Cozy Cookbooks for Fall: Fall into Fall Readathon

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Jessica Plummer

Contributing Editor

Jessica Plummer has lived her whole life in New York City, but she prefers to think of it as Metropolis. Her day job is in books, her side hustle is in books, and she writes books on the side (including a short story in Sword Stone Table from Vintage). She loves running, knitting, and thinking about superheroes, and knows an unnecessary amount of things about Donald Duck. Follow her on Twitter at @jess_plummer.

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September is here, and (in some latitudes, at least) it’s finally no longer too hot to even think about turning on the stove. I’ll miss summer, but one thing that helps me make my peace with crisp, blustery days is getting to spend more time in the kitchen. If you’re also looking forward to cooking (and eating!), here’s some cookbooks to give you a few ideas for cozy fall menus:

Now & Again: Go-To Recipes, Inspired Menus + Endless Ideas for Reinventing Leftovers by Julia Turshen

This book provides timelines for all the components of your meal, from the things you can make in bulk months in advance and keep in the freezer to tips on spicing up (zing!) the leftovers. Turshen breaks her book down by season, kicking things off with fall recipes, including holiday meals. I wish I’d had her Rosh Hashanah leftover tips before my aunt tried to load me down with a Tupperware full of brisket and two kinds of kugel!

(Turshen is also the author of Feed the Resistance. Hey, you know what else is happening this fall? Are you registered to vote?)

American Cookie: The Snaps, Drops, Jumbles, Tea Cakes, Bars & Brownies That We Have Loved for Generations by Anne Byrn

I loved American Cake, Byrn’s chronological journey through America’s most celebratory sweets, so I can’t wait to get my hands on this more everyday version. If Bryn’s previous book is any indicator, American Cookie is sure to be loaded with both fascinating historical notes about each entry, and molasses, the coziest of sweeteners.

Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites by Deb Perelman

The Smitten Kitchen website is a bible for me, and the source of a good half of my favorite autumn staples. Naturally I’ve gotta tip my hat to this, as well as her first book, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. And then I’m gonna fill that hat with Baked Oatmeal with Caramelized Pears and “Fall-Toush” Salad with Squash and Brussel Sprouts. (I don’t really wear hats. It’s fine.)

Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables by Joshua McFadden

I don’t know about you, but after living on peaches and tomatoes all summer, I struggle to fit fruit and vegetables into my diet once the weather turns cooler. Six Seasons breaks the year down into, well, six seasons, offering a slate of recipes for all the veggies available in each timespan. Carrots and turnips, here I come!

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

Kass worked at the White House as both a food policy advisor and the Obamas’ personal chef, so he knows what he’s talking about. In this book he provides tips and strategies for eating “better” under every definition of the word: tastier, healthier, and more ethically. That “little” is important too. Rather than demanding a full-scale overhaul of your dietary habits, he suggests manageable changes to guide you towards a better plate and a better world.

The Soup Peddler’s Slow and Difficult Soups: Recipes and Reveries by David Ansel

Ansel intersperses his soup recipes with hilarious, charming tales of his time bicycling around to deliver his homemade concoctions to the residents of Austin, Texas. The soups aren’t actually difficult, but the title (and the book) is a counterpoint to the plethora of “quick and easy” recipes out there. And what’s a better way to spend a fall Sunday than stirring a fragrant pot of soup?

Carla Hall’s Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration by Carla Hall

When the weather gets colder, I start looking for food that’ll stick to my ribs, and nothing does it better than soul food. I love that this book emphasizes veggies, and the Sweet Potato Pudding with Clementines looks like a good way to use up those crates of clementines that seem to start molding the second I haul them into my apartment!

The Scent of Pomegranates and Rose Water: Reviving the Beautiful Food Traditions of Syria by Habeeb Salloum, Leila Salloum Elias, and Muna Salloum

Waning daylight always sparks my wanderlust, and reading gorgeous cookbooks featuring the cuisines of other countries is a lot cheaper than hopping on a plane. Syrian-born Habeeb and his daughters have researched culinary traditions going back to the 18th and 19th centuries—recipes that are still eaten today. Even better, partial proceeds go to the Syrian Cultural Centre, a nonprofit which aids Syrian refugees.

I Am a Filipino: And This Is How We Cook by Nicole Ponseca and Miguel Trinidad

And speaking of wanderlust…! Though to be fair, Filipino food isn’t exactly rare in America, given that Filipinos make up the second-largest Asian population in the States. Still, it’s not as well known outside of the diaspora as other Asian cuisines. Restaurateurs Ponseca and Trinidad are looking to change that with this book. Personally, I can’t wait to be introduced to this vibrant, new-to-me culinary tradition.

Mississippi Vegan: Recipes and Stories from a Southern Boy’s Heart by Timothy Pakron

I’m not vegan—or from Mississippi—but this book looks to combine two of my previous requests on this list: plant-based recipe ideas as we move out of summer, and the stick-to-your-ribs comfort of Southern cooking and soul food. Yes, please!

Solo: A Modern Cookbook for a Party of One by Anita Lo

I live alone, and between all these soups and casseroles this list has got me queueing up, there’s only so many leftovers I can eat (even with help from the first book here!). For the weeknights when I’m not up for three hours laboring over a pot of potage, this Michelin starred NYC chef could be my lifeline.

Sister Pie: The Recipes and Stories of a Big-Hearted Bakery in Detroit by Lisa Ludwinski

I wouldn’t leave you without (more) dessert! There’s savory pies (my favorite) in there too, but if you’ve been tapped for the apple, pecan, pumpkin, or chocolate pudding pie for Thanksgiving this year, this is the book to pick up.

Okay, now I’m hungry. What are your favorite fall recipes?