Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook
by Daniel Humm and Will Guidara (Little, Brown; $50)
The photos alone may be worth the price of admission. And you have to admire Humm’s candor in response to the rhetorical question “Will people actually be able to cook from this book?” His answer: “Yes-ish.”
Who it’s for: Cooking-school grads, food-porn addicts, and anyone unafraid of this ingredient: “1 suckling pig head, split, brain removed.”
Where to put it: Tucked between the Cryovac machine and the immersion circulator, and within reach of the safety goggles.
Make this: Suckling-pig belly with peas, mint, and lettuce.
Momofuku Milk Bar
by Christina Tosi (Clarkson Potter; $35)
Before Tosi, inventor of Crack Pie and Cereal Milk, Momofuku’s “dessert program” consisted of post-ramen Hershey’s Kisses and supermarket mochi ice cream. Now it’s a retail-bakery juggernaut, powered by fiendishly sweet and surprisingly salty crumbs, crunches, and brittles.
Who it’s for: The home baker undaunted by multiple-component recipes and Tosi go-tos like glucose and milk powder.
Where to put it: On the cereal shelf next to the Lucky Charms.
Make this: Celery-root ganache, a stroke of root-vegetable genius.
The Meatball Shop Cookbook
by Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow (Ballantine Books; $28)
For good or ill, New York has become a meatball town, and with 155 pages devoted to the subject, this is its meatball bible.
Who it’s for: Practically everyone, since meatballs, according to the authors, are society’s “great equalizer.”
Where to put it: Just far enough away from the stove to avoid sauce splatterings.
Make this: Start with the signature beef version and work your way up to the advanced-technique “bunny balls.”
The PDT Cocktail Book
by Jim Meehan (Sterling Epicure; $24.95)
It’s everything you’ve always wanted to know about the celebrated East Village saloon (and by extension the wonderful world of contemporary cocktails), in a style that’s as beautifully concise and meticulously designed as a PDT pick-me-up.
Who it’s for: The aspiring cocktail geek.
Where to put it: Within reach of the celery bitters.
Make this: Meehan’s Condiment Cocktail accompanied by PDT pal Wylie Dufresne’s Wylie Dog.
An Everlasting Meal
by Tamar Adler (Scribner; $25)
Adler, a writer-cook who’s plied her twin trades at Harper’s magazine and Chez Panisse, celebrates economical (but not trashy), easy (but not lazy), exuberant cooking and eating, in a work that reads less like a cookbook than like a recipe for a delicious life.
Who it’s for: Cooks who see the beauty in broccoli stems and stale crusts, and the poetry in a pot of beans.
Where to put it: On the nightstand, then in your Greenmarket tote.
Make this: Bread soup and parsley salad.
Cooking Without Borders
by Anita Lo (Stewart, Tabori & Chang; $35)
By melding her Chinese-Malaysian heritage, her French training, and her own unbounded culinary curiosity, Annisa’s Anita Lo—avid fisherwoman, gardener, and Japanophile—gives fusion a good name.
Who it’s for: Open-minded cooks with seasonal, nose-to-tail sensibilities and an appetite for improvisation.
Where to put it: Ideally in your weekend house, next to the fly rod.
Make this: Seared foie gras with foie-gras soup dumplings, before they ban the stuff.
by Kurt Gutenbrunner with Jane Sigal (Rizzoli; $45)
K.G., as the Austrian culinary ambassador calls himself, has brought New York an elegant restaurant, a laidback bistro, an authentic kaffeehaus, and a bustling biergarten.
Who it’s for: Linzertorte-loving fans of the Vienna Secession, the Wiener Werkstatte, and the Neue Galerie, which collaborated on the book.
Where to put it: The coffee table, naturally, next to a foamy wiener melange made from Julius Meinl coffee beans.
Make this: A golden wiener schnitzel to start, and a shaggy kaiserschmarren to finish.