Recent Cookbooks & A List Of Great Food Films

Here's a selection of recent cookbooks from 2019 and 2020 about food from various countries, paired with a list of fantastic food-filled films.

In this week’s Advice for Readers blog, OPL offers to take you on a culinary journey of food and film. We, here at the Non-Fiction satellite office, have put together a couple of lists designed to transport you to exciting culinary locales, while allowing you to remain in the safety and comfort of your own living space. First, a selection of recent cookbooks that are more than just recipes, they are windows into cultures and traditions from around the world. In many cases, these books are just as much travelogue as cookbook, comprised of family stories and stunning photography of foods and locations. As an added bonus, our staff has compiled a list of great films about food to pair with your gastronomic selections, all available with your OPL library card on DVD, or streaming via Kanopy, Hoopla, or Overdrive. 

Click on the links below to visit the item’s page in OPL’s catalog. There you can check on the item’s availability, place holds, and access our streaming services. For information about our sidewalk pickup service, go here. If you would like help placing holds or have any other questions, please contact OPL's call center at 510-238-3134 or 



Cuisine and Culture from Around the World

Andaluz : A Food Journey Through Southern Spain  by Fiona Dunlop 

For nearly eight centuries from 711 to 1492, Moorish rule in Andalucía brought about a revolution in Spanish culture, resulting in architectural splendors like the Alhambra as well as a rich culinary history. Andaluz is a quest to illustrate the legacy of the Arabs and Berbers in the kitchens of southern Spain today. […] By digging deep into traditional dishes, scouring markets, and learning from home cooks, local tavern owners, and Michelin-starred restaurant chefs, Fiona Dunlop offers a vivid gastronomic window on this region. Entries from the authors travel diary accompany sumptuous recipes from Granada in the east to Córdoba at its heart and Seville in the south bringing a taste of Moorish Spain to kitchens everywhere. With beautiful food and location photography, Andaluz is bound to become the cookbook you will visit time and time again. -- From the publisher


Beyond The North Wind : Revealing Russia, Its Recipes And Lore  by Darra Goldstein 

Russian cookbooks tend to focus on the food that was imported from France in the nineteenth century or the impoverished food of the Soviet era. Beyond the North Wind explores the true heart of Russian food, a cuisine that celebrates whole grains, preserved and fermented foods, and straightforward but robust flavors. […] This home-style cookbook with a strong sense of place and evocative storytelling brings to life a rarely seen portrait of Russia, its people, and its palate--with 100 recipes, gorgeous photography, and essays on the little-known culinary history of this fascinating and wild part of the world.--From the publisher 


Food Artisans Of Japan : Recipes And Stories  by Nancy Singleton Hachisu ; photography by Kenta Izumi and Kenji Miura 

An intimate deep dive into Japan's diversely rich food landscape with 120 recipes from 7 compelling Japanese chefs and 24 stories of food artisans through the eyes of award-winning author Nancy Singleton Hachisu. [The author] shares an in-depth knowledge and understanding of Japanese locales, the foods, and the artisans who work there. Each chef was chosen because he goes beyond courting media exposure or Michelin stars. Each chef's food is soulful. And each chef speaks deeply to Hachisu for genuine connection to local ingredients, unwavering desire to give back to the community, and common dedication to craft. The stunning art and design of Food Artisans of Japan feels both serene and mature. It is beautiful, but not excessively glitzy or over-designed. […] This fresh, honest work delves into the vast ocean of Japanese culinary and artistic traditions, celebrating the chefs and artisans from around Japan ... straight from the heart. -- From the publisher


From The Land Of Nightingales & Roses : Recipes From The Persian Kitchen  by Maryam Sinaiee 

Nightingales and Roses offers you a true taste of Persian home cooking. Iranian food blogger and cook, Maryam Sinaiee, takes us through a full year in the Persian kitchen, explaining the stories and traditions behind each delicious dish. From Lamb and Aubergine Stew and Baked Fish with Tamarind to Rosewater Ice Cream and Saffron Rice Pudding, Maryam's recipes reveal the diverse range of flavours that make up this unique cuisine. Beautifully photographed throughout, this is the perfect introduction to real Iranian food.-- From the publisher 



Oaxaca : Home Cooking From The Heart of Mexico  by Bricia Lopez and the family behind LA's Guelaguetza with Javier Cabral 

Oaxaca is the culinary heart of Mexico, and since opening its doors in 1994, Guelaguetza has been the center of life for the Oaxacan community in Los Angeles. Founded by the Lopez family, Guelaguetza has been offering traditional Oaxacan food for 25 years. The first true introduction to Oaxacan cuisine by a native family, each dish articulates their story, from Oaxaca to the streets of Los Angeles and beyond. Showcasing the “soul food” of Mexico, Oaxaca offers 140 authentic, yet accessible recipes using some of the purest pre-Hispanic and indigenous ingredients available. From their signature pink horchata to the formula for the Lopez’s award-winning mole negro, Oaxaca demystifies this essential cuisine. -- From the publisher 



Rustic French Cooking Made Easy : Authentic, Regional Flavors From Provence, Brittany, Alsace And Beyond  by Audrey Le Goff 

Real French home cooking is easier than you think! Leave haute cuisine to fussy restaurants, and dive into these uncomplicated classics from Audrey Le Goff, founder of the blog Pardon Your French. Drawing inspiration from her childhood in the north of France, Audrey shares simple fare, full of the rich, complex flavors French cuisine is known for. From quiche to crêpes, these homey dishes are anything but humble. Explore France’s distinct regions and delve into the culture behind each recipe. […] With friendly instructions and easy-to-find ingredients, you’ll soon feel right at home with French cooking. -- From the publisher 



Under The Mediterranean Sun : A Food Journey From Northern Africa To Southern Europe And The Middle East  by Nadia Zerouali & Merijn Tol ; photography by Sven Benjamins ; illustrations by Rosa Vitalie ; [translation: Nicky Evans] 

Authors Nadia and Merijn have always traveled extensively to research their beautiful cookbooks. This is no exception. Since publishing Arabia in 2011, they have continued to push the culinary envelope and source the most authentic, simple, and delectable recipes. […] Under the Mediterranean Sun is a personal food odyssey to find the people, places, and dishes that unite the Mediterranean and the Arabic world. This book's 125 recipes are separated by region: Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Israel, Turkey, Sicily, Andalusia, Sardinia, and Catalonia. What unites each of these distinct regions are the incomparable colors, textures, and sun-dappled spirit of the Mediterranean. -- From the publisher


Zaitoun : Recipes From The Palestinian Kitchen  by Yasmin Khan ; recipe photography by Matt Russell ; travel photography by Raya Manaa' and Hosam Salem 

A dazzling celebration of Palestinian cuisine, featuring more than 80 modern recipes, captivating stories and stunning travel photography. Palestinian food is winningly fresh and bright, centered around colorful mezze dishes that feature the region’s bountiful eggplants, peppers, artichokes, and green beans; slow-cooked stews of chicken and lamb flavored with Palestinian barahat spice blends; and the marriage of local olive oil with earthy za’atar, served in small bowls to accompany toasted breads. It has evolved over several millennia through the influences of Arabic, Jewish, Armenian, Persian, Turkish, and Bedouin cultures and civilizations that have ruled over, or lived in, the area known as ancient Palestine. In each place she visits, Khan enters the kitchens of Palestinians of all ages and backgrounds, discovering the secrets of their cuisine and sharing heartlifting stories. -- From the publisher 






Food on Film


All films listed below are available from OPL on DVD and, where indicated, on one of our streaming services: Kanopy, Hoopla, and Overdrive. Click on the links to go to the item's page in OPL's catalog. There you can check availability, place holds, and access our streaming services. All movie descriptions provided by the producers/studios.


Big Night (DVD)

The story of two brothers whose Italian restaurant is on the brink of bankruptcy. Their only chance for success is to risk everything they own on an extravagant feast for bandleader Louis Prima. But their big night is complicated by a lovers' triangle, a sneaky restaurant rival, and the hilarious perfection of chef Primo. 


Chef  (DVD)

A chef who loses his restaurant job starts up a food truck in an effort to reclaim his creative promise, while piecing back together his estranged family. 


When hard times hit Swallow Falls, its townspeople can only afford to eat sardines. Flint Lockwood, a failed inventor, thinks he has the answer to the town's crisis. He builds a machine that converts water into food, and becomes a local hero when tasty treats fall from the sky like rain. But when the machine spins out of control and threatens to bury the whole world under giant mounds of food, Flint finds he may have bitten off more than he can chew. 


East Side Sushi (DVD & Kanopy)

An Hispanic single mother with excellent knife skills from tending her fruit cart for years, attempts to become a sushi chef, but finds her gender and ethnicity work against her


A retired master chef and widower is worried about the future of his three unmarried daughters who are skeptical about marriage. Yet he himself surprises them with his secret love affair with a young woman many years his junior. 


The Founder (DVD)

Tells the true story of how Ray Kroc, a salesman from Illinois, met Mac and Dick McDonald, who were running a burger operation in 1950s Southern California. Kroc was impressed by the brothers' speedy system of making the food and saw franchise potential. He maneuvered himself into a position to be able to pull the company from the brothers and create a billion-dollar empire. 


Hassan is a culinary ingenue with the gastronomic equivalent of perfect pitch. Displaced from their native India, his family settles in a quaint village in the south of France. They plan to open an Indian restaurant, that is, until Madame Mallory, the owner of a classical French restaurant, gets wind of it. Her icy protests against the new Indian restaurant so near her own escalate to all out war; until Hassan's cooking talent and love for Mme. Mallory's assistant, Marguerite cannot be ignored. 


JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI is the story of 85-year-old Jiro Ono, considered by many to be the world's greatest sushi chef. He is the proprietor of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a 10-seat, sushi-only restaurant inauspiciously located in a Tokyo subway station. Despite its humble appearances, it is the first restaurant of its kind to be awarded a prestigious three-star Michelin Guide rating, and sushi lovers from around the globe make repeated pilgrimage, calling months in advance and shelling out top dollar for a coveted seat at Jiro's sushi bar. 


Julie & Julia (DVD)

A culinary legend provides a frustrated office worker with a new recipe for life in Julie & Julia, the true stories of how Julia Child's (Meryl Streep) life and cookbook inspired fledgling writer Julie Powell (Amy Adams) to whip up 524 recipes in 365 days and introduce a new generation to the magic of French cooking. Stanley Tucci (The Devil Wears Prada) co-stars in director Nora Ephron's delicious comedy about joy, obsession and butter. Bon appétit! 


Tita and pedro want to get married; but tita has to take care of her aging mother & is not allowed to marry. Pedro marries tita's sister; but lets tita know he only married her sister to be closer to her. When tita is forced to make the wedding cake; she discovers she can do strange things with her cooking. 


The Lunchbox (DVD)

Trying to add some spice to her marriage, Ila prepares a special lunchbox for her husband at work. Unbeknownst to her, it is mistakenly delivered to another worker, Saajan. Curious about the lack of reaction from her husband, Ila puts a note in the next day's lunchbox. This begins a series of lunchbox notes between Saajan and Ila, and the communication soon evolves into an unexpected friendship. Ila and Saajan become lost in a virtual relationship that could jeopardize both their lives. 


Ratatouille (DVD)

A determined young rat named Remi dreams of becoming a chef. Torn between his family's wishes and his true calling, Remy and his pal Linguini set in motion a chain of events that turns Paris upside down in Pixar's hit comedy. 


Tampopo (DVD)

"Tampopo" follows a young widow who runs a small noodle restaurant in Tokyo and Goro, a cowboy hat wearing truck driver, as they attempt to devise the perfect bowl of top ramen. 


Tangerines (DVD & Kanopy) 

The story of awakening humanity in the midst of violence. Nominated for an Academy Award as well as a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language film in 2015. An older Estonian man cares for two wounded soldiers from opposite sides of the 1990s-era war in Georgia. 


Tortilla Soup (DVD & Kanopy) 

A heartwarming comedy that's all about food, family and a certain kind of magic that only happens at the dinner table. Martin is the culinary genius behind a successful restaurant and the widowed father of three daughters whom he has a compulsion to try and steer in the right direction. Hungry for their independance, the girls find themselves at odds with their traditionalist father. 


The Trip (DVD)

Steve Coogan has been asked by The Observer to tour the country's finest restaurants, but after his girlfriend backs out on him he must take his best friend and source of eternal aggravation, Rob Brydon. 


Waitress (DVD)

Waitress is the story of one woman trapped in a life from which she dreams of escape. Jenna's (Russell) secret ambition is to save enough money from her waitressing job to leave her overbearing and controlling husband (Sisto). Jenna is a sharp, sassy woman with a gift for making unusual pies whose recipes are inspired by the trials, tribulations and circumstances of her life. An unwanted pregnancy changes the course of events giving her an unexpected confidence via letters to her unborn baby.