International Cookbooks

The Olive and the Caper: Adventures in Greek Cooking. This is a primer on Greek food, with notes on language myth, literature, history, village life and botany. There are 325 recipes in 700 pages. In Corfu, the author and a taverna owner cook shrimp fresh from the trap; she learns the secret to chewy country bread from the baker on Santorini. (The Olive and the Caper, Susanna Hoffman, Workman, 2004)

Tamales 101, A Beginners Guide to Making Traditional Tamales shows beginners how to make masa dough as well as fold and steam tamales to perfection. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can whip up batches of Chicken Tomatillo, Chorizo Potato, Vegetable Curry, Greek tamales and nearly 100 traditional, vegetarian, vegan, and specialty tamales and sauces. (Tamales 101, A Beginners Guide to Making Traditional Tamales, Alice Guadalupe Tapp, Ten Speed Press, 2002)

The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen: Recipes for the Passionate Cook is a paean to the simple, delicious foods that require time to simmer or marinate, let the dough rise or the flavors to meld--but are worth the wait. There are recipes from North Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean and Southern Europe all presented by award-winning food writer, Paula Wolfert. (The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen: Recipes for the Passionate Cook, Paula Wolfert, Wiley, 2003)

Lidia’s Family Table. Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, the accomplished restaurateur and TV star, offers a copious number of Italian recipes that will please everyone, especially if you like pasta. The New York Times writes, “In her hands, even the simplest sauces always taste sumptuous." (Lidia's Family Table, Knopf, 2010)

Barefoot in Paris: Easy French Food You Can Make at Home. From her Food Network show and three cook books, Ina Garten became known for adding a special twist to familiar dishes and streamlining recipes so it takes less time to produce perfection. In addition to recipes, she shares the experience of Paris’ bustling outdoor markets, bakeries, fromageries and charcuteries. (Barefoot in Paris: Easy French Food You Can Make at Home, Ina Garten, Clarkson Potter, 2004)

Aphrodite, A Memoir of the Senses. This is not a typical cookbook nor a typical Isabel Allende story. The Chilean writer has crafted a highly personal, idiosyncratic look at the intertwined sensual arts of food and love. There is a feast of information about the aphrodisiac powers of food and drink, and lots of recipes from Panchita, her mother, whom she describes as a sorceress of cuisine and love potions. (Aphrodite, A Memoir of the Senses, Isabel Allende, 1998, HarperCollins)

My Kitchen in Spain: 225 Authentic Regional Recipes . Janet Mendel, an American woman who has lived in Spain since 1966, has collected 225 excellent, easy-to-follow regional recipes to make with simple ingredients. The recipes originated in seaside villages and city tapas bars, and everywhere in between. (My Kitchen in Spain: 225 Authentic Regional Recipes, Janet Mendel, William Morrow Cookbooks, 2002)

My favorite international recipe website:, has reviews of two new cook books by women: The Art of Cookies, Fast & Fun Cookie Decoration, and French Women Don't Get Fat, The Secret of Eating for Pleasure. The first is written by a woman who markets her gourmet cookies internationally; the second is written by the President of Veuve Clicquot, which makes fabulous French champagne.

  1. The Art of Cookies, Fast, Fun Cooking Decorations, Noga Hitron & Natasha Haimovich, Ten Speed Press, 2004
  2. French Women Don't Get Fat, The Secret of Eating for Pleasure, Mireille Giuliano, Alfred A. Knopf, 2004

Silk Road Cooking: A Vegetarian Journey. Iranian Najmieh Batmanglij reminds us that along with the silk trade came cooking techniques and spices that transformed local cuisine. She includes 250 images of people and places she discovered in her travels along the Road over the past 25 years. Her 150 recipes range from Afghan Garlic Chive Ravioli to Uzbek candied quince with almonds. (Silk Road Cooking: A Vegetarian Journey, Najmieh Batmanglij, Mage Publishers, 2008)

Ethnic Vegetarian. Angela Shelf Medearis’ recipes are organized by geography and culture: African, African-Caribbean, African-American, American Indian, Creole, Cajun, Southern. (Ethnic Vegetarian, Angela Shelf Medearis, Rodale, 2004)

A Blessing of Bread: The Many Rich Traditions of Jewish Bread Baking Around the World. Inspired by bakers from Guatemala to Russia, Maggie Glezer perfected these recipes, many of which had never been written. Jewish grandmothers describe ancient legends, folktales, aphorisms, and proverbs and share recipes for challahs, babkas, honey cakes, bagels, matzoh, crackers and even deli rye. (A Blessing of Bread: The Many Rich Traditions of Jewish Bread Baking Around the World, Maggie Glezer, Artisan, 2004)

Fagioli: The Bean Cuisine of Italy. There are hundreds of bean recipes from nearly every region of Italy where, for most families, eating beans is as fundamental as eating pasta. Judith Barrett gives us 124 recipes ranging from zuppa to pasta to entrées, made with 15 different varieties of beans. (Fagioli: The Bean Cuisine of Italy, Judith Barrett, Rodale, 2004)

The Essential Book of Jewish Festival Cooking. Sibling authors Phyllis and Miriyam Glazer not only provide 200 recipes for dishes suitable for festivals but offer the historical and theological background of each holiday, plus modern day rituals. The authors include traditional dishes, modern interpretations and local cuisine that the Jews picked up their wanderings. (The Essential Book of Jewish Festival Cooking, Phyllis Glazer, Harper-Collins, 2004)

Mesa Mexicana. Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger are the chef/owners of the Border Grill (4th at Broadway, Santa Monica, California). This cookbook includes recipes for the delicious dishes they serve there, including Mushroom and Epazote Soup, Tortilla-wrapped Fish, and Chocolate Espresso Flan. (Mesa Mexicana, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, 1994, Morrow Cookbooks)