2013 Recommended Book List

Looking for that perfect book gift for a food loving cook in your life? 2013 has been an exceptional year for cookbooks and food writing. Here is a list of thirteen of my favorites and a brief description of why you might like them too.

 

bountiful-520

For the cook who gardens

1. Bountiful by Todd Porter and Diane Cu

Bountiful is Beautiful. Food bloggers and photographers extraordinaire Todd Porter and Diane Cu of White on Rice Couple have put together a visually stunning cookbook filled with recipes inspired by what they grow in their Southern California garden. Are you a gardener? Then you’ll love the way the recipes in this book are organized, by the fruits and vegetables that we gardeners love to grow.

 

nom-nom-paleo-520

For the meat and veggie eater

2. Nom Nom Paleo by Michelle Tam and Henry Fong

Do me a favor and follow the Amazon link and “Look Inside” this book. Out of all the cookbooks I’ve encountered over the last several years, Michelle and Henry’s Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans is the most playful. Not only is it packed with eye popping photos, including images for step by step method instructions, former Cal Berkeley cartoonist Henry peppers the book with amusing caricatures of Michelle and family providing instructive tips and witticisms. The recipes go well beyond steak and lettuce and are interesting enough to inspire anyone to try their hand and paleo friendly meals. (The book will be released Dec 17th, 2013. See their blog, Nom Nom Paleo for more book details and paleo recipes.)

 

history-of-food-100-recipes

For the lover of history

3. A History of Food in 100 Recipes by William Sitwell

This is more of a history book than a cookbook, perfect for the history buffs amongst us. From descriptions of a lamb stew recipe carved into clay 4000 years ago to hot chocolate from a Cortez conquistador, from Catherine de Medici’s zabaglione to Alice Water’s plum tart, A History of Food in 100 Recipes is just that, a captivating romp through time punctuated with recipes. (See The New Yorker review.)

 

panini-press-cookbook

For the student with a George Foreman grill

4. The Ultimate Panini Press Cookbook by Kathy Strahs

I received a panini press a few years ago as a gift, only to be relegated to a dark corner of my pantry behind some rarely used oversized jars. Sound familiar? Fortunately I pulled the press out of its hiding place to experiment with recipes from fellow food blogger Kathy Strahs‘ The Ultimate Panini Press Cookbook. What a delight this book is! Filled with creative and easy recipes for a panini press or any countertop grill (the recipes would be perfect for a George Foreman grill). Did you know you could grill steak on a panini press? How about a wheel of brie? Or a medley of veggies? It’s not just about grilled cheese (though goodness knows I love grilled cheese).

 

french-market-cookbook-520

For the vegetarian Francophile

5. The French Market Cookbook: Vegetarian Recipes from My Parisian Kitchen by Clotilde Dusoulier

Parisian Clotilde made her mark early in the food blogging world with her bar-raising blog Chocolate & Zucchini, now ten years strong. With The French Market Cookbook, Clotilde turns her attention to vegetarian recipes, reflecting her diet these days that is leaning away from meat and toward more farm fresh vegetables and fruit.

 

mastering-the-art-of-french-eating

For any Francophile

6. Mastering the Art of French Eating by Ann Mah

When journalist Ann Mah finds herself alone in Paris for a year while her husband is on foreign service duty in Iraq, she dives deep into the regional dishes of France. In this beautifully written memoir Ann travels around the country sharing stories behind and recipes for French classics such as salad Lyonnaise in Lyon, cassoulet in Castelnaudary and Carcassonne, choucroute in Alsace, crepes in Brittany, and Soupe au Pistou in Provence. A delightful read.

 

homemade-with-love

For those in need of comfort

7. Homemade with Love by Jennifer Perillo

The essence of cooking is to nourish, ourselves and others. Jennie does this so well with her Homemade with Love, sharing the comforting recipes she makes to feed her family while helping her grieve the loss of her husband. Beautiful photography by renown food photographer Penny de los Santos.

 

melt-the-art-of-macaroni-and-cheese

For the cheese connoisseur

8. Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese by Garrett McCord and Stephanie Stiavetti

Mac n cheese will never be the same. In Melt, Garrett and Stephanie redefine the genre, using artisanal cheeses and wonderfully creative flavor pairings. Think pasta and cheese, as broadly defined as possible. Perfect for the cheese lover and creative cook.

 

Duck, Duck, Goose by Hank Shaw

For the chef, hunter, or duck aficionado

9. Duck, Duck, Goose by Hank Shaw

Did you know there are over 10 million duck hunters in the US? Simply Recipes writer and Hunter Angler Gardener Cook blogger Hank Shaw is on a mission to inspire hunters to use the whole bird, like nose to tail, but in this case feet to beak. If you are not a hunter but just like duck (or goose), this book is filled with well-tested, creative, and utterly delicious recipes (several of which are on this site). Read my full review here.

 

absolutely-avocados

Who doesn’t love avocados?

10. Absolutely Avocados by Gaby Dalkin

Do I really need to say anything about this book? It’s avocados! The wonder food. Author Gaby Dalkin of What’s Gaby Cooking is probably the one person I’ve met who loves avocados as much as I do. I could eat one a day and never tire of it. If you love avocados too, and want more ideas of what to do with them beyond guacamole, this book is a must have.

 

weelicious-lunches

Lunches for wee ones

11. Weelicious Lunches by Catherine McCord

Have little ones to feed? Super mama Weelicious food blogger Catherine McCord shares fabulous lunch ideas for kids that are colorful, easy, nutritious, and fun! (Great ideas for grown-ups too.)

 

Steamy Kitchen's Healthy Asian Favorites

Asian made easy!

12. Steamy Kitchen’s Healthy Asian Favorites by Jaden Hair

Now here’s a woman whose “joie de vivre” inspires me every day, Jaden Hair. Steamy Kitchen’s tag line is “Fast, Fresh, and Simple Enough for Tonight’s Supper” and her book lives up to that promise and more, with asian recipes that are wonderfully accessible even for the beginner cook.

 

the-pioneer-woman-cooks-a-year-in-holidays

For family holiday celebrations throughout the year

13. The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays by Ree Drummond

Our favorite Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, has released her third best selling cookbook, A Year in Holidays, just in time for the holidays. The book’s green beans with tomatoes graced our Thanksgiving table this year to much appreciation by the assembled guests (hint, bacon makes everything better, a universal truth Ree has known for quite some time). This book is packed with crowd pleasing recipes for holiday events throughout the year.

 

Note: Links to Amazon.com are provided for each of these recommended books. I make a small commission on any sales resulting from these links, which goes towards supporting the operations of this website. ~Elise

20 Comments

  1. Sandy S

    Thank You Elise! You have just helped so much to get my Christmas shopping list on track!

  2. Erin

    Thank you for sharing! It’s good to have some background before I purchase anything. I’m tempted to get the avocado or Asian inspired one.

  3. Harini

    Lovely post,precise and neat

  4. Mallory @ Because I Like Chocolate

    I want all of them! I often forget about cookbooks and written recipes when you can find everything on the internet but there is still something about flipping through the pages of a well-written cookbook and looking at all of the pretty pictures.

  5. Elisa Camahort Page

    OMG, a book just about avocados???? I’m in heaven. I also didn’t know Clothilde had published a vegetarian book. I think you just made me poor but happier :)

  6. Kathy - Panini Happy

    Thank you so much, Elise!!

  7. Marta @ What Should I eat for breakfast today

    Thank you, it will help :)

  8. Rose

    A thousand yeses to Absolutely Avocados. Avocados FOR LIFE. For my fellow Middle Eastern cooking fans, I recommend “The New Book of Middle Eastern Food” by Claudia Roden.

    • Catherine

      Agree with you about Claudia Roden. She is not well known enough, in my opinion. It’s worth investigating all her cookbooks.

  9. just me

    Hmm. There is not a Simply Recipes cookbook. You should fix that. My favorite new cookbook of 2013 is The New Midwestern Table by Amy Thielen.

  10. Mary Louise Murray-Johnson

    No need or desire for any of the latest theme cookbooks. One cannot improve upon the New York Times several cookbooks, the Joy of Cooking, Julia Child and Jacques Pepin’s books, the books of Lidia Bastianach, James Beard’s books, Craig Claiborne’s Books – These are the great books of cooking – the ones you really use. Mary Louise Murray-Johnson

  11. Garrett

    Thank you, Elise, for spreading the cheesy goodness!

  12. Doris O'Neill

    I gifted my grandson-in-law with a copy of “Duck,Duck, Goose” and noted it might be a case of “coals to Newcastle” since he hunts ducks which he cooks deliciously Cajan style–he is a native of Louisiana–but he was very pleased to receive the book, and even knew what my comment meant (not all younger folk know that reference!)

  13. Liz @ Virtually Homemade

    What an extraordinary list! Some of my favorite bloggers and new books to discover!

  14. Julie Martin

    Thank you for sharing this list. I have the Nom Nom Paleo app and also read the blog. Her recipe for pressure cooked kale, onions and carrots will amaze. One cookbook I currently am enjoying is “the New Mid western Table”.

  15. RG Lojko

    I highly recommend ALL the cookbooks by Ree Drummond. They are the only cookbooks I actually read, like novels, all the way through. Her sense of style and humor shine through in every recipe. All the steps are pictured and I haven’t cooked anything I didn’t find scrumptious! AND she takes incredible photos of her family, home and the land surrounding it to give you a wonderful sense of the place she calls home. I plan on asking for the Holiday book for christmas.

  16. Katie

    I love all of these! Especially Steamy Kitchen – great recipes.

  17. Jennifer

    Elise, are you doing this again this year? Reviewing some cookbooks. It’s amazing how because I follow your blog and like your recipes, that I wanted the books. I loved it and found it super useful.

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