Anna Jones Picks the Best Food Writing and Cookery Books of 2017
Putting vegetables firmly front and centre, Anna Jones has been transforming how our nation cooks and eats. Now she’s back with an eagerly anticipated new book, The Modern Cook’s Year, bringing a calendar of seasonal vegetarian and vegan delights to make your table sing all year round. This year she’s in good company too and here, exclusively for Waterstones, she slices and dices the best of the year’s crop of new titles.
This year has been such a good one in the world of food and so many incredible cookbooks have made their way onto our shelves. I am so happy that, finally, eating with vegetables at the centre of your plate is being celebrated and taken seriously in restaurants and home kitchens.
Every year I notice there are more choices on restaurant menus outside of the obligatory goat’s cheese and red onion tart or mushroom risotto. The number of people moving over to eating in a way that is kinder to our bodies and the world around us is rising rapidly. It is my hope in all of this that we keep the focus on the joy of eating and cooking and sharing, that we shout about good food from the rooftops and make eating and cooking a pleasure it should never be about what is left out but a celebration of what is.
Food has the power to create community, to break down barriers and to change things. These cookbooks are my favourites of 2017 and they all in their own way do one of those things. Most focus on vegetables but i've included a few which just spread the sheer joy of eating and cooking. My favourite vegetarian cookbooks are the ones which don’t focus on leaving something out, but instead celebrate the sheer joy of plant-based cooking. I hope they find a place in your kitchen and in your hearts as they have mine.
Green Kitchen at Home by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl
My favourite food writing couple have done it again – this bright book focuses on meals you can make at the end of a long day at work, as well including some more involved recipes for lazy Sundays. It’s full of practical suggestions from batch cooking ideas to a delicious sounding lemon ricotta lasagne. You can also expect their trademark vibrant photography.
On the Side by Ed Smith of Rocket + Squash
Though not technically vegetarian, this book does champion the vegetable, elevating side dishes to something greater than we normally give them credit for. A clever idea that was long overdue, Ed has produced a stylish and delicious book.
I have been a fan of Sarah’s blog for many years, and have been looking forward to the follow-up to her first book My New Roots. This one is all about pulling together delicious and satisfying meals in a flash, and her suggestions for building up layers of flavour are smart and interesting. Anyone who likes her blog will love this gorgeous book.
On Vegetables by Jeremy Fox
On Vegetables is a cheffier book than some of the others on this list, but still approachable. Jeremy uses unusual ingredient combinations and focuses on texture, something I think is often overlooked when cooking vegetables. A classic from Phaidon.
Sweet by Ottolenghi and Helen Goh
Not many vegetables here but what is a list of cookbooks without one with some cake. Finally, Ottolenghi is sharing some of his baking secrets. As beautiful and decadent as I had hoped, like all of his others, this is is set to be a classic.
The Christmas Chronicles – Nigel Slater
This festive masterpiece is not totally vegetarian – but I had to list it here because nobody writes quite like Nigel, and he has long been one of my culinary heroes. A beautiful concept, these pages rejoice in the colder months and Christmas. It’s romantic and we ould probably even get Scrooge in the chritsmas spirit.
In My Kitchen by Deborah Madison
Deborah has been the most knowledgeable voice in vegetarian cookery for many years and for a long time an inspiration for my work, I adore her writing. This book pulls together some of her favourite recipes and some newer, simpler ones. It is not only a book I want to look at, but one that I want to cook from time and time again.
Six Seasons by Joshua McFaddenA brilliant veg centered book which walks you through the seasons and each vegetable that Joshua loves. His recipes are original and utterly delicious. Interesting Joshua divided his book into six rather than four seasons which is exactly how I approached my latest book, always good to know that someone else's brain works in the same way as yours.