2018 just might be the year of the queer as far as cookbooks go. What a rich array of choices! No matter what kinds of cooks you’ve got in your life, chances are there’s a cookbook out there that will make a perfect gift for every single one of them.
For Delicious Independence: Solo is a pleasure to read, accented with charming illustrations and funny personal anecdotes from the so-lo (get it?) life. But the greatest value of this fun and funny, utterly original cookbook is all the practical tips and recipes for cooking uncompromisingly good meals for just yourself.
To the Left, Instant Pot: Longtime Jarry contributor and food editor Ben Mims pays tribute to one of those new appliances you didn’t think you needed. He presents the air fryer as a countertop convection oven, which preheats and cooks foods in a flash. Yes, you can air fry onion rings and french fries, but Ben discovers that it’s the perfect tool to roast a perfectly bronzed whole cauliflower, or to make golden, crispy coconut shrimp, and even to “fry” grains (inspired by Sqirl’s beloved crispy rice salad).
A Queer Comic about Entomophagy (Yep!): This comic story won’t be released until the very end of the year, but we’ve been anticipating it ever since it crossed our radar last summer. It’s a colorfully illustrated narrative that combines entomophagy (the practice of eating insects) with restaurant drama and a queer love story—and it has recipes! It’s an utterly original book, a perfect read for holiday travel.
Two Regional Cookbooks that Dig Deep: Von Diaz’s Coconuts and Collards is in many ways a memoir, chronicling her two homes in Puerto Rico and Georgia. Food, of course, is the medium, and besides being engrossing reading, it’s an enticing introduction to some of the hallmarks of Puerto Rican cuisine. And author and chef Virginia Willis’s newest cookbook Secrets of the Southern Table is loaded with recipes, of course, but every chapter opens with a narrative snapshot of the ever-changing culinary South, including the Vietnamese influence in Texas, Gillard Farms (one of the oldest African-American owned farms in the U.S.), forward-thinking quail farmers, and the artisan milling company Anson Mills.
New Recipes for Regular Rotation: Julia Turshen’s Now & Again needs little introduction around here—her collection of inventive and accessible menus will expand both your culinary repertoire and your pleasure in cooking for friends and loved ones. And Just Cook It, by Food & Wine’s culinary director Justin Chapple, honors home cooks with recipes that are straightforward and manageable, with genius new approaches, hacks, and flavor profiles.
Reawaken Your Appetite: Eat Up is a manifesto of sorts, with recipes, by Ruby Tandoh, who appeared in Issue 5. It subverts the how-to-eat genre of food literature with a plea to silence “the whole barrage of toxic ideology around food” and just eat: with purpose, pleasure, and some gleeful surrender to the senses.
Explore New Dimensions of Flavor: We’ve long loved Issue 2 cover guy Nik for his one-of-a-kind recipes and stunning photos, and we were as excited as everyone else was for his first cookbook. His personal narrative—growing up in Bombay, exploring America, coming out and getting married, setting up his adult life in the Bay Area—infuses and informs all of his cooking collected here. It’s a pleasure to read, to savor, and of course to bring to the kitchen.
In Issue 6: Mind & Body, Caroline Lange profiles the San Francisco cook and writer Jessica Battilana, describing her first cookbook as “full of the timeless-feeling recipes.” It’s anchored to Jessica’s life both as a celebrated food writer, and as a mom to two young kids. Not only a collection of fail-safe and broadly appealing recipes, it’s the first cookbook we’ve seen that really puts the authors LGBTQ family front-and-center in its pages.
Also in Issue 6, we featured Rebekah’s genius celebration of l’heure de l’apéritif in a portrait series with photographer Eivind Hansen. The foundation of this glorious cocktail tradition is fortified wines and other low-APV spirits, which for us has opened up a whole new world of drinks that are utterly satisfying—but not too boozy. Also, in defining the visual scope of the book, Rebekah told us how she “queered the fuck out of it.”
Order Issue 6: Mind & Body