Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient
with Recipes by Jennifer McLagan (Ten Speed Press, $32.50)
One of the season’s more unusual titles, Fat isn’t simply a cookbook; it’s a celebration of the ingredient that makes everything we eat taste better. Chapters explore butter, pork, poultry, beef, and lamb fat, offering history, lore, and more than 100 sweet and savory recipes that range from the expected (Sweet Butter Pastry and Braised Pork Belly) to the surprising (Brown Butter Ice Cream and Bacon Baklava).
A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes
by David Tanis (Artisan, $35)
In this collection of 24 seasonal menus, chef David Tanis (of Berkeley’s famed Chez Panisse) celebrates the simple grace of family-style eating. If many of the menus seem suited for special occasions—take, for example, the wonderfully wintry Slow Beef menu, which includes Watercress, Beet, and Egg Salad; Braised Beef with Celery Root Mashed Potatoes; and Roasted Apples—that’s because Tanis thinks everyday eating is a special occasion. With a disarming blend of seriousness and whimsy, Tanis nudges the reader toward spending and enjoying more time, not less, in the kitchen.
Jamie at Home: Cook Your Way to the Good Life
by Jamie Oliver (Hyperion, $37.50)
For this cookbook, his eighth, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver found all the inspiration he needed right in his own back yard (where he happens to have an amazing vegetable garden), and his jovial zeal for seasonal cooking just might inspire you to cook your way through the entire book. Look to the fall chapter for game, mushroom, orchard fruit, and pickle recipes and to the winter chapter for winter salad, pastry, leek, and squash recipes. Oliver’s instructions are always generously detailed, and his chummy prose makes him as good a kitchen companion as one might hope to find in a book.