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Five of the best food books 2023

The Rice Book by Sri Owen

The Rice Book
Sri Owen, Bloomsbury
Born in 1935, Sri Owen grew up among Indonesian rice fields and has spent much of her adult life in London. The Rice Book, first published 30 years ago and reissued with a new foreword, is her masterpiece, a profound work based on years of travel with her husband, Roger, and their examination of rice’s cultural, historical, economic and culinary significance all over the world. It is an engrossing book. I felt like a rice ball bouncing through 80 pages of lively education before arriving, prepared, at the essential global recipes – donburi, nasi ulam, pilaf, paella and dolmas.

More Daily Veg by Joe Woodhouse by Joe Woodhouse

More Daily Veg
Joe Woodhouse, Kyle

Joe Woodhouse has a unique approach to cooking vegetables. He incorporates blue cheese into potato gratin and adds potato to focaccia. He also combines cucumber with cream, lentils with bolognese, and celeriac with puff-pastry. His creativity continues as he transforms walnuts into a special sauce and simplifies the process of pickling. Following the success of his first book, “Your Daily Veg,” the task of creating a companion may have seemed daunting. However, Joe accomplished it with 85 more inventive and satisfying recipes. The book is also well-organized and laid out, without sacrificing the warmth and generosity of Joe and his cooking.

The Secret of Cooking by Bee Wilson

“Unlocking the mysteries of cooking”
Bee Wilson, 4th Estate

The cover of the box grater is quite eye-catching! According to Bee Wilson, this kitchen tool is capable of replacing a hundred small knives simultaneously. I am torn between continuing to read about it or using it to grate a carrot. Wilson has dedicated her life to cooking, eating, feeding, reading, pondering, and writing about food. She also had a difficult challenge to solve: “How can we incorporate cooking into our chaotic and imperfect daily lives without it becoming yet another impossible task?” All of her experiences culminate in an extraordinary cookbook that has the potential to transform lives. It can also be seen as an essential handbook for tackling various cooking dilemmas that arise every day, providing helpful solutions in the form of well-rounded and delicious recipes that serve as a starting point for a better way of living.

East Winds by Riaz Philips

East Winds
Riaz Phillips, DK

Callaloo is prepared by combining melted dasheen leaves, okra, squash, and coconut milk using a swizzle stick. This dish, known for its soft green color, holds significance as a representation of the diversity and inclusivity within Caribbean culture. In Riaz Phillips’s latest book, “East Winds”, he showcases his exceptional writing skills as he takes readers on a journey through the culinary and cultural traditions of Guyana, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, and other Caribbean islands. The term “hidden Caribbean” not only refers to the overshadowing of the southeastern islands by Jamaica and the broader Caribbean, but also to the diverse identities of the region – including Amerindian, West African, Portuguese, Chinese, and Indian – that are reflected in their cuisine. The chapter titles, such as “Plant-based” and “Seeds & Pulses”, may seem modern, but these cooking methods have been used for centuries. One standout chapter is dedicated to roti, showcasing Phillips’s mastery in storytelling.

National Dish Around the World by Anya von Bremzen

National Dish
Anya von Bremzen, Pushkin

The book National Dish delves into the connection between food and one’s sense of self. It specifically examines the reasons behind certain dishes, such as pot-au-feu, pizza margherita, ramen, tapas, mole, and meze, being deemed as national dishes. Authors Anya von Bremzen and her partner Barry, both writers, spent extended periods of time in Paris, Naples, Tokyo, Seville, Oaxaca, and Istanbul in order to research the book before returning to their home in New York. Von Bremzen’s writing style is intimate and inviting, making the journey with them a lively and sometimes wild experience. Along the way, we are confronted with various food myths and the use of “authenticity” as a marketing tactic, but also witness acts of generosity, learn about history and tradition, and experience a touch of magic. Von Bremzen’s sharp and empathetic perspective adds even more depth to the exploration. Overall, the book is incredibly witty and intelligent.

Source: theguardian.com