Despite all the handwringing over the fate of recipes in the digital era, cookbooks remain as popular as ever. But that’s at least partly because they are evolving: experimenting with new forms, diving into collaborations between word and image, building on blog platforms, seeking out communities of like-minded cooks. Cooks are sharers in a world that increasingly loves sharing. Nowadays, you may be desperate for vegan dumplings or you might have forgotten how to craft the perfect burger or maybe you’ve just dropped a pie on the floor, but one thing’s for certain: You’re not alone.
Some of this year’s books are like that friend who’s tried everything in the kitchen and knows so many shortcuts you learn stuff just by watching her in action. “The Food52 Cookbook, Volume 2,” by Amanda Hesser & Merrill Stubbs ($30), shows that virtually crowd-sourcing dinner can be, in some ways, just like a potluck. Contributors flaunt their cravings from Korean chicken wings and pastitsio to gumbo and cajeta, making no apologies for their eclectic tastes and techniques.