9 cookbooks that make great last minute gifts for the foodie in your life


If the Salon Food team had a little vacation tip to give, it would be this: Buy cookbooks for everyone on your shopping list. In terms of affordability and practicality, they really are the perfect gift, but there’s also something deeply personal about buying the to the right cookbook for the right person.

It’s a simple way of saying, “I see what makes you really yourself. »The right cookbook can help someone adjust to new ways of eating, to feel at home in a new city or country, connect more with their culture or step out of their comfort zone in the kitchen. A cookbook is truly a gift that continues to be given – every time the recipient cooks (or prepares a cocktail) from it, they’ll be thinking of you.

Our editorial team have rounded up some of our favorite cookbooks from the past year, all of which are guaranteed to provide culinary inspiration well beyond the holiday season. In alphabetical order, here are nine cookbooks that make great (last minute) holiday gifts for the foodie in your life:

1. “Cookies: The New Classics: A Baking Book” by Jesse Szewczyk (Clarkson Potter Publishers)

For Christmas last year, I received a fancy cookbook. After flipping through it once, I immediately cropped it. After all, what’s left to say about brownies and snickerdoodles? Jesse Szewczyk has changed his mind. Kitchn Columnist’s gorgeous, thoughtful, and incredibly inventive debut reinvents beloved desserts using new techniques and ingredients in fresh, accessible and never fancy ways. Drawing on the flavor groups of “Chocolate, Boozy, Fruity, Nutty, Tart, Spiced, Smoky and Savory,” Szewczyk delivers exactly what you want from a book that sure won’t get cropped – that sweet point of comfort. and novelty. I can’t help but think of his drizzled fudge squares and delicious brownie brownie cookies. – Mary elizabeth williams

2. “Death & Co: Welcome Home” by Alex Day, Nick Fauchald and David Kaplan (Ten Speed ​​Press)

“Imagine you are a newbie bartender and this is your manual. This is how this breathtaking doorstop opens, leading to over 600 recipes as well as best practices, recipe creation notes, cocktail menu creation mechanics and all the essential knowledge that any bartender, amateur or professional, could want to achieve. Death & Co. Standards The book itself, oversized in a deep black fabric hardcover, is stunning. The introduction from David Kaplan, detailing the long journey to expanding the East Village craft cocktail powerhouse – now in Denver and Los Angeles – and the ups and downs that 2020 has brought to the industry will have you suffer for the beloved bars that did not survive the pandemic and very grateful for those who did. Hundreds of recipes are neatly organized and labeled with handy symbols to differentiate low brew cocktails from “draft” cocktails, along with easy identifiers for low and non-ABV drinks, an essential for attentive drinkers and consumers. attentive hosts. Pair it with a set of Nick & Nora cocktail glasses or a powerful hand juicer. – Erin keane

3. “Girly Drinks: A World History of Women and Alcohol” by Mallory O’Meara (Hanover Square Press)

While Mallory O’Meara’s new deep dive, “Girly Drinks,” isn’t a cocktail recipe book, it’s a perfect gift for anyone who wants to learn more about what, how, and why we drink. O’Meara, New York Times bestselling author of “The Lady of the Black Lagoon,” a true detective story that traces the feminist cinematic story of the life and work of a Disney animation pioneer and creator creatures from classic horror films, combines in-depth research and engagement and witty prose in this rigorous story that doesn’t read like homework. “Girly Drinks” is a necessary addition to any alcohol lover’s library, alongside stories such as “Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol” by Iain Gately and “Imbibe!” by David Wondrich. You will learn that Hildegarde de Bingen was the first person to scientifically write about hops, that women were the first sake brewers in Japan and all about the famous bartender Ada Coleman, who became the first female head bartender of the American bar. of the Savoy Hotel in London. in 1903. Combine it with a cocktail kit. I suggest the French 75, a classic “girly drink” that never disappoints. – Erin keane

4. “The Japanese Art of Cocktailing” by Masahiro Urushido and Michael Anstendig (Mariner Books)

Katana Kitten’s mastermind, Masahiro Urushido, shares his philosophy of precision and play in “The Japanese Art of Cocktailing”, a magnificent, full-color volume of recipes, techniques and essays on flavors, history and cooking. culture that fuel its award-winning Greenwich Village. bar, which “embodies the Japanese approach to cocktails, filtered by a typically American sensibility”. Divided into three parts, the recipes start with Katana Kitten drinks (highballs, cocktails, boilermakers), then move on to other favorite Japanese-inspired drinks from Urushido, as well as contributions from mixologist friends, and end. by Katana Kitten’s favorite bar snacks like anori-lancer crumpled fries and mortadella katsu sando. Pair it with Suntory Toki whiskey, a glass beer mug (Katana Kitten tip: keep both in the freezer) and a bottle of super carbonated sparkling water for the perfect highballs at home. – Erin keane

5. “The New York Times Cooking No Recipe Recipes” by Sam Sifton (Ten Speed ​​Press)

He had me at “meatball salad”. Or was it “pasta with chickpeas and a Negroni”? Sam Sifton, who has been preaching the gospel of relaxed and flexible cooking for years in his New York Times columns, offers low maintenance and intense flavors, along with plenty of encouraging tips and edits for home cooks. His strategies often involve just looking at what you have and thinking about it in new ways – like, you know, meatballs and salad. I love his support for roast chicken and his understanding that breakfast foods are “anytime” foods. It’s a book for people who already love to cook or wish they had done it and want to know how to get there. The secret could be more peanut butter and pickle sandwiches. – Mary elizabeth williams

6. “Rodney Scott’s Barbecue World”, by Rodney Scott and Lolis Eric Elie (Clarkson Potter Publishers)

James Beard Award winner Rodney Scott makes history once again by compiling the first cookbook of a black pitmaster alongside writer and documentary filmmaker Lolis Eric Elie. The result is partly personal memories – starting with Scott roasting his first whole pork at age 11 and recounting his journey to finally opening Rodney Scott’s barbecue – and partly a guide to specialties like grilled ribs. , smoked turkey, smoked chicken wings and shhh puppies.

“Rodney Scott’s World of Barbecue” is also a poignant dive into the eating habits of South Carolina and the surrounding region, as well as how black cooking and barbecue traditions are intertwined throughout American history. – Ashlie stevens

7. “My Shanghai: Recipes and Stories from a City on the Water”, by Betty Liu (Harper Design)

For American eaters, writes author Betty Liu, Chinese food is not necessarily associated with seasonality. However, Liu’s book “My Shanghai” shows a much truer picture of Shanghainese cuisine, dictated by what is available in the surrounding waters and fields. Ripe produce, fresh meat and seafood are used in harmony with distinct blends of spices to create dishes that are both sophisticated and intuitive.

Recipes that shine the most from “My Shanghai” are also some of the most accessible for novice cooks, like Liu’s hearty scallion oil noodles or silky steamed eggplant seasoned with ginger and vinegar. noir. – Ashlie stevens

8. “To Asia, with Love: Everyday Asian Recipes and Stories from the Heart” by Hetty McKinnon (Prestel Publishing)

No other cookbook this year has given me more solid home runs, from condiments to main courses to desserts. I’m obsessed with McKinnon’s “Reliable Meatball Dipping Sauce”, mine chow, and the incredibly delicious soy-tinted brownies – and I haven’t even done everything I want to try yet. It is a collection of generations in the making. “While modern cooking can be an applied science, with rules abundant and predictable results,” writes McKinnon, “there is also a lot to be learned from the way our mothers, grandmothers and their ancestors cooked.” By sharing her recipes and family memories, the self-described “Australian-born Chinese girl” (now living in the United States) also created a beautiful tale, one to cook and cuddle with. – Mary elizabeth williams

9. “Vegetables and fish: new inspired recipes for avant-garde pescatarian cuisine”, by Bart Van Olphen (Experience)

The pandemic has served as a catalyst for many Americans to reassess the way they cook and eat at home, myself included. Bart Van Olphen’s magnificent “Veggies & Fish” is here to meet them. Van Olphen acknowledges the change in the way the plates are put together in his introduction: “It was simple: when you put together a dish, you start by choosing your meat, game, poultry or fish, preferably in a generous serving of 6 1/2 ounces or more. ”

Then came the sauce, and finally, the vegetables and a starchy element. “Both were kind of filler, if there was any,” he wrote. “Sometimes they didn’t even complement each other very well.”

As suggested by the cookbook title, “Veggies & Fish” takes a different approach; it’s filled with vegetable and pescatarian recipes like cucumber soup with sea bass tartare, grilled zucchini ribbons with smoked sprats and Thai spicy squid salad. There is a vibrant ease in Van Olphen’s recipes that make this cookbook practical for home cooking, while still giving the impression of a slightly high end result. – Ashlie stevens

Salon Food writes about things we think you’ll like. Salon has affiliate partnerships, so we may get a share of the revenue from your purchase.


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