The 17 Best Cookbooks of Spring 2024

March 15, 2024

How do you pick the best of anything, when the question of what qualifies as best is inescapably subjective? This is a particularly relevant question where cookbooks (or really any books) are concerned, given the personal nature of what we decide to cook and how. The recipes that compel me to the kitchen may leave you ordering take out on the couch; the voice that inspires you may make me long for a time when cookbook authors didn’t feel the need to nickname everything.

But if the question of what is best boils down to what moves us both as cooks and readers — and provides us with recipes that actually work — then we can say, by that metric, that the following 17 titles are the best of what this spring has to offer. These are books that cast certain taken-for-granted foods in a new light (hello, party dip and pasta salad), provide invigorating deep dives into Korean cuisine, view tropical cooking through a prism of climate consciousness, and make a compelling case for bourbon as both a cooking ingredient and way of life. Regardless of their subject matter, they make us want to get into the kitchen to explore new possibilities, and reward us for doing so. And it’s hard to think of anything better than that. — Rebecca Flint Marx

The cover of Hot Sheet

Olga Massov and Sanaë Lemoine
Harvest, out now

I underutilize my oven; for whatever reason, I tend to think stove-first. So when I saw Olga Massov and Sanaë Lemoine’s Hot Sheet, I was immediately drawn to recipes like the gochujang steak fajitas with kimchi, onions, and peppers, and the oven milanesas with tomato salad — two dishes I’d normally think to make in a pan. I was pleased to find that Massov and Lemoine’s recipes excelled in the oven, and allowed me to tidy my home and wrap up work while they cooked instead of babysitting food on the stove.

Hot Sheet is a guide to using your oven better. It’s more expansive than what you might think when you hear the term “sheet pan meals.” To me, that designation connotes neat sections of chicken breast, green beans, and potatoes, or maybe salmon swapped in for protein. Everything in these pages is indeed cooked on a sheet pan, but Massov and Lemoine’s recipes are more creative than that restriction might suggest: quick sheet pan chili; crispy ramen with cabbage with a stir-fry vibe; oven paella; baked ravioli, no thawing or boiling water required; a party-size quesadilla; and sheet pan fried rice all illustrate their authors’ inventiveness. Of course, sheet pan cooking is baking, so there are sweets too, like birthday sheet cake and matzo brittle. In all, this is an approachable, incredibly cookable, and pleasantly varied cookbook that frees you from the stove’s hold. — Bettina Makalintal

The cover of Saucy

Ashley Boyd
Chronicle Books, out now

In my world, food is merely a vehicle for sauce. That’s a philosophy that blogger Ashley Boyd embraces in Saucy, a cookbook entirely devoted to recipes for various sauces, dips, and spreads. Boyd, whose Southern cuisine has long been the star of her popular cooking blog, , makes this bounty of 50 different sauces accessible and approachable, even for a home cook who’s never once thought about making their own lemon curd or coconut chili crisp. Boyd groups the recipes into categories — creamy, herby, tomato-based, and tangy, among them — and offers an extensive list of pairings for each sauce, another helpful addition for new cooks who are looking for a way to jazz up a boring chicken breast or filet of fish.

Most of the recipes in Saucy are easily assembled in a blender or mixing bowl and require minimal prep. You may have to mince some garlic or chop a few bundles of herbs, but these are sauces that anyone can make, and they offer major flavor payoff for the small amount of effort involved. Swish the book’s cool and creamy avocado sauce into your lunchtime salads and sandwiches, or top a grain bowl with a rich basil-pistachio pesto that comes together quickly in the food processor. The book even embraces its sauce-first ethos for dessert, with a slew of sweet sauces like rich lemon curd and spicy Mexican chocolate sauce.

As you flip through Saucy, don’t be surprised if you find yourself thinking up stuff to put sauce on — and remember that there’s absolutely no shame in consuming any of these straight from a spoon. — Amy McCarthy

The cover of Make It Fancy

Brandon Skier
Simon Element, out now

If you have spent any amount of time on #FoodTok, you have assuredly seen the capable cooking of Brandon Skier, aka SadPapi. A Los Angeles native and restaurant industry vet, Skier brings refinement and skill to a platform that’s replete with gimmicks and casual dinners. For anyone who is looking to level up their cooking game with fancy techniques that they’ve seen in their favorite restaurants, Make It Fancy is a great place to start.

This isn’t necessarily a book for beginners, and Skier tells you up front that you’ll need some special equipment (a chinois, fermentation weights) to make a lot of his recipes. (If you happen to own your own deli slicer, for instance, he’s got a cool technique for that hulking piece of equipment.) But if you’re going to make your own dark chicken stock and preserved lemon gel at home, equipment comes with the territory. And Skier’s book is an excellent place to start for anyone who wants to feel like a chef in their own kitchen.

Some of Skier’s recipes — duck confit with mole poblano, puffed beef tendon — are pure culinary flexes, the kind of dishes you make only a couple of times when you’re really trying to impress your snobbiest friends. Others, like grilled prawns with salsa macha and roast chicken with jus, are much more approachable, which makes the book a solid choice for home cooks who are still trying to nail the basics while refining their understanding of the culinary techniques that make restaurant food so delicious. — AM

The cover of the Jewish Holiday Table

Naama Shefi and the Jewish Food Society
Artisan, out now

To attempt to define “Jewish food” is to plunge into a complex geography of overlapping traditions, cultures, communities, and migration patterns — a daunting task that The Jewish Holiday Table, the first cookbook from the , a New York-based nonprofit, embraces with gusto.

The book is organized around the Jewish calendar of holidays, starting with the all-important High Holidays in the fall, and is rounded out with a section dedicated to Shabbat, the Jewish sabbath. But very quickly, a more powerful, compelling theme emerges: The Jewish experience is and has always been one of moving and resettling, being driven from one’s home to rebuild a life in a new one.

The Jewish Holiday Table is a Diaspora food atlas, tracing Jewish journeys both joyous and difficult across centuries and continents. Within each holiday section there are multiple essay-and-recipe pairings, and each essay includes its writer’s “family journey” map.

As such, there are stories of eating Sukkot dishes in Uzbekistan under Soviet rule, a seder menu that reflects one family’s migration from Yemen and Morocco to Israel, and dishes shaped by Ottoman rule. The pastry chef Fany Gerson writes about her great-grandmother’s 1926 emigration from Ukraine to Mexico, where her family’s typical Ashkenazi recipes evolved to include chile peppers, lime, and tomatillo salsa.

The 100-plus recipes are as delicious as they are fascinating, and often easy to make. A red cabbage, date, and beet salad, with flavors rooted in Tehran, is refreshingly crunchy and comes together in five minutes. A Moroccan carrot salad, made with harissa, is as simple as it is tasty. On the other hand, there are recipes that my own Yiddish-speaking family would call “patshke” — labor-intensive dishes, like the Brazilian chef Esther Serruya Weyl’s almoronía, a baked eggplant and chicken dish from Morocco. (It is 100 percent worth it.)

But in a cookbook so packed with recipes and stories, covering such a diverse swath of regions, cuisines, and flavors, any home cook — Jewish or non-Jewish — will find something to love and to learn. — Ellie Krupnick

The cover of Islas

Von Diaz
Chronicle Books, out now

Von Diaz makes her background as a food historian and professor clear in her cookbooks, which display her talent for digging into history and drawing out connections. Diaz’s first cookbook, Coconuts & Collards, melded her life in the American South with her family’s history in Puerto Rico. This, her second cookbook, is broader in scope and even more ambitious, a lively, colorful, and richly contextual “celebration of tropical cooking.”

With 125 recipes, Islas explores the specificity of, and similarities between, the cuisines of tropical islands — all of which, Diaz notes, have been shaped by isolation, environmental vulnerabilities, and colonial legacies. She has broken her chapters and recipes into techniques: You’ll find, for example, Guam’s citrus-cured kelaguen in the Marinating chapter; Trinidad’s mango chow in Pickling + Fermenting; Haiti’s soup joumou in Braising + Stewing; and Indonesia’s sate ayam in Grilling, Roasting + Smoking. The book’s essential ingredients include coconut milk, banana leaves, galangal, chiles, and shrimp paste.

Islas is a deep and engaging read, anchored by climate consciousness. Diaz opens with an anecdote about hurricanes in Puerto Rico; since she was born, the season has extended and the storms have worsened. This is crucial context for tropical regions and their foodways: The Philippines, for example, has been called from the climate crisis. Throughout Islas, Diaz profiles people from the cultures she features; her goal, she writes, is to “preserv[e] the wisdom and values of the people who live in some of the most volatile, vulnerable places on this planet.” As ready as she is to provide delicious food, Diaz has a bigger goal here — this is a cookbook, yes, but also, she explains, “an archive of strategies for persistence, creativity, ingenuity, and resilience.” — BM

The cover of Make More With Less

Kitty Coles
Hardie Grant, out now

It’s great luck when you find a recipe developer whose culinary sensibilities closely mirror your own but whose mind works just differently enough to offer fresh, new-to-you ideas. For me, Kitty Coles is such a recipe developer: I know I can trust whatever she makes. And after cooking from this, her debut cookbook, I trust her even more. Here is a book, for example, that taught me, a , to make a few days’ worth of it at a time to serve with roast chicken and aioli, or to use as the base for a quick green soup, or to mix with yogurt into green goddess dressing, or to anchor a galette. This is Coles’s whole approach: Small, moderately effortful touches can go a long way in making simple food sing.

Coles’s food is straightforward and familiar but full of fun zhushes. She serves ice cream with salted sesame caramelized breadcrumbs; tops butter bean puree with pickled chile-garlic butter; and finishes her pillowy scrambled eggs with juicy tomatoes and crispy sage leaves. Hers is a cookbook for people who love generous puddles of olive oil and butter and always have herbs on hand. (If you like the style of cooking of , you’ll like Coles’s food.) Coles’s recipes are unfussy, welcoming to both new and experienced cooks alike, and rely on a lot of the same staple ingredients so you can, as the book’s title promises, not just make more with less but make the most, period. — BM

The cover of Cooking in Real Life

Lidey Heuck
Simon Element, out now

Lidey Heuck learned how to cook from the best. Her first job out of college was working for the Barefoot Contessa herself, cooking and developing recipes in Ina Garten’s East Hampton kitchen. From Garten, Heuck absorbed that preternatural ability to make a few simple (and good-quality, of course) ingredients feel special, and that vibe pervades her debut cookbook.

The recipes in Cooking in Real Life were intended to be “low-effort, practical, and high-reward,” and that’s exactly what they are. You won’t have to do any research to figure out where to find the ingredients you’ll need to make dishes like Heuck’s dead-simple honey-chile crunch salmon, and her straightforward writing makes even unfamiliar techniques seem doable. And, because this is a book all about easy, accessible cooking, Heuck offers plenty of swaps and substitutions for those situations when you’re really excited to make a recipe and realize you’ve run out of one of its essential ingredients.

There’s a real Ina Garten sensibility in these pages. Everything looks beautiful without being too fussy or unapproachable, and the photos of Heuck’s family and adorable dog interspersed throughout make it read almost like a chic family cookbook. If recipes like ratatouille lentil soup and short ribs braised with port and cranberries somehow don’t sound compelling enough, Cooking in Real Life has the Barefoot Contessa stamp of approval — Garten wrote the foreword for the book — and that’s all I really need to know. — AM

The cover of Jang

Mingoo Kang with Joshua David Stein and Nadia Cho
Artisan, out now

Many modern cookbooks, particularly cuisine-specific ones, dedicate a section near the beginning to the spices and condiments found in the recipes in the rest of the book. But in Jang, a pantry staple is the star: The cookbook focuses on three sauces, ganjang, doenjang, and gochujang, that form the basis of Korean cooking. When he was younger, writes author and chef Mingoo Kang, he thought of jang — which means fermented soybean paste — as just another ingredient, subbing miso for doenjang or shoyu soy sauce for ganjang in a pinch. It wasn’t until Kang delved into their history, and the way geography and time impact their flavors, that he understood them as crucial building blocks for Korean cuisine.

You might think that Kang, whose two-Michelin-starred Seoul restaurant Mingles is renowned for its alchemy of Korean and Western flavors and techniques, might produce a glorified coffee table book of gorgeously plated food that’s inaccessible to most home cooks. Although the book is beautiful, Kang and his co-authors introduce jang to a wider audience by paying homage to traditions and presenting intriguing new ways to incorporate the versatile staple. There are classic mains like haemul pajeon (seafood scallion pancake) and galbijjim (braised short ribs), as well as combinations inspired by Western cuisine, like ssamjang cacio e pepe. Those new to Korean cooking might gravitate toward creative twists like an almond doenjang croissant (which uses store-bought croissants) or a gochujang pulled pork sandwich.

Jang is a single-subject cookbook that gives a less-heralded ingredient the attention it deserves on a global stage. “That the entirety of Korean cuisine relies on what is to most people a near secret ingredient is one of the last great discoveries in world cookery,” writes Kang. With this cookbook, the secret is out. — Stephanie Wu

The cover of Cool Pasta

Tom Jackson
Hardie Grant, March 26

Summer is fast approaching, and there’s no better time to eat pasta salad than when it’s scorching hot outside. This is great news for Cool Pasta, a collection of fresh pasta salad recipes from Tom Jackson, the founder of the U.K. food media company Twisted and a devoted pasta salad evangelist. For Jackson, damn near anything can be a pasta salad, and that’s a mentality I can really get behind. Once you witness his transformation of a tuna melt into a ridiculously flavorful concoction loaded with flakes of oil-packed tuna, capers, white beans, and Parm, I’m willing to bet that you’ll be a believer, too. Admittedly, Jackson’s recipes can get a little weird — mixing crispy, cup-and-curl pepperoni with cacio e pepe, for example — but that’s actually when they’re the most compelling.

Jackson’s pasta salads are not your meemaw’s pasta salads; they feel very 2024, with lots of punchy, assertive flavors and de rigueur ingredients like tinned fish and Calabrian chiles. In fact, you won’t find a single glop of mayo within these pages, which is certainly a choice. Jackson claims that it’s mayo’s fault that pasta salads have gotten a bad rap throughout the years, and whether or not I agree with that assertion, there’s no denying that his recipes are worthy without it. (And, of course, there’s nothing stopping you from defying Jackson’s mayo ban and adding a spoonful or two yourself whenever it feels right.) — AM

The cover of Cured

Steve McHugh with Paula Forbes
Ten Speed Press, March 26

Fair warning: Your house will smell like vinegar when you cook many of the recipes from Cured. But that’s kind of the point. In his latest cookbook, the James Beard Award-nominated chef Steve McHugh, with an assist from writer (and former Eater editor) Paula Forbes, takes readers on an acidic journey through ferments, pickles, and preservations. Named after McHugh’s first San Antonio restaurant, Cured is inspired by the chef’s love for prolonging seasonal ingredients for year-round enjoyment. The love affair was sparked by an earlier battle with lymphoma, an experience that made McHugh realize the importance of maximizing everyday moments and flavors.

The book is divided into eight main preservation methods (ice, ferment, smoke, etc.) and also lays out instructions for McHugh’s famously inventive charcuterie boards, as well as the best ways to pickle, well, just about anything. What’s really valuable here are the at-a-glance charts that make it easy for the novice to quick-cure, confit, or can to their heart’s desire.

And then there are the recipes, which frequently lend themselves to one another. In these pages, a single compound butter recipe can be used for cornbread, cavatelli pasta salad, or chicken liver mousse, and kimchi can be folded into a pancake, pureed in a bloody mary, or baked into summer squash gratin. One ingredient that will be used over and over again in my household is the simple and effective confit tomatoes that crown the most decadent whipped feta bruschetta for the ultimate dinner party appetizer.

In fact, Cured makes you realize that no hors d’oeuvre should ever be overlooked, whether it’s a stunning Technicolor crudite spread or vibrant cured meat carpaccio. Naturally, pickles shine throughout (there’s a chart for that, too!) and make surprise and welcome appearances in everything from martinis to ravioli. One spin through the book, and you too will be a believer in the power of preservation. — Jess Mayhugh

The cover of Health Nut

Jess Damuck
Abrams, March 26

“I am not a nutritionist,” Jess Damuck writes in the opening pages of Health Nut. “I am not a wellness influencer. I am just a classically French-trained chef who has a nostalgia for the sticky-shelved health food stores that are becoming increasingly hard to find.” With this, her second cookbook after 2022’s Salad Freak, Damuck has written a paean to not just those mythical stores, but also to California, and her own specific and winning brand of neo-hippie cuisine.

Health Nut reads like the cookbook equivalent of America’s ”: It’s all easygoing ’70s vibes and hazy sunshine, and you can practically smell the bougainvillea and bay laurel in its pages. The mood is underscored by location photos from Roger Steffens, a fixture of California’s counterculture known for his psychedelic double-exposure photography. (Linda Pugliese did the vivid food photos.) But the recipes themselves are remarkably down-to-earth, making room for both homage and the demands of weeknight cooking.

Masala-spiced potato hash with spinach and yogurt, for example, is a mellow, agreeable meal that’s very easy to put together and also versatile — I found that kale, which I had on hand, was an ideal substitute for the spinach. Sheet-pan salmon with green beans, potatoes, and spicy tahini is a classic workhorse recipe in the making, and its profusion of green olives and spicy tahini lend it an unexpected and inspired twist. And hazelnut and carob thumbprint cookies do justice to the beleaguered chocolate alternative and also function as one of those health food desserts that double as passable breakfast food.

Other recipes offer an explicit portal to the past: There’s the Source Aware salad, named after the legendary ’70s-era LA health food restaurant where it was served, and the Dragon Bowl, a macrobiotic tofu, beans, and rice number beloved by those who used to frequent New York’s Angelica Kitchen. But while Damuck looks frequently to the past, she’s not trapped by it — her approachable, beautiful food offers a convincing blueprint for the future — carob, sprouts, and all. — Rebecca Flint Marx

The cover of Bourbon Land

Edward Lee
Artisan, April 2

Edward Lee is known as many things. He’s the chef-owner at 610 Magnolia and Nami in Louisville, co-founder of the restaurant equity nonprofit Lee Initiative, and frequent talent on shows like Top Chef and The Mind of a Chef. He is also, evidently, a bourbon drinker. In Bourbon Land, the Kentucky resident’s third book chronicling his passion for Southern foodways, Lee writes a love letter to the aged whiskey spirit. The book not only defines bourbon and details its history (both in Kentucky and otherwise), but also offers a uniquely cheffy perspective on the spirit. See, for example, sections like “How to Pair Bourbon for a Dinner Party,” “Why Corn Is Used in Bourbon,” and “How to Taste Bourbon Like a Pro.”

Perhaps the most exciting thing about the book is the way Lee uses its pages to show that bourbon’s uses go far beyond cocktails: Here, it cuts through the salty squeak of haloumi cheese, adds a touch of sweetness to a banana BBQ sauce, and pairs perfectly with earthy miso for a sauce that can be spread atop Chinese eggplant or a roasted sweet potato. These recipes, which are divided regionally throughout the state of Kentucky, make you realize that bourbon is as much an ingredient as it is a technique used to glaze chicken wings, poach oysters, or candy pecans for bourbon balls (a statewide favorite). What’s more, Lee really digs into the people who produce bourbon and the culture surrounding it, explaining the spirit’s midcentury modern appeal through pop culture and how patriotism, Anthony Bourdain, and even Bob’s Burgers helped sustain its renaissance. By the end of the book — which showcases the spirit’s versatility, complexities, and staying power — you’ll likely agree with Lee when he writes, “Bourbon is my best friend.” — JM

The cover of Big Dip Energy

Alyse Whitney
William Morrow, April 16

It is well established that dip is the . But it doesn’t always get the loving, homemade treatment that other snacks do. No matter how beloved, dip can sometimes feel like an afterthought, a tub of something picked up at the grocery store or a packet of seasoning quickly stirred into sour cream. There’s nothing wrong with that, but Alyse Whitney wants better for us.

Big Dip Energy, Whitney’s first cookbook, is dedicated to the art of the dip, and you may be surprised at how much there is to know. Whitney outlines which dips you can make for dinner or dessert, which ones take five minutes in a food processor, and those that require baking and other preparation. Each recipe comes with serving suggestions, from store-bought tortilla chips to homemade pasta chips and crispy wonton cups whose recipes Whitney provides. There are tips for making your dip platters Instagram-ready and for optimizing the tedious task of cheese grating. And there’s no word Whitney hasn’t figured out how to add “dip” to, as “dipscosity,” “dipficult,” and “indipvidual” attest.

As you might expect from a book called Big Dip Energy, there’s a playful vibe here. The colors are saturated, the names are sometimes corny, and the puns are shameless. But if you can say “In Queso Emergency” with a straight face, you’ll find dips full of flavor and punch that take their inspiration from just about everywhere. A tteokbokki sausage dip combines Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage, gochujang, and Ro-tel, while a guava cheese dip pairs best with homemade mini ham-and-cheese croissants. And then there’s the Caesar salad dip, which involves blitzing a whole head of romaine into a garlicky cream that you’ll find any excuse to use (it’s particularly good with cocktail shrimp). Big Dip Energy will make you the life of the party. Even if your party is a dinner for one. — Jaya Saxena

The cover of I’ll Bring Dessert

Benjamina Ebuehi
Quadrille, April 23

Beloved former Great British Bake Off contestant Benjamina Ebuehi is back with her second cookbook, one whose title is sure to resonate with those of us known as the designated dessert person among friends and family. “These are the recipes I make for cosy dinner parties with friends,” Ebuehi writes, “for church potlucks, for those last-minute get-togethers, weekend lunches, big family Christmases, and everything in between.” As such, she prefaces her recipes with a number of useful tips for the act of transporting dessert: how and what to carry it in, when and where it should be assembled, the importance of Tupperware, etc. The recipes themselves are organized by phenotype — fruity, chocolatey, creamy, nutty — and united by Ebuehi’s talent for adding unexpected grace notes to familiar standards. Here, peach shortcakes are drizzled with hot honey, chocolate cookies contain halva and smoked salt, and a tres leches cake is infused with English breakfast tea. Ebuehi’s tahini, date, and chocolate pudding is itself a riff on sticky toffee pudding; it marries the soft, squidgy joy of the latter with the nutty whisper of sesame. It’s one of those desserts that is equally good spooned warm from the pan or eaten the next day, after its flavors have further developed.

The pudding is also easy to put together, which speaks to another one of I’ll Bring Dessert’s virtues: There are recipes for just about everyone, from those who have never wielded an offset spatula to those who think nothing of assembling a layer cake, and Ebuehi is a thoughtful, self-aware guide to it all. (“I know it feels like a faffy, unnecessary step,” she acknowledges of the ice bath in her baked maple cheesecake recipe, before explaining why, exactly, it’s necessary.) She knows of what she speaks when she writes, “the person bringing dessert has much to consider.” Thanks to her, that person now has a book’s worth of beautiful options to consider, too. — RFM

The cover of Koreaworld

Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard
Clarkson Potter, April 23

Koreaworld seeks to capture “the modern excitement around Korean food,” and it excels at this task: This is a cookbook that feels like a good time. The first picture of its authors, Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard, shows them sharing something fried and filled with cheese, their mouths connected by an impressively long cheese pull. This, their follow-up to the 2016 Koreatown, is a joyful time capsule of Korean cuisine as it exists today: dynamic, boundary breaking, and increasingly — incredibly — global.

When it comes to the foundations of Korean cooking, Maangchi (and many others) have the bases covered. Rather than teach you how to make kimchi (the book doesn’t, though it has many ideas for how to use it), Koreaworld builds its recipes from timely questions: What are the dishes gaining traction around Seoul, like frozen kimchi as banchan at barbecue spots? What’s making it big in the United States, like cheesy Korean corn dogs? What are the Korean kids raised in the American South making when they run their own restaurants and food carts? The book’s scope is broad, nodding even to Korea’s growing coffee scene with a recipe for a V60 pour over.

Drawing inspiration from both the food of the diaspora and the food of modern Korea, Hong and Rodbard offer recipes that are delicious and at times playfully irreverent, like Dennis Lee’s Taco Bell bibimbap. They’re interspersed with profiles of major players in today’s Korean food scene, including Susan Kim of New York City’s Doshi pop-up, Eddo Kim and Clara Lee of San Francisco’s now-closed Queens Superette, and even Eater LA’s own Matthew Kang. Korean food has taken the world by storm; Koreaworld is ready to bring that momentum into your home kitchen. — BM

The cover of My Little Cake Tin

Tarunima Sinha
Quadrille, May 7

It’s impossible not to fall for the story of how Tarunima Sinha began baking. The self-taught baker made her first cake in her grandmother’s chapati tin, a conveniently sized 8-by-3-inch aluminum cylinder. “I didn’t have many reference points when I started,” she writes. “For me, there were no family recipes to fall back on,” as most traditional Indian desserts don’t involve sponge and buttercream. But when Sinha moved to the U.K. in 2001, she began teaching herself to bake, and her hobby eventually .

Befitting her personal history, Sinha has designed all the recipes in her first cookbook to be baked in the same 8-by-3-inch tin. They’re slightly geared toward a British audience: Castor sugar and “soured cream” make frequent appearances, and the “simplest of cakes” are assumed to be Victoria sponge and lemon drizzle. But they’re all very adaptable and thankfully include Fahrenheit baking temperatures.

Sinha envisions her book as the kind of guide she wishes she had when she started baking, and she walks bakers through a variety of techniques for creating batters and fillings. There’s creaming and reverse creaming, Jaconde sponge and genoise sponge, basic compotes and curds, and a primer on using the same basic cake batter to make a tabletop snacking cake, cake truffles, or elegant tiers. It’s clear Sinha wants readers to be able to mix and match according to their own tastes.

She provides plenty of inspiration, featuring cakes by a range of cuisines and locales. A mango shrirhand cake riffs on the cardamom-and-saffron-flavored dessert, crowned with fresh mango and pistachio. Lime and mint cake evokes a mojito. For breakfast, Sinha suggests serving the airy Italian ricotta citrus cake with Greek yogurt and honey. And she tops nearly all of them with edible flowers, an easy hack to elegance. — JS

The cover of Bethlehem

Fadi Kattan
Hardie Grant, May 14

French Palestinian chef Fadi Kattan opens Bethlehem, an ode to his hometown in the West Bank, by acknowledging two versions of the city: the historical, religious, cultural place glanced sidelong by pilgrims, and “the real Bethlehem” where people live, make the best of the dangerous chaos around them, and cook their way through the years.

Spring is the ideal time to jump into the book, which is divided by seasons, allowing you to choose recipes based on what looks good at the farmers market. Early eggplants led me to an aubergine salad with sumac-studded tahini dressing, while Kattan’s constant emphasis on celebration inspired me to take on his qidreh, a spiced rice dish studded with ever-celebratory lamb. I couldn’t resist the allure of taboun bread, cooked on a sheet pan full of (cleaned) pebbles, which replicates the effects of Bethlehem’s traditional clay ovens.

While Kattan’s profiles of figures throughout the city are revealing, the author also provides glimpses of his own family and culinary influences, like his grandfather introducing him to French cheeses or the savory pastries made by the Arab Women’s Union co-founded by Kattan’s grandmother. These stories contextualize the book’s recipes within daily routine, but also situate a family within the decades-long Palestinian struggle against erosions of normal life.

“In a sense these losses are common to all Palestinian families — with their various memories of oranges, olive trees, prickly pears, and fishermen’s boats,” Kattan writes, after describing the loss of the family’s Jaffa orange groves during .

As common as the pains are the ways Palestinians in Kattan’s writing use food as containers for generational memory and community bonding. Many of his recipes serve eight or more people, making them ideal for sharing with your own community. — Nick Mancall-Bitel

is an illustrator and author based in New York City.

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