– Cooking is not just a passion but a healing technique for your grumbling and angry stomach
If you come out of this pandemic without learning a new skill, getting ahead one step in pursuing your passion, setting up weekend video calls with family and friends or imbibing the love for cooking then my friend time is not the villain for you, it’s your attitude! And speaking of time, every now and then I hear my friends talking about new YouTube recipes they tried and how much they loved it. Some of my other friends have turned from being a complete disaster in the kitchen department to being a master-chef! Instagram is filled with new recipes that people are trying at home for themselves or for their pets. Be it a curry or desserts, people are enjoying cooking and eating all the courses of their everyday meal at home. As a health and fitness enthusiast, I love the idea of cooking at home (though I admit the pandemic has turned me into a good cook rather than an amateur that I was before) most specifically when it comes to re-creating all the signature dishes of our favourite restaurants that we love but are missing on big time due to the lockdown.
Cooking at home is a joy, complete fun (of course, when you do not take it as just a job) and fills you with the knowledge of cooking right for yourself and your beloved ones. But most often when we start we are confused about the right place to check for the recipe, and this is when the disaster happens, and we end up either cooking wrong or giving up the idea of cooking altogether. In this vein, I take the opportunity to enlist the top cookbooks to consider buying in 2020.
True to the ‘positive eating, positive living’ ethos of Wagamama’s idiosyncratic chain of noodle restaurants, this official collection of recipes shares the secret of the hallmark culinary minimalism that has won it instant cult status worldwide. The 120 recipes in the book are suitable for meat-lovers, vegetarians and seafood lovers alike, especially created by the people behind Wagamama’s unique house style. The recipes described here bring out the essence of Wagamama, i.e., cooking fresh, quality ingredients in a way that retains maximum nutrition and flavour. This book allows you to recreate the best of Japanese cooking with a selection of delicious, low-fat, one-pot meals which are easy on your time and budget as well as your waistline. You can buy it in Amazon – The Wagamama Cookbook
Learning cooking by your self sounds quite a task, doesn’t it? Someone once told me to consider cooking like a science experiment, and you can learn something new every day. I rolled my eyes thinking yeah right it’s like going back to school, and when did we enjoy science so much back then, huh! But when I heard about Ned Baldwin, a home cook who taught himself to be an excellent chef, I thought this is interesting. His book How to Dress an Egg became an immediate favourite for a novice like me. By showcasing one ingredient per method, Baldwin introduces all the skills a cook will ever need to prepare endless pleasurable meals. Each dish is elaborated on in different ways to expand the technique into unlikely, inventive recipes that are jumping-off points for endless creativity.
Hot food, full of flavours, bring it on! Being an absolute fan of Mediterranean cuisine, this books serves my cravings and appetite very well. I love roasted chicken, and Susie Theodorou’s recipe on easy slow-roasted-lemon-and-garlic chicken is lip-smacking delicious. I felt like a master-chef after trying out cooking this one at home – it’s basic, clean, looks amazing – lasts for two days at least given you are self-isolating. Grab it at Amazon – Mediterranean and enter the world full of flavours. As Gwyneth Paltrow puts it ‘It’s cooking with love’.
Italian food is not just for the romantic mood but a starving insatiable stomach as well who wants nothing but the best of the worlds (accompanied with a little wine!). Hello to me and my insatiable stomach! I love any and every Italian dish, but most definitely pasta. I mean, who can say no to a bowl of pasta, duh! I can’t ever, not just because it’s one hell of a dish but also it’s comfortable to cook. I can say pasta is the best and easy quarantine meal to cook (my husband has been complaining about that now and then, of course I ignore). Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking is an indispensable addition to any kitchen.
If you are a travel lover and the quarantine times have marred all your plans to visit the US or if you are craving because you are unable to make it to the beloved Zuni Café due to the self-isolation times, buying this cookbook is the next best thing. With both classic recipes the restaurant’s clientele will recognize and cooking advice from the founder and chef Judy Rodgers (the author of the book as well), The Zuni Café Cookbook is an excellent addition to your shelves.
Looking for something simple and soulful? The search ends with the very first cookbook by Hooni Kim – My Korea: Traditional Flavours, Modern Recipes. Straight from the heart of Korea, this book presents recipes that hit hard on the umami you crave on days where you need a pick-me-up, even before getting to the kimchi. My Korea by Hooni Kim certainly makes it to the list of top cookbooks due to it’s simple and traditional recipes and flavours.
If you love your Instant Pot as much as I do, you’ve got to grab this cookbook. With 60 awesome, easy recipes, it’ll quickly become one of your new go-to favourites. Who better than Good Housekeeping to explain precisely how to use this miracle machine? Good Housekeeping Instant Pot Cookbook features 60 family-pleasing dishes that range from Quick Coq au Vin and Carnitas Tacos to Pulled BBQ Beef and Weeknight Tuscan Ragu. Every recipe is triple-tested in the Test Kitchen, using the pressure-cooking and slow-cooking functions.
I personally feel it is most challenging to decide on a dinner recipe, more than any other meal of the day – is it too much, is it too light, will this be enough and what not – always keeps crossing my mind. Does this happen to you as well? Worry not, Dinner Cookbook by New York Times cooking columnist Melissa Clarke features recipes that can serve as dinner all on their own. Say goodbye to juggling cook times and grab this cookbook to make dinnertime easier and more delicious.
From another New York Times cooking columnist and the author of Dining In, Nothing Fancy by Alison Roman will give you the food (recipes) that your people want (think DIYs). This abundant collection of all-new recipes—heavy on the easy-to-execute vegetables and versatile grains, paying lots of close attention to crunchy, salty snacks, and with love for all the meats—is for gatherings big and small, any day of the week. With this cookbook, any night of the week is worth celebrating.
Ending the list with a bang! For those freaking Friends fan (me included), this book is official! I am not messing with your emotions, I swear. This book is not only Warner-Bros sanctioned one but also includes Monica’s Friendsgiving Feast, Rachel’s Trifle, Just for Joey Fries, and of course the Moist Maker, among several others. You can pre-book this at Amazon – F.R.I.E.N.D.S Cookbook. Guess what the release date is September 22, 2020 – happens to be my birthday – a highly appreciated birthday gift (to my friends and family – please note it). So if you’re a fan of the show, make sure to include this in your list of top cookbooks to purchase in 2020.