10 Books for GivingDecember 20, 2012 by Susie
What makes a cookbook good for giving? Well, it’s a little different from what makes a cookbook good in the kitchen. First of all, looks are more important. It has to have great design, and feel like a quality production – something worth the shiny paper it’s wrapped in (that usually, though not always, means hardback). It has to be good to read, because it’s a busy time of year and your friend might not get a chance to give it a whirl in the kitchen for another month. But if it’s really appealing, she might bring it up to leaf through in bed or browse on the sofa. And finally, it has to last. In the best case, it should have a lot of helpful information organized in an accessible fashion – so a cook can keep learning from it over time and it earns its spot in the kitchen.
With these three things in mind, here are a few 2012 cookbooks that seem to me to fit the test.
- Asian Tofu, by Andrea Nguyen. An essential for the tofu-phobic: everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know plus tons of easy recipes in one neat package.
- Canal House Cooks Every Day, by Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer. Ravishing eye candy with a seasonal bent.
- Roots,by Diane Morgan Worthington. Fantastic reference for the category for your starchy-vegetable-loving friends (a small but devout tribe)
- Burma, by Naomi Duguid. Beautiful chronicle of author’s travel in a rapidly changing nation, and a good intro to a cuisine that remains relatively unfamiliar here.
- Grow Cook Eat, by Willi Galloway. Perfect for vegetable gardeners dreaming of spring – full of information, helpful photos, and recipes easy enough to tackle after a full day of weeding.
- Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi. Inspiring, lusciously illustrated, and a fond riff on Middle Eastern classics.
- Keys to the Kitchen, by Aida Mollenkamp. For the new cook who’s serious about learning and adores food already. Beautifully packaged.
- Ripe, by Nigel Slater. A satisfyinglyl hefty tome graced by Slater’s elegant prose. Will make you drool even when you don’t have fruit dribbling sweetly into your mouth.
- The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook, by Tom Douglas. Something for everyone in this glorious bakery book. Even if you don’t feel like baking, you can practically smell the butter wafting off the pages.
- Vintage Cakes, by Julie Richardson. Historical, whimsical, and cute as a button. Perfect for the devoted baker in search of novelty.
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