A year after he enriched our kitchens with sweet delights, Yotam Ottolenghi is back with yet another brilliant cook book. Ottolenghi Simple (Ten Speed, $35) delivers exactly what it promises in the title: 130 recipes easy to make, simple in his own definition. He codes them using the title of the book as a key: S – short on time, I – ingredients (10 or fewer), M – make ahead, P – pantry, L – lazy, E – easier than you think. And every recipe has its own set of letters, so you can decide what and when to make depending on your free time and ingredients you already have. Of course, everyone who’s cooked with Ottolenghi before knows about the ten essential ingredients that make your feast Ottolenghi-fied: pomegranate molasses, rose harissa, tahini, sumac, to name a few. Take a different approach to brunch with Portobello mushrooms with brioche and poached eggs or Braised eggs with leek and za’atar. Do you want your vegetables raw or cooked—insider info—his top three this season are courgettes, cauliflower, and tomatoes. Pasta or rice, meat or fish, how about Bridget Jones’s pan-fried salmon with pine nut salsa? With this cookbook you’ll have plenty of choices that taste as amazing as they look.
The term “soul food” evokes certain ideas and fuzzy feelings. It’s southern food, it’s comfort food—it’s unhealthy food. But Carla Hall’s Soul Food (Harper Wave, $29.99) focuses on the healthier side of this favorite culinary genre, proving that it can be veggie heavy and nutrient rich while still reminding you of Mama. With 145 recipes, TV chef Carla Hall's newest kitchen collection takes users back to her Nashville roots and throws in a dash of Africa and a pinch of the Caribbean. The American south sings in this fresh and modern take on traditional soul food and hosts an array of side dishes, spice mixtures, drinks, desserts, and finger-lickin' carbs and proteins. How does Brown Sugar Baked Chicken sound? Good? OK—what about Nutmeg Eggnog Buttermilk Pie? Too much? Of course not. With contributions by recipe-developer Genevieve Ko, this is one cook book that won't end up in your donate-to-Goodwill pile.
Amid all the ranting, Michiko Kakutani’s articulate and rational voice is a great relief. The Death of Truth (Tim Duggan, $22) doesn’t just argue that facts are different from opinions, that words have meanings, that reality and truth exist—it proves it by drawing on a wide range of historic and cultural touchstones. From the Founders and Lincoln to writers including Arendt, Orwell, Huxley, David Foster Wallace, and others, Kakutani taps expertise to trace the cultural and political roots of today’s resurgence of populism and demagoguery. “Trump is as much a symptom of the times as he is a dangerous catalyst,” she reminds us, and demonstrates how his disdain for facts, civility, and any perspective other than his own grew from both fascism and postmodernism. She cites chilling parallels between his use of language and Hitler’s, and shows how ideas such as cultural relativity and deconstruction—originally propounded by left-wing academics to subvert master narratives—softened the lines between objective and subjective. Where the founders emphasized “the common good,” the very idea of consensus is now in tatters. What can save us? Institutions such as the three branches of government, the press, and education; the courage to insist on the truth, as the Parkland students have; and books like this one.