The Perfect Fall Cookbook for You (Based on How You Take Your Eggs)

October 25, 2016

It's fall and you know what that means! Apple picking. Crispy leaves. Pie. No, silly—tons of new cookbooks! Our Shop's got stacks on stacks on stacks of 'em, and we're going to help you choose the perfect one! We're basically for cookbooks.

Our algorithm? Nothing says, "What kind of person are you?" quite like your preferred egg preparation. Find your ideal egg below and our highly scientific data will reveal your cookbook soulmate.

James Ransom

Read on to see every type, or jump to your egg preference:

How do you take your eggs?

Hard boiled by the dozen—to eat all week!

You'll make a big batch on Sunday nights and then repurpose them day in and day out—in egg salad, for deviled eggs, as topping for asparagus mimosa, and sliced into avocado-tomato sandwiches.

Then your cookbook soulmate is...

A New Way to Dinner: A playbook of recipes and strategies for the week ahead

by Amanda Hesser & Merrill Stubbs (Come on, we had to!)

For the ever-prepared (or for those who aspire to be prepared), A New Way to Dinner is the prep-ahead bible—and just happens to be penned by our co-founders. For each season, Amanda and Merrill lay out four weekly meal plans to get you and your family through five nights of dinners (and brown bag lunches to boot!).

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The recipes impress but don't daunt. And most importantly, they make weeknight cooking a brief affair, instead of a main event (the main event should be eating). Take the Merrill's Fall chapter: On Sunday you'll make tomatoey roast chicken, sausage ragu, polenta, roasted applesauce, (and don't forget dessert!). Then you'll use those dishes to build meals throughout the week—where the only things you're left to do are assemble, make easy green salads, bake a sweet potato or two, and bubble up some rice.

Plan ahead, and you'll reap the rewards.

Photo by James Ransom

However the hippest new restaurants are serving them.

You're the type who might poach farm eggs in chile-spiked olive oil, served over charred rainbow chard, and top them with flaked salt cod (which coincidentally looks pretty damn great in an overhead Instagram shot) served to 6 of your closest friends.

Then your cookbook soulmate is...

Dinner at the Long Table

by Andrew Tarlow & Anna Dunn with Scarlett Lindeman

Like you, Dinner at the Long Table—the cookbook distillation of a mini food and drink empire in Brooklyn, New York—is bold, glossy, and so very now. Andrew Tarlow’s restaurants, bars, and bakeries are high-design, use high-quality ingredients, and embody everything that is of-the-moment, as is his cookbook.

The book, resplendent with enviable photography, is divided into events: "A Summer Farewell," "Ragu at the End of Winter," "A Clam for Twelve," with menus for each. While the full-scale execution of the menus may border on fantasy (one can only dream of hosting a party with freshly shucked oysters, and a goose whose carcass you've made into a stock, in which you braise its legs, and whose breasts are smoked on an open fire) the recipes themselves have an open door policy. The ingredient lists generally keep themselves to a respectable length and don’t require four separate trips to five different grocery stores. You'll recognize the names of the dishes, even if you've never attempted them before (paellas, tagines, braises, roasts, gratins, tapenades).

These aren't weeknight canon recipes: They're ones you’ll plan ahead for, challenge yourself to make, and sweat a little over—ultimately earning a hurrah from your friends.

Call it the happy medium between the attainable and the aspirational.

Dinner at the Long Table's Sardines en Saor. Photo by Rocky Luten

Just feed me, I'm hungover.

A bodega egg sandwich (a broken fried egg + american cheese on a soft roll) is your spirit food—followed by a hangover-friendly bitters and soda:

Then your cookbook soulmate is...

A Proper Drink: The Untold Story of How a Band of Bartenders Saved the Civilized Drinking World

by Robert Simonson

To you, breakfast is just a coda to a night seated across from a ballet of shaking, pouring, tossing, smashing, and spritzing. The bartenders make you feel like you’re in on it, but you don’t really know why the menu has a Boulevardier on it, or who reclaimed the maraschino cherry. For the ever-curious (and the slightly gossipy), Robert Simonson shares the secrets of the cocktail world in a conspiratorial whisper. Not so much a cookbook as a highly entertaining history lesson, A Proper Drink takes you through the American cocktail “revolution.”

You’ll stay well-watered, too: Simonson handpicks 40 drinks spawned from the upheaval and subsequent renaissance. Try the Penicillin: single-malt Scotch, blended Scotch, honey-ginger syrup, lemon juice, and a wedge of candied ginger. It'll put some hair on your chest.

Who needs cooking when you've got cocktails? Photo by Mark Weinberg

Over-easy, on toast made by someone with a good story.

But when you stopped at the greenmarket to buy the eggs, you got into a conversation with the farmer, who tells you he has been raising his chickens for 60 years, and even fried up eggs as an army cook in the second World War. And the bread you picked out is made from something called Red May wheat, which you immediately google when you get home to find out it was America’s first farmer-selected production wheat (since 1830), developed in Virginia by a farmer whose life was dedicated to preserving truly American cereal crops following the Revolution...

Then your cookbook soulmate is...

Far Afield: Rare Food Encounters From Around the World

by Shane Mitchell, photography by James Fisher

To you, the story behind your meal is just as important as what’s actually in it. Recipes are secondary in Far Afield—you'll get lost in the lives of Tima and Ali, fishermen in Kenya, or Christine and Jean-Jacques, ranchers in Uruguay. Their lives are dedicated to keeping a distinct culinary tradition alive, and Shane Mitchell's first-person recounting and James Fisher's photography capture those far flung corners of the world with vivid detail.

Sure, you might not get around to making Barbacoa de Conejo (grilled rabbit—although you totally could!)—but the profiles they share are more than satisfying enough.

Making coconut rice in Kenya. Photo by Rocky Luten

Baked into something fluffy and sweet.

For you, eggs are best when whipped into a meringue or moistening a cake... Flaky pastry wins over scrambled eggs any day, preferably dusted with cinnamon or stuffed with chocolate... And there's no such thing as too much coffee.

Then your cookbook soulmate is...

Classic German Baking: The Very Best Recipes for Traditional Favorites, from Pfeffernüsse to Streuselkuchen

by Luisa Weiss

You're a traditionalist, and you've got a mean sweet tooth. With Classic German Baking by your side, your mornings are for firing up the 'ole oven and lazily rolling out pastry, leaving a thin dusting of powdered sugar over everything.

Luisa Weiss lays out the definitive collection of German baking recipes—the classics, in classic, straight-forward style. She shies away from the new-fangled (she argues that most modern German baking cookbooks focus on American or French baking), instead putting down in ink the beloved recipes that pass from one generation to the next. Streusels filled with apricots, cherries, and apples, almond paste-laced cakes and cookies, and lots of poppyseeds, nutmeg, and rich chocolate tortes. And you can't help but get swept up in the book's cozy, wintry fantasy when there's an entire section devoted to "Christmas Favorites"—gingerbread galore! (We'll also admit that there is a savory baking section. Because every now and then you need a short break from sugar.)

Our favorite part? The goods are as fun to make and as fun to eat as they are to say (Mohnstreuselkuchen, anyone?).

Next stop: Sour Cherry Streusel Cake. Photo by Rocky Luten

In an omelette inspired by the contents of your crisper.

Your specialty: an anything-and-everything omelette—all the odds and ends from your vegetable drawer (today it was withered chard stems and radishes), stirred into frothy eggs. Seasoned liberally with hot sauce and maybe a swipe of shrimp paste if you have it lying around. And showered with a deluge of cilantro.

Then your cookbook soulmate is...

Lucky Peach Presents Power Vegetables!: Turbocharged Recipes for Vegetables with Guts

by Peter Meehan & the editors of Lucky Peach

You’re adventurous, and you generally don’t give a shit what people think about you. Your cooking is bold and a little haphazard—it sometimes fails (always in a spectacular fashion) but when it’s a success you have to brag about it to everyone know know. Lucky Peach’s Power Vegetables! is for you—gregarious and all-in on those leafy greens and under-appreciated roots. Spicy, pickled, and otherwise big flavors are in abundance here (Buffalo Cucumbers, Kung Pao Celeries, Root Vegetable Tagine with Red Chermoula). And plenty of "I forgot that existed!" recipes—borscht, wedge salad, Quiche Lorraine—that will slide easily back into your repertoire.

Every dish follows four rules (no pasta, no put-an-egg-in-its or grain bowls, fish and dairy are allowed, and fruits count as vegetables) but trust us, you won't miss the meat. And if the recipes aren't enough to convince you of the vegetable's prowess, look to the interviews with chefs who've most recently put cruciferous eating on the map (Brooks Headley, David Chang, Jessica Koslow, and Ivan Orkin).

Veggies + foil + charcoal grill = easiest dinner ever. Photo by Rocky Luten

Baked with a little cream

You're a purist: Baked eggs with just a splash of heavy cream is your idea of a breakfast that doesn't need much else. (Except maybe a dollop of some homemade baba ganoush.)

Then your cookbook soulmate is...


by Diana Henry

The title tells you most of what you need to know. But don't you dare mistake Simple for "run-of-the-mill".

If you reach for cookbooks that you'll use over and over again (instead of glorified coffee table books), Diana is your girl. Your weeknight staples will get an update (an earthy noodle salad, smoky spanish rice with beans and pumpkin, and chicken thighs drowned in Indian-spiced sauciness) but you won't pull your hair out trying to decipher out-of-reach cooking skills or tracking down impossible-to-source ingredients.

The preparations are simple, but the flavors often take you by surprise—for instance, a cake that combines lemon and lavender makes for a "Huh? Oh!" moment. One second you're puzzled, and the next moment you're wondering why you've never married the two before.

Goan Fish Curry from Simple. Photo by Rocky Luten

Now that you've found your cookbook, go sweep them off their feet!

What cookbooks are you looking forward to this fall? And how do you like your eggs? Tell us in the comments below!

The Magical Mini Guide to Cozy Weekends
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The Magical Mini Guide to Cozy Weekends

Whether you're in the mood for some soup-simmering, leaf-peeping, or nothing at all, your dream weekend awaits...

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Maritza
  • Maggie
  • anniette
  • jan
  • bonnie
Olivia Bloom

Written by: Olivia Bloom

Has a soft spot for string cheese.


Maritza October 27, 2016
congratulations Amazon, good collection
Maggie October 26, 2016
No scramble? No cookbooks for me, I guess. *sigh* :)
anniette October 26, 2016
I thought the egg premise of this article was ridiculous clickbait, but I read it and I'm convinced: Informative reviews, a silly-sounding system that actually works, and fun to read!
Amanda S. October 28, 2016
Couldn't agree with your final assessment more.
jan October 26, 2016
All these cookbooks look like the recipes are for a family- or did I miss something? I cook for one most of the time....1 hard boiled egg?
Olivia B. October 26, 2016
Hi Jan—I too, cook for one. Most of the recipes in Diana Henry's Simple are for 2-4 people, so if you don't mind having leftovers for another lunch or dinner that one works well for solo cooking!
bonnie October 26, 2016
I have been trying to checkout to buy three of these books with no success. It would help to fix your site. I will order from Amazon instead. Very frustrating.
Sharon M. October 26, 2016
Mostly I don't like eggs, so this was not an ideal test for me. Maybe try it with another food ...
Melanie W. October 26, 2016
Hey, that soft boiled egg at the top, what is that dipped in? I swear it looks like soy sauce.....?
Olivia B. October 26, 2016
Your're right Melanie! They're Soy Sauce Eggs, recipe here:
Olivia B. October 26, 2016
*You're :)
Amanda S. October 25, 2016
I didn't know I needed a cocktail cookbook until this moment!! And am thrilled about it. (BEC 4ever.)
Connor B. October 25, 2016
This rules. Yay, OB!