To Eat is to Travel: Around the World in 26 Cookbooks

To taste is to travel. For the days you wish you were floating on a houseboat in Kerala but are, in fact, standing in your kitchen, these cookbooks will sate both your cravings and your cabin fever. Eat up!

Tangy, buttermilk fattoush, tiny spoonable tortellini, beetroot-red borscht: our cravings are as myriad as the global cuisines represented in the cookbooks below. Recipe developers and writers such as Emiko Davies, Meera Sodha, Olia Hercules - to name but a few - distil the sensory high of travel and discovery and transport it to the plate. Trade beans on toast for bruschetta, or soupy leftovers for saag paneer and send your taste buds around the world.

Travel with your taste buds: recipes from around the world to recreate in your kitchen

Summer Kitchens: Recipes and Reminiscences from Every Corner of Ukraine

By Olia Hercules

In her debut cookbook, Olia Hercules opens our eyes (and taste buds) to the earthy, sour flavours of Ukraine's summer kitchens. But what exactly is a summer kitchen? It is a cabin, outhouse or barn purpose-built to prepare, cook and pickle in throughout the scorchingly hot summer months. But, before making any assumptions, this is not a summer cuisine cookbook. Rather, Hercules transports us to country kitchens, rural villages and fish-packed rivers with this roster of doable recipes. (Psst… the assorted varenyky dishes and yeasted buns with slow-roast pork are instant standouts.)

Buy now

Falastin: A Cookbook

By Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley

Who doesn't swoon over a cookbook that reads like a novel and educates like a geopolitics masterclass? Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley have done it again with Falastin, a love letter to the Palestinian plates and bursting-with-flavour produce Tamimi grew up eating. Exquisite imagery, in-depth essays and dozens of recipes spanning everything from tangy buttermilk fattoush to sumac-marinated chicken thighs dance off the lively pages of this glorious book. A kitchen keeper.

Buy now

The Nordic Cook Book

By Magnus Nilsson

Epicureans will have heard of Nilsson, who once headed up two-Michelin-starred Fäviken (Sweden's answer to Noma) and appeared on Netflix docuseries Chef's Table. Having travelled across Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, he refines familiar recipes (gravadlax, lingonberry jam), highlights lesser-known dishes (rosehip soup, juniper beer) and explains how to smoke and preserve food at home.

Buy now

Sabor: Flavours from a Spanish Kitchen

by Nieves Barragán Mohacho

Bilbao-born chef Barragán Mohacho was at the helm of London hotspot Barrafina when it snagged a Michelin star in 2013. Sabor - meaning "flavour" in Spanish - is an ode to her current Heddon Street restaurant, and serves to inject a little Basque piquancy to the home kitchen. The tortilla with morcilla and piquillo peppers is our go-to.

Buy now

The Groundnut Cookbook by Duval Timothy

By Jacob Fodio Todd and Folayemi Brown

Search any cookery section for books on sub-Saharan Africa and you'll most likely be left wanting. Friends Timothy, Todd and Brown are on a mission to change this. Get a taste of Africa with vibrant, healthy recipes for jollof rice, groundnut soup, pork in tamarind, and… erm… Yorkshire pudding with mango curd.

Buy now

Asma’s Indian Kitchen

By Asthma Khan

Should you have even an iota of interest in Indian cookery, you'll probably already own a book by Madhur Jaffrey or Meera Sodha. That's why we're spotlighting Asma Khan, who used cooking as a remedy for homesickness after relocating from Calcutta to London, began a sellout supper club and now runs London's Darjeeling Express restaurant. Khan's book traces her personal history from Bengal to Hyderabad, sharing the recipes that shaped her.

Buy now

Tortellini at Midnight

By Emiko Davies

This book can be tough to find, but it's well worth seeking out. People often rhapsodise about their love of Italian food, but, in practice, the dishes served on tables from Venice down through Naples and, ultimately, in Sicily are wildly different and intensely regional. Davies, an accomplished cookbook author, photographer and long-time resident of Italy, immerses us in the beans, broths and pasta (including those delectable stuffed tortellini in brood) local to Tuscany and Florence in particular.

Buy now

Peru: The Cookbook

by Gastón Acurio

Lima-native Gastón Acurio is the authority on Peruvian cuisine. His television shows, books and restaurants have introduced the country's bright palate to the world's culinary repertoire. Here, he guides us through classic dishes and ingredients (ceviche, quinoa) to the more obscure, such as chanfainita (beef-lung stew) and frejol colado (a bean pudding).

Buy now

Made in Mexico

by Danny Mena

With a dining scene that runs the gamut from loncherías (snack bars) to Enrique Olvera's Pujol (ranked 12th by The World's 50 Best Restaurants in 2019), Mexico City has inspired many cookbooks. Mena digests the distinctive foodscape, giving us insider intel while arming us with recipes for antojitos (street food, literally "little cravings") and hearty mains.

Buy now

America: The Cookbook

by Gabrielle Langholtz

While Irma Rombauer is the Delia Smith of American kitchens, it is Langholtz's hefty, 800-recipe encyclopedia that has fired our imagination (and appetite) with its state-by-state romp through the country's melting-pot food culture and regional recipes - encompassing Mississippi mud pie and Washington's Ethiopian-influenced injera (a fermented flatbread) - coupled with essays from a who's who of US-based chefs and food lovers.

Buy now

#BakeforSyria Recipe Book

by Clerkenwell Boy and Serena Guen

There's nothing sweeter than this story of a charity bake sale that has become part of a global movement raising more than £700,000 in aid of the child victims of the Syrian civil war. Following the success of their #CookforSyria book, SUITCASE Founder Serena Guen and London-based blogger Clerkenwell Boy joined forces with baker and cake-designer Lily Vanilli to create #BakeforSyria. Expect Middle Eastern-inspired recipes for baked goods and desserts from the likes of Nigel Slater, Yotam Ottolenghi and Rachel Khoo. All proceeds go to Unicef's Children's Emergency Fund. The tahini, date and cardamom cinnamon rolls are on the top of our lockdown to-do list.

Buy now

Amaretto, Apple Cake and Artichokes

by Anna del Conte

Featuring tagliatelle and tiramisu, nettle risotto and chestnut mousse, this compendium of Milan-born del Conte's best recipes is brought to life by personal anecdotes and regional histories. For something a little more alla moda, try A Table in Venice by Skye McAlpine.

Buy now

Greece: The Cookbook

by Vefa Alexiadou

Vefa Alexiadou is the grande dame of Greek cuisine and this book (originally titled Vefa's Kitchen) is the most comprehensive of its kind published in English. Take your tastebuds on a trip to the Aegean as you wrap your mouth around classic fare - tzatziki, taramasalata, souvlaki, calamari - while diving into its historical and religious significance.

Buy now

Mastering the Art of French Cooking

by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck

"People who love to eat are always the best people," wrote the queen of French cuisine. We couldn't agree more. With all the ingredients of a cult classic, Child's culinary bible (co-authored with Beck and Bertholle) reshaped home cooking in 60s America. Recipes scale the backbone of French gastronomy, from Provence to Paris, bread to bourguignon. Not ready to throw on a pearl necklace and grab le beurre? Tuck into Child's television shows - YouTube has a great back catalogue.

Buy now

Japanese Soul Cooking: Ramen, Tonkatsu, Tempura and more from the Streets and Kitchens of Tokyo and Beyond

by Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat

If you want to make your kitchen skills sashimi-knife sharp, try Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art by Shizuo Tsuji. We, however, are big fans of comfort food. Ono and Salat's book sidelines sushi and focuses on soul-hugging fare - ramen, tonkatsu, tempura - while exploring the surprising origins of lesser-known dishes such as mentaiko spaghetti and saikoro steak.

Buy now

Clodagh’s Irish Kitchen

by Clodagh McKenna

Thought the Emerald Isle was fuelled by potatoes and soda bread? Think again. From Ireland's "rebel county" of Cork, chef and food writer Clodagh McKenna has taken all the know-how from Ballymaloe Cookery School and given a new lease of life to traditional Irish fare. Wild-nettle gnocchi and Baileys ice cream, we're looking at you.

Buy now

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

Somali model, author and entrepreneur Hawa Hassan's Basbaas sauces are famous in the kitchens of those in the know. One is sweet, the other, lip-smackingly tangy, and both are inspired by the Somali flavours Hassan grew up eating. This cookbook expands the Basbaas credo of bringing East African tastes to a broader audience. As much a travelogue as it is a recipe trove, Hassan brings us into the fragrant kitchens of Kenyan, Tanzanian and Madagascan grandmothers, among others. Expect charred Somali flatbreads, fragrant plantain and bean dishes and pearls of wisdom aplenty in this beautiful book.

Buy now

Indian-ish: Recipes and Antics from a Modern American Family

By Priya Krishna and Ritu Krishna

Priya Krishna, a food columnist for The New York Times (don't miss her and her architect-baker partner's incredible gingerbread house-building bake-offs with Sohla and Ham El-Waylly on NYT Cooking), co-authored this ode to her Dallas childhood dinners with her mother, Ritu. What you find between the beautifully shot and illustrated (by desi-pop artist Maria Qamar) pages are tasty mash-ups of Indian and American flavours: think the likes of tomato rice with crispy cheddar, earthy saag paneer and - our personal favourite - spiced-yoghurt toasted sandwiches.

Buy now

My Lisbon

by Nuno Mendes

Recipes are peppered throughout this intimate portrait of Portugal's City of Light. It's a love letter from Lisboeta Nuno Mendes to his hometown, in which he brings to life the roar of Lisbon's modern food scene along with its centuries-old traditions. And yes, there's much more in here than sardines and pasteis de nata.

Buy now

Feast: Recipes and Stories From a Canadian Road Trip

by Lindsay Anderson and Dana VanVeller

On a five-month, 37,000km, coast-to-coast road trip across Canada, Anderson and VanVeller chatted to more than 80 farmers, grandmothers, First Nation elders and acclaimed chefs. The result is this anthology of recipes and reflections, including Yukon cinnamon buns, bison sausage rolls and tundra-berry muffins.

Buy now

The East: 120 Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Beijing

by Meera Sodha

The East is a pretty big place and home to a miscellany of foodscapes. Whisking us from India to Indonesia via China, Thailand and Vietnam, Sodha's rundown proves that flavour can be both fuss-free and meat-free with her variations on curries, noodles, tofu dishes, sweets and more. Kimchi pancakes and salted miso brownies are on the top of our to-do list.

Buy now

Black Sea: Dispatches and Recipes, Through Darkness and Light

by Caroline Eden

Part travelogue, part cookbook, Black Sea is an expedition through Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey that hones in on the intersection between food and culture. A recipe for borscht is accompanied by a tale of rebellion, while comparisons are drawn between Romanian covrigi and Turkish simit bread. Can't travel there? This is the next best thing.

Buy now

The Broadsheet Melbourne Cookbook: Recipes from the City’s Best

by Broadsheet Media

When it comes to dining out, Melbourne's effervescent food scene rivals that of New York and London. This book tells you not just where and what to eat, but also gives you a slice of Down Under with recipes straight from the kitchens of the city's cafés and restaurants, including Chin Chin, Mamasita and Ladro. Like this? There's also a Sydney iteration of the book.

Buy now

Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love

By Noor Murad and Yotam Ottolenghi

Few sights are more cheering than the spice jar-laden shelves and jovial faces of the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen team on the set of their new YouTube series, OTK What's For Dinner? And cooking along, with the help of the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen cookbook, only makes this heavenly at-home activity even more fun. The cookbook is really a compendium of a year's-worth of testing with limited ingredients during 2020's lockdowns. And it's perfect. A quick scan of your pantry and fridge will probably reveal that you do have the spices, feta and yoghurt with which to stuff those sweet potatoes you bought last week. That dusty jar of sumac at the back of the cupboard? Marinate a chicken in it for a hit of zesty, Levantine freshness. This masterful yet accessible book takes us around the world, albeit with Ottolenghi's signature spicy kick.

Buy now

Jamie’s Great Britain

by Jamie Oliver

Gracing our screens and lining our bookshelves, Jamie Oliver is the bread and butter of modern British home cooking. In this culinary tour of the UK, he updates nostalgic dishes such as bubble and squeak, toad in the hole, jam tarts and arctic roll. Pukka.

Buy now

This article was updated on 10th of January 2022.

Discover More
12 Chefs Reveal the Dishes that Remind them of their Favourite Destinations