If you're tired of whipping up the same old dishes in the kitchen try one of these unique cookbooks for inspiration. From Thug Kitchen to Dr. Who to literary cuisine there's something to motivate everyone to start a new culinary adventure.

Compiled by:
Elizabeth G.
Bitter: a taste of the world's most dangerous flavor, with recipes

Jennifer McLagan
641.3 Mcl

What do coffee, IPA beer, dark chocolate, and radicchio all have in common? They're bitter. In this deep and fascinating exploration of bitter through science, culture, history, and 120 deliciously idiosyncratic recipes, award-winning author Jennifer McLagan makes a case for this misunderstood flavor. Biologically-speaking, the taste of something bitter--unlike sweet, which can indicate a nutrient-rich food, and salty, which indicates the presence of needed minerals--can signify a poison, so an appreciation for bitterness must develop with age and experience. While some culinary cultures have an inherent appreciation for bitter flavors, little attention has been given to bitterness in North America. Although recently the flavor is making inroads with increased interest in craft beers, artisanal coffee, bitter salad greens and chocolate. In the capable hands of McLagan, bitterness will emerge from the shadows of the culinary underworld and get its deserved place in the spotlight.

Books that Cook: the making of a literary meal

Jennifer Cognard-Black, Melissa A. Goldthwaite
808.80641 Boo

Organized like a cookbook, here is a collection of American literature written on the theme of food. Each section begins with an excerpt from an influential American cookbook, progressing chronologically from the late 1700s through the present day. The literary works within each section are an extension of these cookbooks, while the cookbook excerpts in turn become pieces of literature--forms of storytelling and memory-making all their own. Each section offers a delectable assortment of poetry, prose, and essays, and the selections all include at least one tempting recipe to entice readers to cook this book. Including writing from such notables as Maya Angelou, James Beard, Sherman Alexie, Nora Ephron, and Alice Waters, among many others, Books that Cook reveals the range of ways authors incorporate recipes--whether the recipe flavors the story or the story serves to add spice to the recipe.

The Geeky Chef Cookbook : unofficial recipes from Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, and More

Cassandra Reeder
641.5 Ree

Cassandra Reeder loves to cook, and she's a bona-fide mega-geek. Comic-lover, avid gamer, and sci-fi and fantasy lover, she started The Geeky Chef in 2008. She creates real-life recipes for all the delicious foods you've seen in your favorite sci-fi and fantasy movies, TV shows, and video games. From Game of Thrones and the Hunger Games to Doctor Who, the Legend of Zelda and the World of Warcraft, this book features over 60 recipes and photos that you can re-create right in your own home for the geek in your life. Finally learn to create Butterbeer and Pumpkin Pasties from Harry Potter. Indulge in the Lemon Cakes from Game of Thrones. Sip from a bowl of Plomeek Soup from Star Trek and enjoy Peeta's Cheesy Bread from the Hunger Games right in your kitchen! Fantasy foods are fantasy no longer.

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

Priya Krishna, Ritu Krishna
Adult Nonfiction - 641.5954 Kri

A witty and irresistible celebration of one very cool and boundary-breaking mom’s “Indian-ish” cooking—with accessible and innovative Indian-American recipes. Indian food is everyday food! This colorful, lively book is food writer Priya Krishna’s loving tribute to her mom’s “Indian-ish” cooking—a trove of one-of-a-kind Indian-American hybrids that are easy to make, clever, practical, and packed with flavor.

Kyotofu: uniquely delicious Japanese desserts

Nicole Bermensolo
641.5952 Ber

Japanese ingredients have long been known for their distinctive tastes and healthy qualities. From the tang of yuzu to the bite of matcha to the creaminess of soy, they present a wide range of delicious flavors. In Kyotofu, award-winning baker, Nicole Bermensolo, presents 75 classic American sweets, like cheesecake, brownies, and muffins, combined with Japanese ingredients to create one-of-a-kind desserts. Try recipes like Green Tea White Chocolate Cupcakes, Black Sesame Caramel Mousse, Kinako Waffles, and Nashi Pear Crumble.Perfect for beginners to Japanese cooking, Kyotofu is divided by Japanese ingredient, includes a glossary of foreign terms, and suggests where to buy less familiar products. Plus, for those who want a healthier dessert, all the recipes can be made completely gluten-free thanks to Nicole's cup-for-cup flour recipe.

The Laws of Cooking: and how to break them

Justin Warner
641.5 War

This book encourages improvisation and play, while explaining Justin Warner's unique ideas about "flavor theory"--like color theory, but for your tongue. By introducing eleven laws based on familiar foods (e.g., "The Law of Peanut Butter and Jelly"; "The Law of Coffee, Cream, and Sugar"), the book will teach you why certain flavors combine brilliantly, and then show how these combinations work in 110 more complex and inventive recipes (Tomato Soup with "Grilled Cheese" Ravioli; Scallops with Black Sesame and Cherry). At the end of every recipe, Justin "breaks the law" by adding a seemingly discordant flavor that takes the combination to a new level. Warner's focus is on the food, and encouraging readers to stretch their palates and skills to create something truly unique. This is a refreshingly new take from an author to watch.

Minimalist Baker's Everyday Cooking : 101 Entirely Plant-based, Mostly Gluten-free, Easy and Delicious Recipes

Dana Shultz
Adult Nonfiction - 641.56365 Shu

A recipe collection from the popular food blog Minimalist Baker features simple, quick vegan recipes that require ten ingredients or less, including such options as spiced buckwheat pancakes, cornbread chili potpies, and Thai quinoa meatballs.

Raw Food French Style: 115 fresh recipes from the new generation of French chefs

Delphine de Montalier
641.563 Mon

Here are 115 recipes for the curious omnivore, from a new generation of French chefs. This stylish and accessible take on the next big trend in food includes soups, salads, juices, seafood, raw and seared meat, and desserts. 'Raw Talent' features throughout this book focus on some of the most exciting raw food chefs and restaurants in Paris. The benefits of eating less processed food are constantly increasing in recognition, and raw food diet books have a dedicated following. Raw Food French Style has a non-fanatical approach, with the emphasis on flavor. Recipes include: Raw Beetroot, Nut and Grapefruit salad; Passionfruit and Coconut Tuna fillet; Veal Tartar tartare with Oysters and Seaweed; Sesame and Clementine sauce; Pineapple, Sage and Ginger sorbet.

Relæ: a book of ideas

Christian F. Puglisi
641.594 Pug

A gorgeous, impeccably designed cookbook from one of Denmark's star chefs, in which he reveals the theory and philosophy behind the food of his award-winning restaurant Relæ. Chef Christian F. Puglisi's deeply imaginative, plant-centric cooking has earned him a Michelin star, rave reviews from international food media, and the respect of top chefs from around the world. Relæ is Puglisi's debut: like his restaurant, the book is unconventional, beautifully designed, and thought-provoking. Rather than being recipe-driven, the book is centered on "idea essays," in which Puglisi shares the inspirations and practical methods behind the dishes at Relæ. Photographs with illustrated vellum overlays provide readers with a visual guide to the food, and narrative descriptions of ingredients, cooking techniques, and rationales behind each dish offer an unprecedented glimpse into a star chef's creative process

Salt Fat Acid Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking

Samin Nosrat
Adult Nonfiction - 641.5 Nos

Echoing Samin’s own journey from culinary novice to award-winning chef, Salt, Fat Acid, Heat immediately bridges the gap between home and professional kitchens. With charming narrative, illustrated walkthroughs, and a lighthearted approach to kitchen science, Samin demystifies the four elements of good cooking for everyone. Refer to the canon of 100 essential recipes—and dozens of variations—to put the lessons into practice and make bright, balanced vinaigrettes, perfectly caramelized roast vegetables, tender braised meats, and light, flaky pastry doughs.

Sweet Paul Eat & Make: charming recipes + kitchen crafts you will love

Paul Lowe
641.5 Low

It began as a little blog highlighting the recipes and crafts of the Norwegian-born food and prop stylist Paul Lowe. Six years later, Sweet Paul is an online magazine followed by millions and a print quarterly sold nationwide in specialty stores. Praised by the New York Times as "a trove of seasonal delights," it is turning heads with its easy, elegant food and style-setting aesthetic. Divided into Morning, Brunch, Noon, and Night, with color palettes to match, this book includes breakfast dishes like Morning Biscuits with Cheddar, Dill, and Pumpkin Seeds and brunches like Smoked Salmon Hash with Scallions, Dill, and Eggs. For lunch, there's a super-quick Risotto with Asparagus, and for dinner, Maple-Roasted Chicken and a stunning Norwegian specialty, World's Best Cake. Rustically chic craft projects- paper flowers made out of coffee filters, a vegetable-dyed tablecloth, and a trivet from wooden clothespins--will captivate even those who are all thumbs.

Thug Kitchen: Party Grub

Thug Kitchen LLC
641.56365 Thu

Thug Kitchen goes vegan! From the duo behind New York Times bestseller, Thug Kitchen, comes the next installment of kick-ass recipes with a side of attitude. An irreverent collection of 100 plant-based party foods counsels health-conscious cooks on how to render vegetarian foods exciting, complementing such options as Deviled Chickpea Bites and Mexican Lasagna with a variety of cocktail recipes. Thug Kitchen: Party Grub answers the questions that they have heard most from their fans: How the hell are you supposed to eat healthy when you hang around with a bunch of jerks who couldn't care less about what they stuff in their face? The answer: You make a bomb-ass plant-based dish from Thug Kitchen. Featuring over 100 recipes to host or bring to parties of any kind, Party Grub combines exciting, healthy, vegan food with easy-to-follow directions and damn entertaining commentary.

Vegetable Kingdom

Bryant Terry
Adult Nonfiction - 641.56362 Ter

More than 100 beautifully simple recipes that teach you the basics of a great vegan meal centered on real food, not powders or meat substitutes--from the James Beard Award-winning chef and author of Afro-Vegan Food justice activist and author Bryant Terry breaks down the fundamentals of plant-based cooking in Vegetable Kingdom, showing you how to make delicious meals from popular vegetables, grains, and legumes. Recipes like Dirty Cauliflower, Barbecued Carrots with Slow-Cooked White Beans, Millet Roux Mushroom Gumbo, and Citrus & Garlic-Herb-Braised Fennel are enticing enough without meat substitutes, instead relying on fresh ingredients, vibrant spices, and clever techniques to build flavor and texture.

Yucatán: recipes from a culinary expedition

David Sterling
641.597265 Ste

This is not just a cookbook; it's also a labor of love that well documents places, people, and, yes, food on Mexico's Yucatan peninsula. Is there really a difference between Yucatan menus and dishes from other Mexican states? Sterling points to the extensive use of recados (curries) and alcaparrados (capers, raisins, olives, and almonds) as well as influences from Spain and Portugal, France and Holland, and Lebanon, Cuba, and Africa to create such dishes as sopa de lima and achiote. The more than 275 recipes are gathered in groupings based on the heartland, the coast, the cities, and the villages, populated, too, with excellent photographs of many Yucatan natives. Ingredients are featured with a description and their culinary uses, including both familiar and indigenous, such as avocado, cashew apples, oscillated turkey, and lobster, to mention a handful. It will be difficult not to turn on all the burners and oven to try pilikanes, turkey in maize, fish-head soup, pan dulce, or crispy fried pork skin.