Cookbook Club

The Unexpected Ingredient Our Cookbook Club Loved From ‘The Global Pantry Cookbook'

Plus highlights from our AMA with authors Scott Mowbray and Ann Taylor Pittman.

July  7, 2024
Photo by Catherine Cozarelli

Our cookbook club recently took a world tour, exploring the flavors of the globe with The Global Pantry Cookbook: Transform Your Everyday Cooking with Tahini, Gochujang, Miso, and Other Irresistible Ingredients. In it, authors Scott Mowbray and Ann Taylor Pitman assemble a diverse collection of core, “globally inspired” ingredients and condiments, then inject them into classic recipes. They even go so far as to recommend brands and provide uses for each ingredient beyond the dishes in the book.

Ann, a lauded recipe developer who worked for many years at Cooking Light, and Scott, the former editor of Cooking Light and Eating Well, flex their longtime food media experience with a thorough, well-tested, and clearly presented collection that impressed our seasoned club cooks. Member Amalia Egri Freedman called Global Pantry her “sleeper hit of the year.”

Many of the book’s pantry staples are familiar, like Worcestershire, Tabasco, and anchovies, which are used in the Pizza-Ladière recipe we excerpted.

A few, such as yuzu, kosho, Marmite, and sorghum, were new to some. But the most intriguing and subsequently embraced ingredient, used in the book’s Gado Gado salad and Cold Sesame Noodles, was powdered peanut butter.

During the club’s monthly “Ask Me Anything” chat with Ann and Scott, Cookbook Club member Catherine Cozarelli asked the authors for their favorite ways to use the powder beyond the book's recipes. (These monthly chats provide club members exclusive access to our cookbook authors—join us to be a part of our next author event.)

Scott replied that one of his favorite uses for the powder is to stir it into oatmeal, or add it to homemade ice cream. Ann chimed in to say that powdered almond butter is a great alternative for anyone with allergies or sensitivity to peanuts.

Shyla Strathman’s Cold Sesame Noodles from “The Global Pantry Cookbook.” Photo by Shyla Stratham

Shyla Strathman highlighted the portability of the peanut butter powder as well as its high protein content in her review of the Cold Sesame Noodles with Smashed Mini Cukes. “These nutty noodles might look like your typical peanut butter-sauced dish, but this recipe is kicked up a notch with peanut butter powder," she said.

Deborah Elliot's Pork Satay and Peanut Sauce from “The Global Pantry Cookbook.” Photo by Deborah Elliot

Deborah Elliott tried every recipe that called for it, and “loved everything” she made with it. “This peanut sauce [used in the Gado Gado and the pork satay dipping sauce] is my new favorite, it is lighter without all that peanut oil, and you can really taste the lime leaf and lemongrass.” Learning how to use it, she said, was worth the price of the book.

The book’s helpful hints, additional uses for items, and intel on storage and shopping make it approachable and exciting. The authors shared even more tips during the “Ask Me Anything." (Catch up on all the questions and replies here.)

Scott, for instance, sang the praises of panko versus regular bread crumbs. “I always have several bags or boxes, and I make toasted salty garlic breadcrumbs and use them in all kinds of salad, stews, as casserole toppings, dredgings for fried fish and such.”

Amalia Egri Freedman’s Ebi Filet-o-Fish Sandwich from “The Global Pantry Cookbook.” Photo by Amalia Egri Freedman

Amalia Egri Freedman tried her hand at the Ebi Filet o' Fish Sandwich, featuring panko. “This oddly got the thumbs up from my sandwich-averse tween,” she said.

Sheila Scully's Hasseltots from “The Global Pantry Cookbook.” Photo by Sheila Scully

Sheila Scully summed up just how helpful she found the tips and tricks after admitting her initial hesitation to acquire a copy of the book. “I’ve made those adorable Hassletots multiple times, put yuzu kosho mayo on just about everything and picked up that little tip of cutting a strip of bacon [into triangles] and microwaving so you get a bunch of little bacon triangles for prettier garnishes than your typical crumble. I’m sure the book has other tricks to teach me so I’m keeping it!”

Sheila’s Shrimp Rolls with Yuzu Kosho Mayo from the cookbook. Photo by Sheila Scully

Members didn’t shy away from asking whether the authors received any push back about the sometimes controversial inclusion of ingredients from outside cultures that they both personally identify with.

“I often think of my Korean mom,” said Ann. “If she sees kimchi being used in nontraditional ways (in tacos, on burgers, in Mac & cheese, etc.), she beams. It makes her so happy. She has intense pride in the foods of her home culture, especially kimchi, so she wants the world to love those foods, too, in whatever way they choose.”

Scott said that he and Ann discussed this topic quite a lot when conceptualizing Global Pantry. “We began studying each ingredient by understanding its traditional uses (if we didn’t already know) before experimenting. Ann’s Korean heritage, and my background living as a kid in Southeast Asia and Afghanistan made us pretty alert. But having traveled, the thing I noticed most is that using nontraditional ingredients is practiced all the time in countries like Japan (uni in spaghetti), Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, etc. In any of the big trading cultures, culinary collision goes back thousands of years.”

Next Up in the Food52 Cookbook & Baking Clubs

What’s next for the Food52 Cookbook Club? The world tour continues with a trip to the Mediterranean. This July, the group is cooking from Zaytinya: Delicious Mediterranean Dishes from Greece, Turkey, and Lebanon by José Andrés, while the Baking Club is exploring Sweet Enough: A Dessert Cookbook by Alison Roman.

Don’t miss out on cooking through these books and our inspiring author discussions. Join us in both clubs!

Have you cooked through “Global Pantry”? Tell us your favorite recipes or tips below.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • AntoniaJames
  • Linsey Sowa
    Linsey Sowa
Food Lover, Puppy Hugger. F52 Cookbook+BakingClub Moderator


AntoniaJames July 8, 2024
Wow, this is all so interesting, as is the Cookbook Club Facebook feed, which is new to me. I'm looking forward exploring the Global Pantry book and perhaps, if time permits, trying a few recipes from "Zaytinia". Stay tuned. ;o)
Linsey S. July 9, 2024
Thanks Antonia! Look forward to seeing your posts over in the Food52 Cookbook Club on Facebook!