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 that often make them perfect for using in the kitchen or displaying as a table book.
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
I Dream of Dinner (So You Don't Have To): Low-Effort, High-Reward Recipes by Ali Slagle
From the publisher: With minimal ingredients and maximum joy in mind, Ali Slagle's no-nonsense, completely delicious recipes are ideal for dinner tonight—and every single night. Like she does with her instantly beloved recipes in the New York Times, Ali combines readily available, inexpensive ingredients in clever, uncomplicated ways for meals that spark everyday magic. Maybe it’s Fish & Chips Tacos tonight, a bowl of Olive Oil-Braised Chickpeas tomorrow, and Farro Carbonara forever and ever. All come together with fewer than eight ingredients and forty-five minutes, using one or two pots and pans. Half the recipes are plant-based, too.
For the friend who's wearing out their Postmates account but can cook an egg reasonably well
Food52 Simply Genius: Recipes for Beginners, Busy Cooks & Curious People - by Kristen Miglore
From the publisher: There's no better way to learn how to make great food than to stand at the elbow of a skilled cook, ask questions, and watch their every move. In Simply Genius, Food52 founding editor and Genius Recipes columnist Kristen Miglore gives you access to genius cooks like Samin Nosrat (Buttermilk-Marinated Roast Chicken), Dr. Jessica B. Harris (Mayonnaise d'Avocat), Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi (Roasted Butternut Squash & Red Onion with Tahini & Za'atar), Gonzalo Guzmán (Frijoles Negros de la Olla), Leah Chase (Rice Pancakes with Ham & Tomato-Basil Sauce), Heidi Swanson (Farro & Olive Salad), Jacques Pépin (Fresh Tomato Sauce), and more, as they share their brilliant cooking tips through a collection of essential recipes.
For the friend who hates doing dishes
Dinner in One: Exceptional & Easy One-Pan Meals by Melissa Clark
From the publisher: Melissa Clark brings her home cook’s expertise and no-fuss approach to the world of one-pot/pan cooking. With nearly all of the recipes being made in under one hour, the streamlined steps ensure you are in and out of the kitchen without dirtying a multitude of pans or spending more time than you need to on dinner.
Expect to find a bevy of sheet-pan suppers (Miso-Glazed Salmon with Roasted Sugar Snap Peas), skillet dinners (Cheesy Meatball Parm with Spinach), Instant Pot® pinch hitters (Cheaters Chicken and Dumplings), comforting casseroles (Herby Artichoke and Gruyere Bread Pudding) that you can assemble right in the baking dish, crowd-pleasing one-pot pasta meals (Gingery Coconut Noodles with Shrimp and Greens), vegetable-forward mains, and dozens of tips for turning a vegetarian or meat-based recipe vegan. And since no dinner is complete without dessert, you'll find a chapter of one-bowl cakes, too—from an Easy Chocolate Fudge Torte to a Ricotta-Olive Oil Pound Cake.
Entertainers & Party Makers
For the friend who hosts dinner parties
One of Jenni's Favorite Cookbooks of 2022
Colu Cooks: Easy Fancy Food by Colu Henry
From the publisher: Colu Henry has been working in food for more than 15 years, and from her time at publications from Bon Appétit to the New York Times, she’s learned that what resonates with her readers is her always unfussy and empowering recipes. In this cookbook—a nod to home cooks who are happy to do everything but pastry—Henry helps readers assemble an amply stocked new-American pantry so that they can perfect (and build upon) classic everyday meals.
With 100 recipes and photographs, Henry offers ideas and solutions to get you out of your weeknight routine, explore new ingredients and techniques, build your confidence, and have sophisticated dishes on the table in around 45 minutes.
For the friend who owns cocktail sticks
The Bartender's Manifesto: How to Think, Drink, and Create Cocktails Like a Pro by Tobey Maloney, Emma Janzen, and the Bartenders of The Violet Hour
From the publisher: Take a raucous romp through the essential stages of fashioning cocktails and learn the hows and whys of bartending with acclaimed mixologist Toby Maloney and the team from The Violet Hour. When the pioneering cocktail bar opened in Chicago in 2007, it set a high standard with an innovative training program that teaches not just how to replicate classic cocktail recipes flawlessly, but how to embrace ingenuity, make smart decisions, and create original, inspired recipes from rote. Like cooks who can peer into their pantry and whip up dinner on the fly, no recipe needed, those who follow the methods in The Bartender's Manifesto will have the technical foundation and confidence to take their cocktail skills to the next level and fabricate a drink from any ingredients at hand.
For the friend who puts their Christmas tree up November 1st
The Christmas Chronicles: Notes, stories & 100 essential recipes for winter by Nigel Slater
From the publisher: Taking you from 1 November all the way to the end of January, The Christmas Chronicles covers everything from Bonfire Night, Christmas and New Year to Epiphany. Throughout the season, Nigel offers over 100 recipes to see you through the build-up, the celebrations and the aftermath. Here are much-loved classics such as goose and turkey (and making the most of the leftovers), mincemeat and the cake; recipes to make the cold months bearable, like ribsticker bread pudding with Comté and Taleggio, salt crust potatoes with blue cheese and goat’s curd, and hot-smoked salmon, potatoes and dill; as well as bright flavours to welcome the new year, including pink grapefruit marmalade, pear and pickled radish salad and rye, linseed and treacle bread.
Packed with feasts, folktales, myths and memoir and all told in Nigel’s warm and intimate signature style, The Christmas Chronicles is the only book you’ll ever need for winter.
For the friend who is on a first-name basis with their local cheesemonger
Cheese Sex Death: A Bible for the Cheese Obsessed by Erika Kubick
From the publisher: For many people, the world of artisan cheese is an intriguing but intimidating place. There are so many strange smells, unusual textures, exotic names, and rules for serving. Where should a neophyte begin?
From evangelist cheesemonger Erika Kubick, this comprehensive book guides readers to become confident connoisseurs and worshippers of Cheesus. A preacher of the curd word, Kubick provides the Ten Commandments of Cheese, which breaks down this complex world into simplified bites. A welcoming sanctuary devoted to making cheese a daily part of life and gatherings, this book explores the many different styles of cheese by type, profiling commonly found and affordable wedges as well as the more rare and refined of rinds. Kubick offers divine recipes that cover everything from everyday crowd pleasers (think mac and cheese and baked brie) to festive feasts fit for holidays and gatherings. This cheese devotee outlines the perfect cheese plate formula and offers inventive yet easy-to-execute beverage pairings, including wine, beer, spirits, and non-alcoholic drinks. These heavenly spreads and recipes wring maximum indulgence out of minimal effort and expense. Filled with seductive photography and audacious prose, Cheese Sex Death is a delightfully approachable guide to artisan cheese that will make just about anyone worship at the altar of Cheesus.
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
The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs by
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 binges food documentaries on the weekends
Salt, Fat, Acid, HeatL Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nostrat
From the publisher: *More than 1 million copies sold *New York Times bestseller *Winner of the James Beard Award and multiple IACP Cookbook Awards *Available as a Netflix series
Transform how you prep, cook, and think about food with this visionary master class in cooking by Samin Nosrat that distills decades of professional experience into just four simple elements—from the woman declared “America’s next great cooking teacher” by Alice Waters. Featuring more than 100 recipes from Samin and more than 150 illustrations from acclaimed illustrator Wendy MacNaughton!
For the friend who just got a pizza oven
The Elements of Pizza: Unlocking the Secrets to World-Class Pies at Home by Ken Forkish
From the publisher: The Elements of Pizza breaks down each step of the pizza-making process, from choosing a dough to shaping your pie to selecting cheeses and toppings that will work for your home kitchen setup. Forkish offers more than a dozen different dough recipes—same-day “Saturday doughs” that you can make in the morning to bake pizza that night, levain doughs made from a naturally fermented yeast starter, and even gluten-free dough—each of which results in the best, most texturally sublime crust you’ve ever made at home.
His clear, expert instructions will have you shaping pies and loading a pizza peel with the confidence of a professional pizzaiolo. And his innovative, seasonal topping ideas will surprise and delight any pizza lover—and inspire you to create your own signature pies, just the way you like them.
For the friend who mills their own flour
The Miller's Daughter: Unusual Flours & Heritage Grains: Stories and Recipes from Hayden Flour Mills by Emma Zimmerman
From the publisher: The Miller's Daughter is a cookbook at the forefront of America's heritage grain movement with 80 glorious recipes and beautiful, candid stories that celebrate community, agriculture, sustainability, and the place of grains at every table.
Organized by grain (from farro to white sonora to red fife to corn, barley, durum and rye), Emma's collection of recipes covers breakfast, sweet, savory and mains within each chapter. Think recipes for chickpea cookies, pink polenta with crispy pancetta, sprouted barley salad, farro crust tart, white sonora berry salad – and much more. This is the true and captivating story of a mill restarted, of near-extinct grains rescued, and a whole host of nourishing dishes created and enjoyed along the way.
Travelers & Wanderlusters
For the friend who likes to cook their way through a cuisine
The Essentials of Italian Cooking: 30th Anniversary Edition by Marcella Hazan
From the publisher: This is the go-to Italian cookbook for students, newlyweds, and master chefs, alike. Beautifully illustrated with line drawings throughout, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking brings together nearly five hundred of the most delicious recipes from the Italian repertoire in one indispensable volume.
As the generations of readers who have turned to it over the years know (and as their spattered and worn copies can attest), there is no more passionate and inspiring guide to the cuisine of Italy.
For the friend who's always up for a marathon dumpling-making session
The Woks of Life: Recipes to Know and Love from a Chinese American Family: A Cookbook by Bill Leung, Kaitlin Leung, Judy Leung, and Sarah Leung
From the publisher: This is the story of a family as told through food. Judy, the mom, speaks to traditional Chinese dishes and cultural backstory. Bill, the dad, worked in his family’s Chinese restaurants and will walk you through how to make a glorious Cantonese Roast Duck. Daughters Sarah and Kaitlin have your vegetable-forward and one-dish recipes covered—put them all together and you have the first cookbook from the funny and poignant family behind the popular blog The Woks of Life.
In addition to recipes for Mini Char Siu Bao, Spicy Beef Biang Biang Noodles, Cantonese Pork Belly Fried Rice, and Salt-and-Pepper Fried Oyster Mushrooms, there are also helpful tips and tricks throughout, including an elaborate rundown of the Chinese pantry, explanations of essential tools (including the all-important wok), and insight on game-changing Chinese cooking secrets like how to “velvet” meat to make it extra tender and juicy. Whether you’re new to Chinese cooking or if your pantry is always stocked with bean paste and chili oil, you’ll find lots of inspiration and trustworthy recipes that will become a part of your family story, too.
For the friend who could happily eat pasta every night of the week
Simple Pasta: Pasta Made Easy. Life Made Better. by Odette Williams
From the publisher: In Simple Pasta, Odette Williams makes homemade pasta easy, fun, and delicious. With just three base doughs, there are endless possibilities for creating memorable, transporting meals with friends and family. Of course, if you prefer (or just need the convenience of) store-bought pasta, that’s always an option too.
Peppered throughout the book are recipes for side dishes, drinks, mains, and desserts, helping anyone recreate the laid-back elegance of la dolce vita at home. Seasonal menus showcase produce at its prime, creating pasta dishes that are singular and memorable. In Simple Pasta, Odette welcomes you to experience the everyday joy of pasta with the people you love.
For the friend who knows the best meals always begin with chips and salsa
Treasures Of The Mexican Table: Classic Recipes, Local Secrets by Pati Jinich
From the publisher: Although many of us can rattle off our favorite authentic Mexican dishes, we might be hard pressed to name more than ten. Which is preposterous, given that Mexico has a rich culinary history stretching back thousands of years. For the last decade, Pati Jinich has sought out the culinary treasures of her home country, from birria, to salsa macha, to coyotas, to carne asada. Many of these dishes are local specialties, heirlooms passed down through generations, unknown outside of their original regions. Others have become national sensations. Each recipe is a classic. Each one comes with a story told in Pati's warm, relatable style. And each has been tested in Pati's American kitchen to ensure it is the best of its kind. Together, these essential recipes paint a vivid picture of the richness of Mexico.
For the friend who has a family tartan
The Hebridean Baker: Recipes and Wee Stories from the Scottish Islands by Coinneach MacLeod
From the publisher: Close your eyes and imagine yourself in the remote Outer Hebrides of Scotland. Do you see yourself walking along a deserted beach? Climbing a heather-strewn hill with a happy wee dog by your side? Sipping a dram at a ceilidh to the tune of a Gaelic song? Or chatting by a warm stove with a cuppa and a cake? For me, it is all these things, and more... and they have inspired every page of this book.
From Croft Loaf to Cranachan Chocolate Bombs, Oaty Apricot Cookies to Heilan' Coo Cupcakes, there's something here to put a smile on everyone's face. Focusing on small bakes that use a simple set of ingredients, these recipes will unleash your inner Scottish baker―it's all about rustic home baking and old family favorites because, as the Hebridean Baker always says, "Homemade is always best!"
The Hebridean Baker is your ticket to the Scottish Highlands. Perfect for fans of Outlander and anyone who loves to discover new books via TikTok and BookTok, this beautiful cookbook is a wonderful gift for home bakers and lovers of Scottish culture.
For the friend who hosts luaus in their backyard
Cook Real Hawai'i by Sheldon Simeon with Garrett Snyder
From the publisher: Even when he was winning accolades and adulation for his cooking, two-time Top Chef finalist Sheldon Simeon decided to drop what he thought he was supposed to cook as a chef. He dedicated himself instead to the local Hawai‘i food that feeds his ‘ohana—his family and neighbors. With uncomplicated, flavor-forward recipes, he shows us the many cultures that have come to create the cuisine of his beloved home: the native Hawaiian traditions, Japanese influences, Chinese cooking techniques, and dynamic Korean, Portuguese, and Filipino flavors that are closest to his heart.
Through stunning photography, poignant stories, and dishes like wok-fried poke, pork dumplings made with biscuit dough, crispy cauliflower katsu, and charred huli-huli chicken slicked with a sweet-savory butter glaze, Cook Real Hawai‘i will bring a true taste of the cookouts, homes, and iconic mom and pop shops of Hawai‘i into your kitchen.
For the friend who dreams of living in France
One of Jenni's Favorite Books of 2022
An American in Provence: Art, Life, and Photography by Jamie Beck
From the publisher: In An American in Provence, Beck shares her tips and techniques for creating incredible photos and details her transformational journey as an artist and woman. Beck also includes farm-to-table recipes she's learned along the way, including Braised Beef Stew, Spring Chicken with Herbs de Provence, Fresh Tagliatelle Pasta with Spring Asparagus, and Lemon Meringue Tart. This stunning visual journey is sure to delight anyone who wishes to escape reality and immerse themselves in life in Provence.
Bakers & Dessert Makers
For the friend who stress-bakes after work every day
Sweet Enough by Alison Roman
From the publisher: Casual, effortless, chic: These are not words you’d use to describe most desserts. But before Alison Roman made recipes so perfect that they go by one name—The Cookie, The Pasta, The Lemon Cake—she was a restaurant pastry chef who spent most of her time learning to make things the hard way. She studied flavor, technique, and precision, then distilled her knowledge to pare it all down to create dessert recipes that feel special and approachable, impressive and doable. In Sweet Enough, Alison has written the book for people who think they don’t have the time or skill to pull off dessert. Here, the desserts you want to make right away, you can make right away.
Alison shows you how to make simple yet sublime sweets with her trademark casualness, like how to make jam in the oven, then turn that jam into a dessert—swirled into ice cream or folded into easy one-bowl cake batter. (Opening a jar of jam is more than fine, too.) She waxes poetic on the virtues of frozen fruit and teaches you the best way to throw your own Sundae Party. There are effortless cakes that take just minutes to get into a pan. And there are new, instant classics with a signature Alison twist, like Salted Lemon Pie, Raspberries and Sour Cream, Toasted Rice Pudding, or a Caramelized Maple Tart. Requiring little more than your own two hands and a few mixing bowls, the recipes are geared towards those without fancy equipment or specialty ingredients. Whether you’re a dedicated baker or, better yet, someone who doesn’t think they are a baker, Sweet Enough lets you finish any dinner, any party, or any car ride to a dinner party with a little something wonderful and sweet.
For the friend who believes Pie > Cake
Pie For Everyone: Recipes and Stories from Petee's Pie, New York's Best Pie Shop by Petra Paredez
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.
The friend who keeps killing their sourdough starter
The Perfect Loaf: The Craft and Science of Sourdough Breads, Sweets, and More by Maurizio Leo
From the publisher: Maurizio Leo’s blog The Perfect Loaf is the go-to destination on the internet for beginner sourdough bakers. He now brings his impeccably detailed techniques, foolproof recipes, and generous teaching style to a groundbreaking debut cookbook that delves into the absolute fundamentals of sourdough—plus the tools and confidence to explore beyond.
Beginner bakers will have their hands held the entire way, with troubleshooting sections and numerous sidebars answering almost every question they may have—like how to store a sourdough starter long-term, how bakers’ percentages actually work, and a visual guide to common “bread fails” and how to remedy them. Seasoned bakers will relish deep dives into the science behind baking processes and expert information on how to build their “baker’s intuition” and level up by experimenting with hydration, ingredient ratios, freshly milled grains, and specialty flours. Whether you're new to bread baking or a pro, The Perfect Loaf will be your indispensable guide in the kitchen.
For the gluten-free friend who misses good bread
Cannelle et Vanille Bakes Simple: A New Way to Bake Gluten-Free by Aran Goyoaga
From the publisher: Cannelle et Vanille Bakes Simple is all about easy-to-follow, gluten-free recipes for enticing breads, cakes, pies, tarts, biscuits, cookies, and includes a special holiday baking chapter.
Aran also shares her gluten-free all-purpose baking mix so you can whip up a batch to keep in your pantry. An added bonus is that each recipe offers dairy-free substitutions and some are naturally vegan as well. With inventive, well-tested, recipes and Aran's clear guidance (plus 145 of her stunning photos), gluten-free baking is happily unfussy, producing irresistibly good results every time.
For the friend who loves to bake but doesn't have much of a sweet tooth
Savory Baking: Recipes for Breakfast, Dinner, and Everything in Between by Erin Jeanne McDowell
From the publisher: Savory Baking is the next best thing to a private baking and pastry class from star food stylist and baking expert Erin Jeanne McDowell, given in her signature fun and reassuring style. Not only are each of her recipes intensely crave-able, they also offer inventive inspirations and variations for endless, out-of-the-box customizations and more flexibility.
Take her Buttermilk Biscuits, for instance, which comes together in a single bowl. You can cut them in different shapes—Erin prefers squares so there’s no scrap dough left. And she suggests adding cheese (or fresh herbs or bacon) for bolder flavor. Or substituting the buttermilk with sour cream or crème fraiche for a je ne sais quoi tang. Or adding her green chile gravy when serving. Or make a monkey bread made of biscuit dough!
For the friend who visits the farmers' market each week
One of Jenni's Favorite Cookbooks
Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables by Joshua McFadden with Martha Holmberg
From the publisher: Joshua McFadden, chef and owner of renowned trattoria Ava Gene’s in Portland, Oregon, is a vegetable whisperer. After years racking up culinary cred at New York City restaurants like Lupa, Momofuku, and Blue Hill, he managed the trailblazing Four Season Farm in coastal Maine, where he developed an appreciation for every part of the plant and learned to coax the best from vegetables at each stage of their lives.
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's always up for a trip to the local farmers' market
One of Jenni's Favorite Cookbooks of 2022
The Cook You Want to Be: Everyday Recipes to Impress by Andy Baraghani
From the publisher: Andy Baraghani peeled hundreds of onions at Chez Panisse as a teenage intern, honed his perfectly balanced salad–making skills at Estela in New York, and developed recipes in the test kitchens of Saveur, Tasting Table, and Bon Appétit. It took him all those years to figure out the cook he wanted to be: a cook who is true to his Persian heritage, a fresh-vegetable lover, a citrus superfan, and an always-hungry world traveler. In The Cook You Want to Be, Baraghani shows home cooks on how to hone their own cooking styles by teaching the techniques and unexpected flavor combinations that maximize flavor in minimal time.
The Cook You Want to Be is a trove of go-to recipes and knowledge, stunning photographs, and delicious, simple home cooking for modern times.
For the friend who recently signed up for a CSA share
Salad Freak: Recipes to Feed a Healthy Obsession by Jess Damuck
From the publisher: Offering more than 100 inspired recipes, recipe developer and food stylist Jess Damuck shares her passion for making truly delicious salads. Salad Freak encourages readers to discover and embrace their own salad obsessions. With the right recipes, you will want to eat salad for every meal and never get bored. By playfully combining color, texture, shape, and, of course, flavor, Damuck demonstrates how a little extra effort in the kitchen can be meditative, delicious, and fun. The recipes—such as her Citrus Breakfast Salad; Tea-Smoked Chicken and Bitter Greens Salad; Caesar Salad Pizza Salad; and Roasted Grapes, Ricotta, Croutons, and Endive Salad—are meant to be hearty enough for a meal all year round but versatile enough to be incorporated into a larger menu. For Damuck, the perfect salad balances each bite, with something tart enough to twinge your cheeks, something sweet to balance out the bitter, and something with a little salty crunch to finish. Salad Freak is not just about eating to feel good; it’s about confidently combining flavors to create fresh, bright, and satisfying meals that you will want to make again and again.
For the friend who is trying to cook with more whole grains
Grains for Every Season: Rethinking Our Way with Grains by Joshua McFadden and Martha Holmberg
From the publisher: Joshua McFadden’s first book, the James Beard Award–winning and perennially bestselling Six Seasons, transformed the way we cook with vegetables. Now he’s back with a new book that applies his maximalist approach to flavor and texture to cooking with grains. These knock-your-socks-off recipes include salads, soups, pastas, pizzas, grain bowls, breads—and even desserts. McFadden works as intuitively, as surprisingly, as deliciously with whole grains as he does with vegetables. Grains for Every Season will change the way we cook with barley, brown rice, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, rye, wheat (bulgur, farro, freekeh, spelt, wheat berries, and whole wheat flour), and wild rice.
The book’s 200 recipes are organized into chapters by grain type, unlocking information on where each one comes from, how to prepare it, and why the author—the multi-award-winning chef/owner of Ava Gene’s in Portland—can’t live without it. McFadden uses grains both whole and milled into flour. The many gluten-free recipes are clearly designated.
McFadden reveals how each grain can be used in both savory and sweet recipes, from Meat Loaf with Barley and Mushrooms to Peanut Butter–Barley Cookies; from Buckwheat, Lime and Herb Salad to Buckwheat Cream Scones. He folds quinoa into tempura batter to give veggies extra pop and takes advantage of the nutty flavor of spelt flour for Cast-Iron Skillet Spelt Cinnamon Rolls. Four special foldout sections highlight seasonal variations on grain bowls, stir-fries, pizzas, pilafs, and more, to show how flexible and satisfying cooking with grains can be.
Weeknight & Family Cooks
For the friend who is the most fun to cook with
Let's Eat: 101 Recipes to Fill Your Heart & Home
From the publisher: In his debut cookbook, larger-than-life personality Dan Pelosi offers up a warm hug of home cooking, sharing both comfort food and connection with 101 of his nearest and dearest Italian American recipes. Some have been passed down through his family, and others have been cooked up from scratch—but all are made with love and accompanied by fun, meaningful stories to warm your heart while filling your belly. Read how Bimpy (the 100-year-old grandpa the internet loves to love!) smuggled homemade subs into Yankee Stadium, then craft your ultimate Big Italian Sandwich. Relive the memory of Dan learning how to make his friend’s mom’s stuffed chicken cutlets in their Jersey Shore house (and getting himself adopted into their family), then level up with Prosciutto & Mozzarella–Stuffed Chicken Parm. Learn how Dan’s mom would spring him out of school before the final bell (just to preheat the oven), then make your own Early Dismissal Pot Roast. And rewind to the beginning of Dan’s relationship with his boyfriend, Gus, then recreate the Zabaglione (and the romantic Cheesecake Factory ambiance) that inspired their first “I love you.”
In addition to the staple chapters like Eggs, Appetizers, Pasta, Meat & Fish, and Sweets, you’ll also find deep dives on Italian food recipes like Dough and Marinara, presented with hero recipes you can spin into all kinds of deliciousness. (Don’t worry—his viral Vodka Sawce is here!) Also sprinkled throughout this recipe book are Grossy’s Guides to cooking, cleaning, organizing, and everything you need to become intuitive in your kitchen.
Approachable and tasty, Dan’s recipes are meant to be shared with the ones you love. Set the table, grab a chair, roll up your sleeves . . . now LET’S EAT!
For the friend who makes a mean casserole
Home is Where the Eggs Are: Farmhouse Food For the People You Love by Molly Yeh
From the publisher: Home Is Where the Eggs Are is a beautiful, intimate book full of food that’s best enjoyed in the comfort of sweatpants and third-day hair, by a beloved Food Network host and new mom living on a sugar beet farm in East Grand Forks, MN. Molly Yeh’s cooking is built to fit into life with her baby, Bernie, and the naptimes, diaper changes, and wiggle time that come with having a young child, making them a breeze to fit into any sort of schedule, no matter how busy. They’re low-maintenance dishes that are satisfying to make for weeknight meals to celebrate empty to-do lists after long workdays, cozy Sunday soups to simmer during the first (or seventh!) snowfall of the year, and desserts that will keep happily under the cake dome for long enough that you will never feel pressure to share.
For the friend who wants to keep things super simple
One of Jenni's Favorite Cookbooks of 2022
The Modern Proper Cookbook: Simple Dinners for Every Day by Nathalie Mortimer and Holly Erickson
From the publisher: For pretty much everyone, life gets busy—but you still want to cook up a good meal, ideally one that’s accessible, efficient, and doesn’t sacrifice any of the delicious flavors you love. The creators of the popular website The Modern Proper are all about that weeknight dinner, and now, they’re showing you how to reinvent what proper means and be smarter with your time in the kitchen to create meals which will bring friends and family together at the table.
The Modern Proper will expand your “go-to” list and help you become a more intuitive, creative cook. Whether you’re a novice or a pro, a busy parent or a workaholic, this book will arm you with tools, tricks, and shortcuts to get dinner on the table. Every ingredient is easy to find, plus you’ll find plenty of swaps and options throughout. Each of the 100 recipes (some all-time fan favorites and many brand-new) includes prep time, cook time, and quick-reference tags.
For the friend who is bored by their weeknight rotation
More Is More by Molly Baz
From the publisher: The recipes in More Is More are fit for any day of the week and for cooks of all skill levels. Each recipe will teach a technique or flavor combination that takes Molly’s maximalist, “leave no flavor on the cutting board” approach. So crank your ovens! Grab a fat pinch of salt! And if you’re going to use an ingredient, truly use it. Just one lonely clove of garlic? Not in this cookbook!
Start your morning with a Crispy Rice Egg-in-a-Hole, throw together a Chicken Salad with Coconut Crunch for lunch, look forward to Drunken Cacio e Pepe for dinner, and save room for a fat slice of Ooey Gooey Carrot Cake for dessert. The Only Meatloaf that Matters will teach you the power of re-frying, while Miso-Braised Chicken and Leeks will ensure you never throw away the green tops of the leeks again.
With intoxicatingly delicious recipes, vivid photographs, and Molly's one-of-a-kind playful guidance and whimsy, More Is More will inspire cooks to embrace a fearless mindset to level up their cooking—for life.