The Holidays are a wonderful time to show people how much they mean to you. Whether you make them something special, write a poem, or shop for that perfect gift, everything is more memorable at this time of the year. But that can also bring a lot of stress, and we certainly don’t want to add that to your list! So I have compiled a list of some of my favorite cookbooks that you can give the food lovers in your life.
There are books that will help ease the holiday pressures, if you are making your own gifts, throwing an incomparable party, or preparing everything in advance, these will help you actually enjoy your own celebrations this year. You’ll get recipes and gift ideas perfect for every occasion, including plans to wrap and present them in spectacular ways. You can learn how to make festive cocktails to put everyone in a jovial mood and then serve a meal that will have people talking for weeks on end.
There were hundreds of books published in 2011 that the foodies in your life would love to receive. They span the globe and feature wonderful restaurants, bakeries, and regional specialties. You can learn to cook like a restaurant chef, make the most unusual ice creams imaginable, recreate memories from your childhood, and emulate some of your favorite food celebrities. I have picked out a few of the most popular and a few of my favorites to help you navigate the choices.
For the sweets lovers in your life, I have compiled a list of some of my favorite baking and dessert cookbooks. Some of these have been in my library for many years and others are relatively new, but all of them are well worn and splattered from making the delightful recipes they contain.
For those who want to learn why ingredients behave the way they do and learn the chemistry behind cooking and baking, I recommend both CookWise and BakeWise from Shirley Corriher. She delves deep into the interactions of foods and helps you figure out why sometimes your cakes soar high and other times they fall flat. These are a must in any inquisitives cook’s book collection.
Then there are some of the books that I consider my must-haves. I turn to these time after time for everything from appetizers to entrees and cocktail parties to sit down feasts. The Joy of Cooking is the first cookbook that I got and it should be in every cook’s kitchen. If you find ingredients at the farmer’s market that you don’t know how to prepare, there are illustrations and recipes that utilize them. It is perfect for beginners and advanced cooks alike.
And finally, if you have people in your life with dreams of finding a job in the culinary fields, here are four guides that will help them figure out which is best suited to their personalities and skills. Written by some of this country’s finest authors, they cover a wide variety of ways you can incorporate food into your career path.
As a food lover, I would be delighted to receive any of these cookbooks:
HOLIDAY SPECIFIC COOKBOOKS
|Christmas 101: 100 Festive Recipes with Menus and Timetables for Stress-Free Holiday Entertaining||Rick Rodgers|
|Gifts Cooks Love: Recipes for Giving||Diane Morgan and Sur la Table|
|Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz: A Cocktail Lover’s Guide to Mixing Drinks Using New and Classic Liqueurs||A. J. Rathbun|
|Gourmet Gifts: 100 Delicious Recipes for Every Occasion to Make Yourself and Wrap with Style||Dinah Corley|
|Happy Holidays from the Diva of Do-Ahead: A Year of Feasts to Celebrate with Family and Friends||Diane Phillips|
|Perfect Party Food: All the Recipes and Tips You’ll Ever Need for Stress-Free Entertaining||Diane Phillips|
NEW COOKBOOKS FOR 2011
|All About Roasting: A New Approach to a Classic Art||Molly Stevens|
|American Flavor||Andrew Carmellini and Gwen Hyman|
|Ancient Grains for Modern Meals||Maria Speck|
|Cook Like a Rock Star||Anne Burrell|
|Cooking My Way Back Home: Recipes from San Francisco’s Town Hall, Anchor & Hope, and Salt House||Mitchell Rosenthal & Jon Pult|
|Cooking Without Borders||Anita Lo and Charlotte Druckman|
|Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home||Jeni Britton Bauer|
|Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook||Christina Tosi|
|Mozza: Recipes from Los Angeles’s Favorite Italian Restaurants and Pizzeria||Nancy Silverton, Matt Molina, Carolynn Carreno and Mario Batali|
|My Family Table: A Passionate Plea for Home Cooking||John Besh|
|Off the Menu: Staff Meals from America’s Top Restaurants||Marissa Guggiana|
|Ruhlman’s Twenty: The Ideas and Techniques that Will Make You a Better Cook||Michael Ruhlman|
|Rustic Italian Food||Marc Vetri with David Joachim|
|The Bonne Femme Cookbook: Simple, Splendid Food that French Women Cook Every Day||Wini Moranville|
|The Food 52 Cookbook: 140 Winning Recipes from Exceptional Home Cooks||Hesser and Stubbs|
|The Homesick Texan Cookbook||Lisa Fain|
MY FAVORITE BAKING / DESSERT COOKBOOKS
|BakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking with Over 200 Magnificent Recipes||Shirley Corriher|
|Baking for All Occasions||Flo Braker|
|Baking Illustrated||Cook’s Illustrated Magazine Editors|
|Baking: From My Home to Yours||Dorie Greenspan|
|Butter, Flour, Sugar, Eggs: Whimsical Irresistible Desserts||Gale Gand, Rick Tramonto, and Julia Moskin|
|Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery & Café||Joanne Chang and Christie Matheson|
|Rose’s Heavenly Cakes||Rose Levy Beranbaum|
|Secrets of a Jewish Baker: Recipes for 125 Breads from Around the World||George Greenstein|
|The Baker’s Dozen Cookbook: Become a Better Baker with 135 Foolproof Recipes and Tried-and-True Techniques||Rick Rodgers and Members of The Baker’s Dozen|
|The Fannie Farmer Baking Book||Marion Cunningham|
SOME OF MY FAVORITES, PERFECT FOR FOOD LOVERS
|Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours||Dorie Greenspan|
|CookWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Cooking, The Secrets of Cooking Revealed||Shirley Corriher|
|Saveur: The New Comfort Food: Home Cooking from Around the World||James Oseland|
|The Italian Slow Cooker||Michele Scicolone|
|The Joy of Cooking: 75th Anniversary Edition||Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, Ethan Becker|
|The River Cottage Family Cookbook||Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall|
|The Rustic Table: Simple Fare from the World’s Kitchens||Constance Snow|
|Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone||Deborah Madison|
WORKING IN THE CULINARY INDUSTRY
|Becoming a Chef||Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page|
|Culinary Careers: How to Get Your Dream Job in Food with Advice from Top Culinary Professionals||Rick Smilow and Anne E. McBride|
|Food Jobs: 150 Great Jobs for Culinary Students, Career Changers and Food Lovers||Irena Chalmers|
|Will Write For Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Reviews, Memoir, and More||Dianne Jacob|
I hope these selections will make your holiday shopping a bit easier this year. Remember to take some time to breathe, enjoy the season and have fun with your family and friends!
Disclosure: Some books were sent to me for review and others I purchased myself. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Unauthorized use, distribution, and/or duplication of proprietary material without prior approval is prohibited. If you have any questions or would like permission, I can be contacted via email at: heritagecook (at) comcast (dot) net. Feel free to quote me, just give credit where credit is due, link to the recipe, and please send people to my website, www.theheritagecook.com.