If you were to approach Ron Swanson and ask him to recommend a cookbook, he would, with absolutely no hesitation, tell you to pick up The Wild Chef ($23). Written by Jonathan Miles, Wild Chef columnist for Field & Stream, this is the ultimate outdoorsman's cooking companion. Whether you're just a fan of the taste of wild meat, you aspire to become a serious hunter-chef, or you've been butchering game for years, there's plenty to like in between these pages. Broken down into four sections by season, this cookbook is packed full of detailed recipes, anecdotes, and gorgeous photography of food and the outdoors.
Ideally at this point in your life you understand that ramen isn't just a cheap way to eat your way through college, but a versatile dietary staple that can actually taste incredible. As a middle-aged Jewish man originally from Long Island, Ivan Orkin — now owner of two Tokyo ramen shops and author of Ivan Ramen: Love, Obsession, and Recipes from Tokyo's Most Unlikely Noodle Joint ($18) — certainly has a unique perspective on these deceptively simple noodles. His book is part memoir, exploring how he became a culinary entrepreneur and minor celebrity in Japan, and part cookbook, exposing the secrets behind his now-legendary handmade noodles, broth, and toppings. After reading it, you'll have a new-found respect for this incredible food, and an admiration for a man who defied all odds to become who he is today.