winning in the kitchen: JBF Cookbook Awards 2012

You may realize that I have a bit of an admiration for cookbooks. And magazines with recipes. I’ll blame it on the Gourmet and Bon Appetit magazines that I used to peruse at my Grandma’s house… and the pretty pictures of the pretty food. So often, my imagination is satisfied just by looking at a recipe and never cooking it… and if it can jump off the page into my plate in reality, than that’s just a bonus!

That’s why I love JBF Award season… a brand new list of amazing cookbooks to digest in an easy format! In fact, I ordered two of them online immediately after the nominees came out because I was so excited: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home & The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Weekends. And while only one of them won their category, it was no surprise to me that they were both wonderful cookbooks.

So if you’re on the market for something new and interesting in either your food imagination or your tummy, here are this year’s BEST COOKBOOK nominees and winners!

(Oh! And if you happen to own any of these… please share your thoughts so that I can make my decisions about “next buys” a bit easier!)

American Cooking


A New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen
by Hugh Acheson
(Clarkson Potter)

American Flavor
by Andrew Carmellini and Gwen Hyman

Masala Farm: Stories and Recipes from an Uncommon Life in the Country
by Suvir Saran with Raquel Pelzel and Charlie Burd
(Chronicle Books)

Baking and Dessert


Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home

by Jeni Britton Bauer

Baking Style: Art, Craft, Recipes

by Lisa Yockelson
(John Wiley & Sons)

Cooking with Chocolate: Essential Recipes and Techniques
edited by Frédéric Bau




Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All, with Cocktails, Recipes, & Formulas

by Brad Thomas Parsons
(Ten Speed Press)

An Ideal Wine: One Generation’s Pursuit of Perfection–and Profit–in California

by David Darlington

The Oxford Companion to Beer
edited by Garrett Oliver
(Oxford University Press)



Cooking from a Professional Point of View 


Modernist Cuisine

by Nathan Myhrvold with Chris Young and Maxime Bilet
(The Cooking Lab)

The Art of Living According to Joe Beef: A Cookbook of Sorts

by Meredith Erickson, David McMillan, and Frédéric Morin
(Ten Speed Press)

Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook

by Daniel Humm and Will Guidara
(Little, Brown and Company)

General Cooking


Ruhlman’s Twenty
by Michael Ruhlman
(Chronicle Books) 

My Family Table: A Passionate Plea for Home Cooking
by John Besh
(Andrews McMeel Publishing)

The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Weekends
by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift
(Clarkson Potter) 


Focus on Health


Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen
by Heidi Swanson
(Ten Speed Press) 

Comfort Food Fix: Feel-Good Favorites Made Healthy
by Ellie Krieger
(John Wiley & Sons)

The Intolerant Gourmet: Glorious Food without Gluten & Lactose
by Barbara Kafka




The Food of Morocco

by Paula Wolfert

The Country Cooking of Italy
by Colman Andrews
(Chronicle Books)

The Food of Spain
by Claudia Roden


Single Subject 


All About Roasting

by Molly Stevens
(W.W. Norton & Company)

Odd Bits: How to Cook the Rest of the Animal

by Jennifer McLagan
(Ten Speed Press)

Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi
by Yotam Ottolenghi
(Chronicle Books)


  • Jessica

    I can highly recommend Super Natural Every Day! I bought it last year after making a vow to cook more vegetarian meals (I’m not veggie, just wanted to be more health conscious and environmentally responsible). I’ve made about half of the recipes so far, and have loved them all. They are all super flavorful and adaptable to whatever ingredients you have on hand. The photography is gorgeous, too. Funny thing is, I bought it not even knowing the blog connection (Heidi writes “101 Cookbooks”).

    I have The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper and love that too, so I bet you’ll enjoy the one you bought. I’m a cookbook fanatic!

  • serena

    Oooooh. When my self-imposed “No New Cookbooks in 2012” directive is lifted, I’ll definitely be checking these out :)

  • Lindsey

    I have Hugh Acheson’s A New Turn in the South. I made the fried chicken and baked beans for my husband’s birthday. While both were excellent, the fried chicken was probably the best I have ever had in my life. I’m really looking forward to trying more recipes from the book.