the spring '23 cookbooks on my wish list
plus, what I'm reading right now
Hello, pasta community!
Today is day six of no bread, no pasta, and no pastries, so instead of a new recipe, I thought I’d share a few cookbooks that I’m eagerly anticipating this season (plus two not-so-new books I’m really enjoying!). Let’s get right into it:
Giulia Scarpaleggia | Available now!
Of course I had to start with’s new book! I’m still waiting for my copy to arrive, but I was lucky enough to get a digital preview last summer, so I already know how wonderful it is. If you’re looking for simple and affordable Italian classics, don’t sleep on this one—you’ll find everything from cover-star pici cacio e pepe to orecchiette with broccoli rabe and, a highlight of last fall in my kitchen, roasted squash risotto. The idea of cucina povera (literally “poor cooking” or “poor kitchen”; in practice, making the most of what you have) holds a special place in my heart and informs so many of my recipes. Not to mention Giulia is one of the most eloquent writers out there, and one of the kindest people I know.
Tin to Table: Fancy, Snacky Recipes for Tin-thusiasts and A-fish-ionados
Anna Hezel | April 25, 2023
The most-used cookbook in my collection is, without a doubt, Chris McDade’s The Magic of Tinned Fish—the mackerel cakes with cabbage and gochujang, fettuccine with mackerel and Sungold tomatoes, and gigante bean and mackerel plaki (okay, I guess we eat a lot of mackerel) are staples of our dinner rotation. So I was extremely excited to see another tinned fish book on the release list this spring! From what I’ve gathered, this one will also hit all my high notes, with recipes like Tuna Noodle Casserole 2.0 with Salt and Vinegar Crumbs (my mom’s TNC was an easy top 3 dinner of mine growing up) and Mac and Mack(erel) (yay, more mackerel!).
Tenderheart: A Cookbook About Vegetables and Unbreakable Family Bonds
Hetty Lui McKinnon | May 30, 2023
I’m already an avid reader of’s newsletter, To Vegetables, With Love, not to mention someone whose recipes are 98% vegetarian, so this is a clear winner for me. With more than 500 pages and 22 chapters, I expect this book will not only transform how I cook with and think about vegetables, but it’ll also be a beautiful read: the recipes are an homage to McKinnon’s late father who inspired her love of fruits and vegetables from a young age. Here’s a great quote from the book announcement on Substack:
I describe Tenderheart as an egalitarian vegetable book. It is for everyone, not only for those who can afford to acquire farmer’s market produce. With this book, I aim to show every home cook how to use everyday vegetables to create flavorful, comforting, repertoire dishes. The book is not hyper seasonal which is perhaps unexpected in a vegetable book, but this is an important aspect which sets it apart from other vegetable books on the market - my Tenderheart ethos is simple, eat seasonally if you can, but if circumstances or cravings require you to step outside of those boundaries, that is completely ok. I am the first to admit, I eat all the vegetables, all year round.
Mayumu: Filipino American Desserts Remixed
Abi Balingit | Available now!
I first heard about this book from Nico Schinco, the brilliant photographer behind Pasta Every Day. He photographed this book, too, and I mean, COME. ON. Look at those colors! I’ll admit I’m no baker—and I don’t have much of a sweet tooth—but this is one of those books I want just to have, even if I don’t end up cooking from it (we all have a stack of those, right?). I can see it now: basking in the summer sunshine, drinking ice cold lemonade, learning about a cuisine I know very little about…and who knows, I might become a dessert enthusiast yet! Everything about this book is joyful—the design, the photos, the author herself—and who doesn’t need a little more joy in their life?
Liguria, The Cookbook: Recipes from the Italian Riviera
Laurel Evans | Available now (2021)
This book has been on my shelf for a while, but I cracked it open again when putting together the menu for my Ligurian-themed pasta workshop last month. When my husband got it for me last year (thank you, husband!), the cover was enough to make me drop everything I was doing and run to the kitchen. (The first recipe I made was pollo in fricassea, tender chicken bathed in a rich sauce thickened with an egg-lemon emulsion. It was delicious.) Then, a few weeks ago, I finally plucked up the courage to make the focaccia ligure, a two-day process that turned everything I knew about making focaccia on its head. I definitely need more practice (and a bigger pan), but even my lackluster first attempt was difficult to stop eating, thanks to a salt water brine that pools in the dough’s crevices right before baking. I also associate Ligurian cooking with spring and summer, with lots of vegetables, fish, and other bright flavors, so I’ll be revisiting this one very soon.
What I’m reading right now
Although I’m one to read a cookbook on the couch like a novel, right now I’m knee-deep in Victoria James’s memoir, Wine Girl: The Trials and Triumphs of America’s Youngest Sommelier. I’ll be frank: I don’t know much about wine. I haven’t studied wine. I don’t drink a lot of wine. I can’t gracefully swirl wine in a glass or comment confidently about tannins or oak. I can list off a handful of wines (and regions) that I like—and don’t get me wrong, I do like wine!—but that’s about it.
Wine Girl isn’t actually about wine—it’s about family, trauma, the toxic corners of the restaurant industry—but still the book has made me want to better understand it. I want to try more wine, buy more wine, even drink white wine (something I rarely do). James has a way of peeling away the often-esoteric and patronizing layers of wine rhetoric and making it all seem so…clear. Or, at the very least, that anyone can learn about wine. She also drives home the importance of pairing the right wine with what’s on your plate—the idea that wine is an ingredient in a good meal, not something peripheral. All things I knew, in abstract, but this is the first time I’m excited to actually do something about it.
So, what’s on your spring reading list?
I’d love to know!
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