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A World of Cookbooks to Start the New Year


Fancy some oysters? You’ll find some of the Maritimes’ finest in PEI, dubbed “Canada’s Food Island” in a recent cookbook. (Photo courtesy of Tourism PEI)

Cookbooks provide a great resource for those seeking to make a resolution to travel more, explore different cultures, or simply to improve their skills in the kitchen. They are ideal for the globetrotting gourmet or wannabe travelling chef. The collection of international cookbooks release in the past year offers fresh ways to taste the world and feed wanderlust.   

Canada’s Food Island


Created by Prince Edward Island chefs and food producers, “Canada’s Food Island” is a celebration of the flavours of the nation’s smallest province. (Figure 1 Publishing image)

More than just a cookbook, this celebration of Prince Edward Island specialties and  stories of its  farmers and fishers captures the essence  of the province’s world-renowned food culture. Think potatoes, lobster, oysters, clams, mussels, blueberries, strawberries, and sustainably raised beef. There are more than 100 recipes accompanied by mouth-watering photos. An instant bestseller when  released last year. Like the island, it is timeless in its appeal. Royalties from the sale of the book support PEI food banks. (Figure 1 Publishing, $38.95)

Made in Taiwan

For too long, Taiwanese cuisine has been lumped in with  Chinese food. At a time when the eyes of the world are on the island nation, Los Angeles-born, Taipei-based food journalist Clarissa Wei shines the spotlight on an  exclusive culinary scene. She takes a deep dive into its vibrant food and distinctive culture. A must read for anyone eager to learn about crowd-pleasing Taiwanese delicacies. (Simon & Schuster, $54)

South of Somewhere

Growing up in South Africa, food blogger Dale Gray lived in the southern part of South Korea before marrying an American and moving to the southern U.S. She became a cook based on her curiosity about each of the countries she called home — their culture and their food. Her culinary journey is an engaging mix of stories that inspire the recipes and the inviting images to take you to these three southern locales. (Simon & Schuster, $39.99)

Chetna’s Indian Feasts

Chetna Makan became famous in 2014 when she reached the semifinals of The Great British Bake Off. Seven cookbooks later, she is considered the queen of Indian baking. In her newest collection, you’ll discover 80 new recipes for crowd-pleasing, flavour-packed feasts that are savoury and sweet. They include Sticky Spicy Chicken Wings with Tomato Chutney, Okra Masala, and Tandoori Paneer Curry. Yum. (Octopus Books, $35.99)

Simply West African

Award-winning chef and entrepreneur Pierre Thian is on a mission: To share his  passion for the food of his native part of the world that he loves. In this his fourth cookbook (written with Lisa Katayami), he shines a spotlight on a vibrant cuisine with 80 easy, any-night-of-the-week recipes. West African cuisine, he says, has been ignored for too long. Raised in Senegal, he moved to New York in the 1990s. It’s no surprise then that his cooking transcends borders. (Ten Speed, $37.99)

Make It Japanese

A great place to learn the building blocks of authentic Japanese home cooking is this book by Rie McClenny. She describes her journey from her mother’s cooking in Japan to learning to cook in the United States with local ingredients to becoming the star of Buzzfeed’s “Make It Fancy” video series. Traditional, everyday dishes with a twist include umami-packed Easy Soy Sauce Ramen, delectable pork Tonkatsu and ginger-spiked Chicken-Tofu Tsukune. (CP/Ten Speed, $39.99)


In this encyclopedic book (it’s part reference, part history, part cooking) author Sandra A. Gutierrez highlights home cooking from each of Latin America’s 21 countries. The recipes, organized in chapters by ingredients rather than by countries, are weeknight-friendly and aimed at busy home cooks. Anyone for Chiles Rellenos? Or Crunchy Tacos?  What about Pastel de Tres Leches? Just three of the more than 300 dishes shared by one of the most respected authorities on the subject. (Knopf Doubleday, $54)

Scandinavian from Scratch

Chef Nichole Accettola tempts you to bring the tastes and treats of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark into your kitchen. Living in Scandinavia for a decade, she discovered the secrets for the wholesome breads, buttery pastries, decadent cakes, and sweet cookies. The Culinary Institute of America-trained chef and owner of Kantine, a Scandinavian-inspired San Francisco restaurant, includes 75 of her favourite recipes for sweet and savoury bites such as Cardamom Morning Bites and Saffron Rusks. Measurements include both weight and volume. (Ten Speed Press, $39.99)

Jamie Oliver – 5 ingredients Mediterranean

The famous, British chef has done it again. Based on the format of 5 Ingredients Simple, his hugely popular 2017 book, he returns with the same winning formula.  That means five ingredients, easy to follow instructions and minimal fuss. The bonus this year? He transports you to the sunny Mediterranean, with recipes  brimming with the  bold flavours of 22 diverse countries, each with its own culinary traditions. His inspiration comes from years of island hopping around the region. (Penguin Random House, $45)

The Simple Art of Rice   

Award-winning Chef JJ Johnson of New York’s Rice Bowl Restaurants, and writer/illustrator Danica Novgorodoff  collaborated to create a compendium of the history and versatility one of the world’s essential foods. They take you on an informative and exciting culinary adventure through five continents and countless cultures. In addition to the fascinating information on the role that rice has played in these cultures and throughout history, it features a fool-proof method that will help anyone master the art of cooking rice. (Raincoast, $46.99)