Salad for President ($12.99 on Kindle)
It's no easy task to convince the masses that salad is appropriate quarantine food. But odds are, self-isolation won't last forever, and you could take this opportunity to learn how to craft a knockout salad. Aside from being aesthetic bookshelf candy, Julia Sherman's Salad for President is a collection of recipes inspired by creative types from around the world, so don't expect to find a new hot take on a Caesar. Instead, the pages are filled with beautifully photographed dishes that include labneh-stuffed avocado with toasted nuts, cucumber umeboshi salad and grilled hearts of palm.
Recommended recipe: Grilled peach panzanella with almond essence and purple basil.
Deep Run Roots ($12.99 on Kindle)
As a general rule of thumb, if you're going to act as a voice of culinary authority on a specific place, you should be damn sure you know what you're talking about. Vivian Howard's award-winning Deep Run Roots works because, well, it's about her deep-run roots. The book is a stacked rundown of eastern North Carolinian cuisine, with regional staples you won't find outside of this coastal pocket, like Grandma Hill's Hoecakes and Hushpuppy Croutons and chefed-up Pork-Rind Roosters or Hot Apple Jelly Thumbprints. Clocking in at a wrist-spraining 576 pages, you can justify the purchase of a hard copy for use as both a doorstop and 5-pound weight.
Recommended recipe: Muscadine-braised chicken thighs.
Barefoot Contessa Family Style ($18.99 on Kindle)
When all the restaurants shut their doors and even the fraternity brothers have to learn how to fry an egg, we turn to the patron saint of home cooking: the Barefoot Contessa herself, Ina Garten. Parmesan chicken's personal lady-in-waiting knows how to cook good food for the table. The recipes here are designed to be shared with a crowd, which might sound counterintuitive for our current conditions, but it also makes it easy to prepare meals in bulk like the doomsday prepper you've become.
Recommended recipe: Sagaponack corn pudding.
Ruffage ($13.49 on Kindle)
The time is now to learn how to finally cook vegetables like a grown-up. Abra Berens, an executive chef at Granor Farm and former farmer herself, has penned the definitive guide to basic—and not so basic—vegetable cooking in the much-acclaimed Ruffage. Berens' kitchen ethos is that we should be cooking the vegetables that want to be cooked—the ones that are fresh and in season—but when that's not possible, ingredients can be mixed and matched to avoid unnecessary waste.
Recommended recipe: Sauteed greens with garlic and chile flakes.
The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book ($11.99 on Kindle)
On the sliding scale of useful quarantine activities, pie-baking is somewhere in between reading Anna Karenina and learning basic Portuguese conjugation on Duolingo. But the likelihood you've baked a pie in the past decade—let alone one with a lattice and scratch-made ingredients—is probably slim to none. Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Shop has been burrowed inside Brooklyn's Gowanus neighborhood since 2009, serving beloved slices that go beyond the pumpkin and apple variety. The eponymous book takes you step by step through the pie-making process, with readable instructions for recipes like lemon cress and black bottom oatmeal pie. Yes, it's harder than baking a cake, and yes, it'll probably take a few tries to nail the crust—but what else were you planning to do?
Recommended recipe: Salty honey pie.