Here I’ve collected good ideas for summer cookbooks, if you’re looking for some. I have more cookbooks than these, but I find I reach for these the most lately.
The first book was a lucky find at the delicious Prejean’s restaurant in Lafayette, Louisiana. I wanted to take that whole restaurant with me back West. Since I could not, the cookbook was the next best thing. You can buy it here.
Next up, we shift northeast to the thorough and delightful New England Open-House Cookbook by Sarah Leah Chase. Inside, you will find lush photos, anecdotes, and loads of summery dishes, as well as recipes for other seasons. If you want to capture New England’s deliciousness, this book is for you. In fact, all of her books are great.
Looking for some Southern goodness for your next summer potluck? Nashville Eats by Jennifer Justus has you covered. Fried chicken, biscuits, greens…you name it, she’s got it.
If you want never-fail recipes that are beautiful and delicious, Ina Garten’s books should take pride of place in your home. In Barefoot Contessa Foolproof, Garten really shines, offering her trusted classics and many other seasonal foods. I can’t recommend this one enough.
Maybe you love to host, and want your table to keep people talking for a long time. In that case, you must try and get your hands on Simple Soirees by Peggy Knickerbocker. You’ll likely need to get a used copy, but trust me, the book is worth it. Fresh, West Coast ingredients inspire the book, but you can get what you need most anywhere.
Need a deep dive into everything big and tasty? Rope yourself a copy of Texas Eats. I found this cookbook by Robb Walsh remarkable not just for its variety of foods (of course there’s brisket, but there’s also vegetarian and seafood; remember, Texas does have a coast), but also for the history in its pages. Fire up your barbecue for this very special book.
I’m a tad biased, but I truly love Sunset Eating Up the West Coast. It serves as both an epic road trip inspiration and priceless collection of recipes from Southern California to the Pacific Northwest, and all the points in between. Your mind will be blown by the bounty of the West Coast, and the special little enclaves you can find off the beaten path.
Sometimes, you want everything in a cookbook. You want the basics, and you want some variations on them. In Saveur: The New Classics Cookbook, you get the best of all worlds. It’s a high quality, hardbound beauty of a book, and the perfect gift for the budding chef or the seasoned.
The utterly charming Irish chef Donal Skehan offers a bounty of healthy, gorgeous food in his Fresh cookbook. This lovely cookbook is a natural for summer eating, when so many fruits and vegetable are at their peak, and you need inspiration for the bounty.
Want some humor and education with your summer grilling? Look no further than Alton Brown: EveryDayCook. You’ll want to make everything in this book. It’ll make you drool and make you think as well. Possibly the most fun that can be had from a cookbook!
Last but not least, hey, it’s grilling season! So I must tout Weber’s Way to Grill. Want to grill something? This book will show you how. There are so many colorful, instructive photos and recipe ideas here, you’ll be set all summer long.
Happy summer cooking!