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 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 doesn’t mind making a trip to the specialty grocery store
Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand by And Ricker and JJ Goode
From the publisher: Ricker shares more than fifty of the most popular recipes from Thailand and his Pok Pok restaurants—ranging from Khao Soi Kai (Northern Thai curry noodle soup with chicken) to Som Tam Thai (Central Thai–style papaya salad) to Pok Pok’s now-classic (and obsessed-over) Fish-Sauce Wings. But Pok Pok is more than just a collection of favorite recipes: it is also a master course in Thai cooking from one of the most passionate and knowledgeable authorities on the subject. Clearly written, impeccably tested recipes teach you how to source ingredients; master fundamental Thai cooking techniques and skills; understand flavor profiles that are unique to Southeast Asian cuisine; and combine various dishes to create show-stopping, well-balanced meals for family and friends.
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.
For the friend whose idea of brunch must include grits
South: Essential Recipes and New Explorations by Sean Brock
From the publisher: Southern food is one of the most beloved and delicious cuisines in America. And who better to give us the key elements of Southern cuisine than Sean Brock, the award-winning chef and Southern-food crusader. In South, Brock shares his recipes for key components of the cuisine, from grits and fried chicken to collard greens and corn bread. Recipes can be mixed and matched to make a meal or eaten on their own. Taken together, they make up the essential elements of Southern cuisine, from fried green tomatoes to smoked baby back ribs and from tomato okra stew to biscuits. Regional differences are highlighted in recipes for shrimp and grits, corn bread, fried chicken, and more. Includes key Southern knowledge too: how to fry, how to care for cast iron, how to cook over a hearth, and more. This is the book fans of Sean Brock have been waiting for, and it’s the book Southern-food lovers the world over will use as their bible.
Bakers & Sweet Thing Makers
For the friend who stress-bakes after work every day
Weeknight Baking: Recipes to Fit Your Schedule by Michelle Lopez
From the publisher: In Weeknight Baking, Lopez shares recipes for drool-worthy confections, along with charming stories and time-saving tips and tricks. From everyday favorites like “Almost No Mess Shortbread” and “Better-Than-Supernatural Fudge Brownies” to showstoppers like “a Modern Red Velvet Cake” and “Peanut Butter Pretzel Pie” (it’s vegan!), she reveals the secrets to baking on a schedule.
For the friend who believes Pie > Cake
Sister Pie: The Recipes and Stories of a Big-Hearted Bakery in Detroit by Lisa Ludwinski
From the publisher: At Sister Pie, Lisa Ludwinski and her band of sister bakers are helping make Detroit sweeter one slice at a time from a little corner pie shop in a former beauty salon on the city’s east side. The granddaughter of two Detroit natives, Ludwinski spends her days singing, dancing, and serving up a brand of pie love that has charmed critics and drawn the curious from far and wide. No one leaves without a slice—those who don’t have money in their pockets can simply cash in a prepaid slice from the “pie it forward” clothesline strung across the window. With 75 of her most-loved recipes for sweet and savory pies—such as Toasted Marshmallow-Butterscotch Pie and Sour Cherry-Bourbon Pie—and other bakeshop favorites, the Sister Pie cookbook pays homage to Motor City ingenuity and all-American spirit. Illustrated throughout with 75 drool-worthy photos and Ludwinski’s charming line illustrations, and infused with her plucky, punny style, bakers and bakery lovers won’t be able to resist this book.
For the friend who believes Cake > Pie
All About Cake: A Milk Bar Cookbook by Christina Tosi
From the publisher: Welcome to the sugar-fueled, manically creative cake universe of Christina Tosi. It’s a universe of ooey-gooey banana-chocolate-peanut butter cakes you make in a crockpot, of layer cakes that taste like Key lime pie, and the most baller birthday cake ever. From her home kitchen to the creations of her beloved Milk Bar, All About Cake covers everything: two-minute microwave mug cakes, buttery Bundts and pounds, her famous cake truffles and, of course, her signature naked layer cakes filled with pops of flavors and textures. But more than just a collection of Christina’s greatest-hits recipes (c’mon, like that’s not enough?) this book will be your guide for how to dream up and make cakes of any flavor you can think of, whether you’re a kitchen rookie or a full-fledged baking hardbody.
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.
Conscious Cooks & Healthy Eaters
For the friend who secretly misses burgers now that they eat plant-based
From the publisher: Thug Kitchen started their wildly popular website to inspire people to eat some goddamn vegetables and adopt a healthier lifestyle. Beloved by Gwyneth Paltrow (‘This might be my favorite thing ever’) and with half a million Facebook fans and counting, Thug Kitchen wants to show everyone how to take charge of their plates and cook up some real f*cking food. Yeah, plenty of blogs and cookbooks preach about how to eat more kale, why ginger fights inflammation, and how to cook with microgreens and nettles. But they are dull or pretentious as hell—and most people can’t afford the hype. Thug Kitchen lives in the real world. In their first cookbook, they’re throwing down more than 100 recipes for their best-loved meals, snacks and sides for beginning cooks to home chefs. (Roasted Beer and Lime Cauliflower Tacos? Pumpkin Chili? Grilled Peach Salsa? Believe that sh*t.) Plus they’re going to arm you with all the info and techniques you need to shop on a budget and go and kick a bunch of ass on your own. This book is an invitation to everyone who wants to do better to elevate their kitchen game. No more ketchup and pizza counting as vegetables. No more drive-thru lines. No more avoiding the produce corner of the supermarket. Sh*t is about to get real.
For the friend following a Paleo diet
Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans by Michelle Tam and Henry Fong
From the publisher: The heart of this critically acclaimed cookbook is Michelle’s recipes, which The Kitchn has heralded as “often Asian-influenced, often California-inspired, and always popping with flavor.” Building blocks such as Paleo Sriracha, Magic Mushroom Powder, and Paleo Mayonnaise lay the flavor foundation for many of the dishes in the rest of the book, including Walnut Prawns, Eggplant “Ricotta” Stacks, and Devils on Horseback. You’ll find everything from down-home comforts like Yankee Pot Roast and Chicken Nuggets to the exotic flavors of Siu Yoke (Crispy Roast Pork Belly) and Mulligatawny Soup. These pages contain everything you need to maximize flavors and save time in the kitchen–all while transitioning to a real-food Paleo lifestyle.
For the friend following a Keto diet
The Keto Diet Cookbook by Leanne Vogel
From the publisher: From the bestselling author of The Keto Diet comes this all-new cookbook featuring 140 low-carb, high-fat recipes designed to help make the ketogenic diet work for each individual’s unique needs. Leanne Vogel (HealthfulPursuit.com) is well aware that keto is not a one-size-fits-all way of eating; she offers a wealth of advice for customizing the diet to keep people from giving up because of frustration and feeling “stuck.” Her goal with The Keto Diet Cookbook is to teach people how to eat keto with foods they have in their kitchens and show them how to make keto work with the resources they have available right now—simple and easy!
For the friend about to start another round of Whole30
From the publisher: As millions of people know, one of the toughest things about completing the Whole30 is figuring out what to eat next, the other 335 days of the year. Teri Turner, creator of No Crumbs Left, has healthful and great tasting answers. Food is Teri’s love language, and her approach to getting people into the kitchen, rolling up their sleeves, and cooking is contagious. “Don’t be afraid to fail: it’s just food,” is one of her mantras. Teri’s passion is evident on every page of her first cookbook, as she leads readers through a discovery of new flavors and spice combinations and teaches people to trust their cooking instincts. Teri’s recipes, most of which are gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and Whole30 compliant, are what makes No Crumbs Left so unique.
For the friend who’s waste-conscious
Waste Not: How To Get The Most From Your Food by James Beard Foundation
From the publisher: The average American household throws away more than $1,500 worth of food every year. Featuring 100 recipes from chefs such as Rick Bayless, Elizabeth Falkner, Bryant Terry, and Katie Button, Waste Not shows readers how to turn ingredients that often end up in the trash into delicious dishes and exciting takes on tried-and-true recipes.
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
The Instant Pot Bible: More than 350 Recipes and Strategies: The Only Book You Need for Every Model of Instant Pot by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough
From the publisher: The Instant Pot Bible is the most comprehensive Instant Pot book ever published, with recipes for everything from hearty breakfasts to healthy sides, from centerpiece stews and roasts to decadent desserts. Bestselling authors and pressure-cooking experts Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough offer customized directions and timings for perfect results every time. And many recipes can also use the slow-cook setting to let the machine cook while you do other things. These innovative “road map” recipes for classics such as vegetable soups, chilis, pasta casseroles, oatmeal, and more let you customize flavors and ingredients to make each of your family members’ favorites. Need dinner in an instant? No problem-more than 175 recipes come together in just a few minutes or just a few steps. Not to mention vegan and vegetarian, keto-friendly, and gluten-free options galore.
Library Builders & Seasoned Cooks
For the friend who thinks Ina Garten is Queen
Cook Like a Pro: Recipes and Tips for Home Cooks by Ina Garten
From the publisher: For Ina, cooking like a pro also means hosting like a pro, and along with know-how like how to tell when a filet of beef is perfectly cooked, you’ll find dozens of other great ideas to boost your cooking and entertaining skills such as how to set up an elegant home bar and how to make an impressive Raspberry Baked Alaska that can be completely prepared ahead of time so all you need to do is finish it for your guests before serving. Beginner and advanced cooks alike will love Ina’s delectable recipes, and if you have questions along the way, don’t worry–Ina’s practical cooking advice talks you through every detail, as though she were right there by your side. With beautiful photos and a treasury of pro tips that span prepping, making, and serving, as Ina says, “You don’t have to be a pro to cook like one!”
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
The Best American Food Writing 2019 Edited by Samin Nosrat and Silvia Killingsworth
From the publisher: “Good food writing evokes the senses,” writes Samin Nosrat, best-selling author of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat and star of the Netflix adaptation of the book. “It makes us consider divergent viewpoints. It makes us hungry and motivates us to go out into the world in search of new experiences. It charms and angers us, breaks our hearts, and gives us hope. And perhaps most importantly, it creates empathy within us.” Whether it’s the dizzying array of Kit Kats in Japan, a reclamation of the queer history of tapas, or a spotlight on a day in the life of a restaurant inspector, the work in The Best American Food Writing 2019 will inspire you to pick up a knife and start chopping, but also to think critically about what you’re eating and how it came to your plate, while still leaving you clamoring for seconds.
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.