2018’s best cookbooks with Omnivore Books’ Celia Sack

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The holidays are here and gift shopping is in full effect. Evan Kleiman sits down with Celia Sack, the owner of Omnivore Books on Food in San Francisco, to discuss the best cookbooks of the year. Need to get a present for a foodie or a booklover? We’ve got you covered!

Fundamentals and techniques

Sack says, “The real trend that I saw this year in cookbooks was about fundamentals and techniques, which is sort of almost teaching you how to not have to use a cookbook”

Repertoire by Jessica Battilana explores cooking fundamentals and techniques, with great back pocket recipes like roast chicken.

Korean BBQ  by Bill Kim starts with master sauces, like Nuoc Cham or Korean barbeque sauce, then lists all the different recipes that use those sauces. You can make a huge batch of sauce and use them in a slew of different recipes.

Is there a hottest book this year?

Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat actually came out two years ago, but her Netflix show just came out and the book has become Sack’s bestseller.

Biggest category this year? Filipino cookbooks

“This is a trend that we’re gonna see continue. It’s not that the food is being, quote, ‘discovered,’ it’s that it’s finally getting its due.”

The New Filipino Kitchen by Jacqueline Chio-Lauri collects stories and recipes from people cooking Filipino cuisine around the world.

I am A Filipino by Nicole Ponseca and Miguel Trinidad celebrates the culture and diversity of the regions of the Philippines.

Pulutan! by Marvin Gapultos is all about the little bar bites you’d have in the Philippines, like Kinilaw raw oysters or Kwek-Kweg quail eggs.

Milkier Pigs by Brian Koh acts as a sort of love song to Filipino food. Each recipe tells a story of the culture and history of the dish.

Baking books

Rose's Baking Basics by Rose Levy Beranbaum is a really basic book. It breaks down every stage with a photograph to make even the most difficult steps approachable.

Pie-baking was a big trend this year. Sister Pie by Lisa Ludwinski and Pie Squared by Cathy Barrow are two standouts that would make great holiday gifts.

Cocktail and bar books?

The One-Bottle Cocktail by Maggie Hoffman offers different cocktail recipes based on having just one type of liquor.

Death & Co, the legendary New York cocktail bar, has released their Cocktail Codex, an in-depth resource that’s great for professional barmen or home mixologists.

Magazine subscriptions make great gifts

Toothache Magazine covers professional chefs and pastry chefs, mainly in the Bay Area.

Whetstone Magazine and Eaten Magazine are all about food history. The origins of potatoes in Peru, or the early story of cacao.

For the international food scene, Fare covers the dining scene in different cities, while Dill Magazine dives into the cuisine of Asia.

All about the veggies

Mississippi Vegan by Timothy Pakron looks beyond the friedness of Southern cooking and focuses on the flavors of diverse vegetables.

Market Cooking by David Tanis, Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden and On Vegetables by Jeremy Fox have a great focus on vegetables but aren’t necessarily vegan or even vegetarian



Evan Kleiman