Best European Cookbooks

We’ve already handed out awards for French and Italian books. This month, we recognize five winning books from the rest of Europe.

The Food of Spain
Photo: Randy Mayor

The Food of Spain

The Food of Spain By Claudia Roden, Ecco, 2011. Hardcover. $45; 609 pages

Roden takes the same ambitious approach that made The Book of Jewish Food and The New Book of Middle Eastern Food modern classics, weaving together luscious cooking, local and national history, and charming slices of Spanish life shown through mini-essays on some of the country’s most fascinating cooks and food authorities.

The book begins with more than 100 pages of Spanish gastronomic history and a breakdown of regional cuisines. After that, Roden’s detailed recipe headnotes offer ample info to put each dish in proper cultural context. The food is a delectable mix of national standards—paella, tapas, gazpacho, flan—along with lesser-known regional and microregional specialties. Simple, rustic dishes like smoky and complex Potatoes with Chorizo or Braised Rabbit with Herbs and White Wine show just how much flavor can be coaxed from a handful of well-chosen ingredients.

GIVE THIS TO: Armchair travelers and cooks of all skill levels with an interest in Spanish food. —Tim Cebula

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