Pretty or Practical? More Inside GFP’s Cookbook Library

What, more cookbooks? As if there could ever be enough! If the assortment below isn’t enough to get you off your mandelbrot and into the kitchen to warm up for T-day, then I don’t know what will. We’ve got you covered, with two delicious spins on French, an ode to BBQ, and a glimpse into the art of the Swedish coffee break. Of course, we know that not everyone actually cooks using cookbooks. Not to worry! These are book lovers’ books: well designed and handsome on the shelf. In this regard, Fika might literally take the cake, with an adorable design befitting its Nordic spin on caffeine, cardamom, and camaraderie. And though I didn’t write a review myself, I will offer that Maharani’s Favourite Slow-Roasted Lamb Shoulder from Meera Sodha’s book Made in India was the crowd fave at our recent GFP retreat. With a warm chapati? There’s your new twist on Thanksgiving. —LAM

If you’re like me, and your only exposure to Swedish food is at IKEA, then Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break is a must read. Written by two native Swedes, Anna Brones and Johanna Kindvall, this book introduces the Swedish tradition of fika: a chance to sit down, unwind, and enjoy a cup of coffee (or kaffee) with some delectable pastries. This cookbook dives deep into the origins of the beloved custom with almost fifty beautifully illustrated recipes—from saffron buns to rhubarb cordial to those open-faced sandwiches I find so adorably Nordic. Through their offering of delicious recipes, charming illustrations, and fun insight into Swedish culture, Brones and Kindvall show that no matter where we live, we can all use a little bit of fika in our lives. —Devon S.

If the gorgeous cover doesn’t stop you in your tracks, the elegant Parisian dishes in The Little Paris Kitchen: 120 Simple but Classic French Recipes certainly will. Though French recipes may at first seem intimidating or complicated, what could be better—or, indeed, more simple—than poached eggs over sautéed asparagus; awe-inducing but effortless ratatouille; or a quick dinner of lentils with goat cheese, beets, and a tangy dill dressing? I’ve gotten this book for countless friends and family members since it was released, and all have been impressed with how easy Rachel Khoo makes it to ease a little French style into every day. —Emily F.

The colors, the photos, the feel of the paper . . . I was completely taken by the presentation of My French Family Table: Recipes for a Life Filled with Food, Love, and Joie de Vivre by Beatrice Peltre. But it was the first recipe I tried that really hooked me—the Every-Morning Granola. It is so tasty and so easy to make, and it prompted a healthy new weekend ritual to boot. But this book is more than just breakfast. The Parsnip, Potato, and Pear Soup provides not only a great alliteration but a hearty and delicious repast. And it goes without saying that the tarts, both savory and sweet, are excellent and extremely short-lived in my kitchen. Five-year-old Roost Books is a newish foray for Shambhala Publications, and if My French Family Table is any indication of what’s to come, then we will have much to celebrate. —Ingrid

Can Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto even be classified as a cookbook? Sure, it contains recipes, though there are only about five or six of them, and they’re all shoved in the back of a book otherwise packed with wonderful ruminations on craft. Aaron Franklin—owner of Franklin Barbecue, the immensely popular Austin establishment whose epic lines often require over five hours of a patron’s day—opens his book with a lengthy tale of how his restaurant came to be. It’s your standard “started from the bottom” story, but it’s told with charm and genuine humility, and it reveals a man truly committed to his craft. The book goes on to explain how a smoker works, how different types of wood burn, how the restaurant functions on a day-to-day basis. Eventually, almost reluctantly, it moves on to the requisite meat-preparation guidelines. Of course, a book about one of Texas’s—and perhaps the world’s—most famous barbecue joints must show its readers how to trim a brisket, but those who approach Franklin’s manifesto seeking measurements, ingredients, and technique will miss the point completely. Yes, the Fig Ancho Beer Barbecue Sauce is fantastic, but if passion is truly a chef’s most important ingredient, there’s no more inspiring cookbook than one that immerses the reader in a world of passion unencumbered by bullet points and measuring cups. —Paul