Sean Brock burst onto the culinary scene with his ground-breaking restaurant Husk, where he grew all his own produce and worked to reclaim the integrity of Southern foodways; along the way he essentially created the entire New Southern food movement and picked up countless accolades. The beginning of his journey was detailed in his encyclopedic James Beard Award-winning Heritage and he now continues in South (Artisan, $40). Heritage was an astounding cultural guide but a bit off-putting as a cookbook. What a pleasant surprise, then, to encounter the clarity and simplicity of the recipes in the well-designed and intuitively-organized South. This book is both a useful resource for the experienced cook and a welcoming gateway for curious beginners. The selections are never obvious, but, like his recipes for ramp leaf oil or corn, green garlic and sweet potato purees, they are all boiled down to their beautiful core flavors and tastes.
Forty years into an award-winning career in the food industry as an instructor, writer, and recipe developer, Molly Stevens has written her most intimate cookbook yet, All About Dinner: Simple Meals, Expert Advice (W.W. Norton, $40). For the everyday home cook this collection of recipes is less about learning how to conjure up showstoppers for a fancy dinner party and more about feeding yourself or your family tried and truly satisfying meals at the end of a hectic day. Molly's writing is inviting, at times humorous—she playfully refers to a Seinfeld episode in one of her recipes—and always approachable. From fast and loose recipe guidelines for big salads to warming soups and stews, you will find yourself eager to improvise on fairly basic meal ideas and make them your own.
If I have one industry hint for your holiday season, it’s this: buy a copy—or three—of Alison Roman’s entertaining-focused cookbook, Nothing Fancy (Clarkson Potter, $32.50), wrap it up, and leave it in your car for any emergency gift-giving. If you have children between the ages of twenty and forty, they will want this book, I promise you. Dining In, the first bestselling cookbook by Bon Appétit and New York Times food writer Alison Roman, lives in every millennial kitchen—right next to the CBD gummies—and while many people grasp for Alison Roman’s casual but precisely modulated mood, only she gets it exactly right. The Ina Garten for the fiddle-leaf fig set, Roman immediately explains Nothing Fancy’s mantra and her unfussy recipes follow: It’s not “entertaining,” it’s having people over. And don’t worry, even if friends aren't millennials, this gorgeously photographed, welcoming cookbook will inspire them and help them understand the new pulse of entertaining.