs: rosewater chewing pistachios to help with full awareness, peanut butter pretzel pie for self-care, and pesto tear-apart bread to help foster connection with others.

Steph Blackwell, a GBBS Season 10 runner-up, got candid with her 141,000 Instagram followers about her mental health and the importance of self-care. “Pastry is a source of meditation for me,” she says. “I immerse myself in science and creativity; I find myself so absorbed in the process. The result is just a bonus: if it doesn’t work, I still managed to silence the negativity in my head.

With Treat yourself (Mobius, Sept.), Blackwell hopes to spark joy through 50 recipes that soothe bad moods (salty granola), aid relaxation (leek pie, mushrooms and cavolo nero), boost self-confidence (comté puff pastry and nutmeg) and Suite. “So many people have mental health issues,” she explains. “Pastry may not be a magic cure, but it is certainly a wonderful activity that I urge everyone to try.”

In Comfort cooking (Herald, Oct.), Stephanie Wise, who blogs at Girl against dough, honors the kitchen as a space of solace, worship, relief and relaxation. Its 100 recipes include sweets (cherry almond glazed cake) and flavors (green chili pulled pork enchiladas), and celebrate the inherent happiness of cooking for others.

Becca Rea-Tucker, aka the Sweet Feminist (250,000 Instagram followers), recommends identifying and processing emotions in the kitchen by Cooking by feeling (Harper Wave, August); working with her hands, she writes, can be deeply therapeutic. She associates each of her 65 recipes with an emotion and an affirmation; The triple chocolate cake is suggested for someone who has been insulted (“You are beautiful and you, your uniqueness and your impact on the world cannot be replaced”), while the cardamom caramel poke cake is a dessert for optimists (“It takes courage to trust that things will turn out the way they should!”)

Pastry is a source of meditation for me… The result is only a bonus.
—Steph Blackwell, author of “Bake Yourself Happy”

Of course, in baking, things don’t always go as they should. Lottie Bedlow GBBS glory of season 11) embraces this reality in Imperfect cooking (Thunder Bay, Nov.), with indulgent recipes including a gingerbread shed (“They never look like houses anyway,” she writes) and no-skill soda bread, as well as advice drawn from his enthusiastic experimentation. For example, in her pots of Orange Passion Fruit Mousse Cakes, she advises readers to blend the fruits in a food processor to get the most out of their pulp. “It’s easy to be put off by what we see on Instagram,” she says. “There has been a shift towards anti-perfectionism and I want to lead the way.”

Bedlow encourages its 228,000 subscribers and readers to pay less attention to their cooking, even throwing the book away. (Her own copy, she says, is stained and worn.) “It’s a move away from detail, delicacy and finesse, and toward relativity and reality,” she explains. . “I want people to laugh at their journey. And anyway, who cares as long as it tastes good? »

Pooja Makhijani is a writer and editor in New Jersey.

All print unit sales by NPD BookScan, unless otherwise noted.

Learn more about our 2022 Cookbooks feature:

American Pie: PW speaks with Rossi Anastopoulo
In ‘Sweet Land of Liberty’ (Abrams, Oct.), the award-winning IACP writer tells the stories behind 11 remarkable pies.

Wake and Bake: Cookbooks 2022
Pot brownies are out; cannabis-infused trifles, doughnuts and meringues are all the rage.

All You Knead Is Bread: 2022 Cookbooks
The new books are for those for whom the locking sourdough starter was just the beginning.

A version of this article originally appeared in the 08/22/2022 issue of Weekly editors under the title: Life is what you do

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