Welcome to Simply Recipes' second annual Summer Cookbook Club! Whether you're brand new to Cookbook Club or back again after last year's inaugural event, we're so glad you'll be cooking along with us this summer!
We've chosen three amazing cookbooks to focus on over the next three months, each covering a different region of the world, and all going deeper than just a collection of recipes to make for dinner. (Although you'll want to do that as well!)
Instead the cookbooks, and the authors behind them, show us how these recipes have evolved and flourished under the care of those who've passed them down and around their families and communities. We experience this food through the stories of grandmothers (In Bibi's Kitchen), third-culture cooks (To Asia, With Love), and migrants (Ripe Figs).
The result is not just inspiring; it's a deeply moving picture of how "recipes comfort us and nourish us through times of great celebration or terrible calamity," as Yasmin Khan writes; "a celebration of how flavor can so powerfully connect us to our past and create pathways to our future," in the words of Hetty McKinnon.
It's about "global flavors" that are deeply local; cultural identities that are intensely personal, propelled into unfamiliar places and forced to adapt. It's about family cooking, home cooking, community, and common ground.
Above all, these cookbooks are about people and places, and the ties – and recipes – that bind them together.
Our June Cookbook
"In Bibi's Kitchen: The Recipes and Stories of Grandmothers from the Eight African Countries That Touch the Indian Ocean" by Hawa Hassan with Julia Turshen
Hawa Hassan's beautiful cookbook celebrates the histories, stories, and flavors of this East African region through the eyes (and recipes) of a group of bibis, or grandmothers. It's organized by country; it begins in Eritrea on the northeastern part of Africa, and then moves south along the coast through Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa, ending on the islands of Madagascar and Comoros.
This cookbook celebrates home cooking. Every chapter begins with an interview with the bibi that gives us a real sense of place and invites us to the table. The bibis chose the recipes they wanted to share with Hawa, often because it was an easy recipe to make. "This is home cooking," Hawa writes, "which means you can make everything yourself with widely available and affordable ingredients." Many of the recipes are also vegetarian or vegan.
"In creating this book, we have come to understand more than ever that we all have more in common than separates us." - Hawa Hassan
Recipes We're Excited to Try
- Shiro (Ground Chickpea Stew), from Eritrea
- Somali Cilantro and Green Chile Pepper Sauce, from Somalia
- Chicken Biryani, from Kenya
- Crispy Coconut Dumplings in Cardamom Syrup, from Tanzania
Recipes You Can Make Right Now
- Kicha (Eritrean Flatbreads) from "In Bibi's Kitchen"
- Zanzibar Pilau (Rice Pilaf) from "In Bibi's Kitchen"
- Lasary Legioma (Tomato Relish) from "In Bibi's Kitchen"
Hawa Hassan, In Her Own Words
Our July Cookbook
"To Asia, With Love: Everyday Asian Recipes and Stories from the Heart" by Hetty McKinnon
Hetty McKinnon's fourth cookbook returns to the flavors of her childhood. As "a Chinese girl born in Australia," Hetty embraces a third-culture way of cooking, with recipes that are "Asian in origin, but modern in spirit," a melding of flavors, ingredients, and techniques that can only come from someone who has grown up in disparate cultures.
"To Asia, With Love" is a vegetarian cookbook that will leave you wanting nothing. Hetty's aim, as she writes in the introduction, is to show home cooks that it's possible to create "big-flavored" vegetarian and vegan Asian meals, with easy-to-find ingredients.
"The food that we grow up eating stays with us forever." - Hetty McKinnon
Look for more from "To Asia, With Love" beginning July 7, 2021!
Our August Cookbook
"Ripe Figs: Recipes and Stories from Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus" by Yasmin Khan
The eastern Mediterranean, which includes Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus, bridges the cultures and continents of Europe and the Middle East. It's "a place where family is central, tradition is honored, myths are revered, and meals are meant to be savored, slowly, and always with good company."
It's also a region that has seen 5 million migrants move through it in the last five years, the biggest mass movement of people through Europe since WWII.
Through gorgeous photos and delicious, seasonally-focused salads, soups, and light meals, Yasmin Khan shares the stories and food that these migrants have carried with them on their journey, and the ways the food of this region has sustained - and even saved - them.
"[This] is a book about the people I met, shared meals with, and cooked alongside, in Greece, Turkey, and Cyprus. But most of all, I think, it's a book about the resilience of the human spirit." - Yasmin Khan
Look for more from "Ripe Figs" beginning August 2, 2021!
Live Cooking Demos with the Authors (and Us!)
Join us every Thursday at 10am PST / 1pm EST for a live cooking demonstration on Instagram showcasing a recipe from that month's chosen cookbook. Cook along with us or just pop in to see how it's done. And don't miss our special author cooking demonstrations!
Here's what we'll be cooking in June from "In Bibi's Kitchen":
- Thursday, June 10: South African Iced Rooibos Tea with Orange, Cloves, and Cinnamon (pg. 214) with Senior Editor Summer Miller
- Thursday, June 17: Ma Halima's Beef Suqaar (pg. 84), with author Hawa Hassan and Editor-in-Chief, Emma Christensen
- Thursday, June 24: TBD
Cook On Your Own and Share with the Club
Show us what you're making from these cookbooks by tagging us on Instagram and using the hashtag #SummerCookbookClub.
Have questions for the author or a question about a recipe? Email us anytime at email@example.com with the subject line "Summer Cookbook Club."
Sign Up for the Newsletter
From now through August, we're sending emails to the Cookbook Club email list every Monday and Wednesday sharing recipes (both published recipes from the cookbooks and new recipes developed by the author for Simply Recipes!), as well as interviews and ingredient guides.
You'll also get a (brief) email every Thursday morning reminding you about the Instagram Live cooking demonstration happening later in the day - basically, who's cooking what, and when!