Gift Guide, Part 1: Cookbooks!

This year I am presenting you with not one, but TWO gift guides. First up: cookbooks. I get a lot of questions about my favorite cookbooks. I have accumulated a lot of books, but there are only a handful that I return to again and again. These are those books and they would be wonderful gifts for anyone who cares about food.

No meat, no more! Or at least much less meat. I am super tired of this animal trend that seems to get more and more intense with every restaurant opening. I like vegetables and these two books are full of them: The Vegetarian Option by Simon Hopkinson [Gorgeous book, I love cooking from it.] and Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi [Also gorgeous, featuring recipes form his column in The Guardian]

Pastry Hall of Fame: These are the three cookbooks I use most often and the three most important books in terms of my development as a home baker.  The Last Course by Claudia Fleming with Melissa Clark [This is out of print, so try to find a used copy. It is an incredible book], Tartine by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson  [Everything I have ever made from this book has been delicious, it is inspiring and so good looking], and Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce [Blew my mind. Baking with whole grains is sexy!]

New releases: A lot of really special books were released in 2010, but these are my favorites: Heart of the Artichoke by David Tanis [Sometime I find his style a little precious, but this book seems spot on-makes me want to cook], Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan [Honestly, every book Dorie has written could go on this list.] and My Sweet Mexico by Fany Gerson [ This book really surprised me with its beauty and irresistible recipes.]

Southern Lovin’: You know how much I love food from the South. These two books are my favorites and should be a part of everyone’s library. Frank Sitt’s Southern Table by Frank Sitt [Sitt's books are both wonderful. This one I return to again and again and am never disappointed] The Gift of Southern Cooking by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock [This odd-couple's masterpiece is a classic.]

Sweet: If you like dessert as much as I do, any of these books will make your day. The Craft of Baking by Karen DeMasco [She is awesome], The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz [ The only ice cream book you'll ever need], Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich [This book is perfect. I think I have made every recipe], and Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More by Carole Walter [Carole Walter is a total baking genius. This is a book full of coffee cake recipes, people.]

Classics:   The Taste of Country Cooking by Edna Lewis [not just one of my favorite cookbooks, this is one of my favorite books.], Entertaining by Martha Stewart [such an important book and the out-of-date photos are incredible.], Desserts by Nancy Silverton [A superb baking book.]

In my next guide I will share some of my favorite things that don’t require reading.

13 comments to “Gift Guide, Part 1: Cookbooks!”

  1. Love posts like this! Keep the faves coming!

  2. Fenomenal post: thank you! I was JUST starting to write to Santa and making my list. This is exactly what I needed. I own a few of them already but am missing some wonderful ones.

  3. What a great list of some really good books you have thr! Gonna refer to it when buying some Christmas presents this yr. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Oh my god, that Martha Stewart book!

  5. your superior taste levels has shined through in this great post!
    all these cookbooks are magnificent…i cannot wait to garner the ones i do not own.

    tim, i purchased my copy of “the last course” from the north fork table & inn… ms. fleming presides over desserts & i believe is co-owner.
    http://northforktableandinn.com/about/bios/

    look forward to “tim’s ultimate favs!”

  6. I totally agree — The Last Course is one of my most favorite baking books, period. (And I have two hundred, easy. Ouch!) Have you seen that it goes for a cool $100+ on the used market?? I feel ridiculously lucky to have bought one, new!

    Plenty is a standing favorite, also, but the new Simon Hopkinson is new to me. Both ‘Roast Chickens’ are much-thumbed favorites. Thanks for bringing this one to my attention!

  7. there are at least 3 on there that I really want!

  8. What an incredible resource. Plenty has been on my wish-list for too long, and I am totally with the vegetarian trend. YES, great idea. I want so many from your list, and you’ve sorted the book clutter out in my head. WOW…’The Last Course’…me wanty!

  9. I’m always looking for new cookbook ideas. Thanks for sharing! :o)

  10. Awesome! I was just making my Chanukah-Holiday request list. Of course I have all of “The Ina’s” books, but I was looking to expand my horizons. I am anxiously awaiting delivery of The New Brooklyn Cookbook and Baked– both Brooklyn-centric, which is where I live. Any cookbooks that cull recipes from great Chicago establishments? Thanks for including the vegetarian books. I’ve been vegetarian since I was 10, but I’m not a rabbit and I love to eat delicious, flavorful foods. Love your blog. Happy Holidays.

  11. sigh*. Big sigh again.

    You’re suggestions always hit the wanty-needy nail on the head, never failing to satisfy. Thanks.

  12. I’m looking for a few new cookbooks. Thanks for the selection!

  13. Totally agree with you re: Tartine and Good to the Grain. So many great books- must get my hands on all. Nice list, Tim!

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