I’ve always loved to read. Before I even learned, I would memorize the books my mother would read me, and complete the sentences as she turned the pages. As a child I’d take out about 15 library books a week, and devour them all. These days I don’t read as often as I’d like, and fiction takes a back seat to books on food history, business and personal development. But I still enjoy every page.
This year I made sure to purchase plenty of reading material. I wanted to stock my shelves with the best Spanish cookbooks, and the most interesting and colorful books on food culture and food history. I’m still working my way through, but I’ve discovered many gems that I can’t imagine being without.
Here are seven Spanish cookbooks that you absolutely must own if you are a Spanish food lover and home cook.
by Claudia Roden
This is an absolute must for any home cook interested in Spanish cooking, and a fantastic Spanish cookbook! Claudia Roden’s recipes are simple and easy to follow, and everything I’ve made from this book to date has been a hit. I’ve used her recipes to make the most amazing chicken in almond sauce I’ve ever had, the most delicious tuna empanadas, gorgeous saffron meatballs and much more.
by Penelope Casas
Penelope Casas was one of the most influential people in bringing Spanish cuisine to the US. Married to a Spaniard, she wrote various cookbooks throughout her life, including one in 1985 that focused on tapas– perhaps the first introduction Americans had to these small Spanish plates. This was her last book, and it is truly epic.
by Penelope Casas
Honestly, I would recommend all of Penelope Casas’ books, but apart from 1,000 Spanish Recipes I think this one (which it seems is currently only available used) is another must. I love the concept– recipes passed down by generations of women. Reading it makes me feel like I’m cooking with my mother-in-law in Cadiz. It’s a beautiful book to have and read again and again.
by Matt Goulding
An awesome narrative by the founder of Roads & Kingdoms (not quite a recipe book, but it will definitely inspire you to cook!). This is THE book to read before coming to Spain, as it’s also filled with great tips on how the locals eat and drink.
5. Casa Moro
by Sam and Sam Clark
The history and cuisine of Andalusia is something that absolutely fascinates me. Many don’t realize the impact the Moors had on modern day Spanish cooking– think rice, almonds, sugarcane, oil… This colorful cookbook written by chefs and owners of Moro restaurant in London is a perfect addition to any Spanish cookbook library.
by Rick Stein
I have to admit that I didn’t know of UK celebrity chef Rick Stein until we were planning our Seville food tours. One of our tour partners, an ice-cream shop, proudly displayed his book– they were featured inside! It seems that mega famous Stein made his way through lesser known parts of Spain, seeking lesser known dishes. He did a great job curating– now I just have to get cooking!
by Mark Kurlansky
I first discovered Mark Kurlansky in Basque Country when I picked up his book The Basque History of the World: The Story of a Nation. I enjoyed his writing and since then have gobbled up his other books, the most famous of which (and a James Beard winner!) is this one. Cod is not exactly a cookbook, and is not strictly about Spain. But it does tell the history of one of Spain’s most important products, salt cod. The history is riveting and the recipes sound delicious (even the ones from long ago!). I consider it a must read for all food lovers, but especially those of us with a special interest in Spanish cuisine.
These are only a handful of the new Spanish cookbooks and food related books I bought this year. Anything fantastic you think I’ve missed? Perhaps I’ll do another round up soon!
What are your favorite Spanish cookbooks?
Check out my company’s digital cookbook, Recipes from the Devour Tours Kitchen for 52 delicious traditional recipes from across Europe (including four chapters on Spain!). We started this project when our tour business stopped due to Covid-19 as a way to continue to bring our food and culture into people’s homes and hearts!
Please note that this post contains affiliate links to these books on Amazon. If you purchase any of these books using these links I will receive a small commission.