Cookbook Club

Help Choose Our Next Cookbook Club Books (+ 3 Favorite Learnings So Far)

February 14, 2017

Our Cookbook Club has been baking from Kate McDermott’s Art of the Pie, and if you haven’t started yet, there’s still plenty of time to participate with it this month—head here to find out how.

And we don’t want to divert you away from pie entirely, but in an effort to plan ahead—especially for library reserving and book purchasing and shipping purposes—we want you to take a moment to nominate the cookbooks we’ll all explore together in the coming months.

Simply add a comment below telling us what cookbook(s) you’d like to see the Club discuss, whether it’s a recent release or an old favorite. The deadline to vote is this Friday—February 17, 2017. Next week, we’ll announce the line-up of cookbooks for the next few months of the Club.

Photo by Bobbi Lin

But for now, we have another two weeks focused on pie, and here are three of our favorite learnings that we’ve picked up from the Cookbook Club’s Facebook group so far:

  1. Amy Chen picked up a great tip from a fellow pie lover in another Facebook group, Pie Nation (co-founded by Kate McDermott)—using a cocktail shaker to keep ice water cold:

    I have had my heart broken by pouring with a measuring glass of ice water into tablespoons and have the entire contents dump into my dough. Never again. Now my pie ice water is always shaken, not stirred.

2. Kate McDermott schooled us on how to avoid pies getting too brown and burned from too much sugar sprinkled on the pie when it’s initially put in the oven:

Thinking about what I could do to avoid this, I tried adding sugar towards the END of the bake time and have had great results. If you find that the sugar doesn't stick when the pie comes out of the oven, try brushing a second light coat of egg white wash on top while there are 10 (or up to 20) minutes bake time left, sprinkle the sugar on, and then finish baking.

3. Larry Noak shares that one of his most important takeaways from the book has been using a pastry cloth for rolling out the dough, calling it a “game changer”:

Honestly, I have been baking for about six years. Sourdoughs, cakes, pastries, but pie was ALWAYS my biggest challenge. Mostly because of my demand for perfection and nagging uncertainty. This book has changed it all for me. Not to seem like a braggart but, now, since The Art of The Pie, I feel like a ROCK STAR!

(And if you’re wondering about storage and cleaning, Larry folds it to fit in a zip-top bag, and washes the pastry cloth after five or six pies.)

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Don't forget: Comment below telling us what cookbook(s) you’d like to see the Club discuss, whether it’s a recent release or an old favorite, by this Friday—February 17, 2017.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Kathy Lee
    Kathy Lee
  • Anne Marie
    Anne Marie
  • Chez LeLane
    Chez LeLane
  • Beth Palmquist Silverstein
    Beth Palmquist Silverstein
  • Liz
I like esoteric facts about vegetables. Author of the IACP Award-nominated cookbook, Cooking with Scraps.


Kathy L. February 21, 2017
Red Rooster Cookbook
Anne M. February 21, 2017
Now that the Piglet nominations are out, anything on that list. Kate and her book will be a tough act to follow.
Chez L. February 19, 2017
My Paris Kitchen, by David Lebovitz
On Vegetables, by acclaimed chef Jeremy Fox (out 4/7)
Anything by Thomas Keller, Mario Batali, or Jonathan Waxman
Beth P. February 18, 2017
Dorie's Cookies
Liz February 18, 2017
Zahav, and Vetri's Rustic Italian and Mastering Pasta
Joy L. February 18, 2017
I love Nancy's suggestion.
Julia F. February 17, 2017
Kim A. February 17, 2017
Not Afraid of Flavor by Ben and Karen Barker, Burma by Naomi Druid, recipes and Stories from a Modern Diner/Poole's by Ashley Christensen, Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi
Sharon February 17, 2017
I second the motion on Pooles!
cookinginvictoria February 17, 2017
Such good suggestions from everyone! Even though I've already voted, I wanted to add to my support to the following cookbooks that have been mentioned:
New Way to Dinner
New York Times Cookbook
How to Celebrate Everything
My Paris Kitchen
My Kitchen Year
Gloria February 17, 2017
Eating in the Middle by Andie Mitchell
A New Way To Dinner by Hesser & Stubbs
Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller
Dorie' Cookies by Dorie Greenspan
Taste of Persia by Naomi Duguid
Christina February 17, 2017
Smitten Kitchen
Molly on the Range
Marcella Hazan Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
any Marcus Samuelsson, Nigella Lawson, Madhur Jaffrey
Baking or French Table from D. Greenspan
Cooking for Jeffrey- Garten
My Two Souths
Everyday Cook from A. Brown
Hollie D. February 17, 2017
I agree with not a baking book next. Two baking books in a row is a bit much, especially for households that don't do a lot of sweets.
Tammy February 17, 2017
I am excited to try some cookbooks I may have never heard of. So many great choices. Here are a few cookbooks on my wish list: Jerusalem, My Kitchen Year, The Chef Next Door, Baking From My Home to Yours, Momufuko, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, Prune, The Cardamom Trail, Simple (Diane Henry)
Nancy February 17, 2017
Lots of good titles already in the mix. But how to decide which? Some people bake, some cook, some do both.
Agree with a suggestion here (sorry didn't note member's name) to alternate baking and cooking books, so 6 each in a year cookbook club.
More ideas:
For baking, split attention between sweet and savory.
For cooking, go for a range of subjects (however you choose): American & foreign, vegetables & meat main dishes, various courses (soups, salads etc) or various meals during the week or year.
So, at the end we will we all have learned a bit more about things we love to make & things new to us.
Sharon February 17, 2017
I agree with this suggestion! ❤️
Nancy February 21, 2017
The idea to alternate csme from Rhonda35.
Stephanie A. February 17, 2017
My Paris Kitchen
Kurt February 17, 2017
My Paris Kitchen
Tasting Rome
aargersi February 17, 2017
Chiming in again - I would love to do Amanda's NYT cookbook - I have barely scratched the surface and would love to see what others are cooking from it
luvcookbooks February 17, 2017
A new way to dinner, so fascinated with the concept and interested in how other people are using the book- I am changed for the better!
Rhonda35 February 17, 2017
First of all, please don't make me bake again! I'm not opposed to baking, but I live at altitude and, well, it ain't easy! ;-)
A New Way to Dinner - Hesser/Stubbs
Small Victories - Turshen
Lucky Peach Presents 101 Easy Asian Recipes - Meehan
Sunday Suppers - Mordechai
An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace - Adler
Cravings - Teigan
Joy the Baker's Over Easy - Wilson
My Paris Kitchen - Lebovitz
A Girl and Her Pig - Bloomfield
The Smitten Kitchen - Perelman
The Art of Mexican Cooking - Kennedy
The New Basics - Rosso/Lukins
New York Cookbook - O'Neill
Bread Toast Crumbs - Stafford
Simply the Best - Day-Lewis
Around My French Table - Greenspan
Anything by Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, Nigel Slater or Patricia Wells
Jharna H. February 17, 2017
Ooh definitely Tartine All Day!

Cook for Syria

Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Little Paris Kitchen


Plenty More or Jerusalam - Ottolenghi

Taqueria - Paul Wilson