As we spend more time in our homes in self-isolation, the reality of having to cook three meals a day can become daunting. But eating comforting, nourishing food is one of the best things we can do for ourselves in such trying times. So if you need a little meal inspiration, try one of these tried and true cookbooks that bring restaurant-quality dishes into your kitchen. (And remember that many restaurants remain open for takeout and delivery, which is a great way to support local right now.)
“Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking: 101 Entirely Plant-Based, Mostly Gluten-Free, Easy and Delicious Recipes” by Dana Schultz
For plant-based eating, food blog Minimalist Baker is a constant source of ideas. And founder Dana Schultz translated her wholesome recipes into a book that even meat-eaters will love. Try the Carrot, Potato + Chickpea Red Curry (a personal favourite of this author) or Butternut Squash Garlic Mac ‘n’ Cheese. Bonus? Many of these dishes can be made in 30 minutes or less.
“Cooking in Color: Vibrant, Delicious, Beautiful Food” by Adrian Harris and Jeremy Inglett of The Food Gays
The couple behind popular culinary site The Food Gays channelled their skills into a gorgeously vibrant cookbook that will have you savouring the images on its pages just as much as you savour the recipes they contain. Indulge in Adrian Harris and Jeremy Inglett’s beautiful comfort food—like Serrano Pepper and Cheddar Bagels; BBQ Chimichurri Chicken; and Broiled Feta with Chili Salt, Tomatoes, and Basil.
“Ottolenghi Simple: A Cookbook” by Yotam Ottolenghi
One would have good reason to believe that the recipes in this cookbook are simple. From acclaimed chef Yotam Ottolenghi comes this treasure of easy-to-maneuver dishes that pack serious flavour. As usual, everything has Ottolenghi’s Mediterranean flair, which means things like Shallow-Fried Potatoes with Rosemary and Sumac, or Slow-Cooked Lamb Shoulder with Mint and Cumin. Use Simple to create a three-course meal and pretend you’re at a restaurant.
“5 Ingredients - Quick & Easy Food” by Jamie Oliver
As its title suggests, this book contains recipes with just five ingredients (aside from a few necessary pantry staples like olive oil and sea salt). From Sticky Hoisin Chicken to Baked Saffron Rice, chef and TV personality Jamie Oliver takes his usual excitement for food and transforms it into an easily digestible (pun intended) list of delicious ideas. Eggplant Penne Arrabbiata may sound intimidating, but Oliver proves that it’s not.
“Near & Far: Recipes Inspired by Home and Travel” by Heidi Swanson
Cure a bit of your wanderlust while cooking a satisfying meal at the same time with Heidi Swanson’s collection of recipes, which were largely inspired by her travels. She brings her beloved food website 101 Cookbooks to life with this collection, which features such fresh dishes as Baby Artichoke Salad, Brown Butter Tortellini, and Cold Soba Noodles. She also runs through methods for things even simpler, such as a beautiful Poached Egg for One.
“Tartine” by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson
When it comes to baking, there may be no greater North American authority than business-and-life partners Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson of Tartine. In their first cookbook, they outline a scrumptious selection of baked goods ranging from Pumpkin Tea Cake to Buttermilk Scones. For lessons on the bakery’s iconic loaves, try Tartine Bread.
Bonus: “Essential Well Being: A Modern Guide to Using Essential Oils in Beauty, Body, and Home Rituals” by Sara Panton
This isn’t a collection of food recipes, but rather harnesses the cookbook model to share ideas for using essential oils. Written by vitruvi’s own Sara Panton, the book lays out fun and easy recipes for diffuser blends, face oils, body scrubs, and more. Why not throw on a DIY face mask while you prepare your next meal?