8 Pacific Northwest Cookbooks to Seek Out
My Rice Bowl: Korean Cooking Outside the Lines by Rachel Yang and Jess Thomson
If you’re itching to recreate Joule’s kimchi recipe at home, chef Rachel Yang, like an angel of cookery, has descended from the heavens to answer your prayers and so much more. As the title suggests, Yang’s cookbook is like her restaurants—inspired by her Korean heritage, but with a heavy dose of fusion. Rice bowls make an appearance, of course, but flip ahead to the tahini-garlic grilled pork belly, Korean-taco pickles, and Korean fried chicken served with shards of peanut brittle.
Farm Food Volume I; Fall & Winter by Kurt Timmermeister
Make the trek out to Vashon Island sans ferry crossing with Kurt Timmermeister’s latest cookbook. Through photos, essays, and recipes, Timmermeister pulls back the curtain on Kurtwood Farms, showing what life is like during the muddy fall and winter seasons. Luckily for us, that exact weather lends itself to apple cider cocktails, buttermilk biscuits, and beef bourguignon. Seasonality is so key to the book’s premise that Timmermeister divides it into months, meaning you’ll never have to scour the grocery store (or shell out extra cash) for something that’s out of season. Not to mention the photos are pretty breathtaking: Buy it for the caramel ice cream recipe, keep it for the coffee table aesthetics.
America: The Cookbook by Gabrielle Langholtz
This cookbook is not for the faint of heart—it’s a behemoth with over 850 recipes as well as thoughts and menus from the country’s top chefs. Langholtz’s book, however, isn’t just recipes—it’s an ode to American food history and culture, and the impact immigration has on the way we eat. If you’re itching to skip ahead to the Washington recipes, here’s what to look for: chanterelle risotto, razor clam chowder, Dutch baby pancakes, and aplets—a Turkish delight-esque apple gelatin candy. As for the back of the book, Renee Erickson represents the Evergreen State with an essay on the flavors of the Puget Sound, like grilled dungeness crab and manila clams with spring onions, herbs, and creme fraiche.
Hello! My Name is Tasty: Global Diner Favorites from Portland's Tasty Restaurants by John Gorham and Liz Crain
Visiting our Rose City neighbors might mean four hours of traffic, but it also means an ample payoff at brunch havens like Tasty n Sons and Tasty n Alder. After the success of his first cookbook, John Gorham is back for round two with Hello! My Name is Tasty, a third of which is devoted to brunch. So whether you’re looking to master perfectly crisp bacon or want to satisfy your sweet tooth with lemon ricotta pancakes, this book’s got your back. And other meals certainly aren’t neglected: “All day long” bites like sandwiches and sides have their own section, as does dinner and the desserts and cocktails that come with it. But mind you, this isn’t an ordinary cookbook—it comes with plenty of photos from Gorham’s inspirational cross-country road trip, as well as recipes that are extremely easy to follow, perfect for those of us that need a little hand-holding.
The Myrtlewood Cookbook: Pacific Northwest Home Cooking by Andrew Barton and Peter Schweitzer
This cookbook is unabashedly PNW to its core, from the cutting boards carved from native Myrtlewood trees to the mushrooms that pop up in soup, risotto, and pizza. Unlike most cookbooks, Barton’s recipes read more like an actual book; each dish spans multiple pages with paragraphs in the place of ordered steps. Barton’s conversational tone is certainly homey, as is the food itself. After all, how many cookbooks have a whole section devoted to potato salads? All joking aside, if you’re aiming to be a locavore, look no further: Nettle dumplings in sorrel broth, beery mac and cheese, and a blueberry tart await you.
Pie and Whiskey: Writers Under the Influence of Butter and Booze by Kate Lebo and Samuel Ligon
Lebo and Ligon started Pie and Whiskey back in 2012, coaxing local writers in Spokane and Missoula to write about pie and/or whiskey and read that work in front of hundreds of people stuffed with—you guessed it—pie and whiskey. But if you can’t make it to one of their events, you can read the same work in the eponymous collection, which puts short prose and poetry alongside actual recipes for venison and blackberry pasties, raspberry walnut mascarpone hand pies, and cocktails like The Carrie Nation and Emma’s Revelation. As for the writing, the anthology collects the best writing from past events as well as new submissions by authors Jess Walter, J Robert Lennon, Kim Barnes, and others.
Modernist Bread by Nathan Myhrvold and Francisco Migoya
As soon as you lay eyes on Modernist Bread, it’s clear as day that Nathan Myhrvold was once the chief technology officer at Microsoft: The book is sleek, white, and massive—qualities more befitting of a computer manual than a cookbook. Quite simply, Myhrvold isn’t just dabbling in bread; after four years of research, he’s reinventing it. Hence the five volume set with two tomes dedicated to recipes and three exploring history and fundamentals, ingredients, and techniques and equipment. You’ll have your hands full (and flour-dusted) with over 1200 recipes and variations, but if you have a spare minute, you can read up on everything from the science of baking to the different cultures that place bread at the center of their diet.
Ready or Not!: 150+ Make-Ahead, Make-Over, and Make-Now Recipes by Nom Nom Paleo by Michelle Tam and Henry Fong
First came a food blog, then came a cooking app, and now Michelle Tam and Henry Fong are publishing their second cookbook in an effort to convince all us naysayers that paleo dishes might just be for everybody. Like their first cookbook, Ready or Not! is packed full of paleo recipes all written in Nom Nom Paleo’s signature comic book style. This time around, the cookbook is broken into sections according to readiness level—that is, whether you’re ready to tackle a more intensive meal or just looking to put food on the table in 20 minutes flat. Whether you’re flirting with paleo or committing hard-core, this is the right introduction, with tips on how to stock your house with paleo foods, ingredient guides, kitchen hacks, meal plans, even shopping lists.