Hey I am DonAmen. I have a confession to make. I’m a big food nerd. I love cooking, and I love food, eating and recipes. Some guys try to stay as far away from the kitchen as they can, but if you think of cooking as unmanly, I think you’re crazy, best vegan cookbooks.
Because when you make food for someone, you’re actually putting yourself in that provider role, which I think is actually a position of strength and leadership. As Steven Raichlen told me “If you can feed the tribe, you can lead the tribe.” And if you’ve ever had a chance to prepare a meal for a special lady friend or boy friend, whether you’re dating, in a relationship, or married, you know just how powerful it can be to know your way around the kitchen. Beyond that though, I personally find cooking to be one of the best stress relievers when you’re doing it, and without sounding totally cheesy, one of the best healthy lifestyle choices you can make.
1. How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman, best vegan cookbooks
So up next I’m gonna share 7 Cookbooks that I own and love and that I think every man should own if you’re interested in cooking.
Number one, How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. So I’ve had this cookbook for probably about 15 years and one of the things I love about it is that, one, it just has such a no-nonsense writing style. The recipes are very simple and easy to follow, but Bittman also does a really good job of kind of showing you how to make a basic recipe and then showing you how to kind of embellish it.
So this is the cookbook that helped me learn how to roast and carve chicken perfectly and then also how to further embellish it using different seasonings and different sauces. It’s also the book that got me hooked on making frittatas, which if you’ve never had one is kind of like a baked omelet. So even though it doesn’t sound like such a manly thing, it’s actually pretty impressive when you bust one of these things out, best vegan cookbooks.
It also happens to be a pretty great way to get rid of random scraps of food in your fridge. If you have a half a tomato or half an onion or like a little bit of cheese left over, just throw it in there. I could go on and on about frittatas, but I think I’m gonna stop before it gets weird.
2. The Joy of Cooking By Irma S. Rombauer
Number two, The Joy of Cooking. Now this cookbook’s been around for like 80 years and there’s really not anything super fancy in it. But what you’ll be really amazed by is just the breadth of the different recipes. And so it’s a great reference book for just random things like how to make gravy or like a basic bread pudding recipe or even, you know, tips on menu planning or tips on entertaining. It may be a little bit older, but a lot of recipes are just timeless honestly. And so a lot of times when I’m trying to learn how to make a new dish, I’ll look at Joy of Cooking alongside How to Cook Everything and then between the two I feel like I can get a really good idea of how to actually approach the recipe.
3. The Barbecue! Bible by Steven Raichlen
Number three, The Barbecue! Bible by Steven Raichlen. Now, this should probably be required reading for anyone with a Y chromosome, and I say this not because men are naturally good at grilling and barbecue, but because we think we are and we actually aren’t. So I have news for you guys: just because you’re a man does not make you good at grilling and barbecue. You actually need to learn how to grill, and the Barbecue! Bible is a great place to start.
So it’s basically a crash course on grilling and barbecue and it has a ton of different recipes–500 recipes actually. So also I think this book gives you a true appreciation for the international aspect of grilling. You know, sometimes it seems like here in the US that we act like we actually invented grilling or something, like you know the Weber barbecue was the first grill ever made or something. The author Steven Raichlen is more than just a renowned barbecue expert, he also has a deep respect and curiosity for travel and different cuisines.
So the book has a lot of different international recipes in it and also tips on different international techniques that are used throughout the world for grilling.
4. The Cook’s Illustrated Guide to Grilling and Barbecue
Number four, The Cook’s Illustrated Guide to Grilling and Barbecue. Now, this book doesn’t have much in the way of pictures. It’s you know just line art drawings but one thing I love about Cook’s Illustrated in general–they have a magazine as well–is that they’re all about objectively testing different recipes. They like to challenge assumptions about tried-and-true dishes and actually run experiments to test different combinations of ingredients and cook times and different technique techniques to see how it actually affects the final product.
For instance, a lot of us don’t think much about a basic burger recipe, right? It’s just like ground chuck and some seasoning and that’s about it. But in this book they go into great detail about the the experiments they did with you know using different cuts of meat instead of ground chuck and then they also give some tips on you know how to make your patty not puff up on the grill. After spending some time with The Cook’s Illustrated Guide to Grilling and Barbecue you definitely walk away with understanding more about the why than just how.
So beyond being able to execute a recipe you feel like you have a better sense of the techniques behind making great food and why they work. Number five, Man Made Meals, best vegan cookbooks
5. Man Made Meals By Steven Raichlen
Now this is a another great book by Steven Raichlen’s Man Made Meals, but it’s a bit different than the Barbecue! Bible. So a lot of guys are happy to hop up on the grill, but when it comes to going in the kitchen sometimes they’re a little bit less comfortable.
With this book, Steven lays out some fundamentals of cooking beyond the grill, or what he calls “basic culinary literacy for men.” And what’s great about this book is that you know despite the title Man Made Meals, he doesn’t actually overplay the whole “man food” thing. He even says in the introduction he’s like I’m not gonna teach you how to cook a pot roast on your transmission or how to poach a whole salmon in your dishwasher.
At the same time though he does a good job of mixing the fundamentals with a tiny bit of that showmanship that all of us guys love to have in the kitchen. With his recipes like blowtorch oatmeal and his recipe for smoked Bloody Marys. I also really appreciated his section on what he called “flavor boosters.”
So, unique pantry items ranging from things like anchovies to nutmeg to Yuzu that you could use to sort of boost things up or kick things up a notch in the flavor department. Honestly if I was gonna write a cookbook, this is the type of cookbook that I would probably aspire to write. And I actually had the good fortune of being able to interview Steven on my podcast not too long ago. Definitely a great episode, so check that out. I’ll go ahead and link to it in the description below.
6. Everyday Cook By Alton Brown, best vegan cookbooks
Number six, Everyday Cook by Alton Brown. Alton Brown is probably another one of my culinary heroes, and I’ve been enjoying him since he had his show on Food Network way back when called Good Eatz, and if you never saw it, it was sort of like this bizarre cross between Julia Childs and like Peewee Herman.
So, sometimes bizarre, but always informative and fun. Like the Cook’s Illustrated team, Alton does a really good job of sort of challenging assumptions about certain recipes and techniques so you always feel like you have a better sense of not just how to make the dish but actually why it works. His other book, I’m Just Here for the Food is also a bonus recommendation.
It has a lot of background on the science behind different cooking techniques and different gear, so definitely worth checking out. But what I like about his new book Everyday Cook is that it’s almost like Alton unplugged. It’s you know very stripped-down and minimalist and supposedly it’s the foods that he actually eats on a regular basis. He even says on the cover you know “this time it’s personal.” And that vibe is even further reinforced because all the photography in this book– and there’s actually a lot of photos–was taken with an iPhone, if you could believe that. You know I’m not sure if you could get away with that if you weren’t already famous, but it’s pretty cool.
But you still get that classic Alton sense of humor with quirky recipes like smoked meatloaf, which he calls “Smokey the Meatloaf” and recipes like Breakfast Carbonara, which I haven’t tried yet, but it sounds both bizarre and really tasty.
7. Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day By Jeff Hertzberg, best vegan cookbooks
Number seven, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Now this one’s a little bit different since I know it’s such a specific recommendation for a bread book. But I’m telling you, if you’ve never made fresh-baked bread on your own, you’re in for a real treat. So, I got this book probably 7 or 8 years ago, and I really dove into learning how to make bread.
And I have to say, it really demystifies the whole process. You don’t need a bread maker, you don’t need any fancy equipment or techniques, and you don’t do to do any kneading, which is great.
After playing around with bread making with this book, I realized that one of the things I love about making bread is similar to what I love about making beer, if you’ve ever done that. It’s the same sort of alchemical process where you’re working with this living thing, yeast, and it’s sort of exciting when the yeast sort of wakes up when you’re manipulating it.
And let me tell you, if you show up to a gathering with a few loaves of freshly baked bread, you become an instant hero. Mark my words. If you’re at all interested in cooking, honestly any of these cookbooks are great. You can’t go wrong, and I’ll go ahead and link to these in the description below so you can check them out individually.
So I’m curious to hear from you guys: what are other suggestions you have for other cookbooks and best vegan cookbooks that every man should own? Why don’t you leave a note in the comments below?
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