Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine by René Redzepi is one of those coffee table cookbooks—its large square format and immensely complicated recipes would seem unwieldy in the kitchen. And one of the rare cookbooks worthy of placing alongside your art books—both because Ditte Isager’s photography is stunning, and because the subject matter is about as philosophical and sophisticated as is possible for a book of recipes.
In case you missed it, this year, after four years of dominance by Spain’s El Bulli, Noma of Copenhagen was voted No. 1 at the
World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards. Thirty-two-year old Redzepi’s 12-table restaurant offers an extreme, haute version of indigenous, seasonal food. All of the ingredients are hyper-local and most of them are handpicked in the neighboring wilds by Noma’s team of full-time foragers. Of course, the esoteric ingredient lists would make this book a serious challenge to actually cook from—try sourcing musk ox, axelberry shoots, or bleak roe—but you can revel in the strange beauty of Redzepi’s wizardry and passion. And hope to one day score one of those 12 tables.