12 tantalizing cookbooks by LGBTQ+ authors
Celebrate the culinary contributions of queer chefs
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This year’s Pride festivities feel especially joyous, given that the past two years have been partially or fully canceled due to COVID-19. After spending the past two years isolated, parties and dancing definitely sound like fun.
But, honestly, the thing I’m looking forward to most is sharing a meal in my home with my friends.
For all your cooking and drinking needs this month (and the whole year ahead—don’t just celebrate us one month per year!), here are my favorite cookbooks from chefs, writers, and bartenders across the LGBTQ+ community.
Master the kitchen.
1. Snacks for Dinner: Small Bites, Full Plates, Can't Lose
The latest from Lukas Volger, author of cookbooks like Start Simple and creator of the queer food publication, Jarry, is all about elevating the common meal-replacing snack.
In it, Volger transforms typical bites like crackers, pickles, and dips into nourishing recipes that are easy to put together, great for entertaining, and less intimidating than a 45-minute dinner recipe. (lemony fried chickpeas or toasted walnut and feta dip, anyone?)
2. Tiki: Modern Tropical Cocktails
If your idea of a tiki drink is something vaguely coconut-flavored served in a hollowed-out pineapple, Shannon Mustipher’s book Tiki is here to expand your horizons.
The Brooklyn-based bartender and rum and cane spirits expert decks the book out with not only recipes, but also techniques, tasting notes, and specific bottle recommendations for each cocktail, ensuring both delicious drinks and an expanded understanding of the category—just in time for summer. (I’ll be sipping on a grog or floridita daiquiri if you need me.)
3. Drinking French: The Iconic Cocktails, Apéritifs, and Café Traditions of France, with 160 Recipes
Chef and essayist—and author of summer staple The Perfect Scoop—David Lebovitz explores the often-tread topic of French cuisine and culture through a new vantage point in his latest endeavor: its beverages.
In Drinking French, Lebovitz walks readers through the ins-and-outs of everything from a café au lait (which, according to Lebovitz, is traditionally drunk out of a footed bowl) to the ritual of aperitivos, studded with recipes for the beverages and snacks that complement them. The search for a footed bowl of my very own is officially on.
4. Tasty Pride: 75 Recipes from the Queer Food Community
The beauty of the queer community lies in the ways we can connect over our common identities, despite our endlessly different upbringings and backgrounds—which this cookbook epitomizes.
Compiled by food writer Jesse Szewczyk and featuring bonafide celebs like Antoni Porowski and Jesse Tyler Ferguson—not to mention several cookbook authors featured elsewhere in this list— Tasty Pride showcases each recipe alongside personal anecdotes that drive home the role food can have in the journey to self-acceptance.
5. The Flavor Equation: The Science of Great Cooking Explained in More Than 100 Essential Recipes
Cookbook author Nik Sharma’s background is in molecular biology, which becomes apparent quickly in this cookbook. But don’t take that to mean it’s boring and dense; Sharma’s approachable and accessible writing demystifies the magic of home cooking for novices while still offering new approaches for building flavor for the veterans.
And the recipes that drive home the lessons are the real deal. I’ll be trying the new potatoes with mustard oil herb salsa and burrata with chili oil and Thai basil at my next dinner party.
6. Simply Julia: 110 Easy Recipes for Healthy Comfort Food
Bestselling author Julia Turshen already has several cookbooks under her belt, but her latest feels especially resonant with the times. Stuffed with approachable recipes that sound mouthwatering—zucchini, green olive, and feta fritters, anyone?—and dotted with menu suggestions along with personal essays, Simply Julia is sure to inspire countless great meals.
7. Jew-ish: Reinvented Recipes from a Modern Mensch
The stunning debut cookbook from food writer, TikTok food personality, and self-described “modern mensch” Jake Cohen reflects his care for the past and eye for the future.
Throughout the book, he splices the foods of his Ashkenazi Jewish heritage with the Persian-Iraqi traditions of his husband, to mouth-watering results: think everything bagel tomato galettes and chocolate-tahini babka. And with vibrant personal anecdotes and fascinating bits of food history peppered in, it’s impossible for Cohen’s undeniable enthusiasm for his own food culture not to rub off on the reader.
8. Chicano Eats: Recipes from My Mexican-American Kitchen
Esteban Castillo is the brains behind the popular food blog Chicano Eats, and with his debut cookbook by the same name, he captures the fascinating intersections that comprise the cuisine of Chicanos, or Mexican immigrants to the United States. With Mexican classics like birria and exciting cross-cultural dishes like mac and queso fundido—showcased in bright, colorful photography—Castillo establishes himself as a proud voice capturing his culture on his own terms.
9. À Table: Recipes for Cooking and Eating the French Way
Few things sound more appealing right now than a one-way ticket to Paris, but a read through the second cookbook from the American food writer and stylist Rebekah Peppler is a satisfying (and far less expensive) alternative.
Having rooted her life in the city, the book showcases both classic French dishes and recipes inspired by the other cultures influencing the country’s food today—all accompanied by stunning photographs of life in the city of lights. I’ll be dousing salads in the cornichon vinaigrette and whipping up her ratatouille all summer.
10. Son of a Southern Chef: Cook with Soul
While Lazarus Lynch’s cookbook connects his culinary heritage to his soul food chef father in the title, Lynch has a voice and aesthetic all his own.
His debut cookbook is stuffed with takes on classics like brown butter candy yam mash with goat cheese burlee and shrimp and crazy creamy cheddar grits, which are made even more exciting by Lynch's splashy, fashionable, and high-concept photography that accompanies them.
11. Cool Beans: The Ultimate Guide to Cooking with the World's Most Versatile Plant-Based Protein
Though this cookbook from the food and dining editor of The Washington Post was published before the pandemic, it feels made for the era. Joe Yonan’s recipes pull from global food traditions to chart the path from a plain bag or can of beans to delicious and exciting dishes, like the harissa-roasted carrot and white bean dip and black bean-chipotle falafel burgers. The bags of dried beans languishing in your (and, candidly, my own) pantry are jumping for joy.
12. The Juhu Beach Club Cookbook: Indian Spice, Oakland Soul
Chef and former Top Chef contestant Preeti Mistry’s beloved Juhu Beach Club closed in 2018, and while the opening of its follow-up was thwarted by the pandemic, revisiting the Indian-inspired recipes that made it famous through this cookbook is the next best thing.
Deliberately organized with freeform categories like "Street Eats" and "Authentic? Hell Yeah", the book showcases spice-forward creations like masala fries and vindaloo chicken wings alongside essays reflecting on Mistry’s life and career. All of this makes for a cookbook that’s fun to read and cook from.
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