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Coobooks for Everyone on Your Gifting List
Even the ones who don't like to cook!
How was your holiday? If you, like me, rolled straight from your turkey dinner into a frantic gift buying frenzy, hi! I have something fun for you today. There are so many exhaustive, all encompassing gift guides floating around this time of year (Abigail’s is always a favorite, I make a point to listen to the A Thing or Two and Ronnukah gift guide episodes each year, and I must confess, perusing the Goop gift guides is an annual guilty pleasure) that I figured I’d provide you with a hyper-specific offering this year.
You read the subject, so you know that today, we’re talking cookbooks! I think they make a uniquely lovely gift because you can find one to suit almost anyone. Truly. A few years ago, I threw a little bachelorette party and I gifted each of the gals in attendance a cookbook I’d chosen especially for her. Since then, I’ve continued gifting (and being gifted!) cookbooks, always to great success.
While we’re talking cookbooks, you’ll hear more about it in a bit, but a quick reminder that today is the last day to get 15% off Meal Prep Made Simple using code THANKS at checkout.
Okay, let’s get into it:
For the Young Person Who Needs Guidance on the Fundamentals
I gave this very special book to my brother as a holiday gift during his first year living on his own. He’d recently had an unfortunate run in with Chicken Tikka Masala wherein he’d assumed coconut oil was an appropriate sub for coconut milk (ack!) and needed a confidence boost. And I can personally confirm that he’s a changed young man after reading Samin Nosrat’s seminal work. I’ve seen him whipping up extremely complicated dishes sans recipe on multiple occasions since! Proud sister doesn’t even begin to cover it.
For the Japanophile
This one’s personal! If you’ve spent any time in person or online with me, you likely know that I lived in Tokyo for a significant chunk of my childhood and feel deeply connected to Japan. My mother in law gave me Sonoko Sakai’s beautiful book as a Christmas gift a couple years ago and it quickly became a favorite in my collection. The recipes are beautiful and easy to follow, and the amount of information about Japanese pantry ingredients and food traditions in the front section of the book is vast. Cannot recommend this one highly enough.
For the Intuitive Eater
Julia Turshen knocks it out of the park with her recipes every time. That’s a given. But there are also beautiful essays about her childhood, body neutrality, and her lifelong love of food tucked in amongst all the deliciousness here.
For the Ambitious Gluten Free Baker
If you have a loved one with a gluten allergy/intolerance and a real love for kitchen and oven tinkering, Aran’s beautiful book couldn’t be a better fit. I went on a long and ultimately successful GF sourdough journey with the help of this book and have given it as a gift to my GF friends and family on multiple occasions.
And for the Less Ambitious Gluten Free Cook
Sometimes you just don’t have patience for a ton of tinkering! This book isn’t strictly gluten-free and it’s much more than a baking book, but all the recipes for baked goods are easily adaptable using a GF All Purpose flour substitute and Sarah’s helpful guidance. And if you need another endorsement: of all the books on this list, this is probably the one I’ve cooked most out of.
For the Pal Struggling to Get Dinner On the Table
Wait, no, this is the book I’ve cooked most out of. And that’s because this a shameless plug. Abigail and I literally wrote—and cooked through—this cookbook so, so many times! It’s for anyone who needs a little helping hand getting dinner on the table and it’s been absolutely thrilling to see some of you cooking from it. I’d be remiss not to mention that it’s on sale and for just a few more hours! Use code THANKS for 15% off.
For the Friend Who Really Doesn’t Want to Cook at All
Lukas Volger is a genius for this one. You all know I’m a snacks for dinner devotee and that’s mainly because it forces a mindset shift. Doesn’t “I’m just throwing together some snacks,” feel so much more manageable than, “I’m cooking a meal for four”? I think it does and this small attitude adjustment is often enough to get me into the kitchen whipping up a few really creative little bites that amount to a full, satisfying meal. This book can help you or your giftee get there too!
For the Great British Bake Off Fan
Believe it or not, I’m not a Bake Off fanatic, but I consume enough pop culture media to know that Benjamina Ebuehi is an absolute fan favorite. I’ve also tasted a few of the truly delicious bakes out of her first book and have heard wonderful things about the recipes in this book, so it’s on my gifting list for anyone who’s hoping to avoid a soggy bottom this year.
For the Vegetarian with High Standards
This is a cookbook I’ve sat down with and read like a novel, cover-to-cover. The best ones are like that, don’t you think? All of Hetty’s recipes are fully vegetarian but as an enthusiastic omnivore, I can confirm that this almost feels like a coincidence. Everything is intensely flavorful and always very filling.
And For the Cook Who is Really More of a Reader: An Everlasting Meal
Speaking of reading cover-to-cover, my good friend Alyssa lent me her copy of this little paperback just before I started culinary school. I tore through it then and have revisited it on multiple occasions since (I still have her copy! oops!) Yes, it’s technically a cookbook, but it’s also one of my favorite books of all time, full stop. Its beautiful prose are often compared to those of MFK Fisher. If you’ve got a reader who appreciates beautiful, thoughtful writing and loves to spend some time in their kitchen on your list this year, this is for them.
Okay, we’ve covered it. I hope this little list is helpful during this very busy gifting season. And if there’s a cookbook you find yourself gifting again and again, I’d love to hear which one! I’m always looking to grow my own collection.
As always, wishing you a well-fed week ahead.
With love and a tip of my chef’s hat,
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