The Best Cookbooks to Gift for Every Type of Home Cook
Cookbooks are one of my favorite gifts to give family and friends each year because they pull double-duty in the gift-ability department: They’re useful and often gorgeous, owing to a modern tendency to be filled with high-quality photos or illustrations.
Even when they’re not illustrated, reading a cookbook has the ability to conjure up visions of delicious meals to be had, cocktails to be drank, and the people you’re going to share them with. Plus, unlike a traditional book, skipping around pages on a choose-your-own-adventure and splattering the pages with droplets of marinara are all perfectly acceptable ways to treat your reading experience.
Both new and old, these are my picks for The Best Cookbooks to Gift for Every Type of Home Cook, organized by ‘type of cook’ and ‘who’ in the friend-group each person is.
Convenience Eaters & New Cooks
For the friend who doesn’t own a single cookbook
You’ll be hard-pressed to find an American household that doesn’t house a well-loved edition of this all-purpose compendium. Seriously. Go to your mom’s house, grandma’s house, the neighbor’s house and you’ll likely find a battered, sauce-splattered copy of The Joy of Cooking. They’ll probably all be different editions also because this culinary classic has been updated and revised 9 times since it’s first printing in 1931. The latest edition, updated in 2019, includes 600 new recipes and revisions to more than 4,000 previous favorites.
For the friend who’s wearing out their Postmates account
Indian-ish: Recipes and Antics from a Modern American Family by Priya Krishna
From the publisher: Indian food is everyday food! This colorful, lively book is food writer Priya Krishna’s loving tribute to her mom’s “Indian-ish” cooking—a trove of one-of-a-kind Indian-American hybrids that are easy to make, clever, practical, and packed with flavor. Think Roti Pizza, Tomato Rice with Crispy Cheddar, Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Green Pea Chutney, and Malaysian Ramen.
For the friend who likes a good vino with their drive-thru meal
Big Macs & Burgundy: Wine Pairings for the Real World by Vanessa Price
From the publisher: Essential wine pairings for everything from popcorn to veggie burgers to General Tso’s Chicken, based on the wildly popular Grub Street column. Sancerre and Cheetos go together like milk and cookies. The science behind this unholy alliance is as elemental as acid, fat, salt, and minerals. Wine pro Vanessa Price explains how to create your own pairings while proving you don’t necessarily need fancy foods to unlock the joys of wine. Building upon the outsize success of her weekly column in Grub Street, Price offers delightfully bold wine and food pairings alongside hilarious tales from her own unlikely journey as a Kentucky girl making it in the Big Apple and in the wine business. Using language everyone can understand, she reveals why each dynamic duo is a match made in heaven, serving up memorable takeaways that will help you navigate any wine list or local bottle shop. Charmingly illustrated and bubbling with personality, Big Macs & Burgundy will open your mind to the entirely fun and entirely accessible wine pairings out there waiting to be discovered—and make you do a few spit-takes along the way.
For the friend who always has Hot Pockets in their Freezer
Cravings: Hungry for More by Chrissy Teigen and Adeena Sussman
From the publisher: Cravings: Hungry for More takes us further into Chrissy’s kitchen . . . and life. It’s a life of pancakes that remind you of blueberry pie, eating onion dip with your glam squad, banana bread that breaks the internet, and a little something called Pad Thai Carbonara. After two years of parenthood, falling in love with different flavors, and relearning the healing power of comfort food, this book is like Chrissy’s new edible diary: recipes for quick-as-a-snap meals; recipes for lighter, brighter, healthier-ish living; and recipes that, well, are gonna put you to bed, holding your belly. And it will have you hungry for more.
Entertainers & Party Makers
The friend that always plays host to your friend group
Nothing Fancy: Unfussy Food for Having People Over by Alison Roman
From the publisher: An unexpected weeknight meal with a neighbor or a weekend dinner party with fifteen of your closest friends—either way and everywhere in between, having people over is supposed to be fun, not stressful. This abundant collection of all-new recipes—heavy on the easy-to-execute vegetables and versatile grains, paying lots of close attention to crunchy, salty snacks, and with love for all the meats—is for gatherings big and small, any day of the week.
For the friend who owns cocktail sticks
From the publisher: Cooking for Good Times shares Kahan’s best secrets for low-stress cooking for friends and family, using his program of twelve basic actions to mix and match (such as “Roast Some Roots, “Make Some Grains,” “Braise a Pork Shoulder,” and “Make a Simple Dessert”). In every chapter, Kahan gives six to eight customizations for each core recipe for ways to make dishes seem new. Simple recommendations for wine and beer styles to pour remove the fuss over beverage options. With recipes ranging from Roasted Chicken with Smashed Potatoes and Green Sauce to Farro with Roasted Cauliflower and Oranges and Steak with Radicchio and Honey-Roasted Squash, plus more than 125 mouth-watering photographs, Kahan’s playbook is guaranteed to make hosting more relaxing, fun, and delicious.
Kitchen Nerds & Technical Junkies
For the friend who nerds out on technique
The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science by J. Kenji López-Alt
From the publisher: In The Food Lab, Kenji focuses on the science behind beloved American dishes, delving into the interactions between heat, energy, and molecules that create great food. Kenji shows that often, conventional methods don’t work that well, and home cooks can achieve far better results using new―but simple―techniques. In hundreds of easy-to-make recipes with over 1,000 full-color images, you will find out how to make foolproof Hollandaise sauce in just two minutes, how to transform one simple tomato sauce into a half dozen dishes, how to make the crispiest, creamiest potato casserole ever conceived, and much more.
For the friend that’s always experimenting with flavor
From the publisher: Thousands of ingredient entries, organized alphabetically and cross-referenced, provide a treasure trove of spectacular flavor combinations. Readers will learn to work more intuitively and effectively with ingredients; experiment with temperature and texture; excite the nose and palate with herbs, spices, and other seasonings; and balance the sensual, emotional, and spiritual elements of an extraordinary meal. Seasoned with tips, anecdotes, and signature dishes from America’s most imaginative chefs, The Flavor Bible is an essential reference for every kitchen.
For the friend who named their SCOBY
The Noma Guide to Fermentation by René Redzepi and David Zilber
From the publisher: At Noma—four times named the world’s best restaurant—every dish includes some form of fermentation, whether it’s a bright hit of vinegar, a deeply savory miso, an electrifying drop of garum, or the sweet intensity of black garlic. Fermentation is one of the foundations behind Noma’s extraordinary flavor profiles.
Now René Redzepi, chef and co-owner of Noma, and David Zilber, the chef who runs the restaurant’s acclaimed fermentation lab, share never-before-revealed techniques to creating Noma’s extensive pantry of ferments. And they do so with a book conceived specifically to share their knowledge and techniques with home cooks. With more than 500 step-by-step photographs and illustrations, and with every recipe approachably written and meticulously tested, The Noma Guide to Fermentation takes readers far beyond the typical kimchi and sauerkraut to include koji, kombuchas, shoyus, misos, lacto-ferments, vinegars, garums, and black fruits and vegetables. And—perhaps even more important—it shows how to use these game-changing pantry ingredients in more than 100 original recipes.
For the friend who wants to start a cookbook club
From the publisher: The recipes selected for this commemorative edition celebrate the best and most remarkable accomplishments from 500 episodes of the longest-running cooking show on TV. The collection also shines a spotlight on the cast with fascinating commentary on the recipes from the team that brought them to life on TV. The book captures the personality of the show and provides a first-ever behind-the-scenes look at its beloved cast members along with special features that relay the collected expertise, wit, and wisdom of the team behind America’s most-trusted test kitchen.
For the friend whose kitchen is their refuge
From the publisher: In this inventive and intensely personal cookbook, the blogger behind the award-winning ladyandpups.com reveals how she cooked her way out of an untenable living situation, with more than eighty delicious Asian-inspired dishes with influences from around the world.
For the friend who binged Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat on Netflix the weekend it came out
Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat
From the publisher: Echoing Samin’s own journey from culinary novice to award-winning chef, Salt, Fat Acid, Heat immediately bridges the gap between home and professional kitchens. With charming narrative, illustrated walkthroughs, and a lighthearted approach to kitchen science, Samin demystifies the four elements of good cooking for everyone. Refer to the canon of 100 essential recipes—and dozens of variations—to put the lessons into practice and make bright, balanced vinaigrettes, perfectly caramelized roast vegetables, tender braised meats, and light, flaky pastry doughs.
For the friend who also put a Traeger on their wish list this year
From the publisher: In this much-anticipated debut, Franklin and coauthor Jordan Mackay unlock the secrets behind truly great barbecue, and share years’ worth of hard-won knowledge. Franklin Barbecue is a definitive resource for the backyard pitmaster, with chapters dedicated to building or customizing your own smoker; finding and curing the right wood; creating and tending perfect fires; sourcing top-quality meat; and of course, cooking mind-blowing, ridiculously delicious barbecue, better than you ever thought possible.
Travelers & Wanderlusters
For the friend who likes to cook their way through a cuisine
Mastering the Art of French Cooking (2 Volume Set) by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck
From the publisher: Mastering the Art of French Cooking is for both seasoned cooks and beginners who love good food and long to reproduce at home the savory delights of the classic cuisine, from the historic Gallic masterpieces to the seemingly artless perfection of a dish of spring-green peas. The techniques learned in this beautiful book, with more than one hundred instructive illustrations, can be applied to recipes in all other French cookbooks, making them infinitely usable. In compiling the secrets of famous Cordon Bleu chefs, the authors produced a magnificent volume that continues to have a place of honor in American kitchens.
Volume Two is the sequel to the great cooking classic—with 257 additional recipes. Following the publication of the celebrated Volume One, Julia Child and Simone Beck continued to search out and sample new recipes among the classic dishes and regional specialties of France—cooking, conferring, tasting, revising, perfecting. Out of their discoveries they made, for Volume Two, a brilliant selection of precisely those recipes that not only add to the repertory but, above all, bring the reader to a new level of mastery of the art of French cooking.
For the friend who’s always up for a marathon dumpling-making session
From the publisher: Since its humble opening in 2005, Xi’an Famous Foods has expanded from one stall in Flushing to 14 locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. CEO Jason Wang divulges the untold story of how this empire came to be, alongside the never-before-published recipes that helped create this New York City icon. From heavenly ribbons of liang pi doused in a bright vinegar sauce to ﬂatbread ﬁlled with caramelized pork to cumin lamb over hand-pulled Biang Biang noodles, this cookbook helps home cooks make the dishes that fans of Xi’an Famous Foods line up for while also exploring the vibrant cuisine and culture of Xi’an. Transporting readers to the streets of Xi’an and the kitchens of New York’s Chinatown, Xi’an Famous Foods is the cookbook that fans of Xi’an Famous Foods have been waiting for.
For the friend who is obsessed with Hygge
The Nordic Cookbook by Magnus Nilsson
From the publisher: Included in this beautiful book are more than 700 authentic recipes Magnus collected while traveling extensively throughout the Nordic countries – Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden – enhanced by atmospheric photographs of its landscapes and people. His beautiful photographs feature in the book alongside images of the finished dishes by Erik Olsson, the photographer behind Fäviken. With Magnus as a guide, everyone can prepare classic Nordic dishes and also explore new ones. The Nordic Cookbook introduces readers to the familiar (gravlax, meatballs and lingonberry jam) and the lesser-known aspects of Nordic cuisine (rose-hip soup, pork roasted with prunes, and juniper beer).
For the friend who always has a bottle of vodka on hand
From the publisher: From bright pickles to pillowy dumplings, ingenious vodka infusions to traditional homestyle dishes, and varied zakuski to satisfying sweets, Kachka the cookbook covers the vivid world of Russian cuisine. More than 100 recipes show how easy it is to eat, drink, and open your heart in Soviet-inspired style, from the celebrated restaurant that is changing how America thinks about Russian food. The recipes in this book set a communal table with nostalgic Eastern European dishes like Caucasus-inspired meatballs, Porcini Barley Soup, and Cauliflower Schnitzel, and give new and exciting twists to current food trends like pickling, fermentation, and bone broths. Kachka’s recipes and narratives show how Russia’s storied tradition of smoked fish, cultured dairy, and a shot of vodka can be celebratory, elegant, and as easy as meat and potatoes. The food is clear and inviting, rooted in the past yet not at all afraid to play around and wear its punk rock heart on its sleeve.
Bakers & Sweet Thing Makers
For the friend who stress-bakes after work every day
Dessert Person: Recipes and Guidance for Baking with Confidence by Claire Saffitz
From the publisher: Claire Saffitz is a baking hero for a new generation. In Dessert Person, fans will find Claire’s signature spin on sweet and savory recipes like Babkallah (a babka-Challah mashup), Apple and Concord Grape Crumble Pie, Strawberry-Cornmeal Layer Cake, Crispy Mushroom Galette, and Malted Forever Brownies. She outlines the problems and solutions for each recipe—like what to do if your pie dough for Sour Cherry Pie cracks (patch it with dough or a quiche flour paste!)—as well as practical do’s and don’ts, skill level, prep and bake time, step-by-step photography, and foundational know-how. With her trademark warmth and superpower ability to explain anything baking related, Claire is ready to make everyone a dessert person.
For the friend who believes Pie > Cake
From the publisher: Petra (Petee) Paredez shares her personal repertoire of impeccable baking techniques that have made her pie shops, Petee’s Pie Company and Petee’s Café, New York darlings. At the heart of it all, the goal is simple–a tender, ﬂaky crust and perfectly balanced ﬁlling–and this cookbook leads the way with easy-to-follow, step-by-step guidance. A champion of locally sourced ingredients, Paredez features some of the best farms and producers in proﬁles throughout the book, inspiring us to seek out the very best ingredients for our pies wherever we may live. Filled with vibrant photography and recipes for just about every pie imaginable, from fruit and custard to cream and even savory, Pie for Everyone invites us to share in the magic and endless appeal of pie.
For the friend who believes Cake > Pie
Simple Cake: All You Need to Keep Your Friends and Family in Cake by Odette Williams
From the publisher: Everyone has a favorite style of cake, whether it’s citrusy and fresh or chocolatey and indulgent. All of these recipes and more are within your reach in Simple Cake, a love letter from Brooklyn apron and bakeware designer Odette Williams to her favorite treat. With easy recipes and inventive decorating ideas, Williams gives you recipes for 10 base cakes, 15 toppings, and endless decorating ideas to yield a treat—such as Milk & Honey Cake, Coconut Cake, Summer Berry Pavlova, and Chocolatey Chocolate Cake—for any occasion. Williams also addresses the fundamentals for getting cakes just right, with foolproof recipes that can be cranked out whenever the urge strikes. Gorgeous photography, along with Williams’s warm and heartfelt writing, elevate this book into something truly special.
For the friend who has seen every episode of GBBO 4 X already
From the publisher: Infuse your baking with a sprinkle of glitter, a rainbow of colors and a menagerie of woodland creatures with the help of this unique baking book from everyone’s favorite Great British Bake Off finalist, Kim-Joy! If you’ve ever wanted to know how to bring your baking to life, Kim-Joy will show you how in this fun and practical book. As well as basic cake mixes, cookie doughs, fillings/frostings and decorating techniques, she shares 40 of her wonderfully imaginative designs for iced cookie creatures, big occasion cakes, character macarons and meringues, ornate breads and showstopping traybakes. Recipes include step-by-step photography and adorable illustrations accompanied by little messages of positivity throughout. Whether you want to learn how to make a llama cookie, a cat paradise cake, a panda-madeleine or a choux-bun turtle, there’s something here to capture your imagination and spread a little (Kim-)Joy!
The friend that hates winter but loves frozen treats
Salt & Straw Ice Cream Cookbook by Tyler Malek and JJ Goode
From the publisher: Based out of Portland, Oregon, Salt & Straw is the brainchild of two cousins, Tyler and Kim Malek, who had a vision but no recipes. They turned to their friends for advice—chefs, chocolatiers, brewers, and food experts of all kinds—and what came out is a super-simple base that takes five minutes to make, and an ice cream company that sees new flavors and inspiration everywhere they look. Using that base recipe, you can make dozens of Salt & Straw’s most beloved, unique (and a little controversial) flavors, including Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons, Roasted Strawberry and Toasted White Chocolate, and Buttered Mashed Potatoes and Gravy. But more importantly, this book reveals what they’ve learned, how to tap your own creativity, and how to invent flavors of your own, based on whatever you see around you. Because ice cream isn’t just a thing you eat, it’s a way to live.
The friend who keeps killing their sourdough starter
Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson
From the publisher: For the home or professional bread-maker, this is the book of the season. It comes from a man many consider to be the best bread baker in the United States: Chad Robertson, co-owner of Tartine Bakery in San Francisco, a city that knows its bread. To Chad, bread is the foundation of a meal, the center of daily life, and each loaf tells the story of the baker who shaped it. He developed his unique bread over two decades of apprenticeship with the finest artisan bakers in France and the United States, as well as experimentation in his own ovens. Readers will be astonished at how elemental it is. A hundred photographs from years of testing, teaching, and recipe development provide step-by-step inspiration, while additional recipes provide inspiration for using up every delicious morsel.
Weeknight & Family Cooks
For the friend who is bored by their weekly rotation but limited on time
For the friend who wants to keep things as simple as possible
5 Ingredients: Quick & Easy Food by Jamie Oliver
From the publisher: Jamie Oliver–one of the bestselling cookbook authors of all time–is back with a bang. Focusing on incredible combinations of just five ingredients, he’s created 130 brand-new recipes that you can cook up at home, any day of the week. From salads, pasta, chicken, and fish to exciting ways with vegetables, rice and noodles, beef, pork, and lamb, plus a bonus chapter of sweet treats, Jamie’s got all the bases covered. This is about maximum flavor with minimum fuss, lots of nutritious options, and loads of epic inspiration.
The friend who’s Pinterest boards are packed full of recipes
From the publisher: We all want to make and serve our loved ones beautiful food—but we shouldn’t have to work so hard to do it. With Half Baked Harvest Super Simple, Tieghan Gerard has solved that problem. On her blog and in her debut cookbook, Tieghan is beloved for her freshly sourced, comfort-food-forward recipes that taste even better than they look. Half Baked Harvest Super Simple takes what fans loved most about Half Baked Harvest Cookbook and distills it into quicker, more manageable dishes, including options for one-pot meals, night-before meal prep, and even some Instant Pot® or slow cooker recipes. Using the most important cooking basics, you’ll whip up everyday dishes like Cardamom Apple Fritters, Spinach and Artichoke Mac and Cheese, and Lobster Tacos to share with your family, or plan stress-free dinner parties with options like Slow Roasted Moroccan Salmon and Fresh Corn and Zucchini Summer Lasagna. Especially for home cooks who are pressed for time or just starting out, Half Baked Harvest Super Simple is your go-to for hassle-free meals that never sacrifice taste.
For the friend who just got their first Instant Pot and has no idea what to make with it
From the publisher: Do you want to make an effortless progress in your kitchen regardless of the occasion? Do you want to save time cooking healthy meals on any budget? In this Instant pot cookbook you will find: Simple and quick solutions as to how to use your Instant Pot effectively Easy-to-cook and delicious-to-taste instant pot recipes Improved techniques on how to cook in the most efficient way using the Instant Pot. Thanks to this great cooking device, the Instant Pot, cooking quick and budget-friendly meals is easier than ever. No matter if you’re a solo eater, or if you cook for the whole family or friends – you’ll always find dozens of recipes to satisfy everyone. In this instant pot book you will find 800 recipes in these categories: Brunch & Side Dishes to die for Easy Pasta and Rice recipes Something for Fish & Seafood lovers Tons of tasty Pork, Beef, Lamb and Poultry recipes Beans & Grains recipes for quick meals Effortless Soups, Stews & Chilis Vegetables & Vegetarian Dishes Delicious Snacks & Appetizers Quick-to-prepare Desserts. Finally there’s your All-on-one Instant Pot cookbook, for any occasion for any guest for any budget!
Library Builders & Seasoned Cooks
For the friend who thinks Ina Garten is Queen
Modern Comfort Food by Ina Garten
From the publisher: In Modern Comfort Food, Ina Garten shares 85 new recipes that will feed your deepest cravings. Many of these dishes are inspired by childhood favorites—but with the volume turned way up, such as Cheddar and Chutney Grilled Cheese sandwiches (the perfect match for Ina’s Creamy Tomato Bisque), Smashed Hamburgers with Caramelized Onions, and the crispiest hash browns that are actually made in a waffle iron! There are few things more comforting than gathering for a meal with the ones you love, especially when dishes like Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas are at the center of the table. Old-fashioned crowd pleasers like Roasted Sausages, Peppers, and Onions are even more delicious and streamlined for quick cleanup. For dessert? You’ll find the best Boston Cream Pie, Banana Rum Trifle, and Black and White Cookies you’ll ever make. Home cooks can always count on Ina’s dependable, easy-to-follow instructions, with lots of side notes for cooking and entertaining—it’s like having Ina right there beside you, helping you all the way. From cocktails to dessert, from special weekend breakfasts to quick weeknight dinners, you’ll find yourself making these cozy and delicious recipes over and over again.
For the friend who wants to learn about the roots of American Country Cooking
From the publisher: In recipes and reminiscences equally delicious, Edna Lewis celebrates the uniquely American country cooking she grew up with some fifty years ago in a small Virginia Piedmont farming community that had been settled by freed slaves. With menus for the four seasons, she shares the ways her family prepared and enjoyed food, savoring the delights of each special time of year: […] The scores of recipes for these marvelous dishes are set down in loving detail. We come to understand the values that formed the remarkable woman—her love of nature, the pleasure of living with the seasons, the sense of community, the satisfactory feeling that hard work was always rewarded by her mother’s good food. Having made us yearn for all the good meals she describes in her memories of a lost time in America, Edna Lewis shows us precisely how to recover, in our own country or city or suburban kitchens, the taste of the fresh, good, natural country cooking that was so happy a part of her girlhood in Freetown, Virginia.
For the friend who’s always up for a trip to the local farmers’ market
Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables by Joshua McFadden and Martha Holberg
If I could choose one book on this entire list to gift, it would be this book. The fella and I are huge fans of Portland favorite Ava Genes so I put Six Seasons on my wishlist the moment it hit shelves. The second I cracked it open, I couldn’t put it down. To be honest, I’ve never properly latched on to eating seasonally, aside from occasionally meal-planning dishes around the rainbow of produce at our local farmers market and getting excited when the tomatoes and herbs in my own garden start to grow. McFadden offers advice for not just eating seasonally, but enjoying the produce in all forms (raw butternut squash, anyone?) by preparing it in a way to maximize and enjoy its flavor at the peak of its season. Flipping through the pages makes me equally excited to do the procuring and cooking as I am to do the eating (well, close🍴😋). The recipes and advice in Six Seasons is approachable and reasonable. Getting delicious meals to the table shouldn’t take a visit to a specialty grocer or intricate technique. Let the quality of seasonal ingredients do the heavy lifting.
From the publisher: In Six Seasons, his first book, McFadden channels both farmer and chef, highlighting the evolving attributes of vegetables throughout their growing seasons—an arc from spring to early summer to midsummer to the bursting harvest of late summer, then ebbing into autumn and, finally, the earthy, mellow sweetness of winter. Each chapter begins with recipes featuring raw vegetables at the start of their season. As weeks progress, McFadden turns up the heat—grilling and steaming, then moving on to sautés, pan roasts, braises, and stews. His ingenuity is on display in 225 revelatory recipes that celebrate flavor at its peak.
For the friend who wants to support more female chef’s in 2020
Cherry Bombe: The Cookbook by Kerry Diamond, Claudia Wu, and many others
From the publisher: It’s the first-ever cookbook from the team behind Cherry Bombe, the hit indie magazine about women and food, and the Radio Cherry Bombe podcast. Inside are 100+ recipes from some of the most interesting chefs, bakers, food stylists, pastry chefs, and creatives on the food scene today. The Cherry Bombe team asked these women and others for their most meaningful recipes. The result is a beautifully styled and photographed collection that you will turn to again and again in the kitchen.
For Cooks & Non-Cook Foodies Alike (Books about food that are not cookbooks)
The Best American Food Writing 2020 – Edited by Silvia Killingsworth and J. Kenji Lopez-Alt
From the publisher: “These are stories about culture,” writes J. Kenji López-Alt in his introduction. “About how food shapes people, neighborhoods, and history.” This year’s Best American Food Writing captures the food industry at a critical moment in history — from the confrontation of abusive kitchen culture, to the disappearance of the supermarkets, to the rise and fall of celebrity chefs, to the revolution of baby food. Spanning from New York’s premier restaurants to the chile factories of New Mexico, this collection lifts a curtain on how food arrives on our plates, revealing extraordinary stories behind what we eat and how we live.
Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir by Ruth Reichl
From the publisher: When Condé Nast offered Ruth Reichl the top position at America’s oldest epicurean magazine, she declined. She was a writer, not a manager, and had no inclination to be anyone’s boss. Yet Reichl had been reading Gourmet since she was eight; it had inspired her career. How could she say no? This is the story of a former Berkeley hippie entering the corporate world and worrying about losing her soul. It is the story of the moment restaurants became an important part of popular culture, a time when the rise of the farm-to-table movement changed, forever, the way we eat. Readers will meet legendary chefs like David Chang and Eric Ripert, idiosyncratic writers like David Foster Wallace, and a colorful group of editors and art directors who, under Reichl’s leadership, transformed stately Gourmet into a cutting-edge publication. This was the golden age of print media—the last spendthrift gasp before the Internet turned the magazine world upside down. Complete with recipes, Save Me the Plums is a personal journey of a woman coming to terms with being in charge and making a mark, following a passion and holding on to her dreams—even when she ends up in a place she never expected to be.
Everything Is Under Control: A Memoir with Recipes by Phyllis Grant
From the publisher: Phyllis Grant’s Everything Is Under Control is a memoir about appetite as it comes, goes, and refocuses its object of desire. Grant’s story follows the sometimes smooth, sometimes jagged, always revealing contours of her life: from her days as a dancer struggling to find her place at Julliard, to her experiences in and out of four-star kitchens in New York City, to falling in love with her future husband and leaving the city after 9/11 for California, where her children are born. All the while, a sense of longing pulses in each stage as she moves through the headspace of a young woman longing to be sustained by a city into that of a mother now sustaining a family herself. Written with the transparency of a diarist, Everything Is Under Control is an unputdownable series of vignettes followed by tried-and-true recipes from Grant’s table―a heartrending yet unsentimental portrait of the highs and lows of young adulthood, motherhood, and a life in the kitchen.