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10 Great Cookbooks That Revolutionized Food

10 Great Cookbooks That Revolutionized Food
Written by Oana Schneider

What is your view on food? If you’re a fitness buff who is obsessed with counting calories, you might see food as the enemy, hating the way that certain items simply add inches to your waist. If you’re an athlete, you might find food to be a source of nourishment.

If you hate cooking but love eating, you might not appreciate raw ingredients, but devour dishes once they are prepared by your favorite chef. If you are a foodie, you will definitely find food as a source of pleasure which not only nourishes the body but also teases the senses.

As you can see, people see food in different ways. If you do not necessarily have a positive way of looking at food, how can you change your outlook? What about actually learning more about food so that you can see it as a form of nourishment, and view food preparation as an art? There are cookbooks that will change the way you look at food and we have listed down ten of them here. 

1. “Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding”

10 Great Cookbooks That Revolutionized Food

Author: Justin Gellatly
Publisher: Penguin Group (May 15, 2014)

What’s it about? Written by British baker Justin Gellatly, “Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding” is a cookbook with instructions on how you can make all the classic desserts. Take your pick from madeleines, sourdough starters, bread, croquembouche, banana sticky pudding, deep fried jam sandwiches – there are more than 150 recipes in all.

The recipes are delicious and those who rely on shops for their dose of breads, desserts and cakes would be interested in baking their own with Gellatly’s cookbook as a guide. Once you have mastered the recipes, you’ll want to make them again and again – for yourself and your family.

Get the book here.

2. “First Prize Pies: Shoo-Fly, Candy Apple, and Other Deliciously Inventive Pies for Every Week of the Year (and More)

10 Great Cookbooks That Revolutionized Food

Author: Allison Kave
Publisher: Stewart, Tabori and Chang (March 11, 2014) 

What’s it about? Allison Kave turned pie making from a hobby into a profession. Her career started when she entered a pie making contest in Brooklyn. Having won the competition, her pies became a huge hit with mouth-watering treats like the Bourbon Ginger Pecan Pie, the Root Beer Float Pie and the Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Pie. What makes Kave’s pies so delicious, aside from the filling, is the crust which are clay and oh-so-delicious. Published on March 2014, her cookbook “First Prize Pies” is bound to be a hit not just for pie lovers, but for foodies from around the world as well.

Get the book here.

3. “Jamie Oliver’s Meals in Minutes: A Revolutionary Approach to Cooking Good Food Fast”

10 Great Cookbooks That Revolutionized Food

Author: Jamie Oliver
Publisher: Hachette Books, First Edition (October 4, 2011)

What’s it about? Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has a show of an almost similar title called “Thirty Minute Meals”. In the cookbook entitled “Jamie Oliver’s Meals in Minutes: A Revolutionary Approach to Cooking Good Food Fast”, he promises to show readers how to put a whole meal on the table in a matter of minutes.

“Not just one dish, a whole spread of beautiful things.” If your excuse for not cooking is that you do not have time to slave away in the kitchen, Oliver’s easy-to-make, quick recipes will change your mind. For the time that it takes to order takeout, you can whip up something delicious and healthy in your kitchen using the recipes in his book.

Get the book here.

4. “Made in India”

10 Great Cookbooks That Revolutionized Food

Author: Meera Sodha
Publisher: Penguin Group

What’s it about? What’s your take on Indian food? Meera Sodha’s cookbook entitled “Made in India” will change the way that you think about Indian food. According to the author, “The best Indian food is cooked and eaten at home” the recipes are fresh, easy to make and packed with flavor. There are over 130 recipes in the cookbook which the author collected from members of her family’s previous generations. Chappatis, chile paneer, feta samosas, lamb curry, kachumbar salad – these are just some of the treats that you will find on her book.

Get the book here.

5. “Mallmann on Fire: 100 Recipes”

10 Great Cookbooks That Revolutionized Food

Author: Francis Mallman
Publisher: Artisan (September 23, 2014)

What’s it about? There are 320 pages and 100 recipes on this book entitled “Mallman on Fire: 100 Recipes”. Anthony Bourdain describes Francis Mallman’s food as elemental, fundamental and delicious. Francis Mallman is dubbed as the master of the Argentine grill and some of the delicious treats that you can get to cook using his book are coal-roasted delicate squash, roasted herbs, fish, charred meats, rustic desserts and wood-fired oven-baked chapas.

In a review by the Wall Street Journal, Mallman’s book is described as one of the best cookbooks out for 2014 and the flavors will make you want to travel all the way to Argentina. 

Get the book here.

6. “Plenty More”

10 Great Cookbooks That Revolutionized Food

Author: Yotam Ottolenghi
Publisher: Ebury Press (September 11, 2014)

What’s it about? Do you hate vegetables? Yotam Ottolenghi’s “Plenty More” cookbook has veggies as the main star. Instead of using vegetables as a side dish, the author has turned them into the main event. The recipes include veggies which are cooked in a flavorful, spicy manner – and the focus is to look for the freshest ingredients.

It’s actually a sequel to the book “Plenty” from the same author, and this second edition has more than 150 veggie-based dishes. What’s good about the way that the cookbook is organized is that it is classified according to cooking method: grilled, baked, simmered, cracked, braised or plain raw. You’ll never look at vegetables the same way ever again after reading “Plenty More.”

Get the book here.

7. “Persiana”

10 Great Cookbooks That Revolutionized Food

Author: Sabrian Ghayour
Publisher: Mitchell Beazley (May 6, 2014)

What’s it about? Yet another cookbook that will change the way that you look at food with foreign flavors is “Persiana”. Written by Sabrian Ghayour, the Observer Food Monthly Awards dubbed it as an instant classic. The cookbook celebrates flavors from the Southern and Eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. There are more than 100 recipes included, with mouth-watering dishes like Lamb & Sour Cherry Meatballs; Blood Orange & Radicchio Salad; Persian Flatbread; Spiced Carrot, Pistachio & Coconut Cake with Rosewater Cream. Simply hearing about the names of these dishes is enough to make your mouth water.

Get the book here.

8. “Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook: Eat Like You Give a F*ck”

10 Great Cookbooks That Revolutionized Food

Author: Thug Kitchen
Publisher: Rodale Books, First Edition (October 7, 2014)

What’s it about? Based in Los Angeles, The Thug Kitchen crew uses foul language but real, honest-to-goodness recipes on their cookbook entitled “Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook: Eat Like You Give a Fuck.” In a review from celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, he has this to say about the book: “As hilariously foul-mouthed as these mother*ckers are, I really like their passion for eating the right food, for cutting to the chase, and for knocking up good, nutritious food from scratch. The message is simple – stop relying on the microwave, stop relying on processed crap. Whoever you are and wherever you are, get down to the markets and supermarkets, use your budget to pick up some fresh ingredients, and get cooking.” Some of the treasured recipes that you will find in here are Roasted Beer and Lime Cauliflower Tacos, Pumpkin Chili, and Grilled Peach Salsa. 

Get the book here.

9. “The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom”

10 Great Cookbooks That Revolutionized Food

Author: Melissa Hartwig
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (April 21, 2015)

What’s it about? If you’re a calorie-counting health buff, your outlook about food will definitely be changed with this cookbook by Melissa Hartwig. Entitled “The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom, there are 432 pages of goodness here. The book was brought about by the success of the website, where millions of people share their weight loss and lifestyle makeover stories.

A previous title called “It Starts with Food” explains the science behind the program of how you can get total freedom with how you look at food in just 30 days. It’s a step-by-step book which includes recipes that will give you total transformation in just one month. The focus of the 30-day plan is to help you break unhealthy eating habits, reduce cravings, improve digestion and give your immune system a boost.

Get the book here.

10. “The Meat Hook Meat Book: Buy, Butcher, and Cook Your Way to Better Meat”

10 Great Cookbooks That Revolutionized Food

Author: Tom Mylan
Publisher: Artisan (May 20, 2014) 

What’s it about? Penned by Tom Mylan, “The Meat Hook Meat Book: Buy, Butcher, and Cook Your Way to Better Meat” is a combination of a cookbook and a butchering guide. You don’t really know where and how your food was raised and this book lets you in on how you can cut up a chicken, break down the parts of a pig or create your own custom blends. As the title hints, it will teach you how to buy, butcher and cut your way through better meat. Know how to do a proper Man Steak and browse your way through 60+ recipes which are all meat-based.

Get the book here.

With these ten cookbooks, the way that you think, feel about and look at food will be entirely changed. 

About the author

Oana Schneider

Oana Schneider is a published author located in Chicago, Illinois, who currently works for as a communication specialist and blog editor. She writes about lifestyle, family budget, has a degree in Communications and advocates for women’s rights. Her future plans include getting a Labrador and losing a few pounds.


  • To be honest I’m a fan of Jamie Oliver and I found his books to be really inspiring. I think that it’s really good the fact that he is a TV chef and has a book and owning one would be really nice. I’m sure the others are great but I guess I would stick only to one because I’m a bit biased on that matter.

    • Did you ever watch Jamie Olivers cooking show Naked Chef? He cooked things with no extra fuss and just kept things very simple. I really loved watching him on his own show. I can only imagine his cook books including this same style of cooking. Love him!

  • I really love Thug Kitchen. I have an odd sense of humor so that could be part of it but in the end their recipes are actually REALLY good and quite intriguing. They really cut like a knife with their foul language but most of what they say is really true. They show just how easy it is to cook simply and beautifully with a dash of thug. 🙂 I’m really glad you included their book in this list.

  • I used to find cooking a hassle, but the more I did it the more I came to enjoy it. Especially after I started viewing it more as an art. I get most of my recipes online, so I’ve never read any of these cookbooks, but they all sound intriguing. I think I’d really enjoy “Plenty” and “Plenty More.” “Thug Kitchen” looks entertaining as well, I’ll definitely have to get a hold of that!

    • I think, at some point in our lives, most of us realize that cooking is a much more enjoyable experience than it is a hassle. I cook more than ever before, especially as time goes on. It’s something that you can challenge yourself to improve in, and then you directly benefit by eating yummy food!

  • I am absolutely shocked that I have not heard of even one of those cookbooks!!!! I feel so out of the loop! My mother had a shelf at least 3ft long full of cookbooks, so we definitely had quite the variety. I looked through them now and then as a kid to get ideas. Maybe they were all too old and we just weren’t into getting new ones when these came out. I hope my public library has the Indian one though, that interests me a lot, but I can’t afford to buy it right now.

  • I’m a pretty big fan of Jamie Oliver’s cookbooks, and I’d have to say that I know a lot of the recipes in Meals in Minutes because I used that book for the longest time. There are tons of career-defining cookbooks on this list, and plenty of them I have never even laid eyes upon. I’ll have to check some of them out soon.

  • i have to go with jamie oliver on this list. i love his passion for cooking and changing the way people eat. specially recently he started a petition for food education, so that it will become a must to educate children on what is healthy and not. i really appreciate what he stands for.

  • Wow! Thanks! I was tempted to like all of them. But as I read through, I could only like one that best describes me, my home-cooking habits, my feeding preferences for my family. I luv the nutritional tradition that my great, great grandmother passed on to me. #10, “The Meat Hook Meat Book” (tongue twisting title 🙂 ) by Tom Milan– is an investment I’d like to buy as a presents to my daughters and daughters-in-law, Lol!

    Kudos to these Master Chefs! I luv Tom Milan the best for writing the best cookbook for my traditional home-cooking family.

  • Cool books! It’s usually easier in these days to look up recipes online, but a good recipe books just presents you tons of things you’d never have thought to look up, or make something look easy which you would not have believed you could make!

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