Sara Moulton picked her favorite cookbooks of 2011 this morning on "Good Morning America." For the busy cook to the men in the kitchen, Moulton selected the best: "The ones I picked were the ones I thought would be the most useful….the ones that would really get you cooking. The inspirational." Pick up one of the cookbooks below, and start cooking!
For the busy cook
"He's for the home cook because he starts out saying the reason people don't cook is 'I'm too busy, it's too expensive, I don't know how' and he disproves all of that. The hardest thing when people cook is the timing. He tells you when to cook what. He takes the timing out of your hand."
"That's by the home cook…a result of a year's worth of recipes from home cooks who sent them into the website Food52. It's always great to see what home cooks are doing. You think of restaurant chefs being the masters but a home cook is used to cooking a dish for four, on a number of occasions, and gets a more practical setting in which to fine tune it. The home cooks can really perfect their recipes in a way that restaurant chefs can't."
For the man in the kitchen
"A lot of men do hunt and do fish, but they don't know what the heck to do with what they catch. This book tells them. It also adds the foraging element. So this is a green book because it's about getting your food directly from nature."
"If you only have one cookbook, this should be it. I've known Jacques [Pepin] for years, he's the ultimate technician. He's also one of the most prolific chefs out there-I would give this book to newlyweds or beginners. It doesn't mean there aren't sophisticated recipes in here-there are 700 in all! Also there's a DVD that comes with it that shows you various techniques."
This is for vegetarians and carnivores who'd like to eat more veggies. It's organized by ingredients from roots to fruits….with mains sides and apps.
For the adventurous cook
"You may have some Italian cookbooks at home, but this is really Italian home cooking from scratch, from the mistress of the genre. It involves technique, and it's for someone who wants to make really artisanal Italian food."
"This will give you a whole new bunch of toys to play with in the kitchen. It's a different cuisine with different flavors. The book starts off with just spice mixes….the cuisine is a Moroccan and Northern California hybrid. So it's new spices, new flavors, new palate."
For the sweet tooth
"I never thought I'd make ice cream and this book made me want to start. It's a simple formula-her ice cream base is not a custard, which is what tends to scare people off, and she adds fun toppings and mix-ins."
Sara's Honorable Mentions:
"Finally a book that tells which apple will work in which recipe! Traverso not only guides us with apple choices but also with history, science and 100 delicious recipes. There are so many more apples out there beside red delicious."
"A definitive tome from a consummate food writer. Roden writes about food with a special interest in the social and historical background of cooking There are 200 recipes which include both the classic and the little known dishes from all of the Spanish regions."
"A beautiful coffee table book with seasonal recipes and spectacular photographs from one of the best, most elegant and cutting edge restaurants in New York City."
"This is the perfect book for cold weather cooking. Stevens gives you over 200 recipes covering everything - beef, lamb, pork, poultry, seafood, vegetables and even fruits. She tells you when to roast at low, medium and high heat, what tools to use, how to carve the roasts and what sauces would go nicely with them."
"A fun little book, very entertaining with terrific recipes from friends, family and chefs. It is indeed as intended, 'A Love Story with Recipes.'"
"I absolutely love this book! I don't bake and yet this book makes me want to run into the kitchen and start baking. There are 10 mother recipes and variations (from the Momofuku restaurants) which all hark from ingredients reminiscent of our childhood. Favorites include "the compost cookie," a chunky chocolate chip cookie studded with salted pretzels and coffee grounds and "cinnamon bun pie," with liquid cheesecake filling and cinnamon streusel topping."
"The award winning food editor of the Washington Post has written a very creative, empowering cookbook for the most important person in your life - you (if you live alone and many people do). There is nothing ho hum about the recipes yet all of the ingredients can be found in most supermarkets. Yonan includes shopping and storage tips and good suggestions about what to do with leftovers."
"If you are one of those people who tend to make the same ten boring dishes (and I am unfortunately in that club), then this book is for you. It is described as a "World Tour of Glorious Ground Meat," including beef, chicken, pork, seafood and more. The variety is amazing with dishes like 'Shanghai Fried Pork and Scallion Cakes,' 'Peruvian Chicken Chile with Peanuts,' and 'Southern Hamburger Soup.' It will liven up your weekly menus."