Focus in on the delights of the kitchen and the table with ...


I love cookbooks and could not begin to count how many I have in my kitchen and office, on my bedside table — even a few in the pantry. Despite this abundance, I take pleasure in finding new ones, and wish I had more time to read them and cook from them each week. The year 2015 brought an exceptional number of new cookbooks and food books into the world, and I found myself falling in love many times, and cooking with excitement and delight.

I’ve loved checking out various “Best Cookbooks of 2015” lists as they appeared this season, and I liked many of the books featured in those round-ups. These are my favorites, the ones I love and keep perusing, the ones I’ve been taking to the kitchen (or sitting down to read, since a few call for reading, or cover food but not recipes). Some of these I anticipated eagerly, and others I encountered in passing and couldn’t bear to leave behind once I’d held them in my hands. Some are the handiwork of good friends, some are by kitchen heroes of mine, and one of them is by someone I knew not at all but now adore. One author has two books in here, half my selections have connections to the American South, and about a third come from first-time authors.

I’ve lined them up on the steps, and then set them out in this post in no particular order.  I hope you will enjoy checking them out, and maybe purchasing a copy for those that catch your eye. I’ve given you a link to each volume on Amazon. Consider looking them up on Indiebound , where you can find an indie bookstore near you as well as indie booksellers with whom to order these books and others online. Let me know in the comments section which of these books you know and love, which ones you’re excited to discover, and any cookbooks and food books which I missed and need to check out from the 2015 crop. It was a great year, and this new one can be even better. Happy Cooking, Happy Reading, Happy 2016!


Nancie’s Favorite Cookbooks and Food Books of 2015


Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees: Essential Techniques of Authentic Chinese Home Cooking 

Kian Lam Kho     Amazon



Near and Far: Recipes Inspired by Home and Travel

 by Heidi Swanson     Amazon



The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks

by Toni Tipton-Martin     Amazon



The Food of Taiwan: Recipes from the Beautiful Island

by Cathy Erway     Amazon




Soul Food Odyssey

by Stephanie L. Tyson     Amazon




The Whole Grain Promise: 100 Delicious Recipes to Jumpstart a Healthier Diet

by Robin Asbell     Amazon



Back in the Day Bakery: Made with Love

More than 100 Recipes and Make It Yourself Projects to Create and Share

by Cheryl Day and Griffith Day     Amazon




The Up South Cookbook: Chasing Dixie in a Brooklyn Kitchen

by Nicole Taylor     Amazon



Yogurt Culture:

A Global Look at How to Make, Sip, and Chill the World’s Creamiest Health Food

by Cheryl Sternman Rule     Amazon



Grandbaby Cakes: Modern Recipes – Vintage Charm – Soulful Memories

by Jocelyn Delk Adams     Amazon


Gluten-Free Girl: American Classics Reinvented

by Shauna James Ahern and Daniel Ahern     Amazon



Empanadas: The Hand-Held Pies of Latin America

by Sandra Gutierrez     Amazon



Nashville Eats: Hot Chicken, Buttermilk Biscuits, and 100 More Southern Recipes from Music City

by Jennifer Justus     Amazon



Nong’s Thai Kitchen: 84 Classic Recipes that Are Quick, Healthy, and Delicious 

by Nongkran Daks and Alexandra Greeley     AmazonIMG_5975


Lighten Up, y’all! Classic Southern Recipes Made Healthy and Wholesome  

by Virginia Willis    Amazon



A Real Southern Cook in Her Savannah Kitchen

by Dora Charles     Amazon



The Big Jones Cookbook: Recipes for Savoring the Heritage of Regional Southern Cooking

by Paul Fehribach     Amazon



 My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes that Saved My Life

by Ruth Reichl     Amazon




Senegal: Modern Senegalese Recipes from the Source to the Bowl

by Pierre Thiam     Amazon



No-Churn Ice Cream: Over 100 Simply Delicious Recipes No-Machine Frozen Treats

by Leslie Bilderback     Amazon



Crabs & Oysters: A Savor the South Cookbook

by Bill Smith     Amazon



Sunday Dinner: A Savor the South Cookbook

by Bridgette A. Lacy     Amazon



Beans & Field Peas: A Savor the South Cookbook

by Sandra Gutierrez     AmazonIMG_5967


The 8 x 8 Cookbook: 

Square Meals for Weeknight Family Dinners, Desserts and More in One Perfect 8×8-Inch Dish

by Kathy Strahs     Amazon



A Life of Spice: Stories of Food, Culture and Life

by Monica Bhide    Amazon



The Color of Food: Stories of Race, Resilience, and Farming

by Natasha Bowens     Amazon




That’s my bouquet of delicious, worthwhile, compelling, delightful, important, fun, and memorable cookbooks for 2015. I’ll be enjoying them for a long time to come, and I hope you have enjoyed this little tour of my favorites. Here’s to a delicious year in your kitchen, in your reading chair, and at the table!


About the Author
Nancie McDermott is a food writer and cooking teacher, and the author of ten cookbooks. Her passion is researching and celebrating traditional food in its cultural context, and her beloved subjects are two seemingly different places with much in common: the cuisines of Asia and of the American South. Nancie gained her Southern kitchen wisdom as a Piedmont North Carolina native,and her Asian culinary research commenced soon after college, when she was sent to northeastern Thailand as a Peace Corps volunteer.
  1. Kathy Strahs Reply

    Thanks so much for including The 8×8 Cookbook, Nancie!! I’m so glad you’re enjoying it. 🙂

  2. Jamie Reply

    What a great collection of cookbooks and several are on my must-order wish list! But I must have the Senegal cookbook now that my son lives there. I do have the chance to taste Senegalese food (and I have a wonderful recipe for Yassa!) living in France, but I am so interested in learning more about it. I’m glad this book has your seal of approval!

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