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The Joy of Cooking

By Skokie Staff Adult Services

Want some help with your next meal? Looking to learn more about food from around the world? Our staff share some of their favorite cookbooks from our awesome collection.

  • Bangkok: Recipes and Stories from the Heart of Thailand

    2017 by Punyaratabandhu, Leela

    As a Bangkokian myself, this book reminds me so much of home. Not only does it have wonderful recipes that are often not found in Thai restaurants here, it will also take you on a trip to Thailand, as it contains so much of Bangkok's rich history and traditions. Recommended by Penny.

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  • 100 Cookies: The Baking Book for Every Kitchen with Classic Cookies, Novel Treats, Brownies, Bars, and More

    2020 by Kieffer, Sarah

    This is one of my favorite cookbooks. You cannot go wrong with any of the "pan banging" cookie options, and if you're feeling adventurous, the oatmeal cream sandwich cookies taste like the ones from the box you had as a kid . . . only much better. Recommended by Becca.

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  • The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks

    2015 by Tipton-Martin, Toni

    As one of the cofounders of the amazing Southern Foodways Alliance (check it out, you’ll be glad you did!), Toni Tipton-Martin has spent decades researching the rich, complex history of African American food. The Jemima Code is the result--a truly astounding work of scholarship that puts a spotlight on two centuries of Black cookbooks while reclaiming the culinary legacies that have been nearly forgotten or erased. Recommended by Chris.

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  • Indian-ish: Recipes and Antics from a Modern American Family

    2019 by Krishna, Priya

    You know how a lot of people think that their mom is the best cook on the planet? Well, what if you then took all of your mom's best recipes and put them in a cookbook? The result would be something like Indian-ish. But this book isn't just Krishna's mom's recipes--it's her whole family coming together to write down all of the recipes that make up their family's tables. This one is a keeper. Recommended by Becca.

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  • Dessert Person: Recipes and Guidance for Baking with Confidence

    2020 by Saffitz, Claire

    I love this cookbook. One of my favorite things about it is that it has a chart in the front that lays out every recipe on a graph and tells you both how difficult it is and how much time it will take you to make. Plus, Saffitz has a YouTube series by the same name where she takes you step by step through a bunch of the recipes, so you can watch her make it before tackling the recipe yourself. Recommended by Becca.

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  • Cook Korean! A Comic Book with Recipes

    2016 by Ha, Robin

    Highly informative and beautifully illustrated, this cookbook/graphic novel hybrid is both engaging and accessible. Many of us are unsure where to start when it comes to cooking, and this book is perfect for those who want to make Korean food but are intimidated by the kitchen. With ingredient profiles and 64 recipes, Cook Korean! has everything that you need to make delicious Korean food in no time. Recommended by Paul.

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  • Feast: Food of the Islamic World

    2018 by Helou, Anissa

    Most cookbooks are coffee-table sized. That’s just the way they are. This one is 500 pages long. And you know what? It’s worth it. Cookbooks like this open up the world to us. Feast has more than 300 recipes, along with origin stories (that’s what I love most) and covers all corners of the Islamic world. It was also the winner of the prestigious James Beard Award for best international cookbook in 2019. Recommended by Chris.

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  • Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking

    2013 by Dunlop, Fuchsia

    Dunlop was the first Westerner to graduate from the the prestigious Sichuan Institute of Higher Cuisine, and this book distills much of what she learned into something delicious and approachable. These aren’t complex recipes (phew!), but they are classic and delicious meals that can be made in your kitchen with just a few ingredients while retaining their regional flavor and appeal. Recommended by Chris.

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  • Momofuku

    2009 by Chang, David

    David Chang is a culinary superstar and Momofuku was his debut cookbook from 2008. As you’ll see, this cookbook is beautifully presented (most cookbooks are gorgeous). Be forewarned: while some of the recipes are...approachable, others are impossible. And that’s part of the fun. Plus noodles. Ramen noodles. You’ll read this and want them desperately. Recommended by Chris.

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  • Simply Julia: 110 Easy Recipes for Healthy Comfort Food

    2021 by Turshen, Julia

    I love when a cookbook is just all of the recipes that the author makes most often at home, and that is what this book contains. It focuses on the ease of use and accessibility of ingredients made with love. Plus there are multiple "five things" lists that will set you up for success. I really like the one-pot vegan meals and I love the way Turshen is redefining what "healthy" means and looks like. Recommended by Becca.

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  • In Bibi's Kitchen: The Recipes & Stories of Grandmothers from the Eight African Countries That Touch the Indian Ocean

    2020 by Hassan, Hawa

    The elders keep the old traditions alive in this wonderful travelogue and cookbook, where grandmother's from eight eastern African countries welcome you into their kitchens to share flavorful recipes and stories of family, love, and tradition. And it's all accompanied by wonderfully intimate pictures of these culinary maestros creating deliciousness in their kitchens. Recommended by Chris.

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  • Sushi Modoki: The Japanese Art and Craft of Vegan Sushi

    2019 by Sawabatake, Iina

    Who would’ve thought that pepper with a bit of oil can have a similar taste to that of tuna? Apparently, Japanese chef Iina Sawabatake did. This is not exactly a traditional Japanese sushi how-to, but a great alternative for those who’d like to have more options than the usual meat and seafood. Recommended by Penny.

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  • Wagashi: The Graphics of Japanese Confection

    2003 by Takaoka, Kazuya

    One of the things I love the most about Japanese cuisine is how almost every dish appears to be an art piece. This seems to be especially true when it comes to their traditional confections, Wagashi. Each creation has a deep meaning and a lot of history. Looking at how delicately made they are, you’ll likely feel a little hesitant to eat them. Recommended by Penny.

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  • Damn Delicious Meal Prep: 115 Easy Recipes for Low-Calorie, High-Energy Living

    2019 by Rhee, Chungah

    A meal-prep cookbook that contains recipes that actually taste good? Sign me up! You'll be surprised to find that this cookbook has meal-prep ideas that are creative, yet simple enough for anyone to put together, with recipes that go far beyond grilled chicken breast and broccoli. Recommended by Paul.

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  • Time to Eat: Delicious Meals for Busy Lives

    2019 by Hussain, Nadiya

    Nadiya is a Great British Bake Off favorite and this book accompanies her Netflix show by the same name. I really loved all of the options she has for instant noodles, and most of the recipes have some sort of variation where you can either use something you made in another recipe later in the week or freeze for a time when you can't cook a full meal. Recommended by Becca.

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  • The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking through Science

    2015 by López-Alt, J. Kenji

    Wired called this "The ultimate book for science nerds who cook," of which I'm neither, and this book still rocks--which shows its wide appeal. This one weighs in at 938 pages and 6 ½ pounds, but who's weighing books? Recommended by Chris.

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  • Dorie's Cookies

    2016 by Greenspan, Dorie

    Dorie Greenspan is considered the go-to for all things cookies, and this book doesn't disappoint. It has everything from cookies that are great to share to savory "cookies" to her famous "world peace cookies." I don't know that they'll bring world peace, but they certainly couldn't hurt. Recommended by Becca.

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  • Night + Market: Delicious Thai Food to Facilitate Drinking and Fun-Having amongst Friends

    2017 by Yenbamroong, Kris

    While Bangkok reminds me of home, Night + Market makes me think of family, of all the times we got together to drink (well, the adults did), eat Som Tum and Goong Chae Nam Pla, and just have fun. While Kris’s recipes may not be considered “authentic” by some, he’s made them easier to follow, as some ingredients can be difficult to find outside Thailand. Recommended by Penny.

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