Travels with my cookbook

These genre-blending recipe books are a journey for the senses – and the soul, says Baya Simons

Helados – a dish from The Capri restaurant in the Texan desert city of Marfa
Helados – a dish from The Capri restaurant in the Texan desert city of Marfa

Mixing travel journals with food writing, recipes with personal essays and food photography with reportage, a new breed of travel cookbook is at home both in the kitchen and on the bedside table. Richly illustrated, these collections transport the tastebuds from the shores of Sardinia to the backstreets of Bethlehem.

Cooking in Marfa by Virginia Lebermann and Rocky Barnette
Cooking in Marfa by Virginia Lebermann and Rocky Barnette

Cooking in Marfa by Virginia Lebermann and Rocky Barnette; photography by Douglas Friedman (Phaidon, £35)

Ever since American artist Donald Judd opened his foundation here in the 1980s, the Texan desert city of Marfa has been a mecca for art lovers. But in recent years it has made a foodie name for itself, mostly thanks to The Capri and its menu of avant-garde Mexican-inflected fare such as tempura-fried yucca blossoms and prickly-pear wine. In this new book, the restaurant’s recipes are combined with essays and photographs to evoke the taste of the desert at home.

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Falastin by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley (Penguin, £28)

“A love letter to Palestine, the land and its people” from Yotam Ottolenghi’s longtime collaborators Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley, Falastin travels through Bethlehem, East Jerusalem, Nablus, Haifa, Akka, Nazareth, Galilee and the West Bank. Recipes for dishes such as falafel with sumac onions and roast cauliflower with burnt aubergine and tomato salsa are interspersed with travel and food photography, and stories from unheard voices.

Falastin by Yotam Ottolenghi collaborators Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley
Falastin by Yotam Ottolenghi collaborators Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley

Bitter Honey by Letitia Clark (Hardie Grant, £27)

Promising to serve as “a holiday and a cookbook”, Bitter Honey from Sardinia-based cook Letitia Clark is a journey across the Italian island via recipes, stories and photographs. Dishes include such delights as grilled aubergines with ricotta salata and mint, and malloreddus (a local shell-shaped pasta) with mutton broth and pecorino.

Bitter Honey by Letitia Clark – a culinary journey across Sardinia
Bitter Honey by Letitia Clark – a culinary journey across Sardinia

Sun and Rain by Ana Ros (Phaidon, £39.95)

With an original style that combines diary, memoir and cookbook, acclaimed Slovenian chef Ana Ros shares the stories and recipes of the remote Soca valley, near the Italian border, where she was raised and now runs the 38th best restaurant in the world, Hisa Franko. Recipes are based on ingredients local to the valley, so expect dishes such as beef tongue with oyster mayonnaise and potatoes cooked in hay.

Sun and Rain by Slovenian chef Ana Ros
Sun and Rain by Slovenian chef Ana Ros

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