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Meet the Book Nominees for the 2015 James Beard Awards

Maggie Borden

Maggie Borden

March 31, 2015


Photo by Anna Mowry

The books nominated for this year’s James Beard Awards take us on journeys both practical and philosophical, from the intricacies of humane butchering to the role of the Gerber Baby in the creation of modern America. Dive into the nominees below and try a new cuisine, consider a new cocktail, or discover a new way to look at food in the world around us. All nominated books are available at the James Beard Foundation Amazon store.

American Cooking 
Heritage by Sean Brock (Artisan) 
Gain insight into JBF Award winner Sean Brock’s mission to preserve and promote the diverse bounty of his home region. Featuring recipes from his acclaimed restaurants, Husk and McCrady’s, along with inspired takes on Southern standards like Pickled Shrimp and Hoppin’ John, Heritage provides a glimpse into the mind of a chef devoted to American cuisine.

The New England Kitchen: Fresh Takes on Seasonal Recipes by Erin Byers Murray and Jeremy Sewall (Rizzoli New York) 
With its celebrated farms and fisheries, New England offers so much more than clam chowder and Sam Adams. In this homage to the northeast, chef Jeremy Sewall explores the current state of New England cuisine, with more than one hundred vibrant recipes to take home cooks through the flavors of the region, season by season.

Texas on the Table: People, Places, and Recipes Celebrating the Flavors of the Lone Star State by Terry Thompson-Anderson (University of Texas Press) 
Get a taste of “Texas terroir” with this compendium of stories and recipes that celebrate the cultural and culinary heritage of the Lone Star state. From wild game to local wines, this tome will show readers just how locals make their home on the range.

Baking and Dessert  
Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere by Dorie Greenspan (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) 
Trust baking guru Dorie Greenspan to show you how astonishingly simple French pastry can be. With her unique spins on classics like madeleines, cream puffs, and even non-Gallic standbys like “Les Whoopie Pies,” Greenspan guides readers step-by-step on a sweet journey to establishing their own French kitchen.

Della Fattoria Bread: 63 Foolproof Recipes for Yeasted, Enriched & Naturally Leavened Breads by Kathleen Weber (Artisan) 
Homemade loaves straight from the oven can be yours, thanks to the masters at Della Fattoria, the award-winning Petaluma bakery that has won ardent fans across California’s wine country. Founder Kathleen Weber provides tips and tricks for beginning bakers and bread-heads alike, recipes that incorporate the breads as ingredients, and stories from the bakery’s history and the family behind it.

Flavor Flours: A New Way to Bake with Teff, Buckwheat, Sorghum, Other Whole & Ancient Grains, Nuts & Non-Wheat Flours by Alice Medrich (Artisan) 
Dessert queen Alice Medrich is on a mission to prove that alternative flours are not just for those looking to avoid gluten. This exhaustive new work reveals the flavor-packed results of baking with grains like oats, rice, and sorghum, with nearly 125 recipes featuring Medrich’s innovative techniques for taming the newest entrants to your baking repertoire.

Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails, with More than 500 Recipes by Alex Day, Nick Fauchald, and David Kaplan (Ten Speed Press) 
When it comes to craft cocktails, NYC's Death & Co. is one of the titans of the recent revolution, drawing serious drinkers since its inception in 2006. Featuring recipes from their much-lauded bar program, this book also serves as a crash-course of cocktailing, as well as a reference guide for aspiring mixologists.

Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail by Dave Arnold (W. W. Norton & Company) 
Infuse your home bar with beverage science from the mind behind the innovations of NYC’s Booker & Dax. From perfecting the pitcher drink to creating cocktails by centrifuge, Liquid Intelligence offers hard-won facts and insight for professional and amateur drink enthusiasts alike.

Sherry: A Modern Guide to the Wine World's Best-Kept Secret, with Cocktails and Recipes by Talia Baiocchi (Ten Speed Press) 
Sherry, until recently an oft-maligned and misunderstood wine, is making a cultural comeback. Discover the rich history of one of Spain’s oldest and greatest winemaking traditions through this comprehensive guide, featuring background on the different styles of sherry, a thorough buyer’s guide listing top producers, and recipes for sherry-based cocktails and food pairings.

Cooking from a Professional Point of View
Bar Tartine: Techniques & Recipes by Nicolaus Balla and Cortney Burns (Chronicle Books)
San Francisco’s Bar Tartine has been wowing locals and tourists alike with its dedication to in-house techniques and wide-ranging menus that draw from Central Europe, Japan, and Scandinavia. Learn to cure, pickle, and ferment from these masters of the handmade, through dozens of recipes that take readers from breakfast to dessert (and across the globe). 

Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef by Massimo Bottura (Phaidon Press) 
Take a walk through the life and creations of Massimo Bottura, the “Jimi Hendrix” of Italian chefs who has redefined his country’s cuisine through 25 years at the helm of Modena’s Osteria Francescana. Readers will delight in the 50 convention-challenging recipes, discovering the unlikely inspirations that led to such whimsical dishes as Memory of a Mortadella Sandwich, and Oops! I Dropped the Lemon Tart. 

Relæ: A Book of Ideas by Christian F. Puglisi (Ten Speed Press) 
Visitors to Copenhagen’s Relæ are asked to forget all preconceived notions of fine dining, and readers of its titular new tome will find themselves facing a similar challenge. The book forgoes the typical structure for a series of interconnected essays on the philosophy behind founder Christian Puglisi’s wildly inventive cooking, creating a reading experience as unique as a meal at the restaurant.

Focus on Health

A Change of Appetite: Where Healthy Meets Delicious by Diana Henry (Mitchell Beazley) 
What happens when one of Britain’s best-loved food writers starts to crave healthier fare? A compendium of lighter, fresher recipes that crisscross the globe and push readers’ palates into new territory to prove that healthy eating is far from bland or boring.

Cooking Light Mad Delicious: The Science of Making Healthy Food Taste Amazing by Keith Schroeder (Oxmoor House) 
The science of healthy cooking isn’t just about nutrition, as shown in Keith Schroeder’s witty, illustrated guide to maximizing flavor and texture in the kitchen. With seemingly decadent recipes like Georgia Peanut Fried Chicken and Lower East Side Brisket lightened up through Schroeder’s unique techniques and explanations of the nature of ingredients, each chapter provides a new adventure in improving your diet and your palate.

Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans by Henry Fong and Michelle Tam (Andrews McMeel Publishing) 
The Stone-Age savants behind the wildly popular Nom Nom Paleo cooking blog have unleashed their unadulterated fare on the masses, with more than 100 recipes void of grains, legumes, and added sugar. Not just for the Crossfit set, this book introduces readers to the Paleo lifestyle, providing clean takes on familiar dishes like Chicken Nuggets and Yankee Pot Roast, in the hopes of giving cooks a new perspective on what the kitchen has to offer.

General Cooking 

The Kitchn Cookbook: Recipes, Kitchens & Tips to Inspire Your Cooking by Faith Durand and Sara Kate Gillingham (Clarkson Potter)   
Visitors to the Kitchn’s website know they can count on it as a resource for recipes, cooking advice, ingredient information, home design, and more. Thankfully, the Kitchn’s new cookbook is just as wide-ranging and informative, offering recipes, essential how-tos, and organizational tips to make the kitchen one of your favorite places to be.

Marcus Off Duty: The Recipes I Cook at Home by Marcus Samuelsson with Roy Finamore (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) 
Somehow, between managing his restaurant empire, judging Chopped, and competing on shows such as Top Chef Masters (where he was crowned champion), JBF Award winner Marcus Samuelsson still finds time to cook at home. This new cookbook shares some of his favorite dishes from his home kitchen, from Coconut-Lime Curried Chicken to Mac, Cheese, and Greens, revealing a flavor repertoire just as eclectic as the chef behind the apron.

Saveur: The New Classics Cookbook by The Editors of Saveur (Weldon Owen) 
Trust the experts at Saveur to distill the best of the world's cuisines into an essential collection for home cooks everywhere. Including menus for both day-to-day cooking and epic holiday feasts, the book also delves into the specifics of cuisines, providing insights like the makeup of a Mexican pantry, or the proper crimping technique for Chinese dumplings, assuring its value as a go-to resource for every toque-to-be.


The Cuban Table: A Celebration of Food, Flavors, and History by Ana Sofía Peláez and Ellen Silverman (St. Martin’s Press) 
Cuban home cooks are notoriously protective of their recipes, but Cuban-American food writer Ana Sofía Peláez and photographer Ellen Silverman has traveled through New York, Miami, and the home country to discover the secrets behind those treasured dishes. Featuring recipes for icons like Cuban sandwiches and pork and beans, The Cuban Table also examines the historical and cultural context of these dishes, revealing why their flavors have won admirers in the Caribbean and beyond.

My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories by David Lebovitz (Ten Speed Press)  
Foodies’ favorite ex-pat in Paris is back with a new work on the intersection of traditional and contemporary influences on French cuisine. Explored via his trademark wit, Lebovitz offers up 100 new recipes that remake the classics and introduce little-known treats that will have home cooks dreaming of a stroll on the Seine.

Yucatán: Recipes from a Culinary Expedition by David Sterling (University of Texas Press) 
An internationally-recognized authority on Yucatecan cuisine, chef David Sterling opens wide the gates to this gastronomic paradise through a geographic tour of the region’s best dishes, from centuries’ old Mayan recipes to the menus of restaurants of the peninsula’s largest cities.  


In Her Kitchen: Stories and Recipes from Grandmas Around the World by Gabriele Galimberti (Clarkson Potter) 
Gabriele Galimberti’s collection of intimate portraits reveal that a grandmother’s cooking is infused with love no matter where on Earth she is. Featuring grandmothers and their signature dishes from over sixty countries, In Her Kitchen is a powerful argument for the connection between food and family, and the universal ties that hold all humanity together.

A New Napa Cuisine, Photographer: Jen Munkvold and Taylor Peden (Ten Speed Press) 
The Napa Valley has called to chefs and gourmands alike for decades, drawing them in with its verdant hills and wealth of agricultural treasures. A New Napa Cuisine is a celebration of all things local, from producers to artisans, to the wild plants waiting to be foraged, and is a tribute to the influence of that terroir on American cooking as a whole.

Sherry: A Modern Guide to the Wine World's Best-Kept Secret, with Cocktails and Recipes, Photographer: Ed Anderson (Ten Speed Press) 
Sherry, until recently an oft-maligned and misunderstood wine, is making a cultural comeback. Discover the rich history of one of Spain’s oldest and greatest winemaking traditions through this comprehensive guide, featuring background on the different styles of sherry, a thorough buyer’s guide listing top producers, and recipes for sherry-based cocktails and food pairings.

Reference and Scholarship

Butchering Poultry, Rabbit, Lamb, Goat, and Pork: The Comprehensive Photographic Guide to Humane Slaughtering and Butchering by Adam Danforth (Storey Publishing) 
Aspiring butchers and curious carnivores alike will devour this engaging, step-by-step photographic guide to the means and methods of humane animal slaughter and animal breakdown. Covering food safety through freezing and packaging, this comprehensive reference leaves nothing to chance.

Inventing Baby Food: Taste, Health, and the Industrialization of the American Diet by Amy Bentley (University of California Press) 
Is there a substance more emblematic of the modern American diet than baby food? As Amy Bentley explores through her new book, Inventing Baby Food, though it was virtually nonexistent at the turn of the twentieth century, by the 1950s commercial baby food had come to represent postwar America’s efficiency, convenience, and industry, and continues to influence our culture even today.

The Spice & Herb Bible (Third Edition) by Ian and Kate Hemphill (Robert Rose) 
Global flavors don’t have to be off-limits to home cooks, thanks to this authoritative guide to the wide world of herbs and spices This new edition features six new spice entries, over a hundred new recipes, and fifty new spice blends, along with anecdotes and advice from Ian Hemphill’s lifelong experience in the spice industry.  

Single Subject  

Bitter: A Taste of the World's Most Dangerous Flavor, with Recipes by Jennifer McLagan (Ten Speed Press) 
Americans love their salty potato chips and sweet doughnuts, but the recent rise of crafts beers, dark chocolate, and cocktails with Campari and absinthe suggests we may be starting to appreciate the appeal of bitter foods. In this extensive exploration of the history, culture, and science of this oft-maligned flavor, McLagan argues for its rightful inclusion in our collective kitchen.

Charcutería: The Soul of Spain by Jeffrey Weiss (Agate Surrey) 
Discover the delicious, time-honored tradition of Spanish charcuterie with this robust collection of recipes, anecdotes, and curing-techniques that will make you a chorizo champion and a master of morcilla in no time. 

Egg: A Culinary Exploration of the World's Most Versatile Ingredient by Michael Ruhlman (Little, Brown and Company) 
When guru of gastronomy Michael Ruhlman tackles a topic, you know no stone will go unturned. In his latest innovative cookbook, Ruhlman explains that the egg forms the crux of good cooking, taking readers through nearly every conceivable application, from boiling to batters and beyond.

Vegetable Focused and Vegetarian  

At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen: Celebrating the Art of Eating Well by Amy Chaplin (Roost Books) 
Vegetarians and omnivores alike will delight in Amy Chaplin’s guide to living the whole food lifestyle. Filled with insights into ingredients, tips for composting, guides to cleansing, and of course, a collection of produce-forward recipes (including desserts), Chaplin sets readers on a path to clean and healthy living, day by day.

Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London's Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi (Ten Speed Press) 
It’s hard to imagine culinary superstar Yotam Ottolenghi topping the success of his groundbreaking Plenty, but his followup Plenty More does just that, offering 150 new flavor-packed vegetarian recipes displayed in visually stunning photographs. From salads to sweets, Ottolenghi provides his unique perspective to yet again challenge all you know about vegetarian cuisine.

Vegetarian Dinner Parties: 150 Meatless Meals Good Enough to Serve to Company by Mark Scarbrough and Bruce Weinstein (Rodale Books)
Facing a dinner party with nary a meat-eater in sight? Never fear—with this creative collection of mouthwatering modern vegetarian and vegan recipes, you’ll soon be serving up a menu that will have even the most ardent carnivores clamoring for more.

Writing and Literature  

The Chain: Farm, Factory, and the Fate of Our Food by Ted Genoways (HarperCollins Publishers) 
This mesmerizing exposé reveals the harrowing details of life on the meatpacking production line. Thanks to exclusive interviews with workers from a notoriously tight-lipped industry, acclaimed journalist Ted Genoways uncovers the dangerous and horrifying consequences of America’s desire for meat.

The Language of Food: A Linguist Reads the Menu by Dan Jurafsky (W. W. Norton & Company) 
Why is the star of our Thanksgiving menu named after a country on the Mediterranean? How did a fish sauce from China become our favorite dip for French fries? Linguist Dan Jurafsky delves into these questions and more to show that the way we talk about food may be just as important as how those foods taste. 

The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food by Dan Barber (Penguin Press) 
In this redefining look at the future of food in America, renowned chef and advocate Dan Barber challenges us to reshape our eating habits in favor of the “third plate,” an intersection of good farming and good food. Barber argues that farm-to-table simply isn’t enough, and to really save our planet and our cuisine, we need a revolution on the field, in the factory, and of our beliefs.

Maggie Borden is assistant editor at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.