Top 20 food and drink books of 2012

From chopping your own tree to making 'crack pie' or potatoes that look like stones, there's more to our top 20 food and drink books of 2012 than simple recipes
Cook books: Gran Cocina Latina
Gran Cocina Latina
Maricel E Presilla
WW Norton & Co
With South American food on the rise, this ambitious project to cover the cooking of the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking Americas is an encyclopedic journey into the continent that gave us beans, corn, potato and chocolate
Signature dish: Lima fish ceviche
Photograph: PR
Cook books: Home Cooking
Home Cooking
Laurie Colwin
Fig Tree
Colwin, an American novelist and home cook who died in the early 90s, instructs readers on dos and don’ts – essential equipment, trusted recipes, entertaining fussy eaters – all seasoned with dry wit
Signature dish: Fried chicken (“that makes people want to sing The Star Spangled Banner”)
Photograph: PR
Cook books: Mugaritz
Andoni Luis Aduriz
Thoughtful, playful work with a deep sense of place (his hometown of San Sebastián) from the cook many regard as Ferran Adrià’s heir apparent and the man most likely to usurp René Redzepi’s crown as the world’s number one chef
Signature dish: Edible stones (they’re potatoes)
Photograph: PR
Cook books: The Juice
The Juice: Vinous Veritas
Jay McInerney
McInerney’s essays for the Wall Street Journal, collected here, are love letters to wine. Chapters like His Magnum is Bigger than Yours will demystify wine for the aspirant connoisseur and delight the learned
Signature wine: Puligny-Montrachet (“a Grace Kelly of a wine”)
Photograph: PR
Cook books: The Art of the Restaurateur
The Art of the Restaurateur
Nicholas Lander
Dreaming of opening your own restaurant? Read this and see if you’re up to it. Lander, who writes the FT’s Insider column, speaks to the men who make the magic happen, from El Bulli’s Juli Soler to Polpo’s Russell Norman
Signature dish: Cheesy scrambled eggs at Untitled in New York
Photograph: PR
Cook books: Memories of Gascony
Memories of Gascony
Pierre Koffmann
Mitchell Beazley
An evocative homage to his maternal grandparents from many people’s choice for greatest French chef ever to work in the UK. Originally published in 1980, now lovingly reshot and redesigned
Signature dish: Stuffed pigs’ trotters with morels
Photograph: PR
Cook books: Edible Selby
Edible Selby
Todd Selby
Selby shoots behind the scenes at some of the world’s best restaurants, shops and cafes. Which means small and beautiful, such as Violet Cakes in Hackney, as well as the elite such as Noma
Signature dish: Thai street food platter at Next in Chicago
Photograph: PR
Cook books: Bouchon Bakery
Bouchon Bakery
Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel
American ingredients and French flair from the Michelin-starred Keller’s Bouchon bakeries, which are as renowned for their blueberry muffins as their macarons
Signature dish: Chocolate chunk and chip cookies
Photograph: PR
Cook books: You’re All Invited
You’re All Invited
Margot Henderson
Fig Tree
One of Britain’s best cooks finally steps out from under the shadow of her better known husband (St John’s sainted Fergus Henderson) to produce one of the year’s great cookbooks. An instant classic
Signature dish: Bacon and egg pie
Photograph: PR
Cook books: Fäviken
Magnus Nilsson
Less a cookbook (few will make pine-bark cake. “First step: chop down a pine tree”) than a manifesto from the charismatic long-haired Swedish prince of the locavore movement
Signature dish: Top blade from retired dairy cow, dry-aged for nine months
Photograph: PR
Cook books: Drinks, Tony Conigliaro
Tony Conigliaro
Much has been written about double OFM award-winner Conigliaro’s appliance of science to drinking, but it’s the flair that he’s retained from his art school background that really sets him apart
Signature drink: Vintage Manhattan
Photograph: PR
Cook books: The Kitchen Diaries II
The Kitchen Diaries II
Nigel Slater
Fourth Estate
Sequel to our favourite book from our favourite food writer (ranked four on OFM’s list of greatest cookbooks of all time). Beautifully produced (even the typeface gets a credit), it is all here: the growing, the cooking, the writing. A book to treasure for ever
Signature dish: Chocolate damson cake
Photograph: PR
Cook books: Origin, Ben Shewry
Ben Shewry
Murdoch Books
Lavish, lush debut from talented young New Zealander who is cooking at the brilliant Attica in Melbourne. “Cook from the heart – focus and give everything you have,” he writes
Signature dish: Abalone, seaweeds and salt from the same environment
Photograph: PR
Cook books: Momofuku Milk Bar
Momofuku Milk Bar
Christina Tosi
Absolute Press
Not for novices, but who said cooking some of the most famous desserts in New York, such as cereal milk ice cream or compost cookies, would be easy?
Signature dish: Crack pie (oat base with a dark, rich and addictive baked custard filling)
Photograph: PR
Cook books: A Girl and her Pig
A Girl and her Pig
April Bloomfield
The simplicity of the recipes in Bloomfield’s first book belies their brilliance. She cooks at the Spotted Pig in New York and includes favourites such as “My Curry”, made with lamb and a dash of her home town, Birmingham
Signature dish: Bubble and squeak
Photograph: PR
Cook books: The Food of Spain
The Food of Spain
Claudia Roden
Michael Joseph
Five years in the making, this is the definitive book on Spanish food and its cultural history. You will cook from it, read it for pleasure and no doubt refer to it year after year
Signature dish: Arroz a la Marinera (seafood paella)
Photograph: PR
Cook books: The Square: Savoury
The Square: Savoury
Philip Howard
Absolute Press
Inspirational writing and recipes from a two-Michelin starred master, who writes: “Ingredients that are beautifully prepared and cooked with understanding can come together to deliver pleasure in a way that nothing else can.” A serious book for serious cooks
Signature dish: Lasagne of crab
Photograph: PR
Cook books: The Food of Morocco
The Food of Morocco
Paula Wolfert
Wolfert spent 40 years developing this beautiful book that’s part recipe collection, part photo gallery of Morocco itself. Everything’s here from harissa to Berber couscous
Signature dish: Lamb tagine with quinces and okra
Photograph: PR
Cook books: North Atlantic Seafood
North Atlantic Seafood
Alan Davidson
Prospect Books
Quixotic mix of anecdote, illustration, weird science and recipes by the author of the majestic Oxford Companion to Food. First published in 1979 when it won the André Simon and Glenfiddich awards
Signature dish: Royal Lamprey Pie (to serve the Queen, her Consort and 22 others)
Photograph: PR
Cook books: Jerusalem
Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi
For his third book, Ottolenghi returns to his home city of Jerusalem, which he lovingly describes as a soup of cultures and inherited cooking traditions. Bright, fresh recipes and evocative photography
Signature dish: Maqluba (one-pot dish of rice, vegetables and meat turned on its head)
Photograph: PR

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
The best drink books of 2013

From the latest edition of The World Wine Atlas to World's Best Cider, Henry Jeffreys rounds up the best drink books of the year

Henry Jeffreys

05, Dec, 2013 @8:30 AM

Article image
Christmas gifts 2012: the best food books
Zoe Williams chooses her culinary favourites

Zoe Williams

30, Nov, 2012 @9:00 AM

Article image
The best food books of 2013

From Pen Vogler's Jane Austen recipes to Heston's Georgian fare, Kathryn Hughes tucks into the best food books of the year

Kathryn Hughes

05, Dec, 2013 @8:00 AM

Article image
The best books on drink of 2016
Henry Jeffreys raises a glass to the British pub – and goes in search of volcanic wines

Henry Jeffreys

03, Dec, 2016 @7:30 AM

Article image
Books of the year 2012

From Zadie Smith's new novel to Robert Macfarlane's journeys on foot and memoirs by Edna O'Brien and Salman Rushdie… Which books have most impressed our writers this year?

The Observer

25, Nov, 2012 @12:04 AM

Article image
Christmas gifts 2012: the best poetry books
Adam Newey selects his favourite collections of the year

Adam Newey

30, Nov, 2012 @8:30 AM

Article image
Best photography books of 2012

Sean O'Hagan applauds blockbuster retrospectives and innovative ideas

Sean O'Hagan

02, Dec, 2012 @12:05 AM

Anthony Bourdain's top 10 books about food

Anthony Bourdain was born in New York in 1956 and has worked as dishwasher, prep-drone, fry-cook, grillardin, saucier, sous-chef and chef on both sides of the Atlantic for 25 years. He is now executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles, NYC

04, Sep, 2000 @11:00 PM

Article image
Christmas gifts 2012: the best stocking-filler books
Steven Poole looks for more or less serious forms of fun

Steven Poole

28, Nov, 2012 @1:00 PM

Article image
Christmas gifts 2012: the best art books
Michael Prodger on the artists that caught his eye this year

Michael Prodger

30, Nov, 2012 @8:00 AM