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As the earth thaws and edible things begin to sprout from it, it’s an inspiring time to be in the kitchen. Those who love to stock their shelves with cookbooks will appreciate the latest titles – they’ll help make you a better baker, a relaxed cook and stylish dinner party host, and get you eating more vegetables while connecting you with feminist icons around the table.

Anna Olson’s Baking Wisdom: The Complete Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Make You a Better Baker, by Anna Olson, Appetite, $50

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Anna Olson’s Baking Wisdom by Anna Olson.Handout

Canada’s dessert doyenne’s much-anticipated opus on flour, sugar, butter and eggs is out now – 450 pages covering everything you could possibly want to know about baking, from navigating altitude to tempering chocolate and making higher-fat butter for your croissants and puff pastry using ghee and the Pearson Square equation (yay science!). Anna Olson has always inspired confidence in the kitchen, and here she dives deeper into why and how ingredients interact, and what to do if things go wonky … which they aren’t likely to, since her recipes (more than 150 here, sweet and savoury) are always solid.

Sabai: 100 Simple Thai Recipes for Any Day of the Week, by Pailin Chongchitnant, Appetite, $37.50

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Sabai by Pailin Chongchitnant.Handout

Sabai refers to a state of being when you’re at ease – comfortable and relaxed, like you should be around the table. Chef Pailin (Pai) Chongchitnant, who was born and raised in Thailand and now lives in Vancouver (after a stint at Le Cordon Bleu in San Francisco), takes us through her Thai pantry and favourite kitchen tools, talks about how to make a well-balanced Thai meal and suggests efficiencies like make-ahead sauces and DIY meal kits – so we can be relaxed in the kitchen, too.

A Generous Meal: Modern Recipes for Dinner, by Christine Flynn, Penguin, $40

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A Generous Meal by Christine Flynn.Handout

This stylish collection of dinner ideas by Christine Flynn, chef, food stylist and proprietor of the Good Earth Winery in Ontario, is aimed at making life better through the meals you bring to the table. Her recipes are unintimidating, but come with unexpected twists – hot honey roast chicken, or hominy and cabbage mac and cheese. I love her formula for a spectacular improv salad (something creamy, vegetable-y, crunchy, oily and acidic) and that there is a chapter dedicated to cabbage and another to toast.

A Table Set for Sisterhood: 35 Recipes Inspired by 35 Female Icons, by Ashley Schutz and Ashly Jernigan, House of Anansi, $36.99

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A Table Set for Sisterhood by Ashley Schutz and Ashly Jernigan.Handout

Food and stories are inextricably intertwined, and this beautifully illustrated book combines the arts of storytelling and cooking in a wonderful way, inviting the reader to take a seat at the table with 35 feminist icons, including Leymah Gbowee, Malala Yousafzai, Hayley Wickenheiser, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rupi Kaur. The recipes they inspire relate to their work, and all they fought for.

Tenderheart: A Cookbook About Vegetables and Unbreakable Family Bonds, by Hetty Lui McKinnon, Knopf, $54

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Tenderheart by Hetty Lui McKinnon.Handout

Prolific food writer (The New York Times, Bon Appétit, The Guardian) Hetty Lui McKinnon’s latest cookbook leans further into her love of veggies in all forms – it was written in part in remembrance of her late father, who worked at a wholesale fruit and vegetable market and would shower the family with produce. Though she has been vegetarian for more than 25 years – she even has a newsletter on substack called To Vegetables with Love – she says her plant-based recipes are truly egalitarian – for every person who enjoys a flavour-packed, vegetable-heavy dish. No labels required.

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