In Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes, Jennifer McLagan makes a case for lipids as an unjustly demonized ingredient, not to mention a wellspring of flavor and pleasure. The James Beard Foundation found it tasty enough to give it Cookbook of the Year honors in its just-announced 2009 Book Awards.
Other major winners include Screen Doors and Sweet Tea: Recipes and Tales from a Southern Cook, by Martha Hall Foose (for American cooking); How to Cook Everything (10th Anniversary Edition), by Mark Bittman (for general cooking); In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto, by Michael Pollan (for writing and literature); and Alinea, by Grant Achatz (for cooking from a professional point of view).
A full list of winners can be found here, including chefs and journalism. (A special congratulations to our VVM colleague Kristen Hinman at the St. Louis Riverfront Times, who won an award for her article "The Pope of Pork.") I'd love to hear if anyone has recommendations from the list, or of books they're surprised didn't make it.