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The Best Books To Teach You How To Cook At Home

Emma Bouloudis

On opening the following recipe books you may feel as if you've been transported onto the set of MasterChef: The Professionals, but rest assured a salivating Greg Wallace won’t unexpectedly materialise in your kitchen mouth agape and spoon to the air. Here are our top picks for cookbooks that pack in a lot of personality as well as that all-important gustatory punch.


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You Suck at Cooking: The Absurdly Practical Guide to Sucking Slightly Less at Making Food

If this book was a sandwich it would be one of those carb-loaded atrocities you make the morning after a night drinking on the town, and we’re here for it. Everyone’s favourite wang-jangler wielding Youtuber has gone to print and the result definitely doesn’t suck one bit. We’re talking Bacon Wrapped Jalapeños, we’re talking ice cream sandwiches, we’re talking cauliflower wings, and we’re talking now. The recipes are simple, the language is outrageous, and the grub is bloody delicious. 

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Bourke Street Bakery: The Ultimate Baking Companion by David McGuinness and Paul Allam 

She’s beauty, she’s grace, I’m dribbling down my face. If you've had the fortune to walk the sun-drenched streets of Sydney, then Bourke Street Bakery will probably ring a bell. Slap bang in the Surrey Hills – one of the most happening postcodes in Oz – it is an olfactory heaven of freshly baked sourdoughs and buttery pastries. This cookbook is the bible of how to create these doughy delights in your own home, and the extremely precise and detailed recipes mean even the most inexperienced baker can give them a go. 

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On Vegetables: Modern Recipes for the Home Kitchen by Jeremy Fox

Although the linen-bound exterior and minimalist geometric carrot on the front cover might make you think this is a punt for the hipsters, we implore you, think again! Fox is a cook at the top of his game, whilst head chef at Ubuntu he earned the first ever Michelin-star to be awarded to a vegetarian restaurant and his cookbook proves equally trailblazing. Interwoven between the recipes and large glossy photographs, there is a warm and earnest narrative recounting the chef’s battle with ADHD and depression. The result is something personal, fresh, and exciting. 

Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi

Ottolenghi is the man who introduced us UK folk to harissa, pomegranate molasses, and all the other ingredients you are proud to have in your larder – although be honest they’ve probably been sitting there half-opened for the last five years. Jerusalem will renew and refresh your gastronomical landscape, with flavourful but accessible recipes, like fiery shakshuka, plump falafels, and a life-changing masterclass in homemade authentic hummus. 

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Women's Libation!: Cocktails to Celebrate a Woman's Right to Booze by Merrily Grashin 

Here at Culture Calling we take our cocktails shaken, stirred, and, ahem, just about any way humanly possible really. We recommend Grashin’s book as your one-stop guide to getting sloppy in the kitchen the way we imagine Rosie the Riveter would have. Each recipe is flanked by a charming illustration, feminist factoid, and a punny name – just make sure you have all your ingredients at home before beginning your mixological debut or risk an intoxicated trip to the shops, clean up on aisle three! 

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