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5 must-read lifestyle cookbooks to get you cooking

Gone are the days when cooking methods were recited around the table and hand-written recipes were passed down from grandmothers. Technology has made cooking a breeze these days, with cooking instructions and list of ingredients we need to recreate the meal we crave just a click away. However, the missing piece of these step-by-step guides is probably one that makes a recipe remarkable: the stories behind those who write them.

Luckily, there are talented cooks and chefs out there who have recorded their food tales alongside their personal recipes to share with the world. Looking for engaging and sensational food writing and recipes that can transport you to all corners of the world? From a farm girl blogger to food justice advocates, these lifestyle cookbooks will sure inspire you in a delicious way, whether you’re an aspired chef or simply a food lover who enjoys mouthwatering reading experiences.

Featured image credit: Molly Yeh; hero image credit: Pexels/Pixabay 

1
Molly on the Range: Recipes and Stories from An Unlikely Life on a Farm by Molly Yeh

Foodies’ favourite blogger and now a host of ‘Girl meets Farm’ on Food Network, Molly Yeh‘s first cookbook is a chronicle of her life shifting from Brooklyn musician to a farm wife on the North Dakota-Minnesota border. Wherever the wind takes her, one thing remains the same: Yeh’s life is ruled by food. Inspired by her Jewish and Chinese heritage and the Midwestern surroundings, you’ll find her recipes from Jerusalem bagel dogs, mouthwatering slider cakes to her famous tater tot chicken pot pie, including bits of joyful tales around food and the farm. It’s time we follow her footsteps to recreating a dumpling party and a tractor top pizza party at home.

2
Eat a Little Better: Great Flavor, Good Health, Better World by Sam Kass

Sam Kass, the former chef to the Obamas and White House food policy advisor, is set on a mission to help you eat a little better. From launching the White House kitchen garden in 2009 to becoming an author whose cookbook shares over 90 healthy yet delightful dishes, he’s well aware that full-on vegan or organic is not for everybody. With that in mind, Sam shares his healthy tricks and tips about the food you crave and how to shop and cook them just the way you like it, so you can still be the meat lover you are while eating well. Fun and approachable, Sam’s philosophy on eating wisely will have food lovers eating (and reading) differently from here on out.

3
A Baker's Year: Twelve Months of Baking and Living the Simple Life at the Smoke Signals Bakery

Tara Jensen is not just an Instagram-famous baker, she is also an inspiration to many home cooks. ‘A Baker’s Year’ is part literature, part memoir, and a record of her 12 months of living in Smoke Signals, a wood-fired oven bakery in Marshall. While her sensational and creative aesthetics shines through in her sourdough bread and pies, Tara uses baking as a medium to encourage self-acceptance and community empowerment. From porridge and waffles in winter, pancakes in March, starter culture for leavened bread to mourning tales of her loss of a lover and a journey of becoming an independent self, each recipe is a story in itself.

Image Credit: Instagram

4
Great Tastes: Cooking (and Eating) from Morning to Midnight

Sisters Danielle and Laura Kosann are the biggest fans of cooking and eating out. As founders of food and lifestyle website The New Potato, the duo curated this cookbook as an extension of the site, which is equally stylish and looks nothing like a traditional cookbook. Aside from quick-and-easy recipes, the sisters share hilarious stories and fashion obsessions from their culinary encounters — including celebrity run-ins, outfits they wore to dinner, restaurants’ decors and guest lists at their dinner party. Filling each recipe with joy and feminine charm, the book brings a lifestyle twist to the dining table.

Image Credit: Instagram

5
Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed

Ready to stuff veggies to your heart’s content? Bryant Terry, winner of James Beard Award and food justice activist, has gathered all his favourite dishes from the flavorful African, Caribbean, and Southern cuisines in his book Afro-Vegan.
Paying tribute to the classic dishes of African Diaspora, Terry adds his own healthy and innovative twists to each recipe and uses only plant-based ingredients. With over a hundred recipes — including grit cakes with eggplant, luscious coconut-cashew soup with okra and warm Caribbean-derived cocoa spice cake — this books is a true delight for vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike.

Image Credit: Goodreads

Kankanit Wichiantanon
Writer, Bangkok
Kankanit is a writer by day and a baker by night. If there’s one thing you should know about her, it’s that she can wax poetic about food 24/7. Her daily routine is writing, cooking, eating, repeat. They are the things that inspire her from morning 'til night.