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An Armchair Culinary Tour | Hot Cookbooks that Help You Travel the World

With beautiful photos, personal stories from the author, and recipes that entice the home chef to stretch boundaries, a good cookbook can be as engaging, relaxing, and fun to read as a novel. With the pandemic curtailing our ability to slake our wanderlust, here we present cookbooks to provide home chefs and foodies with an armchair adventure. Begin with a domestic tour exploring African American cuisine. Travel onward to soak up the sights and staple foods of Asia. End your world tour amid the sweeping vistas and tantalizing tastes of the Mediterranean.


With high carb diets once again on-trend, Roxana Jullapat’s perfectly timed Mother Grains focuses mostly on baked goods and celebrates eight domestically grown and easily available grains.

In Fuel Your Body, Angie Asche tells us what to eat for optimal athletic performance, with meal plans to gain, lose, or maintain weight and recipes like “Anti-Inflammatory Salad with Honey-Lemon Vinaigrette” that are basic,easy, and focused on results.

Keeping it Simple author Yasmin Fahr just does that, offering a creative array of approachable “Easy Weeknight One Pot” recipes with humorous chapter titles like, “Look More Impressive Than They Are.”

The Lighter Step-by-Step Instant Pot Cookbook offers an easy-to-read, gadget-based compendium with a wonderfully helpful twist—each recipe flagged is by diet type, like Paleo, Keto, and Gluten free.

Close to Home: A domestic tour of African American cuisine

Celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson joins James Beard Award-winning writer Osayi Endolyn for The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food, showcasing 150 recipes interspersed with profiles of top chefs, writers, and activists, all working to reclaim Black culinary traditions and energize a new generation of cooks.
Most intriguing recipe: Ethiopian-inspired Ayib and Sweet Potato Ravioli with Berbere Spice Brown Butter

Meals, Music, and Muses: Recipes from My African American Kitchen from authors Alexander Smalls and Veronica Chambers views recipes through the lens of music. The Jazz chapter embraces improvisation to spruce up basics, while the Opera chapter, inspired by Porgy and Bess, features recipes drawn from African American fishing communities.
Most intriguing recipe: Pan-Fried Rabbit with Root Vegetables and Redeye Gravy

Bryant Terry’s Vegetable Kingdom: The Abundant World of Vegan Recipes is perfect for a home gardener about to enjoy a bountiful harvest. Terry likes to “emphasize ingredients, cooking techniques, and classic dishes of the African Diaspora,” but the cookbook also weaves in tastes from East and Southeast Asia, sub- Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, and the American South. Recipes require advance planning but yield layered, rich flavors. This book also features a playlist, to inspire as you cook.
Most intriguing recipe: Barbecue Carrots with Slow-Cooked White Beans

From Bangalore to Indonesia: Embracing Asia

Sambal is a chili sauce ubiquitous in Indonesian cuisine and one of the ingredients that informs and inspires Lara Lee’s Coconut & Sambal. Stories, vibrant photos, and Indonesian history are brought to life through recipes ranging from snacks to sweets.
Most intriguing recipe: Lamb and Potato Croquettes

Meera Sodha’s East offers readers a sweeping vegan and vegetarian culinary tour of East and Southeast Asia “from Bangalore to Beijing.” After stocking up on some special spices, herbs and oils, select chapters help focus on main ingredients, with primers on noodles, rice, and tofu.
Most intriguing recipe: Smoked Tofu, Mushroom and Almond Keema

In Makan: Recipes from the Heart of Singapore, author Elizabeth Haigh navigates a rich culinary tapestry featuring Chinese, Malay, Indian, Thai, Indonesian, Dutch, Portuguese, and English cuisines. Haigh shares both complex traditional recipes and others that, as long as readers have stocked the right spices and herbs, get dinner done in an hour or less.
Most intriguing recipe: Steamed Mussels with Pancetta and Miso

Author Tim Anderson converts the unique flavors of a cuisine often associated with Wagyu beef and fatty tuna for plant-based eaters in Vegan JapanEasy. Once readers build a basic larder with seasonings and spices, he sets them loose on recipes from curry roux to yakisoba to sushi.
Most intriguing recipe: Sweet Potatoes with Truffled Ponzu

Hooni Kim’s Danji earned the first Michelin Star ever awarded to a Korean restaurant. His debut cookbook, My Korea, offers 90 recipes, including “elevated classics” leaning on doenjang, ganjang, and gochujang (fermented soybean paste, soy sauce and fermented red chili paste) paired with stunning travel photography.
Most intriguing recipe: Bulgogi Sliders

The many meals of the Mediterranean

In Bitter Honey, author Letitia Clark takes us to Sardinia with “a distilled version of Italian food: simpler, more rustic, more wild.” Beautiful travel shots provide a backdrop for a range of recipes, some featuring unusual ingredients like mutton. The Verdure (vegetable) chapter dedicates seven pages to artichokes.
Most intriguing recipe: Fried Sage Leaves in Beet Batter

Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street: Tuesday Nights Mediterranean offers recipes from Malta to Turkey to the Middle East to Morocco. The Fast, Faster, and Fastest chapters mean home chefs won’t sacrifice good food under a time crunch.
Most intriguing recipe: Green Shakshuka

Focusing on staples from Greece, Turkey, and Cyprus, Yasmin Khan’s Ripe Figs features a backdrop of beautiful travel photos, personal memoirs from the author, and insights into why a particular dish is significant to the region. Most intriguing recipe: Spiced Cornbread with Feta

Sicily was occupied by Romans, Normans, Spaniards, French, Visigoth Greeks, Moors, and the Berbers. Those culinary legacies all come together in Ben Tish’s Sicilia. Many recipes lean heavily on hearty fare, including a “Fritti” chapter dedicated to deep-fried foods.
Most intriguing recipe: Pork, Orange and Mint Ragù

Amy Zitelman’s The Tahini Table is an homage to the delicious and versatile paste made from roasted and pressed sesame seeds that features heavily in Mediterranean cuisine. The cookbook features 100 recipes that promise to “Go Beyond Hummus”—although, ironically, it also delivers 26 pages of delicious hummus and dip ideas. The creativity is impressive, even working the ingredient into standbys like eggs benedict.
Most intriguing recipe: Creamy Dairy-Free Tahini Sorbet

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