The Best Cookbooks Of All Time

When you're looking for a new recipe, where do you go? In this day and age, most of us probably turn to the internet, whether we prefer simple lists of ingredients and instructions or elaborate video tutorials. Still, there's something about an actual physical cookbook for when you're not so much looking for what to make for dinner tonight, but are instead seeking new ideas that may spark future projects.

Other times, cookbooks may serve as a form of escape into a beautiful world where all the ingredients are fresh, all the meals are perfectly prepared, everything comes with the perfect garnish, and there are never, ever dirty dishes in the sink ... Sigh. Many cookbooks tell a story, as well, whether it be that of the chef, a country and its cuisine, or a moment in history. There are also cookbooks that explain in great detail the actual science that underlies each cooking technique. 

On the lighter side, there are some "just for fun" cookbooks where every recipe ties into a movie, a book, or even a special interest like astrology. There's no one cookbook that's going to be all things to all people, but on the other hand, there are cookbooks out there to fit practically every occasion. These are the absolute best cookbooks to suit every need and to keep at-the-ready on your kitchen shelves.

How we selected these cookbooks

Cookbooks are hardly a one-size-fits-all experience. Beginning cooks may want advice about equipment and techniques, while more advanced cooks may prefer to skip straight to the slicing and dicing. Some want to use only the finest ingredients, while others have to pinch every penny. Many people may be cooking for themselves alone, while others have families to feed. Still other cooks may want to make food for their furry friends. And of course, there are dietary restrictions to take into account, as well as an entire planet's worth of different cuisines and traditions to consider. While we couldn't cover all contingencies in this list, we've tried to select titles that would speak to a wide range of needs and interests.

Whatever you're looking for in a cookbook, whether it be practical advice, inspiration, or just a chance to dream, the books on this list are all standouts. Some are old classics, while others are notable new titles, If you'll scroll to the end, you'll also find a special "lagniappe": our five most-anticipated cookbooks set to come out in 2022!

Best cookbook for beginners

Mark Bittman has been cooking and writing about food for over 40 years, spending at least 25 of them with The New York Times. His first cookbook was a comprehensive compendium entitled "How to Cook Everything" that was so successful it was spun off into a number of cooking apps. He subsequently released a somewhat simplified version specifically aimed at inexperienced cooks. "How to Cook Everything: The Basics." is the perfect beginner book for anyone who needs more explicit instructions, and perhaps a little encouragement.

If you're a visual learner who likes to see how things are done, you may still find it impossible to learn from a TikTok cooking demo or even a YouTube video where the camera focuses on the chef's face. In that case, you're going to love Bittman's "Basics." Not only does this book have the usual pics of finished foods looking pretty, but it also includes photos showing you each step as the recipe is being prepared. One warning, though: according to Oregon Live, this weighty tome may require a few paperweights (cans could work in a pinch) to hold the pages open while it lies on your kitchen counter.

Purchase "How to Cook Everything: The Basics" from Amazon for $22.49.

Best cookbook for old pros

Thomas Keller is a true culinary hero for many reasons, not least because he's not afraid to poke a few holes in modern culinary myths such as the sacredness of "farm to table" eating. The chef and restaurateur has authored several books, but among them is a true culinary classic: "The French Laundry Cookbook" that takes its name from his legendary Napa Valley eatery.

In 2009, Saveur surveyed a number of food world professionals to find out which cookbooks they considered indispensable. One name that kept popping up was "The French Laundry Cookbook." According to David Chang, himself a chef of no small influence, "Chef Keller's book continues to inspire cooks from around the country to do things the right way." If you yourself aspire to join the ranks of top chefs — or at least cook like a pro — then this book will set you on the right path.

Purchase "The French Laundry Cookbook" from Amazon for $20.75.

Best cookbook recommended by your grandmother

If you own one cookbook that's been passed down from generation to generation (we're talking a commercial cookbook, not a volume of hand-written recipes), then we're betting it's Irma Rombauer's "Joy of Cooking." This book has been in print since 1931 and has recipes for nearly everything you might ever want to cook. Should you own one of the older copies of this book, though, you might look upon it as a quaint period piece full of mysterious things in aspic. By no means should you get rid of that antique, since memories are priceless (although, as Bon Appetit points out, a first edition could be worth big bucks), but you might want to check out the latest, greatest, updated version.

2019's "Joy of Cooking" may not be your granny's cookbook, but we're pretty sure she'd approve of the changes that have been made. Old favorite recipes remain, but they've been joined by welcome new additions like chocolate-walnut babka, chana masala, and beef rendang. It also has a number of vegan recipes as well as a larger selection of vegetarian ones in keeping with this century's move towards more plant-based eating.

Purchase "Joy of Cooking: 2019 Edition" from Amazon for $17.85.

Best restaurant cookbook

While we already have one restaurant cookbook on this list ("The French Laundry Cookbook," if you've been skipping slides), we had to include another one, too, as much for its narrative as for the recipes it shares. When Marcus Samuelsson opened Red Rooster Harlem, he named it after the speakeasy whose patrons included legendary names including Adam Clayton Powell Jr., Nat King Cole, and James Baldwin. The restaurant itself is dedicated to showcasing Harlem in all its vibrant diversity, and "The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem" tells the story of the restaurant, the community, and the cuisine.

Of course, "The Red Rooster Cookbook" also has plenty of recipes — and such recipes! Delightful spins on soul food, such as banana-pecan pie and blackened catfish with peanuts, join globally-inspired dishes like puerco in cerveza, an Ethiopian-spiced rack of lamb, and a Swedish dessert of caramel-sauced apple sorbet. There are even several delicious-sounding drinks like the pineapple/honey/ginger beer cocktail dubbed "Yes, Chef."

Purchase "The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem" from Amazon for $21.99.

Best technical cookbook

Is cooking an art, or is it more of a science? In truth, it's a little bit of both. If your interest in cooking tilts more toward the latter side, however, then "Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking" is probably the cookbook for you. This book, which won the James Beard Media Award for general cookbooks in 2018, is more than just a recipe collection. Instead, it serves as a cooking tutorial built around mastering the use of the 4 titular elements: salt for flavor, fat for texture, acid to bring balance, and heat, which again influences texture.

Cooking World says that "Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat" may be the most extraordinary cookbook they've ever reviewed, and they feel it has plenty to offer experienced chefs and beginner home cooks alike. That seems to be just what author Samin Nosrat intended, as she has taught her cooking techniques to audiences ranging from children to fellow cooking professionals. The best part about Nosrat's approach, which she picked up at the legendary Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, California, is that once you master it, you're well on your way to creating your own recipes and may soon be flying cookbook-free!

Purchase "Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking" from Amazon for $16.65.

Best cookbook for meal prep

"Meal prep" is a popular term these days, but it, like "farm to table" and other similar sound bites, is a cutesy way to describe a concept that's been around for practically eons. Still, we're always up for a few more tips 'n tricks on how to get meals ready in advance, and "The Ultimate Meal-Prep Cookbook" certainly delivers on the promise of its subtitle: "One Grocery List. A Week of Meals. No Waste."

So what kinds of meals are we talking about here? Well, this book comes from America's Test Kitchen, so you know it's going to be a lot more than "50 ways to reuse a rotisserie chicken" or a compendium of casseroles made with canned soup and elbow macaroni. Instead, the cookbook explains how to prep dishes like sausages with balsamic stewed tomatoes, herb-poached salmon, shiitake mushroom frittata, and beef lettuce wraps. As a bonus, you'll also get advice on how to organize your fridge and pantry and how to substitute ingredients you have on hand rather than having to make unnecessary shopping trips. If you're a fan of meal kits like HelloFresh and Blue Apron, this cookbook plus a few hours on the weekend could give you all of the same variety and convenience for a lot less money!

Purchase "The Ultimate Meal-Prep Cookbook: One Grocery List. A Week of Meals. No Waste." from Amazon for $18.39.

Best cookbook for families

Cooking for a family can be a tricky proposition, particularly if that family contains persons of mixed ages, schedules, and special diets. Not to mention, in approximately 100% of families where the "kids" are under retirement age, time is always of the essence. With that in mind, you wouldn't really expect, or even want, cordon bleu-level recipes from a family-oriented cookbook. "The Mom 100 Cookbook" by blogger Katie Workman delivers exactly what you do need: simple, quick-to-prepare meal ideas.

What this cookbook does, it does very well, and it doesn't limit itself to quick weeknight dinners, either — there are also nutritious, yet kid-friendly breakfast and lunch ideas, as well. Especially useful are the "blueprints" that allow you to customize the recipes to your own picky eaters' preferences, even accommodating variations within a single meal. If your kids are on the younger side, there are also suggestions for how you can get them involved in helping to prepare the meal. (For older ones, bribery may still be required.)

Purchase "The Mom 100 Cookbook: 100 Recipes Every Mom Needs in Her Back Pocket" from Amazon for $11.45.

Best cookbook for dining solo

Cooking for one can be tough, particularly as so many menus seem to be designed to feed families of four. And yet, if the latest census data is anything to go by, we're long overdue for a change. As of 2021, 28-percent of all U.S. households consist of just one person. "Cooking for One" by America's Test Kitchen is the best singles cookbook we've seen. It not only provides recipes that are scaled for a single diner, but also takes into account the logistical difficulties that go along with this: Avoiding leftovers (unless you want them), not having unused ingredients that go to waste, and not dirtying up too many dishes when there's no one to share cleanup duty.

Like many of Americas Test Kitchen cookbooks, "Cooking for One" provides tips helpful for beginners (like how to select utensils or stock the pantry), but the recipes go beyond basic. There are "mains" like crispy-skinned chicken and pan-seared shrimp, but what really seals the deal is the mix and match condiments including tonkatsu sauce and blue cheese compound butter. There's also an extensive selection of solo sides, soups, and desserts, but our favorite part is the "party for one" section with snack and drinks. After all, sometimes the happiest hours are the ones you spend in your own company.

Purchase "Cooking for One: Scaled Recipes, No-Waste Solutions, and Time-Saving Tips" from Amazon for $18.28.

Best cheap eats cookbook

One problem with many cookbooks is that they seem to assume price is no object, with recipes calling for specialty ingredients, or insisting, in Barefoot Contessa-like fashion, that everything must be "good." Well, that's perfectly fine as long as you've got big bucks to shell out, but if you're trying to stretch each dollar as far as it will go, does that mean you're doomed to live on ramen noodles and bologna forever? That's just adding insult to injury, and cookbook author Leanne Brow doesn't subscribe to such nonsense. In fact, the subtitle of her cookbook "Good and Cheap" has a story of its own to tell: "Eat Well on $4/Day," referring to the federal food stamp allotment. (Amounts vary by household size and income, but the current max per-person SNAP benefits range from about $6 to $8 per day.)

So what kind of recipes are we talking about here? Pretty darn tasty ones like whole-wheat jalapeno-cheddar scones, sweet and savory pineapple salad, Filipino chicken adobo, and a coffee cake made with fresh peaches (though a note explains that to keep to the $4 cap, many recipes with fresh produce must be prepared when it's in season). Even if you're not livin' la vida broka, you may still want to pick up a copy of this book. After all, for each copy you buy, another is donated to a person in need.

Purchase "Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day" from Amazon for $10.37.

Best weight loss cookbook

Diet fads and cookbooks come and go, and it can be hilarious (in a cringey way) to look back on diet recipes from bygone eras, particularly celeb-endorsed dishes such as Elizabeth Taylor's steamed cucumbers and tuna-stuffed grapefruit or Marilyn Monroe's stewed prunes and cottage cheese. Popular diets of today include carb-restrictive ones such as keto and Whole 30, as well as program-based ones like Jenny Craig and Noom, but a U.S. News and World Report ranking of the top 40 diets found that the best one for overall health and sustainability is the Mediterranean Diet. 

Before you can adopt the Mediterranean eating plan, it helps to know not only which foods are permitted, but how you can prepare them without getting bored. Well, "The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook" from America's Test Kitchen provides such a wide variety of recipes — 500 in all — that there's bound to be something, in fact quite a few somethings, that appeal to everyone. What's more, the step-by-step photos in this book make the directions easy to follow, and recipes such as pan-fried halloumi with garlic/parsley sauce and artichoke-lemon hummus seem to find a sweet spot between simplicity and complexity.

Purchase "The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook: 500 Vibrant, Kitchen-Tested Recipes for Living and Eating Well Every Day" from Amazon for $19.69.

Best low-carb cookbook

While the Mediterranean Diet may be best for overall well-being, diets that restrict carbohydrate intake may result in quicker weight loss. Certain health conditions including epilepsy and diabetes may also require careful carb control. Our favorite one-size-fits-most cookbook for carb counters is "The Complete Low-Carb Cookbook" by "Low Carb and Lovin' It" host George Stella. Stella is someone who once tipped the scales at 465 pounds, so he can truly speak to the staying power of a low-carb diet done right. The recipes he shares here are meant to prove that carb-cutting doesn't have to mean monotony.

Even though this book is not specific to keto, paleo, or Whole 30 diets, its more general approach appeals to dieters looking for more flexibility. Another plus is that this book was written by a food industry pro instead of a diet blogger (as is the case with some other low-carb books on the market). As an Amazon reviewer notes, "It makes a huge difference to have a chef create a low carb cookbook [as] all of the recipes are excellent, easy to follow, and have no exotic ingredients." Some of the standout recipes in the book include ricotta crepes, Parmesan-crusted chicken, and a mock mac and cheese that comes highly recommended by another Amazon reviewer.

Purchase "The Complete Low-Carb Cookbook" from Amazon for $14.98.

Best gluten-free cookbook

Gluten-free diets, unlike many other special diets, aren't all about weight loss. Instead, many people choose (or are forced) to adopt this eating plan due to celiac disease or other conditions that trigger gluten sensitivity. In recent years, there's been a lot of attention given to such diets, with the happy result that gluten-free baked goods and baking ingredients are now much easier to find. There are also quite a few gluten-free cookbooks out these days, but "The Easy Gluten-Free Cookbook" gets our endoresement because it demonstrates that making a diet tweak doesn't need to result in extra difficulty for the cook.

The Fave Gluten Free Recipes blog praises "The Easy Gluten-Free Cookbook" for taking all of the complication out of going gluten-free. Everything in the book is either a one-pot or pan, 5-ingredient, or under 30 minute recipe, and these dishes are also much less expensive (and healthier) than many store-bought gluten-free foods. Recipes range from family favorites like chicken fingers to fancier fare like bacon-wrapped chicken with goat cheese and basil-garlic pork chops. There are also plenty of plant-based recipes such as vegan bolognese and quinoa/spinach-stuffed tomatoes. One Amazon reviewer says they're such a fan, they've kept on using this cookbook even after finding out that no one in their family was actually gluten-sensitive.

Purchase "The Easy Gluten-Free Cookbook: Fast and Fuss-Free Recipes for Busy People on a Gluten-Free Diet" from Amazon for $14.49.

Best plant-based cookbook

Some of the earliest vegetarian cookbooks were published in the mid-19th century, at which time such a diet was definitely a niche thing. By the 21st century, though, eating lower on the food chain is pretty mainstream, with the happy upside that there are now a dizzying array of cookbooks offering meat-free cuisine of all varieties. While it's hard to pick a favorite, if pressed, we're going with "Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed" by Bryant Terry, the chef who also put together the collaborative cookbook "Black Food."

Terry specializes in vegan cooking, and he is also proud of the culinary traditions of his African ancestors. As a result, this book features vegan recipes from Africa and the diaspora, particularly the Caribbean and the American South. While the creative, flavorful recipes will no doubt delight vegans tired of the same old tempeh chili and stir-fried tofu, omnivo=-es will also be tempted by offerings such as za'atar-roasted red potatoes, coconut-cashew soup, pumpkin-peanut fritters, and an orange-glazed persimmon bundt cake. The book also provides menus for such occasions as a Juneteenth brunch and a party for Bob Marley's birthday (February 6th, in case you were wondering). In a particularly charming touch, each recipe also comes with a suggested theme song, and some even have their own book suggestions.

Purchase "Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed" from Amazon for $16.99.

Best barbecue cookbook

If you're a fan of flame grilling, pit smoking, and all of the other sacraments in the holy ritual known as barbecuing, "Praise the Lard" could be just the scripture you're looking for. This book was authored by the dynamic father/daughter duo Mike and Amy Mills of 17th Street BBQ. Mike Mills, alas, is no longer around, having passed away in 2020, but this BBQ Hall of Famer had a profound influence on numerous other pitmasters during his tenure at the legendary Illinois eatery.

While the title may imply that "Praise the Lard" is a paean to swine, this barbecue bible is ecumenical enough to feature recipes for beef, chicken, turkey, oysters, and even a few fruits and veggies. Still, if you've ever wanted to learn how to cook an entire pig, there's a whole chapter devoted to that. Even if you're just using a kettle charcoal grill, though, you'll be able to cook most of the recipes here. All you need to do is accept Mills' "holy trinity" of seasoning, smoke, and sauce into your life and follow his step-by-step instructions for working backyard magic with even the most basic of equipment. Once you do so, you'll be ordained into such mysteries as pork belly bites, pit-smoked prime rib, and barbecue chicken parfaits. Can we get an amen? 

Purchase "Praise The Lard: Recipes and Revelations from a Legendary Life in Barbecue" from Amazon for $23.95.

Best Asian cookbook

Asia covers about 30-percent of the globe (oceans excluded), but has about 60-percent of the world's population. With over half of the planet calling Asia home, there's no way to do justice to the incredible range and variety of Asian cuisine in one volume. Nonetheless, Food Network standby Jet Tila has hit quite a few highlights in his "101 Asian Dishes You Need to Cook Before You Die."

Tila has Thai Chinese parents, but he himself was born and raised in L.A. In the intro to his cookbook, he says he lived within a few miles of Japanese, Korean, and Filipino neighborhoods, so he grew up familiar with those nations' cuisine as well as that of China and Thailand. This book was obviously written with an American audience in mind, as it includes such American Chinese classics as General Tso's chicken. Publisher's Weekly notes, though, that Tila includes less familiar recipes, like a northern Thai braised beef curry with noodles and a salty-sweet Korean beef dish called chap chae, as well as fusion takes like a Thai-inspired barbecue chicken dish. The recipes, for the most part, are relatively easy to follow and don't call for too many unfamiliar ingredients, but they're nevertheless clearly the product of a professional chef with a deep love for the dishes he writes about.

Purchase "101 Asian Dishes You Need to Cook Before You Die" from Amazon for $19.49.

Best Middle Eastern cookbook

If there's one type of world cuisine that's been gaining popularity in recent years, it would have to be Middle Eastern food. As to why it's been surging in popularity, particularly with younger diners, marketers Pointbleu Design offer a few hypotheses: Not only are people expanding their culinary horizons, but Middle Eastern food, in particular, offers a number of non-meat options that appeal to people interested in exploring more plant-based foods. What's more, many Middle Eastern dishes are very colorful, which makes them highly Instagrammable. Whatever your reasons for wanting to get into Middle Eastern cooking, you're sure to find recipes to excite and inspire you in "Feast: Food of the Islamic World."

Chef and cookbook author Anissa Helou comes from a Lebanese/Syrian background, but has lived in and traveled extensively throughout the Middle East, South Asia, and Northern Africa. The recipes she presents in this book come from countries ranging from Egypt to Pakistan and Indonesia. (While we typically think of the last-named as an Asian country, it actually has the world's largest Muslim population.) What's more, she delves into the history of these regions and their foodways. What we like best, though, is how her book is packed with luscious photos of dishes such as manaquish jreesh, a za'atar-topped Lebanese version of pizza, the Saudi meat pies known as aish bil-lahm, and a sweet-savory Moroccan pie called b'stilla.

Purchase "Feast: Food of the Islamic World" from Amazon for $43.86.

Best African cookbook

One way you know a recipe's going to be good is if it's been handed down by somebody's grandma. Okay, so maybe not all grannies can cook, but any recipe that makes it through several generations is bound to be a keeper. What better way, then, to explore the cuisine of a different part of the world than to go straight to its grandmothers — or, as they're called in eastern Africa, bibis?

"In Bibi's Kitchen: The Recipes and Stories of Grandmothers from the Eight African Countries that Touch the Indian Ocean," is the product of Somali chef Hawa Hassan in collaboration with food writer Julia Turshen. The recipes themselves, though, come from the women of Comoros, Eritrea, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Somalia, South Africa, and Tanzania, with one chapter devoted to each country. Vogue, while acknowledging that the book is coffee table pretty, also called it 2020's "most important cookbook" due to the fact that it highlights cultures and recipes that may not be familiar to many of us. Among the book's highlights include an Eritrean chickpea stew called shiro, a vegetable-based flatbread from Zanzibar known as ajemi, and a Kenyan mango-chile sauce.

Purchase "In Bibi's Kitchen: The Recipes and Stories of Grandmothers from the Eight African Countries that Touch the Indian Ocean" from Amazon for $18.69.

Best Latin-American cookbook

Here in the U.S., when we think of Latin-American cuisine, it's probably Mexican food that springs to mind. While we're now becoming a bit more familiar with foods from countries like Puerto Rico and El Salvador, when it comes to foods from South America, our knowledge may not extend much further than Brazilian churrasco and Peruvian roast chicken. "The South American Table" is a cookbook that should go a long way toward filling in any knowledge gaps, as it offers 450 different recipes from 10 different countries.

Cookbook author Maria Baez Kijac comes from Ecuador, but studied cooking in France and Spain, and taught cooking in Chicago for many years. Latin American cuisine is her specialty, and this book takes her back to her roots. The dishes she includes are as varied as the continent's geography (a subject she also touches on in her intro), as they range from an Ecuadorian fish soup with yuca and plantains to a Uruguayan beef stew with fruit and a Brazilian cheese tart.

Purchase "The South American Table: The Flavor and Soul of Authentic Home Cooking from Patagonia to Rio de Janeiro" from Amazon for $15.19.

Best Italian cookbook

Italian food is one of the most popular types of cuisine in the U.S. but it's likely that many of us are only familiar with food that's more-or-less Neapolitan or Sicilian and has been filtered through half a dozen generations in the New World. What we don't know so much about is food from other regions of Italy, particularly any traditional recipes that didn't translate to 19th century New York. "La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy," a book that Lidia Bastianich calls the "bible of the Italian culinary tradition," is therefore an essential cookbook for anyone who truly wants to experience Italian cooking in all its variety.

The recipes in "La Cucina" were collected back in the 1950s by the Italian Academy of Cuisine, a group dedicated to visiting every small village in Italy and seeking out traditional recipes before they could vanish into pre-internet history. They were able to rescue some 2,000 of these recipes, ranging from the salami and provolone-stuffed brioche of Campania to the meat-stuffed onions of the Piedmont and the black truffle frittata of Umbria. Basically, any recipe you have vague memories of your nonna's nonna cooking way back when, or that delightful dish you experienced on an Italian vacation (or dreamed of eating when doing some armchair traveling), is something you're likely to find here.

Purchase "La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy" from Amazon for $32.49.

Best French cookbook

La cuisine française may once have been considered the ne plus ultra of elegant eating, but the 21st century hasn't held it in such high regard as in previous years. Even if it's no longer in vogue, however, French food is still pretty amazing. Perhaps the one person who did the most to popularize French cooking among Americans was Julia Child, who remains the undisputed GOAT of celebrity chefs. Her "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" has been in print for over 70 years, but remains a must-have cookbook for anyone who wants to, well, do what the title says.

In these two volumes you'll find Julia's greatest hits, including coq au vin, vichysoisse, and pain de mie. You'll also discover many more classics, enough to last you a year or more if you attempt to "Julie & Julia" your way through Child's entire oeuvre. While making it through her magnum opus may not land you a movie deal, you'll receive an unparalleled education, and  have some fun along the way. According to the International Culinary Center and other online sources, Child allegedly once claimed that "The best way to execute French cooking is to get good and loaded and whack the hell out of a chicken." While these cookbooks don't include that quote, they still offer plenty of great advice delivered in Child's inimitable voice.

Purchase "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" Volume I from Amazon for $24.41 and Volume 2 for $39.50.

Best U.S. regional cookbook: Southern

Ask anyone what they think about Southern cooking and they'll probably be able to reel off a few classics like fried chicken, sweet tea, and light, fluffy biscuits. As Alton Brown points out, though, Southern cooking is a lot more than lard, butter, and self-rising flour. For some non-stereotypical southern cooking, we suggest turning to "The Taste of Country Cooking" by Edna Lewis, a chef and author of such note that she has her face on a postage stamp.

Lewis, whom the National Women's History Museum calls the "Grande Doyenne of southern cooking," was one of the first female African-Americans to publish a cookbook without having to conceal either her gender or skin color. "The Taste of Country Cooking," which was published in the Bicentennial year (and is still in print over 4 decades later), not only shares recipes incorporating fresh seasonal produce, such as blackberry cobbler, skillet-fried asparagus, and watercress with pork, but also tells the story of a remarkable woman. Lewis, who grew up in a farming community of freed slaves, worked for years to achieve her dream of opening a restaurant, but unlike Princess Tiana, this queen did it all without the aid of a magical talking frog.

Purchase "The Taste of Country Cooking" from Amazon for $18.28.

Best U.S. regional cookbook: Southwest

What states make up the American Southwest? There does not seem to be any one universally-accepted definition of this region, but World Population Review says that New Mexico and Arizona are in it, for sure, while Nevada, Utah, Oklahoma, Colorado, Texas, and California are all some degree of iffy. The cookbook that we feel best encompasses typical Southwestern foodways is called "The Border Cookbook," and as its name implies, it deals primarily with those states that share a border with Mexico, although there is a certain overlap with territories south of the Rio Grande.

"The Border Cookbook" came out in 1995, and the following year it won the James Beard American Award for regional cooking. The 300 recipes included combine to tell a story of all the different influences that shaped both the region and its cuisine: Mexican, Native, Spanish, and Anglo. Among the recipes included are the puffy sopaipillas of New Mexico (which bear little resemblance to the cinnamon-dusted tortilla chips that many recipes attempt to pass off as a reasonable facsimile); chicken cooked in green pipian, which is a sauce known to the Aztecs; and piñon pancakes that were inspired by the indigenous Pueblo peoples.

Purchase "The Border Cookbook: Authentic Home Cooking of the American Southwest and Northern Mexico" from Amazon for $32.11.

Best U.S. regional cookbook: Midwest

When it comes to American regional cooking, it seems like the south and southwest get all the glory, but everyone loves to hate on the Midwest and dismiss it as a no-man's land of Jell-O salads, tater tot hotdish, and the dreaded lutefisk. Well, we beg to differ (in a restrained, Midwestern way). Very little beats a Chicago-style hotdog, a Sheboygan brat, Cincinnati chili (5-way, please!), and Kansas City 'cue. Reaching beyond any food cliches (no matter how delicious), we find "The New Midwestern Table" by Amy Thielen, the Minnesotan host of Food Network's "Heartland Table." As Thielen's recipes make clear, the Midwest is not only the nation's breadbasket, but is also home to an abundance of fresh produce and protein that make it any aspiring farm-to-table cook's dream.

This is not to say that Thielen's recipes are all trendy, though. Fellow Minnesotan Andrew Zimmern described her book as "danc[ing] on a wire with one foot in the twenty-first century and the other in the nineteenth." In non-blurb speak, we think he's talking about how the recipes range from dishes like iced cucumber soup with grilled honey eggplant that wouldn't be out of place in a hipster bistro, to supper club classics such as deviled eggs with bacon, to traditional German and Scandinavian recipes, and only-in-the-Midwest offerings like roast pig's head and bear stew.

Purchase "The New Midwestern Table" from Amazon for $23.47.

Best cookbook for breads

Remember back in 2020 when everyone and their photogenic dog were livestreaming their attempts to bake sourdough bread? Bread was having a moment like it hadn't seen since the '90s (bread machines were that decade's Instant Pot). If you're still determined to master the perfect loaf, though, by this point you've probably discovered that TikTok tutorials are not the way to go. Instead, you'll need a really good cookbook, one that not only guides you through the steps in the process, but supplies amazing recipes for breads you never even knew existed. If that book also features inspiring tales of real people overcoming adversity, then you've got a real winner on your hands. Such is the case with "The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook."

The Hot Bread Kitchen is an artisanal bakery in NYC with a range of offerings somewhat more diverse than most, ranging from bialys to baguettes and na'an to conchas. The reason for this diversity is because the bakery not only employs immigrant women, but looks to them as the source of its recipes. This book shares those recipes, but what's even more fascinating are the bakers' backstories. As a bonus, there's even a scattering of non-bread recipes such as a Bangladeshi beef and potato curry that pairs well with chapatis, and a mint tea meant to be served with the Moroccan flatbread known as m'smen.

Purchase "The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook: Artisanal Baking from Around the World" from Amazon for $23.97.

Best cookbook for pastries

If you love baking and you love cookbooks, you may eventually wind up with a whole shelf, or perhaps an entire bookcase, filled with baking books. There are so many good ones out there, many of them devoted to just pies alone, or cakes, cookies, tarts, scones ... The list goes on. If shelf space is limited, however, you're going to want only the very best, and Rose Levy Berenbaum's "The Baking Bible" provides a pretty comprehensive blueprint for over 100 different cakes, cupcakes, pies, tarts, cookies, candies, breads, and savory pastries, as well as sub-recipes for enhancers like fillings, frostings, ganaches, glazes, and meringues.

As Kitchn points out, Berenbaum's "bible" isn't really a beginner-level book, although a cook without much experience but with a lot of patience could get quite an education from the step-by-step directions she provides. Most of the recipes do involve multiple steps and will take some time, although the directions aren't difficult to follow and the results you'll achieve will be impressive. Berenbaum, after all, is the ultimate perfectionist, and she tries her best to make sure her directions allow you to achieve baking perfection every single time. While it's hard to pick a favorite, among the recipes we can't wait to try are the savory stilton baby blue cheesecakes, the rhubarb upside-down cake with strawberry meringue, and the flaky cream cheese scones with raspberry butterscotch lace.

Purchase "The Baking Bible" from Amazon for $28.47.

Best desserts-only cookbook

We do love a good food/movie pun mashup, so "BraveTart" would win points for that alone (though we still can't figure out how to work "Freedom!" into a cookbook review). Even if it went by a more boring moniker, this book would still be our favorite dessert roundup.

Rather than coming up with newer, wilder concoctions using the latest, greatest trendy ingredients, "BraveTart" focuses on (as its subtitle proclaims) "Iconic American Desserts" such as Boston cream pie, hot fudge sundaes, and snickerdoodles. There are also homemade versions of favorite store-bought treats such as Oreos, Thin Mints, Twinkies, Pop Tarts, Snickers, and even Magic Shell ice cream topping. Not only does this book supply the definitive recipes for these delightful desserts, but it also delves deep into the history behind them. You'll even learn some of the kitchen wizardry that allows homemade treats to turn out just as good (or even better!) as the ones from your nostalgia-tinged, sugar-coated memories.

Purchase "BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts" from Amazon for $21.66.

Best air fryer cookbook

Do you have an air fryer? Of course you do — or you will by next Black Friday. The air fryer was the trendy, must-have appliance of the 20-teens, but now in the 2020s it's considered to be such an essential part of the American kitchen that author Susan Orlean has dubbed the day after Thanksgiving "Order an Air Fryer Day." Air fryers are handy gadgets, to be sure, but only if you understand how to use them. A good cookbook will help with that, and our pick is "The 'I Love My Air Fryer' 5-Ingredient Recipe Book."

As to why we picked this particular title out of all the air fryer cookbooks available, it's because an air fryer is supposed to be something that makes your life simpler. Well, quick and easy recipes with minimal fuss and limited ingredients are author Robin Fields' wheelhouse, and that's just what she delivers here. Her book has 175 different recipes, many for the kinds of things you wouldn't necessarily have thought to make in your air fryer: blueberry scones, ribeye steak, bacon-blue cheese burgers, and a layered ravioli bake. There are also plenty of tips such as how to clean your air fryer, what types of cooking spray to use, and even how to choose an air fryer should you feel compelled to purchase another one when Black Friday rolls around again.

Purchase "The 'I Love My Air Fryer' 5-Ingredient Recipe Book" from Amazon for $10.64.

Best Instant Pot cookbook

The idea of pressure-cooking food to save time is nothing new: The very first pressure cooker, as per Britannica, dates to the 17th century. Still, you don't always have to invent a better mousetrap if it's easier to strike gold by re-marketing an old one. Such was the case with the Instant Pot, a 21st century pressure cooker that's achieved a cult-like following despite its fairly high price tag. 

If you're a new convert, you could probably use some tried-and-true advice from a pressure cooking pro, since, as Tom's Guide points out, Instant Pots really aren't as user-friendly as they're cracked up to be. (Spoiler: the word "instant" may be an oversell.) One such expert is Jeffrey Eisner, host of the popular YouTube series "Pressure Luck Cooking." Eisner's "The Step-by-Step Instant Pot Cookbook" brings you those same tips, tricks, and recipes, only without having to press pause and rewind.

"The Step-by-Step Instant Pot Cookbook," as its name implies, really does walk you through each step in the process of cooking its 100 recipes. There are plenty of pics included, so if you have an Instant Pot-branded pressure cooker instead of a knockoff, you'll see exactly what button to press. The recipes in the book include such Instant Pot standards as chili, pot roast, and lasagna, but we're particularly partial to the not-so-basic dishes like lobster rolls, chicken shawarma, and bananas foster.

Purchase "The Step-by-Step Instant Pot Cookbook" from Amazon for $11.94.

Best slow cooker cookbook

Slow cookers, (frequently referred to by the name brand, Crockpot), have been around since the 1940s, but really took off in the 70s — perhaps, as The Washington Post suggests, because so many women were entering the workplace for the first time. While this appliance eventually fell out of favor, as most gadgets do, starting in the 20-teens it enjoyed a second wave of popularity. Why the 21st century resurgence?  We can't say for sure, but the slow cooker makes a less complicated alternative to the Instant Pot if you just want to prepare "fix-and-forget" meals and don't want all the bells and whistles found on the pricier appliance. "Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook," as its name implies, is just the updated cookbook that 21st century slow cookers have been looking for. 

"Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook" authors Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann are well-established food writers, and the info provided here is clear, concise, and comprehensive. The recipes, however, are definitely not the same old retro retreads that have been making the rounds for years. The 400 dishes included in this book are far more in tune with modern tastes, ranging from a breakfast risotto with almond and coconut milk to braised beef in espresso, Moroccan chicken with chickpeas, and jasmine rice pudding.

Purchase "Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook" from Amazon for $11.00.

Best mixology guide

The "Cocktail Codex," with its even drier subtitle, "Fundamentals, Formulas, Evolutions," may sound like a scholarly treatise on how mixed drinks have changed over time. The name is somewhat misleading, though, Instead of reading like a college text, this book not only provides recipes from the authors' nouveau Manhattan speakeasy Death & Co, but also teaches you some techniques for improvising your own drinks.

Here's the secret the "Cocktail Codex" reveals: There are just 6 basic drinks. Once you master the formula for the daiquiri, flip, martini, old-fashioned, sidecar, and whiskey highball, you can learn to mix and match ingredients to create your own unique cocktails. Set up a sweet basement bar, invite all your friends over, then charge them $15 a pop! Okay, don't do that, since it's not neighborly (and probably a violation of your local zoning restrictions). Instead, you can have tons of fun experimenting with new drinks and seeing who can come up with the craziest names for your creations.

Purchase "Cocktail Codex: Fundamentals, Formulas, Evolutions" from Amazon for $21.49.

Best celebrity chef cookbook

Cookbooks by celebrity chefs come out so often, you'd think the Food Network had a "publish or perish" doctrine. Needless to say, there's a glut of these on the market at any given time. Still, there are always a few standouts, and one of our all-time favorites is "Guy Fieri Family Food." Fieri is a chef who's known as much for his eating as his cooking (does anyone else think "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" is the true successor to Adam Richman-era "Man v. Food"?), and he always brings the fun. Needless to say, his compilation of Fieri-family favorites is quite an entertaining read.

As for the recipes in "Guy Fieri Family Food," for the most part they're not overly complex and "chef-y," but neither are they dull and basic. As the book is geared towards families, it includes plenty of kid-friendly menus like kebab night and an interactive chili bar. Fieri also dives into meal prep, providing a chapter's worth of recipes that can be cooked on a weekend and repurposed throughout the week. Many recipes are typical Flavortown fare such as a po'boy/jambalaya mashup and bacon-jalapeno popcorn, but there is a chapter with healthier, plant-based options. Once you finish your greens 'n grains, though, you deserve a little dessert, and Guy doesn't disappoint with recipes for fried ice cream, homemade waffle cones, and a 7-layer chocolate whiskey cake.

Purchase "Guy Fieri Family Food: 125 Real-Deal Recipes-Kitchen Tested, Home Approved" from Amazon for $54.47.

Best non-food world celebrity cookbook

While not every celebrity who's famous for something other than appearing on Food Network is absolutely obligated to write a cookbook, quite a few of them do turn their hand to it. As you might expect, the results are a mixed bagunless the celebs take a leaf out of Chrissie Teigen's playbook and get professional help. One famous foodie who seems to need no such help, is Stanley Tucci, although this may come as no surprise to anyone who's seen "Big Night," his love song to Italian cooking.

Some of the recipes in "The Tucci Cookbook" come from the Tucci family, while others come from friends such as New York chef and restaurateur Gianni Scappin. All, however, are molto bono, as are the photos and anecdotes Tucci shares. His fried pasta is a must-try, as is his basil and tomato-topped bruschetta (the secret lies in keeping the bruschetta topping separate, then having everyone top their toasts right before eating). And yes, "Big Night" fans, there is a recipe for timpano, the monster stuffed pasta that was the real star of that show. You'll find it in the index under "drum of ziti and great stuff," and the actor admits that the production of this dish tends to be rather drama-filled. For non meat-eaters, he also provides a slightly smaller vegetarian version filled with eggplant, onions, and peppers.

Purchase "The Tucci Cookbook" from Amazon for $21.99.

Best kids' cookbook

Back in the day, parents who wanted their kids to help in the kitchen might have had to bribe them with extra desserts. Today's crafty moms and dads, however, just need to get their kid hooked on shows like "Chopped Jr" or "Top Chef Family Style" and voilà! They have instant sous chefs in the house. If you've yet to lure your kiddo into taking over the meal prep, though, we suggest purchasing "The Big, Fun Kids Cookbook" from Food Network Magazine.

This cookbook had us right from the get-go. Instead of all the boring stuff usually found in the first few pages, it's got pics of sprinkle-topped toasts and kids dressed in food costumes. The recipes, too, are fun, creative, and definitely kid-friendly — who wouldn't love an egg cooked inside a donut or a sausage/pepperoni pizza taco? 

Aspiring Cake Bosses and "Kids Baking Championship" contestants will really flip for the "fake-out cakes" meant to look like hamburgers, strawberry crunch bars, and even cereal with milk. There are also "choose your own adventure" recipes for kids way too young to remember the books ... meh, who needs to fight a dragon when you can customize your own French toast, instead? There are also fun facts, quizzes, and coloring pages that can keep the kids entertained while they wait for their creations to come out of the oven.

Purchase "The Big, Fun Kids Cookbook" from Amazon for $13.22.

Best cookbook for pets

Cooking for humans can be so disappointing, like when you try out a new recipe for pasta alle melanzane, and your guests say, "Blech, why'd you ruin the spaghetti with eggplant?" If you want an appreciative audience that's guaranteed never to complain, you could always try cooking for your dog. After all, just about anything you dish up is bound to be more exciting than dry kibble. Perhaps the best known canine chef — meaning, one who cooks for canines, not one who belongs to that species — is Martha Stewart, who's been known to prepare gourmet meals for her lucky dogs.

Sadly, the OG domestic diva has yet to pen a doggie cookbook. Until she does, our pick is "Feed Your Best Friend Better: Easy, Nutritious Meals and Treats for Dogs." Author Rick Woodford began cooking for his Malinois mix when the dog received a terminal cancer diagnosis. He wanted to make his best buddy's final days happy by fixing him "people food," but that homemade doggie stew perked his pal up so much that the pooch survived a few more years. 

This book, the product of Woodford's extensive research into canine nutrition, provides helpful info about portion size and supplements along with recipes for healthy dog food and cute treats like gingerbread mailman. Our favorite part, though, covers treats that you and your pet can share. 

Purchase "Feed Your Best Friend Better: Easy, Nutritious Meals and Treats for Dogs" from Amazon for $14.49.

Best pop culture cookbook

Nothing goes so well with food as a little entertainment, like a movie to go along with your popcorn or a book to read as you enjoy your bedtime milk and cookies. A popular YouTube show called "The Feast of Fiction" celebrates the connection between food and fun by creating recipes inspired by books, movies, TV shows, and even comics and video games. The show has been on the air — er, the bandwidth? — since 2011, and in 2020 they marked their first almost-decade by releasing a cookbook.

This book is a real feast for the eyes, featuring gorgeous pics of super-cute foods. It's not just a novelty cookbook, however, as the recipes aren't just there for show. They range from a Mulan-inspired traditional Chinese congee to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-themed pizza gyoza and Harry Potter-esque pumpkin tarts. That said, we particularly like the interesting spin on Chex mix known as Avatar (the Last Airbender, not the movie with the blue-faced whatsits) Fire Flakes. 

There are also beverages ranging from a Sponge Bob kelp shake to the Trekker's favorite, Romulan Ale. Our only complaint is that the book came out before the Feast of Fictioneers had created their 10th anniversary Skyrim menu, but we're hoping it makes the cut for volume 2 (and that we don't have to wait another almost-decade for this already overdue sequel).

Purchase "The Feast of Fiction Kitchen: Recipes Inspired by TV, Movies, Games & Books" from Amazon for $12.49.

Best historical cookbook

Food history might sound like a blow-off course you'd take to earn a few elective credits, but there's nothing like a little hands-on learning to bring a subject to life. Many historical cookbooks attempt to recreate recipes from centuries past, but the ones we find most fascinating are those that deal with more recent historical periods. Such is the case with "The Book of Lost Recipes." As the book's subtitle explains, these lost-and-found recipes are "The Best Signature Dishes From Historic Restaurants Rediscovered," with most of them dating back to the 19th and 20th centuries.

Author Jaya Saxena not only gives some backstory for each restaurant, but also shares the reasons why these restaurant are worth remembering. Recipe purists might be put off by the fact that she's needed to update some of the recipes, but we'd count it as a plus since who needs the hassle of having to figure out what a "#2 can of tomatoes" might be? (Vintage cookbooks are super-cute, but can be a real pain to cook from.) 

Among the dishes included here are a ghost-endorsed pork roast from New York's Planter's Hotel, once-celebrated steamed oyster's from Harvey's Famous Restaurant in the District of Columbia, and peanut soup from the Century Inn in Scenery Hill, Pennsylvania, that may have been based on a recipe from Thomas Jefferson's kitchens.

Purchase "The Book of Lost Recipes: The Best Signature Dishes From Historic Restaurants Rediscovered" from Amazon for $24.00.

Best book about cookbooks

Most of the books on this list are recipe collections first and foremost, although many include a story to go with each recipe. "The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks" takes the opposite approach. It's actually what you might call a meta-cookbook, which is to say, a cookbook about cookbooks. It's also a work of significant historical-sociological significance, as the cookbooks whose story it tells were all penned — anonymously or pseudonymously — by the Black women who played an enormous role in creating Southern cooking as we know and love it. Just as it was well past time for Aunt Jemima the brand to change its name, so the women included here are long overdue some recognition. Food writer and activist Toni Tipton-Martin attempts to redress this in her compendium of over 150 cookbooks.

While "The Jemima Code" is a useful reference work that belongs in any library, it deserves a place in the kitchen as well. Tipton has included a representative selection of recipes from the books she covers. Within these pages you'll find recipes for Aunt Jemima's Lightnin' Waffles, beans and hambone, lobster bisque, creole eggs, Welsh rarebit waffles, and watermelon ice cream, to name a few dishes created by women of color.

Purchase "The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks" from Amazon for $31.79.

Most-anticipated celebrity chef cookbook

Perhaps the hottest young chef on the scene these days is Kwame Onwuachi, dubbed 2019's "most important chef in America" by the San Francisco Chronicle. His star has only continued to rise since then, and Onwuachi has a long string of accolades to his name. His first book, the autobiographical "Notes From a Young Black Chef," is set to be turned into a movie, and on May 17 his much-anticipated cookbook "My America: Recipes from a Young Black Chef" is set to be released.

If you're familiar with Onwuachi's story, you'll know that he's lived in a number of different places, including New York, Nigeria, and Louisiana. The recipes in "My America" cover all these areas, and also much of the African diaspora including the Caribbean. Some of the highlights include jollof from Nigeria, red bean sofrito from Puerto Rico, Trinidadian callaloo and Louisiana-style jambalaya, but it seems likely that every dish in the book will be worthy of acclaim.

Purchase "My America: Recipes from a Young Black Chef" from Amazon for $31.50.

Most-anticipated zero-waste cookbook

In recent years, we've all become aware of the shocking amount of food that gets wasted every day. Food waste is not just a global problem, but a very personal one, as it's something each and every one of us is likely contributing to. As food prices keep rising, however, we've all got a powerful incentive to change our wasteful ways, and soon (April 19), we'll have a new tool to help us do it: a cookbook called "To the Last Bite: Recipes and Ideas for Making the Most of Your Ingredients."

Author Alexis deBoschnek, who hosts BuzzFeed Tasty's "Chef Out of Water" video series, walks readers through a step-by-step process of becoming more mindful about food purchasing and preparation, but the best part of "To the Last Bite" is, of course, the recipes that illustrate how to re-purpose every last scrap. While Publisher's Weekly notes that deBoschnek's recipe selection tends to be pretty heavy on vegetables, there are meat dishes as well, including spatchcock paprika chicken (the bones are saved for stock) and butter-basted lamb chops (the marinade includes herbs left over from a salad). Best of all are the recipes like her greens skillet pie as it allows you to use up any herbs in your fridge that need saving before they start growing mold.

Purchase "To the Last Bite: Recipes and Ideas for Making the Most of Your Ingredients" from Amazon for $29.25.

Best low-ABV drinks book

One of the major food trends over the past few years has been the sober-curious movement. While many aren't ready to be 100-percent on the wagon, neither do they want to rely on alcohol in order to have a good time. While some choose to go about it by periodically going dry (whether in January or at another time of the year), others take a more moderate approach: reducing the amount of alcohol they drink by reducing the amount of alcohol in their drinks. Even booze industry professionals are endorsing low-ABV cocktails, including Natasha David, Imbibe's 2020 bartender of the year. Her new book, entitled "Drink Lightly: A Lighter Take on Serious Cocktails," came out on April 5, and it's already generating a lot of buzz.

Some of the recipes in "Drink Lightly" are based on liqueurs, some on wines, and some on low-proof spirits. Others are entirely alcohol-free. Each one, however, is flavorful, fun, and very photogenic, and we predict that this may be the breakout book that makes staying (relatively) sober something all the cool kids will be doing. As musician-turned-Oscar-winning filmmaker Questlove says of David's book, it "does the perfect thing, which is to show us how to make our lives a little better, and it does it over and over again."

Purchase "Drink Lightly: A Lighter Take on Serious Cocktails" from Amazon for $24.29.

Most-anticipated astrology-themed cookbook

Okay, so "astrology-themed cookbook" is a pretty specific niche, but we're pretty pumped that someone had the idea to come up with a guide to finding your perfect cocktail based on your sign. "Margarita in Retrograde: Cocktails for Every Sign," which is set to be released on April 19, was written by Vanessa Li and Bowen Goh. Li and Goh are the co-proprietors of a Brooklyn bar called Mood Ring that also features a zodiac theme, and a New York Times review speaks of its creative drink specials for each sign such as the Capricorn Power Play made from Tsingtao beer with sriracha-spiked tomato juice.

"Margarita in Retrograde" features 4 different drinks for each sign, including a concoction of gin and lychee liqueur called the Miss Piggy Fan Club for sociable Geminis and a tequila/honey/pear drink called Sorry I Ghosted You for relationship-shy Sagittarians. We're not sure how useful this book will be for home bartenders, since some of the drinks are made with trendy ingredients like star anise and liquid CBD in addition to fairly uncommon liqueurs. Still, this seems like the kind of cookbook that will make for a fun read, and it will look super-cool on your coffee table even if you never take it into the kitchen.

Purchase "Margarita in Retrograde: Cocktails for Every Sign" from Amazon for $19.99.

Most-anticipated anime-themed cookbook

"Anime-themed cookbook" is, again, admittedly, a fairly small and specific category, but we just could not contain our geeky excitement about this cookbook (coming out July 12) based on Studio Ghibli films! Okay, so it's "The Unofficial Studio Ghibli Cookbook," not an official one, but who cares? It looks pretty awesome.

As "The Unofficial Studio Ghibli Cookbook" means to recreate actual dishes featured in the films, it's heavy on Japanese dishes such as gyoza dumplings, chicken yakitori, and katsudon. There are also a number of desserts, many of them inspired by the movie "Kiki's Delivery Service" (Kiki, as you may recall, spent some time in a bakery.) As this movie is thought to be set in Sweden (or a Swedish-appearing setting, at any rate), the recipes include Swedish and other European pastries as well as Japanese ones. The cutest dish in the book is the shortbread decorated to look like Kiki's black cat, Jiji, but even the dubious-sounding pumpkin and herring pie looks absolutely gorgeous. Even if you never cook a single dish, you'll want to get lost in the lovely photos as you reminisce about your favorite Ghibli films.

Purchase "The Unofficial Studio Ghibli Cookbook: 50 Delicious Recipes Inspired by Your Favorite Japanese Animated Film" from Amazon for $17.96.