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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 [1] by Simon Hopkinson [Gorgeous book, I love cooking from it.] and Plenty [2] by Yotam Ottolenghi [Also gorgeous, featuring recipes form his column [3] 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 [4] by Claudia Fleming with Melissa Clark [This is out of print, so try to find a used copy. It is an incredible book], Tartine [5] 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 [6] 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 [7] 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 [8] by Dorie Greenspan [Honestly, every book Dorie has written could go on this list.] and My Sweet Mexico [9] 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 [10] 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 [11] 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 [12] by Karen DeMasco [She is awesome], The Perfect Scoop [13] by David Lebovitz [ The only ice cream book you’ll ever need], Pure Dessert [14] by Alice Medrich [This book is perfect. I think I have made every recipe], and Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More [15] 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 [16] by Edna Lewis [not just one of my favorite cookbooks, this is one of my favorite books.], Entertaining [17] by Martha Stewart [such an important book and the out-of-date photos are incredible.], Desserts [18] by Nancy Silverton [A superb baking book.]

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