I was today years old when I learned that October is National Cookbook Month. Or at least, it is according to the National Day Calendar and an email I got from Book Riot this morning. Apparently there’s no clear history of celebrating and the holiday likely originated, like so many things do these days, from social media.
But as a great lover of cookbooks, I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to celebrate in style by featuring the cookbooks that I pull down from my shelves on a nearly weekly basis in order to meal prep, bake, and enjoy the occasional brunch-at-home.
Since we’re approaching holiday gift season, I’m breaking these down based on who I’d recommend them to the most, though each book is 100% a prime feature in my own kitchen adventures, making the recipes mentioned tried-and-true favorites.
(Full disclosure: Links to specific (cook)books are Bookshop affiliate links, which earn me a small commission at no additional cost to you).
For the Great British Bake-Off Fan
For the past year, I’ve been baking my way through the 2016 series tie-in cookbook, Great British Bake Off: Perfect Cakes and Bakes to Make at Home.
I’ll admit, the recipe writing is inconsistent, probably a product of the mix of bakers who provided the recipes. Some of them are fantastic and easy to follow, while others fail entirely to explain what to do with key components. This flaw aside, it’s so much fun to bake your way through a season’s recipe, then go watch those episodes and see the very bakes you created in your kitchen come to life. Highly, highly recommend.
A few favorites from this cookbook: Lemon Drizzle Bundt Cake, Bhaa Bara Brith Biscuits.
For the Vegan And/ Or Gluten Free
Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking: 101 Entirely Plant-Based, Mostly Gluten-Free, Easy and Delicious Recipes is one of the first physical cookbooks I acquired in adult life, and it remains a constant all these years later.
I tend to stick to a few key recipes in every cookbook I own (GBBO challenge above aside), but the ones that are in my heavy rotation are absolute household favorites. This book features a number of relatively easy vegan and gluten free recipes, which makes it a great one to have in your arsenal for your dietary-restricted friends.
There’s a conception, I think, that eating vegan meals has to be fussy and difficult. But in fact, this book has some of the most delicious and simplest recipes I’ve used, all while being veggie and plant forward.
A few favorites from this cookbook: Cocoa Black Bean Burgers, Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, Carrot and Potato Curry.
For the Runner In Your Life
The thing I love best about Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopoceky’s Run Fast, Cook Fast, Eat Slow cookbook is that bread and butter are not the enemy here. Plus, the subtitle “quick-fix recipes for hangry athletes” pretty much sums up my whole vibe a few hours after a run.
The recipes are meant to be healthy, whole food based, and fuel your runs. They are not meals designed to be “light” aka code for diet culture, but rather hearty and healthy meals with a variety of veggie and protein available. I found this such a refreshing approach to a cookbook geared towards runners, and there a few well-weathered pages from how often I make some of these recipes.
Favorites from this cookbook: Superhero Muffins (also available to try free on their website which I’ve linked here because you need these muffins), Turkey Trot Meatballs, Roasted Potatoes and Cauliflower.
For The Cozy, Comfort Meal Lover
Can we please talk about the delightful, comforting meals featured on the Half Baked Harvest blog? Once I realized how frequently I took to the internet for recipes from Tieghan Gerard, I felt called to buy her cookbooks and support her amazing recipe and food photography skills. I own and love both the Half Baked Harvest cookbook and Half-Baked Harvest: Super Simple.
My rec today is the Super Simple edition, because the recipes are a bit quicker and easier to pull together, giving you that comfort food fast. These are not lightened up, “skinny” meals, but full-on filling and delicious while still incorporating lots of healthy variety.
Bookmarked in my copy are: No Knead Bread & Pizza Dough, Everything Bagel Salad, and Buffalo Cauliflower Bites.
After flipping through these cookbooks to remind myself of my favorites, I’m feeling pretty hungry and eager to get back in the kitchen to cook some of these recipes. Though they’re quite different in their intended audiences and vibes, each of these books come down off the shelves every weekend as I plan out the week’s dinners for Andy and I.
Whether you enjoy comfort cooking, fuel for your workout, or vegan bakes, or looking for a gift for the home chef in your life, I hope this last gave you something delicious to seek out!
Thanks so much for reading! If you enjoyed this tasty booklist, you can keep up to date by following here, on Medium, and/or on Instagram. If you’re not a Medium member yet but would like to join, you can support me and YBF by signing up here.
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