Stay inside, cook, eat, repeat.
We all need a little more comfort than usual these days, given that most everything is uncomfortable and we are still jailed in the confines of quarantine life. Yes, it’s true, fall looks extremely different this year, and going out and enjoying everything it has to offer just isn’t be possible, hard stop. So, bring fall to you, but this time, through food. It’s BYOC (bring your own comfort) this autumn season, so let’s sift through some cookbooks to keep your stomach and hopefully your mind (it’s connected to the gut!) comforted.
Top Picks for You
"Modern Comfort Food: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook" by Ina Garden
Everyone knows of the Barefoot Contessa—Queen of the Kitchen and—honestly?—Queen of Comfort Cooking. And this new collection of recipes promises just that. Inside you will find 85 recipes for the most delicious of dishes to keep you and your stomach good and comforted throughout the fall quarantining months. We’re talking grilled cheese, smashed hamburgers with caramelized onions, hash browns, cookies, and—of course—pies. Truly, folks, it does not get more comforting than this. Prepare to be comforted.
"Pie for Everyone: Recipes and Stories from Peetee’s Pie, New York’s Best Pie Shop" by Petra Paredez
Nothing comforts quite like pie and these particular pies are some of the best. Author Petra Paredez knows the art of making pies better than most–she grew up with it, as her parents started Mom’s Apple Pie Company in 1981 (a local Virginia treasure). She went on to open Peetee’s Pie Company in 2014 with her husband (where she serves favorites such as the black-bottom almond chess pie) and, as you can probably tell from the title, it’s one of the very best pie shops in New York City.
"Good Drinks: Alcohol Free Recipes for When You’re Not Drinking for Whatever Reason" by Julia Bainbridge
Normally, one might assume alcohol would be a welcome comfort in times like these, however, it’s truly not always the case, especially for sober people but also if you are someone who is not currently drinking for whatever reason (right there in the title!). While alcohol can numb feelings–and this was rather welcome, say, at the beginning of quarantine–it is also a depressant. And for some, this is something that needs to be regulated. These recipes for alcohol-free beverages will give you a hydrating treat without the feeling of sloshiness and sleepiness–or the effects that come in the days after.
"Greenfeast: Autumn, Winter" by Nigel Slater
This collection of fall and winter recipes by renowned writer and food-knower Nigel Slater contains the coziest meal ideas for the colder months. The recipes are simple and oftentimes are stuffed full of your favorite fall ingredients (hello to you, butternut squash!). It’s also a great book for non-meat eaters, proving that you can have a lovely and delicious holiday season sans the steak (if that is what you choose, of course–no shade to all you meat lovers).
"Two Dollar Radio Guide to Vegan Cooking"
This super fun new cookbook is brought to you by the people at Two Dollar Radio, Ohio’s vegan comfort food cafe mecca, and contains both delicious vegan comfort recipes and also just a whole lot of fun. Come for the incredible recipes (vegan crab cakes benedict–enough said, thank you) and stay for the humorous stories that accompany them. This cookbook is imaginative and creative while also featuring accessible vegan recipes that are both healthy (mostly) and just super delicious all around. Two thumbs way up, and all of my other fingers as well, for this creative little cookbook.
"Xi'an Famous Foods: The Cuisine of Western China, from New York's Favorite Noodle Shop"
I’m not sure you can get more “comfort food” than noodles. And these noodles? Well, they are some of the best. This long-awaited cookbook from the popular restaurant Xi’an Famous Foods located in New York City’s Chinatown has finally arrived, and inside you will find all of your favorite, previously unreleased recipes–you know, the ones you wish you could go eat in the restaurant, but still can’t. Not an issue–cook these delicious noodle dishes in your own home this fall. Also inside are techniques for making your own hand-pulled noodles–they even include illustrations, for the direction impaired (me). You simply cannot go wrong–they don’t let you.
"Snacking Cakes" by Yossy Arefi
The chillest cake is certainly the snacking cake, as it is one you can, well, snack on all day, because that’s what it’s intended for. These are single-layer cakes that don’t require too much effort and are low stress—meaning that they don’t require too many ingredients that you probably don’t already have in your pantry. See? Easy. And then you can snack on a cake all day! This is low stress and low risk plus high reward! Don’t be afraid of not being able to bake these little cakes–you can do it.
"The Good Book of Southern Baking" by Kelly Fields
“Comfort food” and “Southern baking” kind of go hand in hand, so this addition to your fall comfort cookbooks collection should be no surprise. We got cornbread! We got cakes! And most importantly? We got biscuits–seven biscuit recipes, actually, including a sweet potato biscuit. Other delicious items in this gem are a variety of cakes, bourbon butterscotch pudding, and peach pie. You can trust Kelly Fields in this field–she’s the award-winning chef being the New Orleans bakery Willa Jean.
"100 Cookies: The Baking Book for Every Kitchen, With Classic Cookies, Novel Treats, Brownies, Bars, and More" by Sarah Kieffer
You get exactly what is advertised in this cookbook: a whole lot of cookies and then some. Sarah Kieffer is a popular blogger known for The Vanilla Bean Baking Blog, and now you can keep her recipes on your bookshelf in this new title. No matter which cookie you crave, chances are this book has a foolproof recipe for you. She’s got all the classics covered (sugar cookies, chocolate chip, etc.) plus the not-so-classics (marshmallow peanut butter brownies, s’mores cookies, red wine cherry cheesecake swirl bars, peanut butter brownies…sorry, I need to stop listing them as I’m becoming hungry for literally every cookie). There is also a whole chapter on her famous “pan-banging” cookies–look, this book is out now, and I’ll be right back, must order it, need cookie.