While I love food and cooking, sometimes I suspect that I enjoy researching recipes and poring over cookbooks more than I actually enjoy preparing food. There’s just something about a beautifully presented cookbook that fills me with joy. A good cookbook isn’t just a repository for recipes and ingredients, it’s also the promise of all the delicious meals to come!
Fortunately, there is no shortage of excellent cookbooks out there to satisfy any number of tastes, preferences or dietary plans. But what about those among us who expect a littler more from our cookbooks than great recipes? For me, the success of a cookbook is all down to presentation. The tastiest recipes in the world are worthless, if the resulting dishes are badly presented. To that end I thought I’d highlight five of my favourite cookbooks. All of the books on this list feature not only excellent recipes but absolutely gobsmackingly beautiful photos.
Fire and Ice: Classic Nordic Cooking
This stunning book by Darra Goldstein is packed to the brim with evocative and stark photos of the Scandinavian region. The book captures the feel and mood of the region so well that you’ll start to feel cold just reading it! If the wonderful imagery wasn’t enough, it’s also a great resource for fans of food from the chilly north of Europe.
The only downside to this vivid and beautiful book is that it’s so easy to be absorbed by the photography and story that you’ll never get round to actually trying out the recipes. Written by restaurant owners Eric Werner and Mya Henry, Hartwood is possibly one of the most painfully beautiful journeys through the culinary world I have ever seen.
Death & Co: Modern Cocktail Classics
No book better captures the modern craft cocktail aesthetic than David Kaplan’s Death & Co. Alongside some truly stunning photography, this book takes an in-depth look at all aspects of drink construction. Fair warning however, if you’re just starting out at cocktail mixing this book might be a little intimidating.
The Kinfolk Table: Recipes for Small Gatherings
If you crave the simple life this is the cookbook for you. With its unfussy and simple approach to cooking and presentation, it’s the perfect antidote to the modern hustle and bustle life. Nathan Williams’ book is a great guide on entertaining, and a wonderfully presented ode to the cozy country kitchen.
A Kitchen in France: A Year of Cooking in my Farmhouse
We can’t all drop everything and go and live in a French countryside farmhouse but this book by Mimi Thorisson is the next best thing. Beautifully presented and full of wonderful recipes, it’s the perfect book for anyone who loves the finer things in life.