Food News

The best food books of 2018

Which authors had us leaping to the stove this year?
Books of the yearWill Horner

1. Eat at the Bar

($50, Hardie Grant Books)

Looseness and flexibility is the theme here as Matt McConnell and Jo Gamvros diagram the Spanish, Portuguese and Italian traditions that make Bar Lourinhã an essential part of Melbourne nightlife.

The dish: anchovy montaditos.

2. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

($49.99, Allen & Unwin)

Maybe you missed the book on the first pass, but with the success of her recent Netflix show, Samin Nosrat has shared her philosophy of teaching cooking rather than recipes to an appreciative new audience.

The dish: the avocado matrix.

3. The Nordic Baking Book

($59.95, Phaidon)

What at first glance might seem rather sober and niche becomes, in the hands of sane genius Fäviken chef Magnus Nilsson, a surprisingly broad, deep and funny exploration of the magic of the oven and more.

The dish: Danish rye bread.

4. Market Cooking

($60, Artisan)

Full disclosure: this book was published in 2017. But it was too late for the 2017 list, and has been the book I’ve cooked most from in 2018 – and I can’t recommend it strongly enough. David Tanis finds that perfect point between ease and interest every time; crack any page and you’ll find a winner.

The dish: the 10-minute Provençal garlic soup is magic.

5. The Village

($45, Plum)

It’s been a big year or two for tree-changers, suburban farmers and anyone else keen to connect the kitchen, the garden and the community, and in this, their second book, Victorian farmers Lentil and Matt Purbrick unite the real with the ideal.

The dish: wild fennel and bread soup.

6. Lateral Cooking

($45, Bloomsbury)

Much like Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, this one is easier to enjoy than it is to explain. Niki Segnit’s first book was The Flavour Thesaurus, and Lateral Cooking is likewise a codex of sorts, brimming with inspiration, the recipes aligned along a sort of continuum of culinary DNA. If that sounds dry, rest assured Segnit is a lively companion, thrillingly partisan and as virtuosic in her cultural references as she is in the culinary world, namechecking Vincent Vega and The Sopranos alongside Robert Carrier, Paula Wolfert and Mrs David.

The dish: cherry-beer sabayon.

7. Feast

($80, Bloomsbury)

Whether she’s writing about offal or the food of her native Lebanon, Anissa Helou is always eminently readable, and her research never fails to unearth unfamiliar dishes or a new way of looking at a classic. This epic global survey of culinary food of the Muslim world, which reaches beyond the Middle Eastern cradle of Islam to also explore traditions in China, Senegal, Indonesia, Nigeria and beyond, is no exception.

The dish: Iranian scrambled egg and eggplant dip.

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