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.
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.
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.)
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.)
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.)
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.
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