7 cookbooks you should own even if you don't cook
Including a recipe book inspired by Harry Potter
A forever guest and never a host. I love food, but I just don’t like cooking it. My mother thinks I’m lazy. My heavenly-fish-curry-making best friend doesn’t get it either – “Could you remind me why you’ve never cooked for me?” It’s especially hard because I’m actually not a bad cook. But flipping through a recipe book, making a trip to the grocery store, measuring ingredients, following a recipe and finally preparing the meal just doesn’t seem worth it, especially since I can just order that chocolate truffle cake on Swiggy.
And so, like I do for every other query I ever have, I turned to the internet for some much needed inspiration that might help us reluctant chefs.
And the solution to my dilemma was the last thing I would expect – collectible cookbooks. Traditionally cookbooks are flour-stained, tattered, and leather bound with recipes that are more boring than the long car rides to work on days you forget to carry your earphones.
But as it turns out there are some cookbooks that are so much more than just well, cookbooks. From one that takes magical inspiration for Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings-inspired recipes, one from Salvador Dali, to even one born out of Snoop Dogg’s unlikely friendship with Martha Stewart – this list has one collectible cookbook for every kind of reluctant chef.
The Wizard’s Cookbook by Aurélia Beaupommier
Swap your spatulas for magic wands and sous chefs for helper elves, Aurélia Beaupommier’s recipes are an ode to the fantastical world of Lord of the Rings, classics like Narnia, the phenomenon that is Potter-verse, and all things magical.
If Scarecrow Bread, Red Dragon Inn fiery broth, and Peelings Soup (not to be mistaken for feelings soup, which is a state of emotional confusion) are the kind of sassily-named dishes you enjoy, then we suggest you wish upon a star for this book asap. If only we could accio a butterbeer to sip on while we cooked. Price: ₹1,426
Tiffin by Sonal Ved
Image-rich pages depicting the spices that clueless chefs are unfamiliar with, 500 regional recipes gathered from across all parts of India, and section-opening essays that give you a virtual look into the region the recipes belong to — Sonal Ved’s Tiffin takes you on a journey across India, where you can stop by for everything from momos, to avial to chicken makhanwala.
From the chaat stalls in the north to the kitchens on the backwaters in the south, the dishes featured are also a result of Ved’s interactions with chefs, caterers, and home-cooks. Price ₹2,089
Les diners de Gala by Salvador Dali
“If you are a disciple of one of those calorie-counters who turn the joys of eating into a form of punishment, close this book at once; it is too lively, too aggressive, and far too impertinent for you,” states the author and legendary surrealist Salvador Dali in the introduction.
The book’s introduction sets the tone for what’s to follow. Containing 136 recipes, the cookbook is named after the artist’s wife and muse Gala. The book will help you recreate the couple’s extravagant dinner parties (with dishes like toffee with pine cones), and help you whip up their preferred aphrodisiacs. With the artist’s works of art thrown in the mix – this cookbook promises to keep both the chef and diner entertained. Price on request
Zaitoun by Yasmin Khan
With 80 authentic recipes peppered with a collection of endearing and moving personal stories, Zaitoun is a beautiful celebration of Palestinian culture. The recipes focus on vegetarian versions of Palestinian classics like the giant Palestinian couscous called maftool, while the stories trace the author Yasmin Khan’s travels along the West Bank and the Gaza strip accompanied by stunning shots that document her experiences. “Calling it a cookbook does it a disservice,” writes Tim Lewis in his review of the cookbook for The Guardian, and we couldn’t agree more. Price ₹8,24 onwards
From Crook to Cook: Platinum Recipes from Tha Boss Dogg’s Kitchen by Snoop Dogg
If you couldn’t stop rewatching VH1’s Emmy-nominated Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party, then this cookbook is exactly what you need on your coffee table.
Snoop Dogg’s take on the ultimate comfort food – mac and cheese – to the oh-so-fancy filet mignon gears you up for both, rainy days in and elaborate dinner parties. The best thing about this cookbook? The “epic” origins of the recipes and a sneak peek at what went on behind the scenes. Price: ₹1,404
Korma, Kheer and Kismet: Five Seasons In Old Delhi by Pamela Timms
Scottish journalist and Indophile Pamela Timms takes the fragrances, flavours and charm of old Delhi and packs all of it in this beautiful cookbook.
A cookbook meets travelogue, she meanders through 12 areas of Delhi, through bustling lanes, dotted with thelas and restaurants serving local favourite, and for each, has a different recipe and the writer’s experience of the area. A culinary guide to Delhi, if you will. Price ₹2,77
A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg
Wizenberg uses her kitchen as a canvas to map out her life for the readers. The book covers easy breakfasts, vegetarian meals, pickles, comfort food and a lot more.
From the last few meals shared with her father to the mother’s blueberry-raspberry pound cake that whisks you away to the author’s childhood – this cookbook is a treat for those who appreciate a good plate of food and more so for those who appreciate a good read. Price ₹1,000 onwards