Food continues to be a source of comfort, creativity, nostalgia and education, and 2022 brought about some stellar writing on the topic. This year’s crop of best food books runs the gamut of African American, Ukrainian, Chinese and Puerto Rican cookbooks, uniting across cultures, and includes a memoir that exposes the underbelly of the French restaurant kitchen, history books on fermentation and pies, and a searing account of the loss of our food diversity and how we can save it. All told, these ten favorites will inspire and ignite, while teaching us about the importance of diversity and respect.
Koshersoul: The Faith and Food Journey of an African American Jew by Michael W. Twitty
What do Jewish and African diaspora food have in common, and how do they combine to create a unique cuisine? Culinary and cultural historian Michael W. Twitty’s follow-up to his James Beard Award-winning The Cooking Gene examines the intersection of these two dynamic identities and presents an analysis of dual diasporas, a cultural history, and an upsetting examination of bigotry. The personal narratives of Twitty and other Black Jews offer a rich background for 50 innovative recipes, such as Caribbean compote, kosher-Cajun rice dressing and Louisiana-style latkes, although to categorize this as a cookbook would be to deny its cultural and historical significance—and Twitty’s evocative and poetic writing style.
Watermelon and Red Birds: A Cookbook for Juneteenth and Black Celebrations by Nicole A. Taylor
Now that the holiday of Juneteenth, celebrating the emancipation of Black slaves, has cemented its place in the national conversation—and become a federal holiday as of last year—this cookbook by James Beard Award-nominated food writer and home cook Nicole Taylor couldn’t be more timely. As she writes, “I’m a Southern woman, born into a working-class family when crisp white churchgoing gloves and Sunday beer bootleggers (my hometown didn’t have alcohol sales until 2012) were in serious fashion and full deep freezers were a status symbol.” Taylor has always celebrated the holiday