CLEVELAND, Ohio – Those who enjoy their time in the kitchen are definitely not at a loss for recipes and cooking techniques, whether they use Instant Pots, air fryers or convection ovens. From salt to sourdough, Mexican to Mediterranean, salads to sous vide, the topics truly are across the board.
Most of these 57 books came out in 2021, though a few came out during 2020. You can click on the link for online-buying details, and for those who like the service of local book shops, we offer a list of independent stores at the end.
By Bette Lou Higgins, American Palate / The History Press, 206 pages, $21.99
The local historian-author serves up short sections on a multitude of restaurants over decades. From famed restaurateurs, trends that have come and gone, colorful places now parking garages, Higgins has the dish on the restaurant scene, long before being a ‘foodie’ was a thing. Bite-sized nuggets of memories from readers serve as brief postscripts. Fun jaunt down culinary memory lane for those of a certain age. (Related coverage: We spoke with Higgins about her book)
By Sally McKenny, Race Point Publishing, 199 pages, $26
The author leads with top 10 cookie-making tips, a cool introductory primer, and then it’s off to the baking with dozens of recipes. Sections are broken by holidays, “nuts about nuts,” oats, chocolate and others. Prep, total time and yield are offered for each, plus “Sally Says” tidbits are dropped in to suggest hints like adding extra baking powder and baking soda for lighter cookies on one of the recipes. Most of the recipes are accompanied with full-page photographs.
By Sarah Bir, Belt Publishing, 126 pages
Pawpaws, a fruit native to Ohio and much of the Midwest, are a forager’s treat in the late summer weeks. Now, diners can find new ways to prepare pawpaws with the Marietta chef’s new book. She offers tips on finding and storing pawpaws, along with recipes that include pawpaw cornbread and pawpaw pudding. (Related coverage: Here’s our interview with Bir)
By America’s Test Kitchen, America’s Test Kitchen, 206 pages, $26.99
Instant Pot has been around more than a decade, and the books just don’t seem to stop. The book leads with sections like how to use an IP with tips targeting the types of food you are cooking. Main chapters are cooking chicken; beef, pork and lamb; seafood; vegetables and pasta. Serving portions, calories and total time are included with recipes ranging from shredded chicken tacos with mango salsa to halibut with lentils, kale and pancetta.
By Scott Lively, Page Two, 175 pages, $16.95
The organic food-entrepreneur-author aims to educate the reader about all things beef – what you need to know about the cuts, from origin to safety, from trade secrets and more. With a clear writing style, the author – a “beef freak” – pulls back the curtain to uncover what you need to understand about what goes on before a cut of beef lands on your plate. One of the book’s testimonials is from author Robin Cook, who said: “Makes you both laugh and cringe.”
By Rob Howell, Bloomsbury, 286 pages, $23 approximately
In his first book, the author – a chef at an English restaurant – moves vegetables into the limelight. It’s not a vegetarian or vegan cookbook per se, but is meant to show the versatility of vegetables. From cashew and chickpea hummus to carrot jam-filled doughnuts with mascarpone vanilla cream, the recipes fall under snacks, meat and fish, desserts and other categories.
By American’s Test Kitchen, American’s Test Kitchen, 310 pages, $29.99
The book’s emphasis – preparation for meal plans – is laid out over scores of recipes, which include “make ahead” and “prep ahead” comments along with substitution suggestions. Sections on essential equipment, reheating and freezing, and preparation tips are helpful. The recipes are for balanced meals that don’t seem too complicated.
By David Chippi, self-published, Vol. 1 (50 pages, 19 recipes), Vol. 2 (68 pages, 71 recipes), $39.95
A health scare led Avon Lake resident David Chippi to write these books and develop recipes. Chippi always loved cooking, he writes, and he has come up with a pair of softbound volumes that express his expertise and interest. Vol. 1 covers fundamentals while Vol. 2 is a collection of companion recipes. Dishes cover quite a range, and make no mistake: This is not a vegan or health-food book (shareable burrata stuffed sous vide Italian meatball anyone?) But the recipes share a trait: They are low sodium. Chippi writes clearly, photographs are included, and his message is an accessible one. (Related coverage: NE Ohio author bluntly addresses sodium issue)
By Rachel Morris, Centennial Books, 191 pages, $16.99
The book’s goal is to boost your energy level through a plant-based diet. And such a diet, we learn, is not trendy; it’s been around for centuries. It also has more variations than one might realize, from Mediterranean, raw foods or vegan, to name a few. The 32 recipes are preceded by a lot of approachable information – the value of carbohydrates, cooking with fat and more.
By Bryan Ford, Quarto Publishing, 159 pages, $27.99
For bread fiends who want to step up their game from bagels to beignets. Recipes are written in a step-by-step basis from the New Orleans-based bread baker. Making a starter, shaping and mixing are all covered before you get to the mouth-watering recipes and photographs. If you love bread and baking, and want to learn what a levain is, this is the book for you.
By Mely Martinez, Quarto Knows, 192 pages, $28
If you consider yourself an adventurous cook but shy from Mexican food, you are missing out. The cuisine’s flavors are not to be missed, and the author covers quite a bit. Prep sections on the Mexican pantry and roasting vegetables are helpful. Just because you might not immediately know what a word means should not deter you from creating these tantalizing dishes (though the author translates every dish’s title). Salsa roja rostizada (roasted red salsa), Calabacitas con queso (Mexican squash with cheese) and many others await your cooking skills.
By Pam Powell, Quarto Publishing, 159 pages, $27
Seasonal recipes guide you through what needs to be prepared and assembled. You’ll learn how to put together salads like Summer ‘Sea-sar’ with creamy lemony dill Caesar dressing and Oh, My Darling Clementine with cilantro vinaigrette. All the photos are shot from overhead, which gives a good view of the finished result. As the author writes early on, “a salad is only as good as the ingredients used to make it.” The author is the creator of Salad Girl Organic Salad Dressing Co.
By Laura Fuentes, Fair Winds, 176 pages, $24.99
The lesson here is there is no reason to eat processed desserts when you have offerings like this. While not sugar-free, these treats are made with clean ingredients. Recipes are labeled as whether they are gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free or vegan. Lemon blueberry scones, carrot-cake bars, salted peanut-butter treats and a slew of chocolate desserts are included.
By Lucy Vaserfirer, Harvard Common Press, 208 pages, $24.99
Seems to be two types of people in this world: Those who eat pasta, and those who make and eat it. Early on the author states: “Pasta is something from practically nothing, nothing but flour and water, possibly eggs. The humblest of ingredients are transformed into the most glorious of foods.” Sections on machine use, tools and ingredients precede 100 recipes, and don’t think Italian only. Taiwanese beef noodle soup, miso soup with shrimp and udon, fried wontons with soy dipping sauce and many others are included (along with many great Italian dishes). Recipes show how versatile a pasta maker truly is.
By Paul Barker, Quarry, 144 pages, $27.99
A pretty comprehensive look follows an overview of key breadmaking methods (bulk fermentation, prefermentation, sourdough and botanical). Recipes fall under those headings. About 20 pages cover breadmaking basics, from kneading, proving, scoring and more. A multitude of tips, from understanding ovens to water temperature, help the home bread baker. If you are obsessed with baking different breads and want to become better at it, this book is for you.
By Christina Wylie, Voyageur Press, 192 pages, $24.99
The book says you can use sous-vide cooking to make “absolutely anything!” The cooking style – using precise temperatures and vacuum-sealed food – can be employed for a range of dishes. Techniques and equipment are discussed before the recipes, which include cooking time and necessary temperature needed. You’ll learn how to make torched shrimp with chile and garlic, compressed watermelon salad with feta and mint – even New York cheesecake pots.
By Shawn Stevenson, Little Brown Spark, 407 pages, $28
The nutritionist author’s book focuses on understanding food’s true effect on metabolism, mood, even relationships. Stevenson takes a deep dive – a scientific though readable look at food and its effects on brain health and emotional well-being.
By Andy Husbands and Will Salazar, Fair Winds Press, 224 pages, $30
If you think barbecue is one-dimensional, whoa, think again – and eat again. The brain trust behind the Boston-based Smoke Shop grills up some goodies here. Brisket fat whipped potatoes, Garrett’s Tex-Mex Shrimp, scallion rice and smoked salsa are among the book’s mouth-watering recipes. Active and total times are offered. A great section on cocktail-party foods is included. Note: Cleveland’s Michael Symon offers the foreword.
By Laurel Randolph, Adams Media, 157 pages, $21.99
Early on, the author quotes matriarch Marge Simpson: “Sometimes the most satisfying meal is the one you cook yourself.” Beginning cooks can handle most of the recipes. Most list their corresponding episode, like Special Cake for Homer To Ruin (Lady Bouvier’s Lover, season 5). Of course, the Flaming Moe is in here. And we would be remiss if we didn’t end this summary with: Mmm… doughnuts.
By America’s Test Kitchen, America’s Test Kitchen, 430 pages, $40
If you geek out on the cuts of beef, this is for you. From ham hocks to ham steak, from shanks to shoulders, it’s all covered. A must-know tips section includes definitions on label terms and other helpful information. Of course, a diagram breaking down animal parts precedes each chapter. ATK prides itself on trying out recipes extensively, and there are many here to consider.
By America’s Test Kitchen, America’s Test Kitchen, 406 pages, $34.99
More than 130 of the one-pot recipes here can be made in 30 or fewer minutes. Huge help: Multiple-serving options are included. “Note from the test kitchen” – helpful hints like how to remove casing from sausage or de-vein shrimp – are dropped in along the way.
By Jo Pratt, Frances Lincoln, 191 pages, $35
The book has 75 family-friendly recipes broken up by types of meals. “Think of it as the Swiss army knife of cookbooks,” the author writes. An apt description, considering you will find smoothies, quick pan pizza, flavored butters and more. A brief “flexible” section offers alternatives, preparation tips and other helpful hints.
By Lisa Childs, Adams Media, 224 pages, $16.99
Most recipes books include larger portion sizes for families, so it’s nice to see a solo approach once in a while. A helpful cooking hacks, tips-for-one section precedes 175 recipes from chicken pot-pie soup to quinoa and corn feta salad. Instructions are included for three- and six-quart models.
By Faith Gorsky and Lara Clevenger, Adams Media, 175 pages, $16.99
For those following the low-carb, moderate protein, high-fat diet, this book assures you that barbecue can still be enjoyed. It offers a very wide range of barbecue offerings, from Banh mi-inspired burgers to a bunch of different takes on hot dogs, plus rubs, sauces, glazes, salads and more. It also includes occasional question-and-answer snippets like ‘Can you reheat shrimp? Does the cedar plank catch on fire?’ Fire up the grill.
By Stephanie Laska and William Laska, Adams Media, 223 pages, $19.99
The book focuses on manageable keto recipes, with helpful icons to denote whether picky eaters would like the dish, if they are vegetarian and other guides. Extensive nutritional information is included in the recipes, which have cute names like talkin’ turkey wraps, one minute man enchiladas and party pooper prawns.
By Shari Wallack, Radius Book Group, 191 pages, $26.99
The author’s memoir, subtitled “Rising from Fragile to Fearless, One Grain at a Time,” is one of personal discovery. The Covid pandemic and subsequent economic effect on Shari Wallack’s business added to her anxiety disorder. So she hit the road. Cooking and baking, she found, offered a bit of a panacea for her struggles. “This is my version of ‘Eat Pray Love,’ COVID edition,” she writes.
By Rowan Jacobsen, Bloomsbury Publishing, 290 pages, $28
The author is on the hunt for decadent, valuable truffles which, as he writes, yield “a dumbfounding cocktail of aromatic compounds.” The book details his passionate journey chasing “the world’s most seductive scent” across several countries. Not a cookbook per se, but it includes resources, references and recipes.
By Jeffrey Eisner, Voracious, 270 pages, $19.99
If you are going for a slimmer you but don’t want to sacrifice flavor, this book might hit the spot. The author breaks down quite an array of dishes (borscht to bouillabaisse) with incremental times – preparation, saute, pressure-building and -cooking and natural-release, for instance. And – as its title implies – photographs are step-by-step shots, as well.
By Africa Byongchan Yoon, Blackyoonicorn Press, 214 pages, $24.99 (hardcover), $19.99 (paperback)
Memoirs take on assorted themes, and food and self-transformation are what you’ll find here. The author brings a wonderful melting pot to the kitchen, with influences from Cameroon, South Korea, Hawaii and other places enriching her story. “… If you believe in your spirit and take massive actions, you can get anywhere you want to go.” With a passion for food and becoming healthy, the author appears to have done just that.
By The Silver Spoon, Phaidon, 359 pages, $49.95
This is for serious bakers and proof that when it comes to Italian pastries there is a lot more than just cannoli and tiramisu to be savored. A great how-to section is included – how to fill a pastry bag, how to dissolve gelatin, how to use a vanilla bean, much more. If you don’t know what sfogliata is, you are missing out.
By America’s Test Kitchen, America’s Test Kitchen, 239 pages, $19.99
Each year a cooking primer for youngsters crosses our desk, and that’s a good thing for anyone who shows culinary inquisitiveness. Recipes are intertwined with scientific queries (What makes fizzy things fizzy? How does gelatin work?) Very good primer. For ages 8 and up.
By America’s Test Kitchen, America’s Test Kitchen, 364 pages, $29.99
What is comfort food? A lot of things, actually. The book is arranged by craving not course, which is a unique approach. So think spoonable bowls, carbs, cheesy goodness, something sweet – that sort of savory breakdown. There’s very little preamble here, you just jump right into, well, whatever it is you’re craving.
By America’s Test Kitchen, America’s Test Kitchen, 458 pages, $34.99
Cookbooks continue to become more and more specific, and this book is a good example of that trend. Recipes for seasonal delicacies are included: Shrimp bisque, candied sweet potato casserole, gingerbread layer cake – even drinks like a Fireside cocktail. Pray for a snowy day, hunker down, and cook away.
By Valentina Mussi, Adams Media, 169 pages (plus blank pages for notes), $17.99
If you’re part of the #foodfam then this is for you. The author includes 75 easy recipes with “for you tips” along with guidance on how to create short food videos to go – possibly – viral on the social platform.
By America’s Test Kitchen, America’s Test Kitchen, 270 pages, $29.99
The title says it all: The authors keep to five ingredients (though staples like salt and butter are not included) for more than 100 simple recipes that aim to be “fast, flavorful meals,” but don’t expect a basic mac and cheese. Dishes include rustic chicken tart with spinach and brie; coconut rice noodles with shrimp and snow peas; and mussels, chorizo and tomatoes with garlic toast.
By America’s Test Kitchen, America’s Test Kitchen, 326 pages, $29.99
“Gut health” has wound its way into our dietary lexicon in recent years. This is about fiber and probiotics and keeping your GI tract in good shape. Nutritional info like dietary fiber is dropped in with each recipe. Spiced cranberry beans, parmesan chicken with bitter greens and fennel and others are among the scores of recipes. As the book says: “Your gut will thank you.”
By Steve Marks, Parafine Press, 164 pages, $15.99
The Akron native author’s book is subtitled “Recipes for Entrepreneurial Success.” Marks co-founded Main Street Gourmet. He lays out the challenges of starting and operating a food company. The “recipes” in this memoir-business book are helpful tips ranging from calculating risk to recognizing the importance of timing and more. For those who are mulling opening a business – a restaurant? – this is worth a look.
By Chase Sloan, Publisher, 81 pages, $18.99
The Cleveland Heights teen – yes, teen – came out with this cookbook to raise money for cancer research to honor a friend who had died. From banana to buttercream, muffins, frostings and, of course, cakes galore you’ll find clearly written recipes. Cook, eat, and know it’s for a good cause. (Related coverage: Cleveland Heights teen’s ‘Cakes for Cancer’ book raises money for research)
By Adams Media, Adams Media, 255 pages, $16.99
Plant-based doesn’t have to imply boring and bland. The publisher’s book includes more than 200 recipes, from Asian cucumber salad to messy taco salad to hot and spicy garlic pasta, from dips to dishes and more. Recipes appear clear and contain nutritional info.
By America’s Test Kitchen, America’s Test Kitchen, 534 pages, $40
This book is proof that chicken is a versatile dish that works with an array of flavors; it covers 500 recipes like red chicken chile tamales and Cornell chickens. ATK precedes are always informative; this book includes an especially helpful chicken-parts chart.
By Robin Fields, Adams Media, 223 pages, $16.99
OK, some of the 175 recipes have six or seven ingredients, but you get the picture (staples like salt and pepper are included, so it counts as five or fewer for each meal). Nutritional information is given for each recipe. Chocolate hazelnut bear claws? Invite us over.
By Michelle Fagone, Adams Media, 239 pages, $16.99
For IP fans. One-page recipes include nutritional information with sections broken by soups, stews and chili; appetizers; sides; and main dishes – chicken, beef and pork, seafood and vegetarian. The desserts section is especially wide ranging in flavors and textures, from root beer float cupcakes, cinnamon applesauce, peanut butter custards and others.
By America’s Test Kitchen, America’s Test Kitchen, 658 pages, $45
This is a big one – a whopping 400 recipes and 200 skills laid out for home cooks who want to learn, as the authors write, the “whys” of cooking. From science lessons dropped into a section on cooking meat, this is an exhaustively comprehensive book for any ambitious chef. As the book states on the back: “Great cooks never stop learning.”
By Maegan Brown, Rock Point, 167 pages, $24.99
This one slipped by us, having come out in late 2019. It offers 50 snack boards, themed to holidays, game days and other occasions. Board sizes are included, and serving sizes are especially important here. Charcuterie and its variations aren’t just for restaurants, apparently. Bon appetit.
By multiple authors, Adams Media, 256 pages, $21.99
The book aims to go beyond “food rules” by offering recipes for tasty dishes that serve to combat chronic inflammation. It takes a kid-friendly approach. “Baby food” tidbits are dropped in with the recipes for additional options for the little ones. Buckwheat-applesauce pancakes to coco-cacao energy bites, there is a range of dishes, sides, snacks and drinks.
By Calum Franklin, Bloomsbury, 285 pages, $30
The book is not about sugary, sweet desserts. The author – executive chef at a British restaurant – approaches his job as a craftsman in the kitchen, creating all sorts of savory pies. Photography is enticing with shots cropped from different angles. A “tools and techniques” section is especially helpful.
By Priyanka Naik, Tiller Press, 215 pages, $24.99
While other kids were bringing Lunchables to school, the author was toting tiffins – Indian lunchboxes. The Food Network personality covers an array of flavors for vegan dishes. It serves as a good primer into Indian foods as well. Chili-garlic cashews, Bangkok-inspired street noodles, spinach-stuffed eggplant rolls with mint-walnut crunch are among the recipes, most of which are geared for two servings.
By Peter Minaki, Adams Media, 272 pages, $18.99
The plant-based recipes are geared for those who want a healthy weight loss. Nutritional info is included with each recipe, which cover a very diverse array of eats: Salads, soups, stews, smoothies and more. The author includes basics on a Mediterranean diet before serving up 200 recipes.
By America’s Test Kitchen, America’s Test Kitchen, 438 pages, $34.99
Much has been written about the diet from the Mediterranean, and this book offers more than 225 recipes with chapters falling under the giant heading, “Mostly plants.” Solid primers like “Easy ways to eat Mediterranean every day” and “the spice pantry” precede the recipes.
By Corey Mintz, Public Affairs, 342 pages, $28
The future of restaurants is a huge and incredibly relevant topic as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The author details the industry’s boom-to-grinding-halt as a result of Covid concerns and shutdowns. Its subtitle rings a bit ominous: “The End of Restaurants as We Knew Them, and What Comes After.” A meaty topic to be sure.
By Kelly Jaggers, Adams Media, 238 pages, $19.99
Baking recipes – or any type of cooking geared for one person – is such a smart approach, because so many recipes are geared for families. The author, who has written on a variety of food-related topics, tackles solo baking. Jaggers asks the pertinent question: “What do you do when you just want a small dessert, but every recipe seems designed for twelve or more?” Smart tips and guidelines on how to avoid waste are included.
By Lex Taylor, Adams Media, 236 pages, $21.99
Transplant yourself to Grosvenor Square in the early 1800s with recipes from the popular Netflix show. As the book says: “Make your culinary debut unforgettable this social season …” Expect the likes of scheming ginger tea-honey cake, regency pie or chocolate hazelnut balls with a secret that you can wash down with a Whistledown Gimlet. Pretty quick to produce this book less than a year after the show’s debut.
By Roxanne Wyss and Kathy Moore, Tiller Press, 183 pages, $19.99
The authors call a toaster oven “a kitchen overachiever.” They’re right, considering they have come up with scores of recipes. Sections on best pans to use and a “What Can I Cook in My Toaster Oven?” chart are helpful. Convention-oven variation tips are dropped in with the recipes, which include everything from spicy pigs in a blanket to bacon cheddar biscuits.
By Gordon Ramsay, Grand Central Publishing, 254 pages, $32
The celebrity chef’s You Tube-series-inspired book is aimed at those who don’t have much time in the kitchen. The meals seem elaborate; cajun-spiced monkfish with chorizo and polenta and cornflake chicken sliders with gochujang mayonnaise are two of the offerings. Ramsay says with experience he can cook these in 10 minutes and it might take the average cook a bit longer, but with practice comes speed. Includes a what-to-expect-from-the-book section.
By Emily Paster, Tiller Press, 223 pages, $19.99
If you own an Instant Pot, air fryer or pressure cooker, and you want to focus on a Mediterranean diet, these 100 recipes are for you. Turns out Baba Ghanoush is not only fun to say, the roasted eggplant spread can be made in an air fryer. Who knew?
By MariNaomi, Workman Publishing, 91 pages, $10.95
A stocking stuffer. The cartoonist author has sketched playful dirty characterizations of fruit and vegetables with sexual overtones. Cute, if that’s your thing.
By Jane McLelland, Agenor Publishing, 488 pages, price varies
This book – billed as part Erin Brockovich, part Dallas Buyers Club – reflects the physiotherapist author’s experience and does not aim to offer medical advice. After being diagnosed more than 20 years ago, her goal was to eliminate what she says are foods that cancer feasts on, like fatty acids. Her book tries to help those with cancer navigate through its overwhelming impact.
Sports books in 2021 cover insights into baseball, fandom, more
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Greater Cleveland book guide: 17 locally written children’s books released in 2021
16 great independent bookstores in Greater Cleveland
Local bookstores are worth checking out, for sales, author visits and other events. Here are a few in Northeast Ohio:
• Learned Owl Book Shop, 204 N. Main St., Hudson
• Loganberry Books, 13015 Larchmere Blvd., Cleveland
• Mac’s Backs, 1820 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights
• Visible Voice, 2258 Professor Ave., Cleveland
I am on cleveland.com’s life and culture team and cover food, beer, wine and sports-related topics. If you want to see my stories, here’s a directory on cleveland.com. Bill Wills of WTAM-1100 and I talk food and drink usually at 8:20 a.m. Thursday morning. Twitter: @mbona30.
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