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  • Susan Low

(Some of) my top cookbooks of 2021

I suspect no one’s going to argue with me when I say that 2021 left some room for improvement. It’s been a tough year for so many people, for so many reasons (many pandemic-related). For me, words, books and the escapism they bring have always been a source of solace, and 2021 did at least bring more than its fair share of excellent food books.

These are just some of the cookbooks that brightened my year (arranged in totally random order) and a (very) few words on why they stand out:

La Vita è Dolce, Letitia Clark: I love Letitia’s lyrical writing style and the way she weaves together stories and recipes Hardie Grant @letitia_ann_clark

Sambal Shiok, Mandy Yin: Mandy’s recipes have taken me to Malaysia when I haven’t been able to get there (or anywhere) myself Quadrille @sambalshiok

Herb, Mark Diacono: Mark writes beautifully, and he’s a creative recipe-writer (and a fellow shiso devotee) Quadrille @mark_diacono

From Gujarat with Love, Vina Patel: Lots of great dal recipes and dishes made with gram flour (to which I have an inexplicable culinary attachment) Pavilion Books @vina.k.patel

The Modern Preserver’s Kitchen, Kylee Newton: Kylee’s full of brilliant ideas, and she loves marmalade at least as much as I do Quadrille @themodernpreserver

The Kitchen Studio, various artists: 75 or so artists were asked to contribute a recipe important to them. The results are eccentric, poignant, ugly, beautiful, brutal, silly – anything but dull Phaidon @phaidonfood

Bowls & Broths, Pippa Middlehurst: Pippa’s helped me master hand-pulled noodles. There’s no looking back Quadrille @pippyeats

A Cook’s Book, Nigel Slater: Well, it’s Nigel Slater. And in times like this, the world needs more Nigel 4th Estate @nigelslater

Camper Van Cooking, Claire Thomson & Matt Williamson: I’ve cooked a dozen of these recipes, and plan to cook more. And I don’t camp Quadrille @5oclockapron

Amber & Rye, Zuza Zak: I suspect Zuza loves books at least as much as I do, and she’s a top storyteller Murdock Books @zuzazakcooks

Ripe Figs, Yasmin Khan: “it’s a book about the resilience of the human spirit. And our capacity to endure the most unimaginable challenges and still find happiness in the smell of warm bread…” Khan’s words, and I couldn’t possibly say it better Bloomsbury Publishing @yasminkhanstories

The fine print: I should declare an interest in that I have worked on several of these books but have aimed to be as objective as I can.

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