The best books on food of 2017

Tasty spices from India, long-forgotten recipes from France – and Turkish delight from Narnia. Bee Wilson takes comfort in cookbooks

Did cookbook publishers know something that the rest of us didn’t in 2016 when they were planning this year’s lists? Never has a year in global politics so clearly called for comfort eating, and food writers have delivered in ladlefuls. This has been the strongest year for cookbooks I can remember and my list of recommendations here could have been twice as long.

Comfort food, as the American food writer Emily Nunn explores in her moving and witty memoir The Comfort Food Diaries (Simon & Schuster), is not always the same as “tasteful” food. “Like the heart, the stomach wants what it wants,” Nunn writes. She recalls a former boyfriend whose taste of home was a terrible green gelatin “salad” made with cream cheese, raw cabbage, pecan nuts and lime ...