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Our 2020 Cookbook Holiday Wishlist

December 2019/January 2020 Issue
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Fine Cooking’s editors are making room their bookshelves and nightstands. These are the new titles that most caught our eye.

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    Canelle et Vanille, by Aran Goyoaga

    As with Goyoaga's award-winning blog of the same name, she not only develops the recipes and writes all the text, but styles and photographs every image. So you’ll find her inimitable sensibility on every page of this book: Her recipes are always inspiring and beautifully presented . Some gently beckon you to reach beyond your comfort zone—Apple Cider Yeast Doughnuts, for instance, Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter, and Puff Pastry with Cultured Butter. Although all her recipes are gluten-free, the author includes instructions for substituting regular all-purpose flour for readers who prefer it.

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    Pastry Love, by Joanne Chang

    Chang’s newest book shows her evolution both as a baker and as the owner of Boston's Flour Bakery, attentive to her customers’ desires as well as wider food trends. Along with traditionally prepared baked goods, Pastry Love features vegan and gluten-free recipes. And in Chang’s able hands, these recipes produce top-notch results. Also making the book feel right on trend is Chang’s use of alternative flours to enhance flavors: rye flour in cookies; spelt flour in scones; tapioca flour in gougères.

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    From Scratch, by Michael Ruhlman

    In this ambitious and thoroughly charming book, Ruhlman takes a deep dive into 10 much-loved staple meals, including roast chicken, lasagna, and even a BLT. His thesis is simple: “... by exploring several familiar, staple meals, we can learn just about everything we need to know in order to cook, well, anything.” This is a cookbook that won’t be pinned down as a mere collection of recipes. That’s why it was such a delight to find that the recipes themselves were worth their weight in gold.

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    Amá, by Josef Centeno and Betty Hallock

    Sometimes derided by the culinary elite as inauthentic, Tex-Mex cuisine is, in fact, anything but. Tex-Mex is down-home Tejano cooking, a collection of signature dishes and traditions rooted centuries deep in the kitchens of Texans of Hispanic descent. In this book, downtown L.A.'s unofficial restaurant king Centeno celebrates the real-deal messy Tex-Mex food that inspires him and that he prepares with love for his customers and his own family.

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    American Sfoglino, by Evan Funke

    Evan Funke, chef and partner at Felix Trattoria in Los Angeles, is so serious about pasta that when he decided to become a sfoglino—that’s Italian for “pasta maker”—he sought out the best teachers in the world. After years of hard work and study, Funke shares everything he has learned about crafting fresh, hand-rolled pasta that’s beautiful and delicious.

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    Happiness is Baking, by Maida Heatter

    Shortly before her death earlier this year, Heatter published this greatest-hits collection featuring 100 gems from her oeuvre. If you’re a baker of a certain age, you certainly know Maida Heatter. If you’re not, then Happiness Is Baking is the ideal introduction to Heatter’s genius.

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    The Farmhouse Culture Guide to Fermenting

    The authors, a mother-and-son team, are the founders of Farmhouse Culture, the award-winning food-and-drink business based in Santa Cruz, California. And both of them fall into the obsessive camp, which is exactly how you want your live-culture gurus to be. The result is textbook-level comprehensive, but unlike a textbook, it’s a thing of beauty with a lot of heart.

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