Cookbooks drop this month

Compared to last year, this fall produces a relatively smaller crop of books by Chicago chefs and food writers; there aren’t as many aspiring authors locked up in quarantine, I guess. But by any measure, four titles released over the next four weeks – by a quartet of heavy hitters – offer plenty of plans for the cold weather kitchen.

Pie justiceMaya Camille Broussard

I don’t know if there’s ever been a sweeter cookbook published in Chicago history than the debut of social justice piepreneur Broussard. It’s as much a tribute to his late father, a self-proclaimed ‘pie master’, as it is to the icons of local cuisine. Both serve as inspiration for the endlessly inventive chef, who creates pies (sweet, savory, and whoopie), pies, and mixes ranging from puff pizza and Italian beef to Chicago hot dogs and pumpkin soup. Nile lentils. , churros at Xoco and carrot cake at Lawrence’s Fish and Shrimp. The pies are gorgeous and alluring, and include a collection inspired by the activists Broussard admires and describes at length. But stick to the top notes alone and a bittersweet portrait of a loving but complicated father-daughter relationship emerges. (Clarkson Potter, October 18)

Dinner in PalestineHeifa Odeh

In 2019, the blogger behind Fufu’s kitchen got a nod from Flavor magazine (“best food culture blog”), and now here is the printed expression of Odeh’s mastery of the breadth of traditional Palestinian cuisine (“hummus layered fattet; chicken stuffed with freekeh, labneh preserved in olive oil) and creative flexibilities (za’ atar cake with olives and halloumi, chocolate and almond baklava, pomegranate fudge brownies with tahini).If, unlike Odeh, you don’t live in a paradise of Middle Eastern grocery stores like Chicago, you might appreciate a glossary and online sources for some of the more rare ingredients Not everyone can walk down South Harlem Avenue and buy sahlep powder for their homemade ice cream. But that’s what search engines are for. (Rue Page, September 13)

Listen to your vegetablesSarah Grueneberg and Kate Heddings

Chief Monteverde and Excellent chef runner-up is best known for the supremacy of pasta, so this 432-page encyclopedic collection (from artichoke to tomato) is a glorious surprise, even if it comes at the end of the growing season. Grueneberg is trained in the Italian aesthetic of simplicity and superior product, but even with that the variety it contains is comprehensive and a wealth of helpful tips and techniques (e.g. don’t oil your vegetables before Grill). You probably don’t think you need eight asparagus recipes, but browse through them and you’ll see that you do. Bonus points for the unwritten assumption (Chapter 11) that pasta is a vegetable. (Harvest, October 25)

Bread Head: cooking for the road less traveledGreg Wade and Rachel Holtzman

If (like me) you have a visceral distaste for the Grateful Dead, you might not want to give it a chance. Much like an endless Jerry jam, Publican Quality Bread’s Chief Baker’s Dead credentials are . . . free. But go on. Stemming from the sourdough pandemic, Wade’s approach to bread and baking is, at its core, clear, precise, and beginner-friendly, even when he’s wading through the weeds. A strong proponent of local and sustainably grown grains, Wade makes even the toughest projects (maple rye kouign amann, anyone?) seem like achievable goals, even if they’re within reach. long term. If you’re even a casual restaurant-goer, you’ve probably eaten Wade’s bread, and if you’re not planning on mastering his signature multigrain sourdough, bread head serves as captivating notes on what you might find on the shelves of PQB’s wonderful new West Town retail bakery. (Norton, September 27)

About Marcia G. Hussain

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