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Cookbooks we want for Christmas

top cookbooks 2018

We love cookbooks. We love reading them, reading about them and of course, cooking. But they're about much more than recipes these days—they can be funny, informative, scientific, bizarre and just simply entertaining.

Each week on Radio Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine’s dining critic, Ann Christenson, and 88Nine’s foodie, Tarik Moody, discuss Milwaukee’s culinary and restaurant culture on This Bites. This Bites is supported by Society Insurance.

Read more and listen to the podcast episode below for our discussion on our favorite cookbooks of 2018.

Best cook books of 2018

"Solo: A Modern Cookbook for a Party of One"

"Solo" is not as sad as it sounds. Instead, Anita Lo, the Michelin-starred chef and "Iron Chef America" and "Top Chef Masters" contestant bring us a hilarious, self-deprecating and gorgeously illustrated new cookbook that's the ultimate guide to cooking for one. She shows us it can be empowering, delicious, fairly quick and accessible, even if you don't have a big kitchen or any fancy gadgets.

"Between Harlem and Heaven: Afro-Asian-American Cooking for Big Nights, Weeknights, and Every Day"

"Between Harlem and Heaven" is so much more than a cookbook—it's a culinary journey through the African Diaspora. It has history lessons, insightful essays and original recipes that represent a larger story.

"American Cookie: The Snaps, Drops, Jumbles, Tea Cakes, Bars & Brownies That We Have Loved for Generations"

"American Cookie" is a perfect grandma recipe-type book. And like any good grandma, they tell stories. These cookies, candies, wafers and brittles reveal what was going on in America when the recipes were created, how they were created with old techniques and how they got passed down for generations.

"The Flavor Matrix: The Art and Science of Pairing Common Ingredients to Create Extraordinary Dishes"

Cookbooks are great for learning new recipes created by pros, but "The Flavor Matrix" is unique because it's all about learning how to come up with your own recipes. It's about the science of ingredients and flavors and why certain things taste good together and how the chemistry of recipes work. It's perfect for anyone who has a curiosity for researching and creating their own dishes.

"Israeli Soul: Easy, Essential, Delicious"

"Israeli Soul" is sort of a continuation of Michael Solomonov's film "In Search of Israeli Cuisine," taking what he and Steven Cook found throughout Israel in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, and sleepy towns on mountaintops and in bakeries, juice carts, beaches, even weddings. They turned all those fascinating stories into a book and all the recipes into things you can realistically make in your own kitchen.
"I Am a Filipino : And This Is How We Cook"

" I Am a Filipino" gives a much needed understanding of the melting pot of the Philippines and the complexity and differences between its many regional foods. Written by trailblazing restaurateurs Nicole Ponseca and Miguel Trinidad, the cookbook captures the unexpected and addictive flavors of this vibrant and diverse cuisine. The techniques (including braising, boiling and grilling) are simple, the ingredients are readily available and the results are extraordinary.


" BraveTart" is for the baking geeks. It's science-y, artsy and full of history. Stella Parks delves into the surprising stories of how our favorite desserts came to be, from chocolate chip cookies that predate the Tollhouse Inn to the prohibition-era origins of ice cream sodas and floats.

"Joe Beef: Surviving the Apocalypse: Another Cookbook of Sorts"

" Joe Beef" is an over-the-top, but brilliant cookbook. David McMillan, Frederic Morin and Meredith Erickson believe readers must embrace the great food that is available to us before it happens—if it should happen—and know how to scavenge, salvage, and survive it as a culinarian in the possible aftermath. So they've given us nearly 150 recipes, including one for soap. (Yes, soap.) The rest of the food includes exquisite Mousse au Chocolat with Prâlines Roses, a survalist Moose Stew, homemade PowerBars and dishes from preserved foods from the cellar (or the bunker). It's a bizarre topic, but very inventive.

Director of Digital | Radio Milwaukee