Ten of the Best Cookbooks of 2022, So Far

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If the first half of the year is any indication, 2022 will be a banner year for cookbooks.

NPR staff and critics have rounded up their favorite reads for the first-ever summer edition of Books We Love. Next to best beach reads and books to transport you elsewhere, we’ve rounded up the best cookbooks of 2022 so far. So whether you’re looking for exciting dishes to serve at a summer barbecue or something to help you get out of a cooking routine, we’ve got recommendations for you.

The Art of Cooking in the Pantry: Meals for Family and Friends by Ronda Carman

If your pantry has swelled beyond recognition during the pandemic, you’re not alone. It’s time to deal with those guilt-inducing piles of unused artichoke hearts and quinoa, and Ronda Carman is here to help. Arranged alphabetically from almonds to za’atar, this cookbook is an international game across 35 canned and bottled essentials.

T. Susan Changfood writer

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Colu Cooks: Easy Novelty Food by Colu Henry

If you’re like me, you dream of getting your friends together for dinner again. But as we bring loved ones back to our tables, it can be hard to know what to do. Fortunately, Colu Henry’s cookbook is warm and inviting and will inspire the seasoned cook (try the “Crispy Fish with Quick Tomatillo and Jalapeño Confit”) and the newbie to the kitchen (check out his viral hit “My Cec”).

Jessica GoldsteinSenior Director and Executive Producer, NPR Events & Experiential Programming

the cover of 'Fix me a flat'

Fix Me a Plate: Traditional and New School Soul Food Recipes from Cook Drank Eat’s Scotty Scott School by Scotty Scott

Scotty Scott’s, personal chef and food blogger from Fort Worth first cookbook is a blend of traditional family recipes alongside soul food staples, remixed… Scott shares the stories behind the food and pays homage to his ancestors with what he puts on the plate. It’s food that feels good.

Debbie Elliotcorrespondent, national office

the cover of 'Gullah Geechee Home Cooking'

Gullah Geechee Home Cooking: Recipes from the Matriarch of Edisto Island by Emily Meggett

If you’ve never heard of Edisto Island, Emily Meggett’s cookbook is a great place to start learning. Meggett is the matriarch of the island, home to many Gullah Geechee and the food they have prepared for generations.

Wynne Daviseditorial assistant, All things Considered

the cover of 'I'm from here'

I’m From Here: Stories and Recipes from a Southern Chef by Vishwesh Bhatt

Western India and the southern United States share more culinary parallels than you might think, from varieties of rice and sesame to okra, prawns and fresh tomatoes. Here, these ingredients explode in a joyful fusion, the torrid affair of a spice cabinet and a well-stocked pantry.

—T. Susan Chang

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Korean American: cuisine that tastes like home by Eric Kim

From her mom Jean’s napa kimchi to her homemade milk bread, each recipe is peppered with stories of Kim’s childhood in Atlanta and the loved ones who shaped her life and her food. Topped off with delightful photos shot by Jenny Huang, it’s an enjoyable and warm read – not just as a cookbook but as a memory accompanied by food.

Janet W. Leeassistant producer, It’s been a minute

cover of 'Mi Cocina'

Mi Cocina: recipes and the delight of my cuisine in Mexico by Rick Martinez

With seven sections focusing on different regions of the country, Martínez guides you through some of the essential recipes for everyone. The recipes are vibrant, but what I love most are the stories that come with each one. Food is deeply personal and with Mi CocinaMartínez shares his life in food and invites you to come.

—Wynne Davis

the cover of 'Milk Street'

Milk Street: the world in a frying pan by Christopher Kimball

If, like me, you regularly chop up recipes that use one pan too many for a weeknight, this book is a godsend. Cook the pasta with the pancetta, chard and beans. Forget the layering of phyllo dough, just scrunch it on top for a “pan spanakopita”. In other words, Christopher Kimball blithely breaks the rules in the name of simplification.

—T. Susan Chang

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The Turkey and the Wolf: Trippin’ Flavors in New Orleans by Mason Hereford with JJ Goode

Chef Mason Hereford has captured some of the magic that draws locals and tourists alike to his famous New Orleans sandwich shop, Turkey and the Wolf. The cookbook is full of nostalgic recipes amped up accessible to the home cook. There’s Hereford’s original version of a fried bologna sandwich, topped with homemade fries, spicy mustard and “shrettuce” (yes, that’s just shredded lettuce). He gives us permission to serve caviar on a McDonald’s hash brown. The melted cabbage might be my favorite – a southern twist on the Reuben.

Debbie Elliotcorrespondent, national office

the cover of 'The Wok'

The Wok: Recipes and Techniques by J. Kenji López-Alt

The Wokit is the appeal is not the innovation; you can find dishes like kung pao shrimp and cumin lamb on many Chinese restaurant menus. But now you don’t need to leave your home anymore. As far as I’m concerned, it’s worth the price tag to learn a velouting technique — a way to keep meat tender while searing it — that actually works. It’s just one of the gems of these pages.

—T. Susan Chang

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