WSJ names their top cookooks for the past year.
When it comes to cookbook design, two philosophies dominate: food as utility versus food as experience. The utilitarian cookbook often centers on a specific diet or attitude towards eating with an emphasis on health and losing weight. This point of view is also replicated in a Puritan design aesthetic, with pale pages, limited color palettes and pleasant, if boring, recipes. While we certainly could stand to lose a few pounds, we prefer to seduced by cookbooks that owe their design aesthetic to Gourmet magazine, and come filled with sumptuous photos, full-color pages and mini-narratives that allow us to daydream about winters in Vermont. As Martha Stewart discovered, a cookbook’s success is based not only its recipes; it has to include a compelling dash of fantasy that allows us to glimpse a more accommodating, warm, genteel, or elegant versions of ourselves. – From WSJ