Curling up with a good book is every reader’s dream. And for many a food lover, curling up with a good cookbook can be equally as wonderful. BA50’s editors are both book lovers and food lovers, so we had terrific fun putting together a collection of cookbooks and food-story books that might be found on any bibliophile’s holiday list.
This year, we concentrated on Wholesome, Simple, and Simply Delicious…and while no self-respecting person would ever scoff at a book as a gift, adding some unique dish towels, some super colorful spatulas or a set of beautiful ceramic measuring spoons would surely pump up the volume. (Many thanks to Wendy at the Harvard Book Store for her help and suggestions.)
With drinks like “Last of the Mojitos,” and a blurb about the books and why they inspired each recipe, this ultimate cocktail book will keep the bar-hopping literary lovers happy to mix at home.The Essential Scratch & Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert
While this book appears to be whimsical (and with humorous illustrations and 16 scents, it is), it truly is a serious primer on wine fundamentals. It’s been a New York Times bestseller for weeks!The Mediterranean Slow Cooker
The convenience of putting a dish together in the morning and have it be cooked and waiting when you get home in the evening is just one of the benefits of slow cooker cooking. You also get a mighty tasty meal in the process. This is a companion to the author’s other regional Slow Cooker cookbooks, all of which are hearty dish fans’ favorites.One Pan, Two Plates
Another great cookbook for the busy, pressed for time, cook on the go. These one-pot (or skillet) dishes are relatively simple to put together, and yield just the right amount for young couples and empty nesters who don’t want lots of leftovers sitting in the fridge all week.Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week
From the author of the acclaimed vegan website, Post Punk Kitchen, comes a book that was so highly rated on Amazon we could not pass it by. What sets Isa apart from the rest is that her recipes are designed for everyday cooking–most ingredients can be found in any average grocery store. Die-hard vegans will think of this as a follow-up to Isa’s first, very popular book, Veginomicon.The A.O.C. Cookbook
Suzanne Goin is a celebrity in LA for good reason…she is an amazing chef. The waiting lists for her restaurants are long, and praise for her previous book, Sunday Suppers at Lucques, is expansive. For cooks who are advocates of farmers’ markets and farm-to-table cuisine, this book promises to be a delicious treat.One Good Dish: Pleasures of a Simple Meal
David Tanis was once cohead chef at the world-famous Chez Panisse for many years, so it’s a good bet that he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about food. In this book he expounds on his belief that all it takes to make a meal memorable is–just like the title says–one good dish. Tanis is also a world traveler and a great storyteller and his recipes and tales reflect that.It’s All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great
Say what you will about Gwyneth Paltrow, but we think she gets a bum rap, and once you dig into this book, you might agree. Lovely photos (yes, Gwyneth is in a lot of them), and really terrific, healthful recipes that embrace a clean eating diet. Yes, she pontificates a bit too much, but if you just focus on the recipes, you will be rewarded.Cooked
One would think that Michael Pollan has already touched upon everything that is food related, but this book takes a different slant and deals more with his own relationship with food and his apprenticeships with a stream of culinary masters. It’s an interesting read as he learns how to grill with fire, cook with liquid, bake bread, and ferment everything from cheese to beer.
And, you didn’t really think we were going to leave out the baking books, did you?
Baking By Hand
This is an ideal book for the home baker who likes to remain unplugged…meaning, without fancy gadgets and mixers. The authors are owners of A&J King Artisan Bakers in Salem, MA and they subscribe to the theory that one’s hands are the best tools to have in the kitchen.
Bake It Like You Mean It
Gesine Bullock Prado is a very talented baker, and even if you have no plans to actually make any of the delicious cakes from this book, just reading it will give you great pleasure, as everything in it is a work of art. Cake bakers will use this book as a reference source as well–great ideas!
Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book
More like a tome than a mere book, this is the be-all and end-all, that one dependable baking book of the year, from the editors of the Cook’s Illustrated magazines.