The 6 Best Fall Cookbooks
If you need inspiration or the right instructions to raise your cooking game, these books have you covered
Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Quarantine, for all its irredeemable qualities, made some of us better cooks. From nurturing a sourdough starter to transforming feta and tomatoes into a TikTok-worthy pasta sauce, the months at home reignited kitchen passions for many. If you learned how to cook during the pandemic—or learned to cook a little better—you now may be wondering how to elevate your skill set and uncover more diverse and interesting recipes. We’ve rounded up six cookbooks to be released in October that will take you to the next level in the kitchen.
‘Pasta: The Spirit and Craft of Italy’s Greatest Food,’ by Missy Robbins and Talia Baiocchi
If you attempted homemade pasta during the early months of COVID, this book is for you. Chef Missy Robbins and Talia Baiocchi, editor in chief of the digital drinks publication Punch, have created an ode to this iconic cuisine. Organized into seven sections—How to Make Pasta, The Shapes, How to Cook Pasta, Italian American Classics, Regional Classics, Modern Classics, and Contorni—this encyclopedic tome explores everything you need to know about pasta making, from the best equipment to the different flours. It’s meant as a guide for the pasta enthusiast, a true investment in the future of your home kitchen. “This is my way of showing you how I make pasta so you can find out how you do it,” Robbins writes. “The recipes are here to say ‘this way,’ and to guide you for as long as you need until you know your way.”
‘Taste: My Life Through Food,’ by Stanley Tucci
Wanderlust-afflicted food lovers of the world united in quarantine over actor Stanley Tucci’s CNN series Searching for Italy, which follows him along his travels there in search of its most beloved dishes. This release, then, is Tucci’s follow-up: a food memoir that integrates recipes into the narrative as he explores his youth in Westchester, New York, the filming of Big Night and Julie & Julia, and time spent in his own adult kitchen. Recipes to add to your cooking repertoire include superlative roast potatoes (a recipe from Tucci’s wife) and a bitter, balanced Negroni. As chef Heston Blumenthal notes in the blurb, the book is compelling, both in the kitchen and out. “The only reason to put this book down is to go cook and eat from it,” Blumenthal writes.
‘Black Food: Stories, Art, and Recipes from Across the African Diaspora,’ by Bryant Terry
This new cookbook, compiled by James Beard Award–winning chef Bryant Terry, showcases the voices and recipes of Black chefs. Expand your knowledge with dishes like buttermilk biscuits from recipe developer and Southern Soufflé blog founder Erika Council, James Beard Award-finalist Paola Velez’s flan de arroz con dulce, and dirty South hot tamales with cilantro sauce, by Terry himself. Those with a sweet tooth should turn directly to the cinnamon roll pound cake conceived by Jocelyn Delk Adams, a Food Network judge and founder of the blog Grandbaby Cakes. An introduction by Terry gives insight into the spirit and intent of the book: “Black Food is a communal shrine to the shared culinary histories of the African diaspora,” he writes. “These pages offer up gratitude to the great chain of Black lives, and to all the sustaining ingredients and nourishing traditions they carried and remembered, through time and space, to deliver their kin into the future.”
‘Baking with Dorie: Sweet, Salty and Simple,’ by Dorie Greenspan
New York Times Magazine food columnist and cookbook author Dorie Greenspan is back with another accomplished cookbook. In this gorgeously photographed, 150-recipe showstopper, you’ll find baked goods designed to up the ante on those pandemic baking skills with time-tested techniques from a modern perspective. Among the delectable recipes included are tomato tart, apricot-pistachio olive oil cake, apple pandowdy, and lemon meringue cake. Greenspan’s writing is both engrossing and approachable, just like her recipes.
‘Mooncakes and Milk Bread: Sweet and Savory Recipes Inspired by Chinese Bakeries,’ by Kristina Cho
Kristina Cho’s upcoming book offers comprehensive insight into the broad world of Chinese baking. As founder of the food blog Eat Cho Food, she provides recipes for popular items like milk bread and moo shu wrappers, as well as other offerings like youtiao (Chinese doughnuts) and shao bing (a breakfast street snack served in northern China). Mooncakes and Milk Bread overflows with useful information for the nascent cook, from ingredients to shopping advice to a list of essential equipment. “A lot of these recipes were inspired by my family’s classic Cantonese cooking,” Cho writes in the introduction. “Others are completely unique twists on my favorite foods.”
‘That Sounds So Good,’ by Carla Lalli Music
With its retro, 1970s-era aesthetic and beginner-friendly recipes, That Sounds So Good, the new cookbook from chef and former Bon Appétit editor Carla Lalli Music, leans into home cooking. Recipes are organized into two large sections—Monday through Thursday, and Friday and the Weekend—and help you hone technical skills like braising (via the braised short rib noodle bowl), grilling (charred flatbreads with whipped ricotta, mushrooms, and scallions), and frying (zucchini fritter of my dreams). Dishes like pasta with cacio e walnut, skirt steak with potatoes and black pepper–horseradish sauce, and chicken cutlet speak to the current moment of feeding one’s soul. “There are one hundred recipes in this book,” Music writes. “And each is designed to remove any psychic and emotional barriers that get in the way of cooking at home.”