4 favorite cookbooks for fall (and every season)
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I love food—whether it’s cooked at home or prepared at a restaurant. While the internet houses a wealth of recipes and cooking know-how, in my opinion, there’s nothing quite like a good, reliable cookbook you can return to time and time again. Plus, cracking open a well-loved cookbook and setting it in my cookbook holder adds a layer of tactile enjoyment to the food prep process.
If you’re itching to start incorporating some fall flavors into your dinner repertoire as the temperatures (hopefully) start to cool, below are four of my all-time favorite cookbooks. They include recipes that work for every season, but I think you’ll find something especially cozy to feed your household in their pages.
(Pro tip: If you want to try any of these cookbooks before you make a purchase, check them out from your local library! It’s a great way to try some of the recipes before committing.)
We own multiple Milk Street cookbooks, but Cookish is the one I reach for most often. It’s not strictly a limited ingredients collection, but I’ve never encountered a recipe that called for more than six or so ingredients. The recipes are pared back, simple, and quick to prepare, which makes them perfect for a work night, but the flavors are fantastic. The book is divided into sections for vegetables, beans and grains, pasta, seafood, chicken, pork, beef, and desserts. Each section includes spreads focused on a particular cooking method, such as sheet pan meals, low-liquid roasts, etc. It’s easy to navigate and everything we’ve tried has been delicious.
As we enter the fall season, I recommend the Nihari-inspired beef stew (p. 281), the arroz con pollo (p. 67), and the black bean stew with chorizo (p. 78).
Not only is Jubilee filled with wonderful comfort food, but Toni Tipton-Martin also weaves in beautifully written historical notes about the evolution of African American cooking. You could sit down and read the narrative sections like a novel (or at least I could). While the recipes don’t take their inspiration from New England cuisine, they often feature fresh seafood, which is wonderful for us New Englanders in the summer. As the temperatures drop, however, I turn to the heavier, more homey recipes included in this cookbook’s pages.
If you’re looking for a cozy dinner as the days get shorter, I’d suggest the baked macaroni and cheese (p. 177) with the wilted mixed greens with bacon (p. 148). If you’re looking for a hearty, warm soup that takes advantage of the last of the summer flavors, try the corn and potato chowder with crab (p. 125).
I was so pleasantly surprised by Tacolicious! It was an apartment-warming gift from my sister-in-law (thanks, Rachel!) and she selected it on the strength of the pictures and because she knew about our deep, deep love of tacos. It was an excellent choice. We use this book all year round, transitioning from grill-based recipes during the summer to those we can make on the stovetop or in the oven as it gets colder. Not only are all the tacos themselves delicious, but the book also includes a lengthy list of salsa and cocktail recipes, many of which have become staples in our dinner rotation.
Since this is the season of the squash, I’d recommend trying the butternut squash, kale, and crunchy pepitas tacos (p. 144) with the cumin-lime crema (p. 37). I also love the tangy achiote-rubbed grilled chicken tacos (p. 134) made under the broiler with the legendary orange sauce (p. 35) and/or lazy roasted salsa (p. 28).
One of my favorite restaurants from our last trip to Nashville was Chauhan Ale and Masala House, so when I saw this book combining southern Indian and Southern comfort food on sale, I had to pick it up. Since fall (especially here in New England) is basically made for comfort food, I find myself turning to this book’s contents more as the season changes. These recipes tend to be slower, requiring more focused time to prepare, which makes them perfect for a cool rainy autumn day.
In the summer, I try to avoid using my oven at all costs. But fall’s the time to let it heat the heart of the house, and many of the recipes in this book do just that. If you’re looking for slower weekend meals, I’d recommend trying the turkey turmeric potpie (p. 178), the gilded acorn squash with coconut milk rice and golden pepper sauce (p. 194), and the vivid tomato and cheese pie (p. 196).
What’s your favorite cookbook for fall? Do you have a rhythm of recipes that align with the seasons?