What are your favorite offbeat cookbooks?

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I have a friend that loves to cook and loves cookbooks.

I’d like to get her a fun cookbook as a house warming gift but something beyond the realm of The Silver Palate and other “normal” cookbooks.

What’s out there for the offbeat chefs that produces tasty results?


I know a LOT of you left some great Megan-simple cookbook ideas for me back when I was doing my cooking challenge. What about cookbooks for people who aren’t afraid to get experimental? Not that this will surprise you, but here are MY offbeat cookbook suggestions…

The Unofficial Game of Thrones CookbookThe Game of Thrones cookbook is a collection of hearty meals inspired by George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series! Including recipes for Arbor Red Wine, the Stark’s Venison, Apple, Cheddar Plaits, The Imp’s Wild Strawberry Fool and Wilding Grilled Pork Chops with Stir-Grilled Apples.

The Star Wars CookbookThe Star Wars cookbook will show you how to make Wookie Cookies, Jedi Juice Bars, Dark Side Salsa, Boba Fett-Uccine, and Crazy Cantina Chili. (Psst: there’s one for Trekkies too!)

The Manga CookbookThe Manga Cookbook is an illustrated guide to preparing Japanese cuisine. Learn to identify and make the same things you see in all your favorite manga, including: onigiri, rice balls, yakitori, skewered chicken oshinko, pickled vegetables udon, Japanese noodles, and loads more.

What are YOUR (possibly less nerdy) suggestions for offbeat cookbook ideas for people who actually LOVE to cook?

Comments on What are your favorite offbeat cookbooks?

    • Yes! A friend of mine gave me the Redwall Cookbook for Christmas, and it is amazing. The other day I made deeper’n’ever turnip’n’tater’n’beetroot pie, and it was absolutely delicious. At some point I’ll have to get some friends together and throw a proper Mossflower Feast.

    • oh my. i looked for one of these for *years*. because, not only do i have the redwall collection, but i think i was a better cook in 3rd grade (when the collection started) than i am now. oh, how dearly i wanted this then. i am so excited to see that it exists now.

  1. My favorite cookbooks include…

    Fresh and Fast Vegetarian – easy but super interesting main dishes, sides, etc that you can mix and match

    A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen – cooking by the seasons. This is at least relevant in the northeast US but I’m not sure of other locales.

    How to Cook Everything Vegetarian – by the same publishers of How to Cook Everything, but for veggies. While this book does offer recipes, I use it more as a reference manual than anythign else. For instance, I want ot make ice cream, I can find the basic recipe, they’re suggested substitutions and make anything I want with their ratios.

    These are really only offbeat for their vegetarian factor, but I still thought they were very valuable and still wrth mentioning!!

    • Similar idea is Make the Bread, Buy the Butter by Jennifer Reese – tells you all the stuff thats worth making yourself and whats not, comparing costs of materials to cost of store bought, and effort put in with how good the results are etc. The writing it light and easy, but soooo informative!!

    • I have this, it’s awesome! Great anecdotes and some really fantastic recipes. Look out for Lemmy’s recipe for Krakatoa Surprise!

    • I NEED this book!

      If nothing else I keep hearing about Ron Thal’s chili and now I’ve got a chance to try it for myself. But the whole book sounds awesome.

  2. The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook is fun for a fan of the series, and reminds me of watching Alton Brown (good eats) because all the recipes are accompanied by ‘sponsor tips’ with fun information on cooking techniques. Aimed at a younger audience for sure, but has a couple wild game recipes, which isn’t necesarily standard to find.

  3. On the topic of nerdy cookbooks, years ago my husband bought Nanny Ogg’s Cookbook and we have not regretted it. (To be fair, we read it more than we cooked from it. The only thing he made were the Strawberry Wobblers, because, you know, it’s not a party until you’re eating a penis desert. #MatureAdults!)

  4. The cookbook I wish I had the skills to use more often: Marcel Desaulniers’s “Death by Chocolate“. Oh, the cakes in that book! Although they aren’t so much chocolate cakes as they are chocolate aedifices…or chocolate castles =)

    The cookbooks I actually use daily are “Nourishing Traditions” (Sally Fallon), “50 Great Curries of India” (Camellia Panjabi) and (for Australian readers, although there may also be a US edition) “Frugavore” by Arabella Forge. The curry book has some really intricate party dishes and dessert ideas, as well as simple ‘weeknight’ curries.

    My kitchen bible, however,is my mum’s 1950s edition of “The Constance Spry Cookery Book“. Apparently it is now back in print (hurrah!!) and is well worth a look if you like tasty food from the best of the English and French traditions.

  5. I 10000000% reccomend the LEON cookbooks. I bought them in one of their London restaurants (but have bought them from amazon for friends), and there hasn’t been a single recipe (and we’ve tried many) we haven’t absolutely loved. Plus, they look amazing and make for great gifts, and it’s wholesome, healthy food with a dose of indulgent recipes. I can’t say enough good things abou them.

  6. I’m going to get the Official Game of Thrones cookbook, A Feast of Ice and Fire. The reviews said it was worth it.

    Our most used cookbook in the kitchen is I Heart Cheesecake. With it, you will never buy cheesecake again!

  7. I am a huge food nerd, so sorry if I bombard you with cookbook suggestions!

    The Urban Cookbook is a great cookbook with an emphasis on international street food that is full of gorgeous photos & interviews with graffiti artists/skaters/djs whathaveyou. It is pretty and interesting enough to sit on your coffee table.

    The Moosewood Cookbook is a classic vegetarian cookbook – I think my parents had it in the 70’s. Some of the recipes are a little retro, and it’s definitely not for vegans (SOOO MUCH YOGURT!) but it’s a fun throwback with a charming hippie vibe.

    Not Your Mother’s Cookbook is for those of us who cook because it’s fun – it’s full of weird, geeky, food experiments (like eggs cooked for 12 hours in Turkish Coffee) and classic weird food tricks (beer can chicken). Funny writing as well.

    I am loving Make The Bread, Buy The Butter, which was a birthday gift from a friend. It’s great for those of us who want to Make More Stuff – like yogurt, bagels, cheese, & sausage) foodie nerds (why yes, I did make these cocktail bitters myself!) and Cheap Asses (homemade bread costs less than $1 a loaf?!), with cost comparisons for every item. I am all three, so this book has been open on my kitchen counter for months.

    I am also really partial to a little book called Far East, Down East, an asian cookbook specifically for New England ingredients. It combines my international tastes with my locavore ambitions.

  8. I love Mollie Katzen’s “The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest.” It’s a beautiful hand illustrated vegetarian cookbook, and a bunch of her recipes have become staples in our house (her leek and potato soup recipe is amazing!). There’s also a section that helps guide you into creating concoctions of your own, and it lists flavours/spices/foods typical of different kinds of cuisines that can help you throw something together in a particular style.

  9. Being Dead Is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide To Hosting the Perfect Funeral —-> funny, plus you get some good recipes. Two recipes from this book are on my standard potluck rotation. The second book in the series is about weddings and is pretty good, but most of the recipes are a lot more work (Somebody is Going to Die if Lilly Beth Doesn’t Catch That Bouquet).
    The third isn’t really worth it.

    I’m also a huge fan of the My Cooking Class series. So pretty! (also delicious)

    • Ooh, thanks for recommending this! I want to start getting a list of cookbooks together to ask for for Christmas (I’ve only been vegan since February) and I was hoping someone would recommend a vegan cookbook.

      Though I would definitely love to try to veganize some of the recipes in the Game of Thrones cookbook(s).

    • I cook all the time and have been vegan for about a year now after cooking vegan on and off for about 3 years. Vegan with a Vengeance is my FAVORITE cookbook!!! Every single thing I have cooked from that book has been excellent and adored by all, both vegan and omnivore. Awesome pancake recipe and vegan spanakopita to mention a few of my favs. :o)

      I also love Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero’s vegan dessert cook books, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, Vegan Pie in the Sky, and Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

      Every recipe I have ever tried by Isa has never failed, and I have messed up my fair share of creations, esp. vegan ones. In my opinion Isa is a go-to for vegan cooks! :o)

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