Fall’s debut cookbooks reflect a number of recent cultural shifts: the pandemic-fueled interest in home baking, Americans’ turn toward vegetarianism and veganism, and the centering of authors of color following 2020’s racial reckoning in legacy food media. Joanne Lee Molinaro hits a couple of those beats with The Korean Vegan Cookbook (Avery, Oct.), which highlights a cuisine more typically associated with fish sauce and barbecue than with vegan dishes. “I want to tell people, ‘Hey, you don’t need to give up your heritage, your cultural identity, when you decide to go plant based,’ ” she says.
Molinaro feels the pressure to get it right but is also excited to be debuting at this crossroads in publishing. “I feel an immense burden to try and be respectful of my culture’s cuisine while accommodating anyone who’s tried to be plant based,” she says. “There’s such amazing joy in the fact that we’re seeing so much representation in the food world right now. We’re progressing in a way that’s respectful and inclusive, particularly as it comes to talking about cultural appropriation and food.”
In The Modern Tiffin (Tiller, Nov.), Priyanka Naik hopes to challenge Americans’ conceptions about vegan food while broadening their understanding of Indian cuisine. “When I started, many across the industry thought of my approach to veganism as too niche,” she says. “I’m happy to see the publishing and entertainment industries embracing Eastern cultures more.”
Naik is a Food Network champ: in 2017, she came out on top of her episode of Cooks vs. Cons, which pits amateurs against the pros. That same year, Vallery Lomas won The Great American Baking Show but was denied her celebration. A show host became the subject of #MeToo allegations, and ABC binned the whole season. “I’d always wanted to write a cookbook, and it became real and possible when I went on the show and won,” Lomas says. “I was speaking with an agent and working on a proposal in the interim period between having filmed the show and the show airing. It being pulled off air kind of scrapped everything.”
Rather than give up, Lomas left her job as an attorney to focus full-time on her cooking blog and built a loyal following on social media. Her debut cookbook, Life Is What You Bake It (Clarkson Potter, Sept.), is “the finale I never got,” she says. Recipes include the treats that clinched Lomas’s win—sweet and savory palmiers, a chocolate and caramel tart, and a three-dessert tower that included a pecan candy cheesecake.
“I want to help people bake better,” Lomas says. “After the quarantine and after the sourdough craze and after everyone baking banana bread, I think people still feel very limited and intimidated by baking. I’m a home baker and my recipes are very approachable.”
With their forthcoming books, Lomas, Naik, Molinaro, and other debut authors welcome readers into their kitchens and invite them to, as Naik puts it, feed their bellies and their souls.
Angela Dimayuga and Ligaya Mishan. Abrams, Oct.
Dimayuga, a James Beard Rising Star Chef finalist, and Mishan, a contributor to the New York Times, T magazine, and other outlets, present 100 recipes from the Filipinx diaspora, including a spin on bistek (beef stew) that uses ribeye and pastillas de ube (milk-and-yam confections). They also celebrate unique aspects of Filipinx food culture, such as turo-turo style (literally: “point and point”) eateries.
The Korean Vegan Cookbook
Joanne Lee Molinaro. Avery, Oct.
A practicing lawyer (when she isn’t charming her 2.3 million followers on TikTok), Molinaro veganizes well-known Korean dishes, such as jjajangmyeon and kkanpunggi; spotlights the cuisine’s vegan ingredients, including dashima, or kelp; and provides Korean-inspired takes on lasagna (with gochujang) and chocolate cake (with sweet potato).
Vallery Lomas. Clarkson Potter, Sept.
In her long-awaited debut, Lomas shares recipes that draw inspiration from her Louisiana upbringing (Grandma Leona’s Cornmeal Pancakes, Almost-Ate-the-Plate Carrot Cake, Crawfish Hand Pies) and personal anecdotes that offer readers encouragement in the kitchen and elsewhere in their lives. PW’s review tells aspiring baking champs to “look no further” than Lomas’s title, which offers “pointers on everything from making biscuits to winning a reality show.”
The Modern Tiffin
Priyanka Naik. Tiller, Nov.
The vegan Instagram influencer (85,000 followers) and TV personality uses the tiffin—in parts of India, especially Mumbai, tiffin refers to both a packed lunch and the multipart container that transports the meal—as an organizing principle, and presents 11 vegan, Indian-inspired, global-cuisine lunch menus. The Mexican tiffin includes mango gazpacho and masala esquites; the American Comfort tiffin offers corn bread gulab jamun and tadka mac ’n’ cheese with Cajun bread crumbs. Each menu is portioned for two and meant to be portable, a nod to its inspiration.
Mooncakes and Milk Bread
Kristina Cho. Harper Horizon, Oct.
Recipes for traditional buns, rolls, and tarts are illustrated with step-by-step photos depicting the intricate shaping techniques that are a hallmark of many Chinese baked goods, and interspersed with profiles of bakeries that sell such treats across the United States. In the final chapter, “Some Assembly Required,” Cho suggests combinations that would make for a gift-appropriate “pink box,” named for the archetypical carryout container that means, “You bought enough buns and treats to warrant one, and everyone should be jealous of your bounty.”
New Native Kitchen
Freddie Bitsoie and James O. Fraioli. Abrams, Oct.
Over the course of 100 recipes, Bitsoie, former executive chef at Mitsitam Native Foods Café at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, writing with Fraioli, a James Beard Award–winning author, spotlights regional Native foodways and meshes Indigenous ingredients with modern methods. Recipes include sautéed fiddleheads with apple, nopales cactus paddles, chocolate bison chili, and sumac seared trout with onion and bacon sauce.
Edgar Castrejón. Ten Speed, Oct.
Chef, recipe developer, food stylist, and photographer Castrejón transforms the traditional meat-centric dishes of his Mexican American childhood into plant-based creations: shredded jackfruit tacos, elote with vegan mayonnaise and vegan Cotija, oat milk horchata. The 100 recipes, which include Colombian and Salvadoran as well as Mexican foods, put a premium on convenience: many dishes take less than 30 minutes to assemble or make.
Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen
Zoe Adjonyoh. Voracious, Oct.
Adjonyoh documents many of the menu items she popularized at her London pop-up: nkruma (okra) tempura, red snapper and yam croquettes, jollof fried chicken, and coconut and cassava cake. She also shares stories of her childhood growing up in England with her Ghanaian father and Irish mother, and shares insights on how to work with Ghanaian flavors and ingredients, such as kenkey (fermented corn dough) and shito (hot pepper sauce).
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