2022 Essential Cookbooks : CODES List Announced

CHICAGO – Essential Cookbooks: The CODES List, a committee of the Collection Development and Evaluation Section (CODES) of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), has announced the 2022 selection of essential cookbooks for public libraries. These wonderful books highlight titles for both avid home chefs and those just learning the rewards of making a meal. The list further supports those who appreciate the many joys of reading cookbooks, even if they rarely venture into the kitchen. As judged by librarians who cooked from, enjoyed, and discussed them, these cookbooks expand and enrich collections and offer cooks multiple ways to make delicious meals. They will become reliable favorites and nourish readers, today and for years to come.

The list was announced Sunday, January 23rd @ 4:30pm Central during the Book & Media Awards Ceremony.

The 2022 selections are:

Cook this Book: Techniques That Teach and Recipes To Repeat by Molly Baz. Clarkson Potter. ISBN 9780593138274.

In a snappy, stylish book, Molly Baz offers tasty recipes that satisfy while teaching readers to be experimental. Lovely pictures, straightforward instructions, and handy QR codes that offer demonstration videos to the uninitiated make this ideal for novices, experienced cooks, and all those in between. This is a full-service cookbook: meat, veg, salads, desserts, and snacks included. Pacchieri with Pork and Lentil Ragu deliciously combines meat and legumes in a quick and flavorful pasta dish you will love.

New Native Kitchen: Celebrating Modern Recipes of the American Indian by Chef Freddie Bitsoie & James O. Fraioli. Abrams. ISBN 9781419753558.

Chef Freddie Bitsoie delivers a groundbreaking celebration of Indigenous cuisine from a diverse set of cultures across the Americas. These modern interpretations will make mouths water while introducing readers to the cultural heritage of Native regional cookery. Readers and cooks alike will relish exploring recipes that feature staples valued by cultures for millennia. Start your culinary exploration with the Manoomin Rice Salad. Mitsitam!

Vegetarian Chinese Soul Food: Deliciously Doable Ways to Cook Greens, Tofu, and Other Plant-Based Ingredients by Hsiao-Ching Chou. Sasquatch Books. ISBN 9781632173331.

This unique, practical book, full of authentic tastes, covers a wide range of Chinese cooking techniques and uses easily findable ingredients. Instructions are clear and inviting, and will make home cooks feel comfortable while in the kitchen and help them be delighted with the results. Vegetarians and omnivores alike will enjoy the rich and savory dishes. Seared Tofu reworks a familiar pork-based preparation and is well worth trying.

Zoë Bakes Cakes: Everything You Need to Know to Make Your Favorite Layers, Bundts, Loaves, and More [A Baking Book] by Zoë François. Ten Speed Press. ISBN 9781984857361.

Welcome to cake school, a sweet, lovely place where Zoë takes students by the hand and teaches each step in the cake making process. With a tone of welcome and you-too-can-bake-great-cakes, she addresses everything from mixer speed to temperature, detailing what to do and why. Upon graduation, she introduces cake after cake that suit all occasions and tastes, from knockout batters for birthdays to unusual delights perfect for a cup of chai tea and a chat. Readers will be better bakers, knowledgeable, confident, and keen, after spending time with Zoë. Don’t miss the Pumpkin-Mocha Swirl Bundt Cake.

Baking with Dorie: Sweet, Salty & Simple by Dorie Greenspan. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 9780358223580.

Dorie, a beloved cookbook author, talks to you as if she’s across the table in this breathtaking book. She “plays around” with variations of her many sweet, salty, and simple offerings. Mixing classics and innovations, she provides a strong balance of irresistible bakes. If you love chocolate layer cake, her Devil’s Food Party Cake won’t disappoint.

Milk Street Tuesday: Nights Mediterranean: 125 Simple Weeknight Recipes from the World’s Healthiest Cuisine by Christopher Kimball. Voracious. ISBN 9780316705998.

Veteran cookbook author, Kimball, takes readers on a culinary Mediterranean tour that reaches beyond Spain, Greece, and Italy and into Northern Africa and the Middle East. Lavish illustrations accompany tidy and smartly designed recipes making use of common ingredients. Accessible, yet never dull, these recipes will help get dinner on the table on a Tuesday night or any night. Try Tunisian Chickpeas with Swiss Chard for a hearty dish utilizing pantry staples.

Grains for Every Season: Rethinking Our Way with Grains by Joshua McFadden with Martha Holmberg. Artisan. ISBN 9781579659561.

Oats, quinoa, barley, and more. McFadden helps home cooks make the widest use of these powerhouse pantry staples. Arranged by grain, this beautifully photographed and delightfully designed book offers clear cooking guidance and then spills forth a range of dishes for vegetarians and meat-eaters that are suitable for both Sunday meal-prep and Wednesday night dinner-in-a-hurry. Thoughtful, useful, simply delightful, McFadden’s book is destined to become one of those books with pages spotted with tomato juice, butter, and deep abiding happiness. Try the Pilafs for Every Season.

Bress ‘n’ Nyam: Gullah Geechee Recipes from a Sixth Generation Farmer by Matthew Raiford with Amy Paige Condon. The Countryman Press. ISBN 9781682686041.

Raiford traces his family’s agricultural and food traditions as well as the history of the Gullah Geechee heritage corridor in this farm to table cookbook that reflects both his journey as a chef and his return home. Fresh from the earth or sea and straight to the pot or pit, Raiforddelivers fresh recipes, bucolic photos with the warmth and love that can only come from telling your family story. Bring your loved ones together over the Smokin’ Hot ‘n’ Sweet Crab Dip.

Cook Real Hawai’I: A Cookbook by Sheldon Simeon. Clarkson Potter. ISBN 9781984825834.

The culinary heritage of Hawai’i is built on the history and traditions of all of the peoples who have lived and cooked there, and Sheldon Simeon’s introduction to this worldly-yet-local cuisine is a pleasure to cook from and read. These delicious, approachable recipes are accompanied by an engaging narrative about Simeon’s experience growing up on the islands and the wider context in which his life and food are shaped. Especially interesting are the introductions to “The Influencers,” from Native Hawai’ians to Japanese and Portuguese immigrants. The Spam Musubi is a winner and may be a new standard for your desk lunch.

Black Food: Stories, Art, and Recipes from Across the African Diaspora [A Cookbook] by Bryant Terry. 4 Color Books. ISBN 9781984859723.

This is so much more than a cookbook; it is a cultural keystone that documents where food and nourishment intersect with many facets of Black lives. It is essays, poetry, art, and recipes by more than a hundred contributors who come together to celebrate a collective legacy of cultural contributions from the African diaspora. Enjoy some musical selections from the playlist while you get the Collards with Pot Likker, Cornbread Dumplings & Green Tomato Chowchow on the stove, and then take in some essays while they bubble away and become a tender, flavorful centerpiece for a vegetable-forward meal.

Simply Julia: 110 Easy Recipes for Healthy Comfort Food by Julia Turshen. Harper Wave. ISBN 9780062993335.

Comfort foods get a healthy work over and the flavors are anything but simple. Home cook, Turshen’s easygoing style and personal voice emphasize cooking as an expression of care and love. Techniques and ingredients are approachable and handy tips and lists, such as “7 Ways to Use Leftover Buttermilk,” round out the book. Start at the beginning with nutrient-dense Llubav’s Green Spaghetti and cook your way through these satisfying dishes.

Flavors of the Sun: The Sahadi’s Guide to Understanding, Buying and Using Middle Eastern Ingredients by Christine Sahadi Whelan. Chronicle Books. ISBN 9781452182452.

Ingredients take center stage in a primer written by the heir to a middle-eastern grocery legend. What to look for, how and where to buy, and how to use these culinary staples combined with beautiful pictures, great recipes, and wonderful lists of “ten more ways to use” each highlighted item makes this an all-time reference. Drinks, salads, entrees, and sweets are organized by the type of flavor the special ingredients will add. The Za’atar Roasted Vegetables offers a new spin on an old favorite.  

Essential Cookbooks 2021: The CODES List committee includes: Sarah Tansley, Chicago Public Library, co-chair; Neal Wyatt, Library Journal, co-chair; Danise Hoover, Brooklyn, NY, Sharon Rothman, White Plains Public Library, NY, P.J. Gardiner, Wake County Public Libraries, NC, and Jessica Jones, Takoma Park Maryland Library.

The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association, represents librarians and library staff in the fields of reference, specialized reference, collection development, readers’ advisory and resource sharing. RUSA is the foremost organization of reference and information professionals who make the connections between people and the information sources, services, and collection materials they need. Learn more at www.rusaupdate.org.