The Best Books of 2021: Food and Drink

by |December 9, 2021
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2021 has produced a bumper crop (pun intended) of cookbooks. This year, cookbooks took us everywhere from Tasmania to Malaysia, and even into Jimmy and Jane Barnes’ home kitchen!

We were able to upskill with Josh Niland and the Tivoli Road Bakers, cook the recipes we’ve seen on social media — thanks Molly Baz, Belinda Jeffery and Nat’s What I Reckon — and find fresh recipes from established favourites like Neil Perry and Donna Hay.

Whether you’re adding to your own library or looking for a gift that will be loved and useful, this list has something for every kind of cook.

—Shanulisa Prasad, Lifestyle Category Manager

Where the River Bends

by Jane and Jimmy Barnes


Try a recipe for Thai green chicken curry from Where the River Bends here.

Inspired by the food they love and the legendary feasts they share at home with family and friends, Where the River Bends features recipes and stories from the kitchen table of Jane and Jimmy Barnes. With stunning photography and featuring 60 of Jane’s favourite recipes – for breakfasts and light lunches, Thai meals and pasta classics, easy everyday dinners and delicious veggie sides, grilled foods and barbies, spectacular Sunday feasts and roasts, and delectable sweets.

Buy it here

Cook This Book

by Molly Baz


Try a recipe for The Cae Sal from Cook This Book here.

If you seek out, celebrate and obsess over good food but lack the skills and confidence necessary to make it at home, you’ve just won a ticket to a life filled with supreme deliciousness. Cook This Book is a new kind of foundational cookbook from Molly Baz, who’s here to teach you absolutely everything she knows and equip you with the tools to become a better, less stressed, more efficient cook.

Buy it here

How Wild Things Are

by Analiese Gregory


How Wild Things Are celebrates nature and the slow-food life on the rugged and sometimes wild island of Tasmania. When chef Analiese Gregory relocated after years of cooking in some of the world’s best restaurants, she found a new rhythm to the days she spent cooking, fishing, foraging, hunting and discovering – a girl’s own adventure at the bottom of the world. With more than 40 recipes, including ferments, interwoven with Analiese’s compelling story, and accompanied by stunning photography, How Wild Things Are is also a window into the joys of travel, freedom, vulnerability and the perennial search for meaning in what we do. This is a blueprint for how to live, as much as how to cook.

Buy it here

One Pan Perfect

by Donna Hay


Try a recipe for zucchini, spinach and mozzarella lasagne from One Pan Perfect here.

We all want to find ways to cook faster, smarter and tastier than ever before, to sit back and let big, punchy flavours do the heavy lifting with just a single pan, pot, tray or dish. One Pan Perfect is the only book you need to prepare almost-instant, all-in-one meals that are super-delicious and better for you. Think fast, tasty new twists on all your favourites, plus all-new flavour combinations to explore, ready to dial up your weeknight family dinners and lazy weekend lunches.

Buy it here

All Day Baking

by Michael and Pippa James


Try a recipe for steak and Vegemite pie from All Day Baking here.

For every two lovers of sweet baked treats, there is at least another who will take the gruyere gougere or the curry pastie every time, thank you. All Day Baking: Savoury, Not Sweet is a baking cookbook – at last – for them. Its mission is to deliver comforting, inventive and wholegrain-forward ideas for pies, sausage rolls, pasties and myriad other mostly pastry-based recipes, alongside gutsy accompaniments that equip the reader with the tools to transform delicious bakes into nourishing any-time-of-day meals.

Buy it here

A Year of Sundays

by Belinda Jeffery


A collection of Belinda’s much-adored and anticipated Sunday morning Instagram posts accompanied by beautiful recipes, A Year of Sundays is as much a conversation with a friend as it is a cookbook. Follow Belinda’s gentle guidance through recipes gathered from her cooking school on the Far North Coast of New South Wales, to those crafted from the harvests of local producers and her own garden, and others embellished with the imprint of personal memories.

Buy it here

Death to Jar Sauce

by Nat’s What I Reckon


Try a recipe for homemade pizza from Death to Jar Sauce here.

The world’s a confusing and chaotic place. We thought lockdown was over . . . it wasn’t. We hoped life would go back to normal . . . it hasn’t. But Nat’s What I Reckon knows one thing is definitely still true: jar sauce can get f*cked. So, to help champions keep levelling up their cooking skills and making ripper feeds from scratch at home, Nat has created this collection of 25 sh*t hot recipes that will get you out of a jam.

Buy it here

Take One Fish

by Josh Niland


Try a recipe for crumbed herring and kohlrabi remoulade from Take One Fish here.

Forget everything you thought you knew about fish cookery with Take One Fish. There are no rules when it comes to cooking fish according to James Beard award winning chef Josh Niland, only an endless world of possibilities. With 60 mind-blowing recipes from just 15 global varieties of fish, this cookbook will take you on a gustatory journey – from elaborate to easy, small to large and – always – scale to tail.

Buy it here

Everything I Love to Cook

by Neil Perry


Try a recipe for strawberry and mascarpone cake from Everything I Love to Cook here.

Sixteen years since the publication of Australian national treasure Neil Perry’s groundbreaking bible for home cooks, The Food I Love, comes a bookend to that masterwork: Everything I Love to Cook. Now he revisits legendary dishes from his flagship restaurants like Rockpool Bar & Grill and modern classics from his long-running Good Weekend column, as well as new favourites he – and we – can’t get enough of. With tips and techniques to set you up for success every time, Neil is on a mission to boost your kitchen know-how and confidence, covering everything from basic knife skills to the art of barbecuing, dressing a salad and mastering a roast dinner.

Buy it here

Sambal Shiok

by Mandy Yin


Try a recipe for Coconut and lemongrass roast chicken from Sambal Shiok here.

Sambal Shiok is a brilliant collection of 75 Malaysian-inspired recipes that were handed down from Mandy Yin’s mother as well as those that she has developed for her cult London restaurant. The recipes – such as Malacca Nyonya curry laksa, Penang assam laksa, Malaysian fried chicken, prawn fritters, spiral curry puffs, flaky roti canai, beef rendang, KL golden fragrant clams, sambal mapo tofu, and the perfect steamed rice – can be made for a weekday family meal, a dinner party or celebration.

Buy it here

We’re rounding up the Best Books of 2021 — check it out!

The Best Books of 2021
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  • Mareva

    December 29, 2021 at 2:32 pm

    Sorry that you do not have any vegan vegetarian cook books.As we the culiturel lot are. Opting for Plant based way of life.Booktopia could also source books in this way australians have choices.2022may bring big changes in the way we eat due to global warming an d farming changes

    • Adam Freedman

      December 30, 2021 at 11:37 am

      Hi Mareva – thanks very much for your message. While this particular list doesn’t include any specific vegan or vegetarian cook books, these books only represent a handful of the wide range of cookery books we have available. We have a number of fantastic vegan and vegetarian cook books written by a number of authors, which you can buy on the website right now, which reflect the diverse cuisines and tastes that Australians have. Check out our Vegetarian section here here as well as our Healthy & Wholefood Cooking section here where you can have a browse for books that will hopefully inspire you. Happy cooking and happy eating!

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