Parmesan cheese made from wood pulp. Lobster rolls containing no lobster at all. Extra-virgin olive oil that isn’t. So many fake foods are in our supermarkets, our restaurants and our kitchen cabinets that it’s hard to know what we’re eating anymore. In Real Food/Fake Food: Why You Don’t Know What You’re Eating and What You Can Do About It (Algonquin Books, $16.95), Larry Olmsted convinces us why real food matters and empowers consumers to make smarter choices. Olmsted brings readers into the unregulated food industry, revealing the shocking deception that extends from high-end foods to everyday staples such as coffee, honey, juice and cheese. It’s a massive bait and switch in which counterfeiting is rampant and in which the consumer ultimately pays the price. It’s not a cookbook, but an essential expose look at fake food. We suggest not taking another bite or another sip until you’ve digest this eye-opener.
Terry Edwards and his best friend George Craig, the creators of London’s most popular pop-up restaurant Check On, have dished out their debut cookbook, Cooking for Friends: Bring People Together, Enjoy Good Food, and Make Happy Memories (Harper Design, $35). Now everyone can replicate the Check On experience at home: Cooking for Friends boasts 100 recipes inspired by British ingredients and culture that reflect their playful aesthetic.
Our fave: A Pudding of Eggs and Soldiers (eggshells filled with crème brulee and mango jelly, accompanied by shortbread soldiers for dipping). Have a Yorkshire Rhubarb Martini on the side. The recipes include detailed, offering step-by-step instructions and are accompanied by lush and inviting photographs.
The daughter of a restaurateur―the restaurant was New York’s legendary Ratner’s―Judy Gethers discovered a passion for cooking in her 50s. In time, she became a mentor and friend to several of the most famous chefs in America, including Wolfgang Puck. She also wrote many cookbooks and taught cooking alongside Julia Child. In her 80s, she was robbed of her ability to cook by a debilitating stroke. But illness has brought her closer than ever to her son: Peter regularly visits her so they can share meals, and he can ask questions about her colorful past, while learning her kitchen secrets. My Mother’s Kitchen: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and the Meaning of Life (Henry Holt, $28), is a funny, moving memoir about a son’s discovery that his mother has a genius for understanding the intimate connections between cooking, people and love. The recipes are few, but the book will leave you warm and fuzzy; your soul will be nourished. You will be glad you savored it.
Think of this as the Hawn of a New Day since Goldie’s daughter’s book is so much more than a cookbook. In Pretty Fun (Dey Street Books, $26.99) Kate Hudson shares her philosophy behind gatherings, how to be in the moment, make them uniquely yours, embracing occasions to just be together. A beautiful, fun, and nourishing guide filled with dozens of dazzling color photos, fabulous recipes for healthy and even some more indulgent snacks and beverages, and infused with Kate’s mindful and healthy approach to life, Pretty Fun will help you plan a year of special events, while remembering the healing power of gathering and celebration.
Yum! The Field Roast Grain Meat Co. offers their first cookbook, Field Roast: 101 Artisan Vegan Meat Recipes to Cook, Share and Savor (Da Capo Lifelong Books, $30), in which Chef Tommy McDonald shares recipes, fundamental techniques and tips, as well as vegan recipes for using them in every meal from breakfast through dinner. The 100 recipes are flexible: Want to make your own plant-based meats? Great! Want to use Field Roast products instead? That will work too. All you need are grains, veggies, and spices; easy-to-find whole food ingredients for authentic, hearty taste. Burnt Ends Biscuit Sandwiches anyone?
French pastry? Oui! Oui! With Maison Kayser’s French Pastry Workshop (Black Dog & Leventhal, $29.99), you can master the art of French pastry with step-by-step instructions from one of Paris’s best bakers, Eric Kayser. One of the draws to this ever-growing chain is the dozens of colorful and delicate pastries found in the window every day. And now you can make them at home. From festive creations to simple but sophisticated fare, Kayser provides clearly written recipes and his expert insight so you can replicate his delectable creations. More than 70 recipes include his bakery bestsellers, such as raspberry macaroons, lemon meringue tartlets, Epiphany cake, Yule logs, financiers, chocolate hazelnut tarts.
Pamela Salzman shares a simple but powerful mantra: Eat well, live well, be well. In Kitchen Matters (Da Capo Lifelong Books, 22.99), she shares the recipes that have won the praise of such mega-fans as Nicole Richie, Rashida Jones and Audrina Patridge. The recipes rely on accessible veggie-forward ingredients that are anti-inflammatory and nutrient-dense, and can be customized for vegetarian, vegan and grain-free diets. The book offers a roadmap for new and busy home cooks to begin including more wholesome foods every day, for meals as nourishing as they are unforgettable.
When it opened in 2003, wd~50 was New York’s most innovative, cutting-edge restaurant. Mastermind Wylie Dufresne ushered in a new generation of experimental and free-spirited chefs, and introduced a wildly unique approach to cooking, influenced by science, art and the humblest of classic foods such as bagels and lox and American cheese. wd~50: The Cookbook (ECCO/Harper Collins, $75) brims with gorgeous photography, detailed recipes explaining Wylie’s iconic creations and stories from the last days of the restaurant. A cookbook and time capsule, wd~50 is a collectible piece of culinary memorabilia. Fans of Wylie, food lovers, and industry insiders who have been waiting for a chance to relive the excitement and artistry of wd~50 can finally do just that.
Drunk with the thoughts of knowing all about rum? Rum: The Manual (Mitchell Beazley , $19.99) is an instruction manual, if you will, about how to drink rum of all kinds. More than 100 different rums are featured and analyzed, from rich, sweet mellow Guyana rums to the vegetal peppery rums of Martinique or Guadeloupe and contemporary spiced rums. A selection of classic and contemporary cocktails shows just how wonderfully versatile this spirit is.
Also on the menu: Two nifty spiral-bound cookbooks for the young-at-heart, both from Storey at $18.95 each Baking Class: 50 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love to Bake! fits kids ages 8–12 and features 50 easy-to-follow recipes. Lively step-by-step photos teach bakers-in-training how to knead dough, make biscuits, decorate cookies, and produce a perfect pie, along with essential skills like following directions and accurately measuring ingredients. They’ll learn to make both sweet and savory treats and will use fresh fruits and vegetables in recipes such as Bursting with Blueberry Muffins. The tasty companion: Cooking Class: 57 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love to Make (and Eat!) contains more than 50 recipes designed for the cooking abilities and tastes of children ages six to 12. Basic cooking techniques are explained in kid-friendly language, and recipes include favorites such as applesauce, French toast, popcorn chicken and pizza. There’s also some great imaginative presentations . . . think egg mice, fruit flowers and mashed potato clouds.