Silly season guide: 5 of the best cookbooks


Cookbooks are perfect festive presents, but how do you choose from the dozens of fresh releases on offer? Your resident cookbook addict at Five of the Best has done the hard yards to make it easy for you. Here are my favourites for 2022.

1. WILD DRINKS by Sharon Flynn

Is there a drinks guru on your Christmas gift list? They’ll be rapt to receive the latest book from Sharon Flynn, the ferment guru behind “the definitive book on infusing, brewing, and fermenting delicious things to drink”. Adding to her evergreen bestseller Ferment for Good, Flynn’s new drinks compendium is the perfect pressie for anyone curious about how old-school drinks are made. Recipes move from the ubiquitous kombucha to kefir, kvass, sake, mead and ginger beer, to name a just a few. For an extra special gift, visit Flynn at The Fermentary (394 Queens Parade, Fitzroy North) and buy a personally-signed copy of Wild Drinks (Hardie Grant, $39.99) and a voucher to one of her hands-on fermenting classes. The perfect present for the foodie with everything.

2. LUNE by Kate Reid

Kate Reid’s debut book is an intricate step-by-step guide to baking her world-famous croissants and pastries at home. The baker in your life will be in awe of Kate’s precise instructions and wisdom in Lune: Croissants All Day, All Night (Hardie Grant, $55). They will also come away with a strong appreciation of the skills and precision behind Kate’s world-class croissant bakeries.

3. COOK by Karen Martini

More of an encyclopedia than a cookbook, Karen Martini’s Cook (Hardie Grant, $100) is described as “the only book you’ll need in the kitchen”, capturing more 30 years of restaurant experience and culinary wisdom. But the best part about this beautifully laid-out book is the straightforward kitchen nous that has made Karen such a much-loved TV cook on Better Homes and Gardens.

4. CHINESE-ISH by Rosheen Kaul and Joanna Hu

In a shift from the classic cookbook, chef Rosheen Kaul spent Melbourne’s pandemic lockdowns writing a memoir to match her cheeky collection of recipes, joining friend and illustrator Joanna Hu to create Chinese-ish (Murdoch Books, $39.99). The chef behind Etta tells the complicated story of her identity through food, from Chinese basics to a fund section of snacks “that feel kinda wrong” (like a fiery Sichuan sausage sanga). Get five of her favourite recipes from the book here.

5. THE JOY OF BETTER COOKING by Alice Zaslavsky

When Yotam Ottolenghi describes a cookbook as “deliciously fun”, it’s worth a look. Fresh from winning a swag of awards for her first book In Praise of Veg, Alice Zaslavsky has backed in with another winner, helping wannabe cooks become more confident and intuitive in the kitchen with simple recipes, clever hacks and a truly joyful vibe. The Joy of Better Cooking (Murdoch Books, $49.99) is perfect for young people starting out, or anyone looking for fresh kitchen inspiration.


Silly season guide: 5 of the best cookbooks