The New York Times 2011 Cookbook Review

By: Saira Malhotra

Each year, there are a number of cookbooks that are released, providing you with the keys to the kingdom of all things delectable. Whether you are an avid cook, a foodie or a food porn seeker, the pleasure is all yours with pages of stunning photography, dishes deconstructed, or an interesting story.

Last month, the New York Times gave us an 'in' on what the Dining staff consider being this year's noteworthy books. Here are some of their suggestions:

ANCIENT GRAINS FOR MODERN MEALS by Maria Speck. Old World ingredients meet New American cuisine with this researchers recipes of barley, polenta, and wheat berries. With a backdrop of Specks own German and Greek culture, enjoy dishes from Northern Europe to the Mediterranean and fire up dishes like, Creamy Farro with Honey Roasted Grapes or bulgur with butter-roasted almonds.

COOKING IN THE MOMENT by Andrea Reusing. Southern Chef of Chapel Hill, N.C brings about the union of flavors of the South and that of Asia. The working mother provides her take on modern living in the kitchen. Brace yourself for cider-braised pork shoulder, bok choy and carnitas, and berry pudding with cold ice cream.

COOKING MY WAY BACK HOME by Mitchell Rosenthal and Jon Pult. The warmth in this book doesn't just come from the food - a quality  that echoes  in his San Fransisco restaurants: Town Hall, Anchor and Hope and Salt House. Southern food with an urban compass makes these dishes innovative and stimulating. Try his take on classics like shrimp etoufee, chopped liver, angels on horseback and butterscotch chocolate pots de cremes.

THE FOOD OF MOROCCO by Paula Wolfert. Ambassador of Morrocan food, yet again we are taken behind the scenes of Morroccan kitchens and enjoy local delicacies from harira stew to berber skillet bread.

THE FOOD OF SPAIN by Claudia Roden. Join this Sefardita as she walks us through culinary Spanish gems from Tapas to empanadas.

THE HOMESICK TEXAN COOKBOOK by Lisa Fain. This seventh generation Texan started a blog 'homesick Texan', after she moved to New York. Instead of throwing in the towel, she decided to bring matters in to her own kitchen where she cooks up cheese enchiladas in chili gravy, chicken-fried steak with cream gravy, and warm bowls of chile con queso.

MAKE THE BREAD, BUY THE BUTTER by Jennifer Reese. A DIY manual for how to make store-bought basics, such as pasta, pastrami,  and graham crackers.

MISSION STREET FOOD: RECIPES AND IDEAS FROM AN IMPROBABLE RESTAURANT by Anthony Myint and Karen Leibowitz. This book does it all. Recipes, charitable organizations, taco trucks, burger stands, and a business plan are just some of the things you could expect to find in this cookbook/ 21st century food industry landscape book.

MODERNIST CUISINE: THE ART AND SCIENCE OF COOKING by Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young and Maxime Bilet (The Cooking Lab, $625). What happens when you bring together a former Microsoft Chief of Technology, his lab assistants and other scientists? You get Modernist Cuisine. A cookbook that achieves new textures and flavors with the use of homogenizers, centrifuges, hydrocolloids, emulsifiers, and enzymes will lead you to break boundaries and put old theories to the test.

ODD BITS: HOW TO COOK THE REST OF THE ANIMAL by Jennifer McLagan. While it has become fashionable to eat organ meats, for chefs like McLagan, this is a movement to encourage people to utilize the whole animal and not just parts of it. McLagan makes these less conventional parts of the animal not just tolerable but highly appealing with her preparation of dishes like sweetbreads with orange and cumin.

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