I wanted to share this piece in today’s New York Times about the year’s best cookbooks where I was so glad to see two of my books (Flour by Joanne Chang and Christie Matheson and Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef by Shauna James Ahern and Daniel Ahern) included, as well as one of Jane’s (Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy by Alice Medrich). It’s a really eclectic and diverse list, and I think Julia Moskin does a good job explaining why each of these books works and what they have to offer for different types of cooks or food enthusiasts. For me, it’s a peek into the cookbook marketplace, and how for all the talk of it being a dying breed, there is so much unique, innovative and interesting content being published each year. There was a time here when I thought I’d stop working on cookbooks because the market was shrinking, there were fewer publishers (and editors) producing cookbooks, and it seemed the only ones that were working well were the books written by Food Network stars. But I keep on selling them, and I think we’ve seen something of a resurgence the last couple of years, with a shift away from the glitz and back to the basics. This article highlights that trend. And there’s not one Food Network star to be found!
There’s another area to me that’s worth noting. A lot of food bloggers have been getting books deals recently, some on a very large sale, and a few represented by us, including Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef from this list. The Internet in general has become a place to share stories, recipes, and ideas and people are definitely responding to the good ones, especially those who are also savvy marketers. But one of the things that’s interesting to me about Julia Moskin’s list in this article is that there are very few bloggers on it. Many of the books she highlights are written by familiar names in the food world who have previously published books. Authors like Alice Waters, Alice Medrich, and Madhur Jaffrey are all considered authorities in their field, and new books from them are always paid attention to, for good reason. Next year will bring a lot of blogger books to the market, so I’ll be curious to see how many of them make next year’s list.
It’s also interesting, and I think a testament to the changing industry, that she discusses a self-published book: Matt Moore’s Have Her Over for Dinner. That’s not something that happens very often in this type of treatment, so good for the author for writing a book that got the attention of a critic’s eye at the Times.
Personally, I’m glad to see so many new cookbooks being well-published and well-received in the marketplace. I will continue to work on them, and have fun reading and eating my way through them! Do you have any cookbook favorites from this year not included on this list? I’d love to hear about them.