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Best Vancouver books of 2020 for food lovers

Looking to add a new book about food from a local author to your collection or to give as a gift? Here are some noteworthy releases from 2020 that might fit the bill. 
Shopping for yourself or another fan of Vancouver's food scene past and present? Here are some noteworthy books released in 2020 to put on your list. Photo by Vladimir Vladimirov via iStock/Getty Images

Some food lovers also love to eat their words...that is to say, they also like to read about what they love. For Vancouverites looking to add a new book about food from a local author to their collections - or to give as a gift - there are a few noteworthy releases from 2020 that might fit the bill. 

Maenam: A Fresh Approach to Thai Cooking

In Vancouver, when we want that hit of Thailand's layered, nuanced flavours - that seductive meld of sour, sweet, salty, bitter, and spicy - we are so lucky we can turn to restaurants like chef Angus An's award-winning Maenam. This year, An released a cookbook featuring many of Maenam's signature dishes. Titled Maenam, An offers precisely what the subtitle promises: "A fresh approach to Thai cooking." Featuring over 100 recipes, the cookbook takes the reader and home cook through the essentials of Thai cookery, including an ingredient glossary.

Read our interview with Angus An HERE.

The Larder of the Wise: The Story of Vancouver’s James Inglis Reid Ltd.

james-inglis-reid-1945James Inglis Reid at 559 Granville Street circa 1945. Photo by Jack Lindsay/Vancouver Archives AM1184-S1-: CVA 1184-1860

This beautiful book won't send you scurrying to the kitchen to start cooking, but rather will have you stretching your mind back to imagine a time when Granville Street was home to independent shops instead of the Pacific Centre mall. There stood James Inglis Reid, aka the Larder of the Wise, from 1915 to 1986 - a butcher shop that specialized in house-cured Ayrshire bacon, a Scottish style that was harder to find in Vancouver, and good old haggis, among others. Reid's granddaughter, M. Anne Wyness, brought the legacy of her family's business back into the spotlight through this beautiful and photo-rich book, perfect for local history buffs and food lovers alike. 

Read our interview with M. Anne Wyness HERE.

Food Floor: My Woodward's Days

In her first-person account of her years as a store clerk, author Margaret Cadwaladr takes us back in time to the Woodward's Food Floor at Hastings and Abbott in the late 1960s in this slender volume filled with historic images from Woodward's history. The Food Floor stocked hard-to-find ingredients that to the present-day shopper might be the kinds of easily-obtained items at any typical or specialty store. The flagship building at Hastings and Abbott where Cadwaladr worked for years was famously brought down in 2006, but plenty of memories and reminders live on, including in this charming book.

Read our interview with Margaret Cadwaladr HERE.

You Wanna Piece of Me? 

In her debut cookbook, Jenell Parsons of Vancouver's popular Pie Hole shops shares the secrets of some of her most beloved pies, right down to that oh-so-flaky crust. (Hint: it involves lots and lots of butter). Packed with over 100 recipes for sweet and savoury pies, with vegan, gluten-free, and use-up-your-dough-scraps options, too, you'll likely be craving pie for breakfast, lunch, and dinner once you crack open the crust - err, cover - on this cookbook.

The BC Wine Lover's Cookbook: Recipes & Stories from Wineries Across British Columbia

Vitis-Food-BCWine-SchellAuthor Jennifer Schell was delighted by the multicultural flavours of the recipes in her book. Photo courtesy Jennifer Schell

Born and raised on an apple orchard in East Kelowna, Jennifer Schell grew up alongside British Columbia’s wine industry, tasting her neighbours’ vintages and dining on the food they served at their tables. The BC Wine Lover’s Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from Wineries across British Columbia (Appetite by Random House) gathers family stories and recipes from 53 wineries from Vancouver Island to the Kootenays. As an added bonus, each recipe comes with a wine pairing provided by the vintners themselves. After all, Schell says, “Who better to know how to pair the food with the wine than the people who make it?”

Hawksworth: The Cookbook

Vancouver's David Hawksworth may be a polarizing figure in the local dining scene, however many a local and visitor to Vancouver alike have enjoyed a meal at the chef and restaurateur's high-end Hawskworth, buzzy Nightingale, or casual Bel Café. Food fans looking to bring a little modern Pacific Northwest into their home kitchens, or ogle an oeuvre in recipe form as a souvenir of a special meal out, may want to nab this one for their home bookshelf.

Still in search of some delicious and local inspiration from recent years on V.I.A.? Here's a little further reading:

With a file from Joanne Sasvari/Vitis B.C.