A Few Current Cookbook Favorites + Giveaway

cookbook stack one

Lately, it seems as if every day brings a new gift guide or best cookbooks of the year list from some corner of the internet. I briefly considered putting one or another of my own together, but I did a gift guide last year (and things haven’t changed much in the world of canning since then) and truly, I am not perfectly acquainted with all the new cookbooks that came out this year.

cookbook stack two

Instead, I thought I show you the stack of cookbooks that I’ve been flipping through and using the most lately. Some of these came out this year, but a handful of them are classic books that I’ve loved for years.

How to Feed Your Friends with Relish

How to Feed Your Friends with Relish came out several years ago. However, I only discovered it recently, so it’s happily new to me. It’s just the kind of cookbook I like best, lots of good food and plenty of narrative that allows you to read as if it were a novel. Plus, knowing that it was written by a British author means that when I read it, I can use an English accent in my head, which is a whole other kind of satisfying entertainment.

DIY Delicious

D.I.Y. Delicious by Vanessa Barrington is a book that falls firmly in my wheelhouse and so will certainly appeal to many, many readers of this site. Essentially, she set out to learn how to make a whole world of things we’ve taken to buying at the grocery store. She takes the homemade assignment far further than I do here and shows how to make lovely things like tortillas, worlds of vinaigrettes and sour dough starter.

The Way We Cook

The Way We Cook is a book I first discovered when it first came out in 2003 (in fact, Amazon tells me that I bought it almost exactly seven years ago today) and I love it as much today as I did when it first arrived. In the beginning, it was an aspirational cookbook for me, full of things like seared scallops and many-ingredient stews.

As I became a more confident cook, I grew into it and my copy is now wrinkled and stained. I’ve got good news for you all too. I recently spotted copies at Borders for $4.99, so if it sounds interesting to you, head to your local outpost and see if you can’t score a bargain copy.

Everything Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook

Written by fellow food blogger Rachel Rappaport, The Everything Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook is a fantastic book for those of us who love our slow cookers. The thing I like most about this book is that it has helped me expand my understand of what a slow cooker can do (in the past, I’ve use mine primarily for fruit butters, chicken stock and cooking beans). There are a number of recipes I’ve marked that I hope to try soon. After all, what better time of year for a slow cooker than chilly winter?

Almost Meatless

In recent years, I’ve been working hard to buy better meat. For me, this means that it was locally raised and grass-fed. Of course, that choice comes with a heftier price tag and means that the end result is that we end up eating less meat.

Happily, Almost Meatless has been on my shelf since the spring of 2009, helping me make that good meat taste wonderful and stretch further than I ever thought possible. It’s a really great book that also happens to have been I written by two women I know and adore. However, I’d love it even if they were perfect strangers.


Written by salt expert Mark Bitterman, Salted, is a glorious book. Admittedly, I was a natural audience for it, as I’ve been obsessed with salt for years now (truly, I have more than eight varieties in my kitchen right now). But even if I was a complete salt novice, I would have been quickly converted by its lovely pictures and pure passion. If you get a book store gift card for the holidays this year and find single subject books fascinating, you should consider splurging on this one.

Love Soup

Not to be totally redundant, but I do truly love soup. Be it bean, chicken, beef or vegetable, I welcome it in my kitchen. I first heard about Love Soup when it came out last fall. I spent a year resisting buying it (when I buy a new cookbook, my husband raises an eyebrow and says, “really? Another one?”) before finally succumbing back in October. Since then, it has served as inspiration for many a warming bowl of soup. When my sister gets married someday, I want to give her a copy of this book paired with a sturdy soup pot.

In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite

You’ve probably heard about In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite already. It’s been something of a food blog darling since it came out this fall. I tend to be a little skeptical of books that get so much attention (I can’t help but root for the underdog), but in this case, the people were right. It’s wonderful. I particularly love the fact that there’s a chapter called ‘Things With Cheese.’ There is no way not to love this book.

The Yogurt Bible

I like yogurt. I like it plain, with granola or with a few spoonfuls of jam stirred in. I also like to cook with it (example: this quick bread recipe). I’m loving The Yogurt Bible because it has opened up a wider world of yogurt appreciation than I ever knew possible. Mmm, yogurt.

Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook

I have a well-documented weakness for community cookbooks and have at least 25 in my apartment (a couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to adopt a number from a collection that had belonged to the mother of a friend of a friend). However, The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook is really a whole different animal from those simple spiral-bound community collections. It’s an expertly curated assortment of classic southern recipes and I love it.


I love salads nearly as much as I love soups. In fact, just this evening, we had a chopped salad of crunchy veg, grilled chicken and garbanzo beans, bound together with a pesto-mayonnaise dressing. It was a new salad for me and came to be because I’ve had my copy of Mixt Salads out on the dining room table for the last week, radiating fresh ideas. This is wonderfully helpful since I often find myself treading the same well-traveled path between butter lettuce, arguula and baby spinach. It’s nice to eat something new.

Gifts Cooks Love

As you may have figured out, I’m a sucker for edible gifts. Gifts Cooks Love takes my simple canning and baking and reminds me that it can be elevated it into something special. I realize it doesn’t do you a whole lot of good for this holiday season, but this is the kind of volume that will become a classic that you’ll turn to year after year.

Yikes, writing this post has been something of a marathon. I hope you made it this far! If you did, you’re in luck. I have copies of two of the books on this list to give away. Leave a comment sharing your favorite cookbook to give as a gift by Thursday, December 23 at 11:59 p.m. to enter for a chance to win a copy of either The Yogurt Bible or Gifts Cook Love.

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289 responses to “A Few Current Cookbook Favorites + Giveaway”

  1. I simply adore Virginia Willis and have picked up 3 copies of Bon Appetit Y’all for friends. I consider her the modern (and most certainly southern) version of Julia Child. Her recipes are inspired by French cooking, but are rooted in southern cooking tradition. I hope you get a copy for Christmas!

  2. my favorite cookbook to share is by cooking light: The 5 ingredient 15 minute cookbook why because it is full of fast recipes for busy people that are simply easy to follow & better for you ๐Ÿ™‚ I love your post & it makes me want to visit the library

  3. One of my husband and my favorite cookbooks is one based on how the local Mennonite women cooked called “Mennonite Community Cookbook, Favorite family recipes” by Emma Showalter it has THE best homemade biscuit recipe, and many other good recipes. It is practically worn out.

  4. “With Love & Butter,” a collection of recipes from my favorite bakery, Holly B’s on Lopez Island, Washington. It reads like a wonderful, story-filled blog and each recipe is amazing.

  5. I’m new to this blog (and canning) and loving it! I spent the other day reading through your archived recipes and can’t WAIT to try the blueberry jam with our local blueberries (they’re like candy, and I’ve been thinking about them ever since they’re last appearance at the market). I especially love your photos – you know what they say, you eat with your eyes first!
    I just finished wrapping up my first batch of marmalade jars for gifts, and wish I had more time for a few batches of who-knows-what.
    I think my favorite cookbook to gift would be Jamie Oliver’s Jamie at Home (again, sucker for gorgeous food photography!).
    I’d love either of those cookbooks you’re gifting! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Baking Illustrated by Cook’s Illustrated Magazine is the one book I fully trust when someone needs a recipe I’ve never tried. I haven’t baked everything in the book, but everything I’ve made has been amazing.

  7. My favorite cookbook to give as a gift is Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that challenges politically correct nutrition and the diet dictocrats. If I know it’s someone that can’t handle that and just wants pretty pictures I pass on The Pioneer Woman Cooks.

  8. my favorite gift cookbook is Devin Alexanders Decadent diet. Most of the recipes are great whether you are “dieting” or not!

  9. For cooks who have expressed bewilderment or unsteadiness, I get The Joy of Cooking. (And I write in the corrections for them, so they don’t have to hunt them down as I did). Otherwise I give a magazine subscription — sure to find at least one thing they like that way!

  10. I just bought Joann Chang’s cookbook for her bakery Flour in Boston. She’s got some amazing recipes and wonderful baking tips in this book. I will be going back to the bookstore to get a couple of copies to give as gifts this year.

  11. Interestingly enough, my friends and family often talk food and recipes, but we rarely give cookbooks unless specifically requested. I think that’s because we all have very different cooking preferences. Ones that I love to receive are any of the Cooks Illustrated Best series. I have several stained pages in their Best Make-Ahead Recipes.

  12. I have a cookbook that I give as a wedding gift–a collection of my family’s favorite recipes, printed up and spiral bound. When my oldest daughter went to college, I spent an entire summer typing up all my recipes (I hate to type), and didn’t want to use all that effort for just one person, so I printed up copies and started giving it as gifts. It took many years for my husband to warm up to the idea, as he thinks it is cheap. But I have young women approach me often, telling me how much they use my cookbook.

  13. Asian Dumplings by Andrea Nguyen is a great introduction into making all kinds of dough wrapped goodies and it’s surprisingly easy. A winner for adventurers and new cooks alike.

  14. Thanks for the great post! I love the picture *and* personal description of each.

    My favorite cookbook? Anything by Mark Bittman. I am enamored with him at the moment. Well, have been for several years now. I would give HOW TO COOK ANYTHING to a college grad or a newly wed, someone who is cooking on their own for the first time; THE MINIMALIST COOKS AT HOME for anyone who is comfortable in the kitchen but wants some new ideas for quick “gourmet” meal ideas; and KITCHEN EXPRESS for the comfortable cook who wants quick ideas for using in-season food.

    In love, I tell you, in LOVE. Mark Bittman, will you marry me? =)

  15. wow. that diy and the meatless one, they both look amazing.
    my most favourite book to buy is The Hungry Girl’s Cookbook. It’s a local handmade publication (melbourne, aus), and a tiny, tiny little thing. But this is good because everything in there is ace and it’s slim enough to sneak on the shelf.

  16. I often give the Moosewood Cookbook to friends who are interested in eating healthier fair which doesn’t contain meat. The cookbook is great because you can so easily add meat to many things in small amounts or keep it out. The recipes are intimidating, and in general, it is a nice one for people who are veggie-curious.

  17. ‘The Cooks Companion’, by Stephanie Alexander. It’s the bible in my kitchen, with ingredients listed and what to do with them in that glorious Stephanie Alexander way. For those not in Australia, it’s really worth hunting it out for a look.

  18. I’ll be heading out to pick up a book or two on your list! My favorite current go to cookbooks are Vij’s: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine (gotta love these deep, earthy dishes filled with aromatic spices) and The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich.

  19. Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is my very, very favorite. I pick up any copies I see second hand (it is a big and therefore expensive book) to gift to friends.

  20. My favorite cookbook is a sleazy thing from the discount shelves of Barnes and Noble – The Soup Bible by Debra Mayhew (editor). And it’s actually excerpted from her larger work The Cook’s Encyclopedia of Soup and I keep thinking I should upgrade to that one, but I keep cooking out of the Soup Bible, and I haven’t run out of recipes yet.Often when I’m looking for inspiration, I’ll pull out the five most appropriate cookbooks and end up putting most of them back. When I go to this cookbook, however, I make sure I have bookmarks because I can usually find at least three recipes that will a) suit my mood/cravings, b) be something I haven’t tried, and will only call for ingredients already in my pantry.I have had recipes fail from the cookbook. The garlic and saffron soup was totally my fault for using twice as much saffron as the recipe called for. And I’ve made a much higher percentage of the cookbook’s recipes than I have for any other cookbook I’ve ever owned. This is my dirtiest and most damaged cookbook of them all.

  21. I am so lusting after that book “salted” I have been obsessed with salt and that is going on my must buy list!!! What I love to gift is the Ball Blue book- it’s such a great book for new canners!

  22. My favorite cookbook to give is the Moosewood cookbook. Everything I’ve ever made from that book has been amazing and creative. ๐Ÿ™‚

    By the way, I love this post. I always get a little overwhelmed when looking through the cookbook section of any bookstore, so it’s nice to see what people have tried and tested.

  23. I’m a sucker for cookbooks, especially the ones that focus on gifts from the kitchen. Anything Anna Thomas writes is going to be good and her first cookbook is a kitchen staple in my home.
    The cookbook I’ve given most has got to be Joe Dabney’s ‘Smokehouse Ham, Spoonbread and Scuppernog Wine’; it’s THE classic tome on Southern Appalachian cooking, history, folk lore and the only non-cookbook to win the James Beard award. In a word, Joe’s book is amazing.

  24. The theme when I give cookbooks seems to be Texan: barbecue, Tex-Mex, Southern cooking. I miss the food in Texas, so this is not much of a surprise to me.

  25. This might be a boring choice, but I love giving America’s Test Kitchen cookbooks as gifts. It’s especially great for new cooks who would like to know the reason a recipe is written the way it is.

  26. I love to give “The Settlement Cookbook” as a gift to young people starting out in their own homes and families, because it has everything in there that you need. If I could afford to, I would also give “Julia and Jacques” with it, because they explain so clearly how to do so many dishes people want to make. And the writing and photos are lovely.

  27. I’ve given New Indian Home Cooking by Madhu Gadia several times – it’s accessible to people who like Indian food but have no idea how to cook it. I tend to package the book up with a few bags of Indian spices (the ones you find at an Indian market and not the standard grocery store) to get them started. It’s been well-received.

  28. I have a copy of “Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book” to give my niece with a Cuisinart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, and Ice Cream Maker. It will be a very nice wedding gift.

  29. I went to Powells Books this afternoon in Portland, perusing the cookbooks. I was hoping to pick up a copy of Dorie Greenspan’s newest, Around my French Table. I was told it was sold out at the publisher! I had read several reviews and articles about the book and tried several of the recipes- all stellar.
    I too have a bit of an addiction to cookbooks. Twenty two years ago I worked for Powells in their cookbook store on Hawthorne. It was like putting a junkie in a drug store I’d guess! I still lust for cookbooks all these years later.
    It was nice to see two of the books on the Food in Jars list were Portland authors.The food gift one by Diane Morgan looks yummy and fun. I have been busy making food gifts for the holidays.
    The book I have given most to friends and my sons as a “first cookbook”, is the original Silver Palate. It has loads of info and encourages creativity even for a beginner cook.

    Cook, share and eat it up.As Buddah said, “If you knew what I know about the power of giving, you would not let a single meal pass without sharing some part of it.”

  30. I don’t often give cookbooks as gifts, because many of my friends are foodies, and have extensive cookbook collections of their own. However, a lot of the younger generation in my family has recently made the big step of getting their own apartments, and my usual gift for them is THE JOY OF COOKING.

  31. I’m Puerto Rican and all my american friends have fallen in love with Puerto Rican cooking. To those that want to start cooking authentic Puerto Rican I usually gift “Cocina Criolla” By Carmen Aboy Valdejuly. Its the Puerto Rican cooking bible!

  32. My grown kids gave me the Taste of Home cookbook a few years ago, and I have subsequently given several of this great cookbook as wedding gifts! Fantastic instructions and pictures. I just can’t get into a cookbook that doesn’t have pictures. Guess I’m a visual learner, huh?

  33. My new favorite cookbook to give is “The Family Dinner” by Laurie David. Its full of great, healthy recipes! The book reads like a novel, which is lovely. It also includes ideas for activities and games to bring your family together! I love this book…its a must for any mom!

  34. I received Around my French Table by Dorrie Greenspan for Hanukkah and have already made several items. I would gladly gift this book to a friend.

  35. I always read to the end of your delightful blog! My Joy of Cooking has fallen apart, so when I need good how-to directions I often turn to my oldie but goodie Fannie Farmer. Silver Palate and Moosewood have been staples for years.

    Even without the giveaway, this is a great idea…I’m making a list of new books to check out at the library and local bookstores. LOVE #15 Vicki’s comment about her family recipes cookbook. Making one of those will be high on my next-year’s fun list!

  36. Thanks for this list! I love to see which books others are enjoying. My partner also raises an eyebrow when I come in with new cookbooks, so I try to pick only the really good ones! I have many friends from overseas having moved around my entire life, so I enjoy giving great American cookbooks. I’m excited about the one from the Southern Foodways Alliance. I’ve given cookbooks from my native Kentucky, and this year, I gave my best friend from Australia a copy of _American Desserts: The Greatest Sweets on Earth_. Have a lovely holiday!

  37. I have to check out your list because I only have 4 shelves of cookbooks and your selection looks so enticing. ;>

    I’ve gifted several different slow cooker cookbooks because I know people who have the tool and never use it.

  38. Simple Suppers by The Moosewood Collective is one of my favorites. It was given to me as a gift and I would give it as well. It is filled with easy yet interesting recipes that are primarily vegetarian (it has a few seafood recipes included).

  39. Goodness! What a post. You and I share a passion for cookbooks! My husband says something similar to what your husband says when I acquire new cookbooks. ๐Ÿ™‚ I recently ordered Sarabeth Levine’s new book (mainly because of the inclusion of the jam recipes).

    I love to give The Practical Produce Cookbook by Ray & Elsie Hoover & family. The book is organized by type of produce, so if I have something I don’t know what to do with, this book makes it easy to quickly find a good recipe. Each section also has a “how to can” portion.

    If I am selected to win, I’d prefer the yogurt book. (Although really, I’d just be excited to win!)

  40. If I was to give a cookbook as a gift it would probably be Vij’s or anything by Nigella Lawson. I think the only person I’ve given cookbooks to has been my mom though.

    I think I might need D.I.Y. Delicious…

  41. My favorite to gift is Betty Crocker red/white check cookbook. I’ve given them to my 2 daughters and they use them all the time. I’d like to get the gifts cooks love. I love to make granola and gift it all year but especially at christmas. Eileene

  42. That’s a wonderful post, and I hope I get a bookstore gift card over the holidays so I can buy some! And as for your husband, tell him your cookbooks are cheaper than his e-readers!

  43. Thanks for the list! I sometimes worry that I’m the only one with a cookbook addiction…. it’s good to know that there are others out there ๐Ÿ™‚

  44. I have cleared out all cookbooks, due to my preference for online recipe blogs, except for 2: Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything and my own notebook which has an abundance of newspaper, magazine and hand-written recipes in it. I have been thinking about a canning book though….

  45. I haven’t seen most of these before but they all look great. Last night I wrapped up all of my jars of pickles and jams to give to my family, so I would love to win a copy of Gifts Cooks Love!

  46. I’ve given several copies of KIDS KITCHEN (Fiona Bird) to children (great with a personalized apron!)

    Please enter my name to win GIFTS COOKS LOVE.

    Thanks, and happy holidays!

  47. I get that same raised eyebrow every time I buy a cookbook. I love them! Thanks for the recommendations. I don’t have any foodie friends currently so when I give cookbooks they tend to be classic and basic for newer cooks. I recently bought a copy of that old chestnut(am I allowed to mention this on a foodie blog? Lol!) Betty Crocker. Also I’ve shared my own copy of Jeff Smith’s Frugal Gourmet cooks American twice. I keep replacing it, though. It’s an oldie but a goodie.

  48. I bought 2 Mes Confititures, one for me & one for a friend. Now I have to order “Gifts Cooks Love” for 2. Everytime a friend sees a cookbook she loves she buys 2, and I do the same. Then we go thru them together over a cup of tea, or a martini…depending on the mood.:)

  49. I LOVE The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving. I’ve used it for making pickles, jams and liqueurs. And, unlike the Ball book, I don’t need 20 pounds of tomatoes to make something.

  50. I really don’t own many cookbooks and try to just check them out of the library. Most recently, a source of cooking inspiration has been Moosewood Restaurant’s Simple Suppers.

    Thanks for this list, Marisa. I love it!

  51. My favorite cookbook to give as a gift is “How to Cook Everything” by Mark Bittman, because I think everyone needs to have this workhorse sitting on their shelves. My favorite to receive would be the “Gifts Cooks Love” I saw a review of it and have lusted it after it ever since ๐Ÿ™‚

  52. Both of my younger sisters received copies of Bittman’s How to Cook Everything once they moved into their own apartments.

  53. I have given Crescent Dragonwagon’s “Passionate Vegetarian” to just about everybody I know, since it’s the cookbook I use most, and gifting it saves writing out individual recipes from it when people ask me for them. It may be an unwieldy gift, but for me, it’s an efficient one!

  54. I think I would give either a Moosewood cookbook (any of them), or one of my all time favorites: Simply in Season. I love that one and the way its organized helps me find recipes for all those ‘odd’ veggies we get at our CSA.

  55. As a young bride years ago I received a copy of Better Homes & Gardens ‘Complete Step-by-Step Cook Book,’ and have since given copies to other new cooks. What’s great about it for newbies is all the step by step explanations and photos of basic cooking techniques. I’m now a much more accomplished cook with several shelves of cookbooks, but I still refer back to this one from time to time.

  56. I love and would give the Food Network Kitchen Cookbook. Mine came as a two book set and is perfect for helping you stock your pantry with basics, recipes for all the mother sauces and foundational recipes, delicious looking photography and easy to make recipes.

  57. I am guilty of being an internet browser for recipes. We used to have TONS of cookbook that always went unused but I am now figuring out that they were not good cookbooks. You are inspiring me to start a good collection ๐Ÿ™‚ I do love my “Encyclopedie de la cuisine de Jehane Benoit” which is the cookbook you will find in every french-canadian’s household. Hoping to win a new cookbook to start my collection!

  58. My all-time favorite cookbook is Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten. Totally amazing…. and each recipe transports me back to Paris.

  59. What a great post…and then all the comments with more cookbooks mentioned-what a bonus! Asking me to pick a favorite is of course like picking out a favorite child! However, while trying to figure out how to cook duck for the upcoming holiday dinner, I am rediscovering Julie Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Some wonderfully classic and, sometimes, old fashioned recipes!

  60. oh man… not sure I could pick a fav! both of the books your giving away look awesome… I have a cook book problem..(says my husband) but what does he know ๐Ÿ™‚

  61. I have so many cookbooks but I love to give Joy of Cooking or How to Cook Everything. I just bought myself Greenspans Around My French Table and I’m loving it.

    Merry Christmas!

  62. I’ve given 3 copies of How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman this year. Great for beginning cooks and for experienced cooks who just want to get something healthy and tasty on the table without much fuss. A super reference for basic recipes.

  63. I love to give America’s Test Kitchen, The New Best Recipe. It’s great to have explanations and to have a good solid base of recipes that just work for a lot of standard dishes.

  64. I love to give Jamie’s Food Revolution to my non-cooking friends. His book is easy to follow and so are the recipes. I think cooking can be intimidating at first, but Jamie’s book puts you at ease. Happy Holidays!

  65. I’ve recently been turned on to the Lee Brothers and love their first book, The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook. I need more buttermilk and sweet potatoes in my life. It also has wonderful Southern food stories.

  66. I love the Fannie Farmer cookbook! It is filled with all the recipes for things that everyone “should” know how to make. Macaroni and cheese, baking powder biscuits, a dozen cakes and frostings, pot roast, roast chicken, corn on the cob, boiled eggs, sauteed onions… it’s fantastic! Plus it has conversions and other helpful information printed on the inside covers. Any edition of this cookbook makes a great gift, especially for a college student or bridal shower!

  67. Oh I looooovvvveeee cookbooks. I really enjoyed reading your post & suggestions. Two of my favourite cookbooks I love to give (as they are my tried-and-true favourites) are THE AMISH COOKS BAKING BOOK, and PERFECT RECIPES FOR HAVING PEOPLE OVER. If I could choose a 3rd it would be BREAD MAKING BY MACHINE OR BY HAND.

  68. I *LOVE* “The River Cottage Family Cookbook” for a gift for anyone with or without kids. It’s a beautiful, back to your roots guide to nourishing your family, not just feeding them. Recipes for making your own salt? Check. Really fun stuff, and the bean and sausage soup recipe transcends its simple ingredients.

  69. I like to give America’s Test Kitchen’s Family Skillet cookbook. It’s a good, basic cookbook that doesn’t have many, if any, recipes with “open a can of cream of whatever soup” in it’s instructions. It’s especially helpful to the recently decided SAH parent.

  70. I’ve become newly obsessed with Flour by Joanne Chang, so would happily give it as a gift to anyone who likes to bake. But for a new cook, I would give the new Joy of Cooking in a heartbeat.

  71. i live in a small, southern town, so i enjoy giving copies of the local junior league cookbook called “Gracious Goodness.” it’s just a fun, kitschy look at the way the grande dames of a certain era in the south cooked–complete with marshmallow fluff, “olio”, and lard in the ingredients. also? some darn good recipes.

  72. Fantastic post! I am loving the Weber’s Real Grilling. We received it as a gift a few years ago and it is awesome. No more charred chicken, no more undercooked pork chops, and a great recipe for grilled pizzas. We have given it as a gift more times than I can count. So good!

  73. I usually choose the cookbook to give depending on the recipient. This year I am giving How to Cook Everything Vegetarian (which I absolutely adore to cook from) to my brother and sister-in-law. It is a fantastic book, even if you aren’t vegetarian!

  74. My favourite gifted cookbook was Jamie’s Food Revolution. My wife and I gave a copy to our good friend (and the best man at our wedding) for his birthday this year, to help him learn to cook. We also offered cooking lessons, but we moved across the country rather suddenly, so we haven’t been able to fufil that one yet.

  75. Wow! I like to be in the company of like-minded folks, especially when it comes to cookbooks. I read them like novels. I have a few that I’ve given out as gifts: The Mennonite Cookbook is a fabulous collection of recipes from all over the US and Canada and many are old time recipes for comfort foods including a nice chapter on preserving foods. I have a Betty Crocker cookbook that my grandmother gave me and I really cherish it as a book for the beginner to the wanna-be professional with chapters on all the basics, but includes menu development, cake decorating and some preserving. Another cookbook that I really enjoy is Marcia Adams, Cooking from Quilt Country…there are lots of great recipes there including making sauerkraut soup, homemade lemonaide and it includes seasonal dishes or those for Amish events such as a wedding or a barn raising which includes an entire community coming for a meal! Her photos are wonderful as well!

  76. My go to cookbook is Mark Bittman’s “How to cook everything” He keeps it simple and easy but every recipe I’ve tried works out wonderfully.

  77. I love the old church cookbooks where everyone contributes their own best recipes. There’s always some great canning recipe in them. My church just put out a cookbook last year of which I was an editor. I ordered several copies of them to give to my daughters and daughters in law to be.

  78. I’ve never given a cookbook as a gift, but my favourite cookbooks are the New Better Homes And Gardens cookbook to cook from and One Bite Won’t Kill You to read.

  79. My favorite cookbook to give is The Margaret Rudkin Pepperidge Farm Cookbook. I have an original 1963 edition that I found at a garage sale. It not only has recipes, but also the story of Margaret Rudkin’s life and how she started Papperidge Farm.

  80. I think The New Best Recipe is a fabulous gift. The book is huge, but I love how the authors TESTED everything and talk about why they made one decision over another. Fantastic book!

  81. I love the basic, simple, How to Cook Everything. Too many of my friends don’t even know how to start cooking.

    This year, we gave Artisian Bread in 5 Minutes a Day to about a half dozen people. Yum.

  82. Really depends on the receiver.. I’ve given Rose’s Pie & Pastry Bible a few times (one of my all-time faves), and Homegrown by Michel Nischan. Giving Good to the Grain to a friend this Christmas. One of my favorite alll-around cookbooks is still The New Basics by Rossi & Lukins; but maybe I’m just stuck in the 90’s. ๐Ÿ™‚

  83. I love my ancient, original, 1950’s Betty Crocker Picture Cook Book. Every dessert that has ever come out of it is delicious! And incredibly rich and full of butter and sugar. And offered up in really tiny (i.e. reasonable) portions. Fabulous.

  84. I love Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. They are straightforward, have tons of recipes, and offer many variations on base recipes, which makes for fun experimentation.

  85. I just added The Yogurt Bible to my list of must have books. I am a complete and total yogurt addict. I can’t go a day without it.

  86. I’m a huge fan of Escoffier. What better cook can there be when this guy created the first! The best part of ‘The Complete Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery’ is how flexible the recipes are. They are the base recipes for everything else that exists. If you don’t own it, ask for it!

  87. I LOVE Love Soup! In fact, I am making the Black Bean and Butternut Squash for Christmas. (Make it if you haven’t yet…) It was a treasured gift from my brother-in-law last Christmas and I hope to give one to my sister too, eventually.

  88. I am giving my son the Cook’s Country cookbook and the Betty Crocker cookbook. Betty Crocker has simple recipes just right for his skill level and budget (college student) and Cook’s Country will help him learn about cooking and techniques so that more complicated recipes will be in his future.

  89. cookbook reviews! I love to give Joy of Cooking to new households, and Perfect Recipes for Having People Over to all kinds of folks.

    I stumbled on your blog this summer and made your Tomato Jam recipe, which I’m giving as gifts to lots of people to rave reviews.


  90. My go to cookbook is the New Cookbook from Better Homes & Gardens. It’s where I learned the basics of cooking and has some very good recipes from which I have since learned to modify and make my own.

  91. My current favorite cookbook is The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook by Alissa Segersten & Tom Malterre. I have not completely converted but I enjoy incorporating plant based foods into my family’s diet. I have made many of their recipes with rave reviews from my kids, family and friends. I found your blog through their blog and first started canning after making Alissa’s Strawberry- Honey Jam. Now, my pantry is full of local and our garden produce to last all year!

  92. My idea of a perfect cookbook these days is this: Pure simple cooking : effortless meals every day, by Diana Henry; this is what my friends would get!

  93. I have far too many friends who are scared of cooking, and so for them I always give Bittman’s “The Minimalist Cooks Dinner” because it’s full of not-scary recipes that are generally fast, healthy, and delicious.

  94. My favorite book is Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman. I’ve learned so much from it’s pages and turned out some amazing batches of bread!

  95. Any of Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa cookbooks, the pictures are beautiful and they’re fun books to flip through. Passionate Vegetarian by Crescent Dragonwagon for any of my veg. recipients.

  96. I know it’s cheesy and cliched, but it’s truly my reference guide and starting place for any classic or common food: The Joy of Cooking, although the two most current editions are missing my favorite recipe from my mother’s: Icebox Cookies…so I like to give the vintage editions if I can find them. My grandmother still has her (almost) original copy from the 50s(?).

  97. None of my friends enjoy cooking the way I do so crockpot cookbooks tend to win for gifts! however, I’d LOVE to make yogurt ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ And a cookbook for such a task would be most appreciated!

  98. Right now I am working out of Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook. My nephew is vegan and although I’ll probably never go vegan, I can go more veggies and whole grains and less meat. I am growing veggies I have never eaten before and the recipes are wonderful. It is on my list to give.

  99. Two to recommend! The cookbook that is so worn it’s falling apart on my shelf is Food to Live By by Myra Goodman; she and her husband Drew began Earthbound Organics farm years ago in the Carmel Valley and have made organics more available. The other recommendation is Maya Angelou’s Hallelujah! The Welcome Table; it’s got short autobiographical stories woven in for each grouping of recipes from her childhood and early life traveling – this is the one I go to for harder, really unique dishes. Thanks! Jeanette

  100. Americaโ€™s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook 3 ring binder format. It covers, if not all, the basics, including very simple (how to boil or scramble eggs) to more complex dishes. Itโ€™s a great reference for basic cooking. For me, the Ultimate (steel-cut) Oatmeal recipe is worth the cost of the book alone. But, if youโ€™re buying for a โ€œplain, American foodโ€ eater, ATKโ€™s Cookโ€™s Country is a good also bet. Great recipe for Old fashioned pork roast.

    Quick Kitchen tips, another Americaโ€™s Test Kitchen publication. Not a cookbook, per se; but itโ€™s a unique and fun book for novice or experienced cooks.

    Barbeque Bible by Steven Raichlan. Mmmmโ€ฆ

    All About Braising by Molly Stevens. Simple, delicious & relaxed cooking. Not just pot roast.

    Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman. Structured like How to Cook Everything. Great basic vegetarian how-to, with lots of room for improvisation.

    Love Soup by Anna Thomas. I just got this one a few months ago. Iโ€™ve been using it just about every week. Great variety, organized seasonally. I canโ€™t get enough of the Green soups!

    Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman. Itโ€™s is not vegetarian, but emphasizes more plant foods (vegetables, fruits, whole grains, etc.), with smaller amounts of meat, dairy, eggs, etc. A healthy cookbook from someone who cares about how the food looks & tastes. What Iโ€™ve tried has been delicious.

  101. what an awesome list of books! my “to read” list just got a lot longer…

    my favorite cookbook to give as a gift is definitely “local flavors” by deborah madison. or really any book by deborah madison.

    love your blog! as a newbie canner, it’s really nice to have a place to turn to for information and encouragement!

  102. My favorite book to gift for a new cook, someone with a new place, or really whoever is Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything”. It is a great encyclopedia style cookbook and I love how he gives options for alternatives for the recipes too. I’ve used this book for exact recipes, ideas for switching out ingredients in recipes, and for just plain old inspiration. I gave the “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian” to my vegetarian friend, and she absolutely adores it. She has thanked me on several occasions for this one.
    I splurged on “Put ‘Em Up” for my birthday and love it. I’d love to gift this one to someone, but no one I know is really into food preservation… ๐Ÿ™

    Thanks for all your great posts Marisa!! Merry Christmas!!

  103. My favorite cookbooks to give are the Moosewood cookbooks (any of them), because I grew up with them and they’re pretty much all great. Or, for a basic comprehensive reference cookbook, Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is amazing.

  104. I have a couple of favorites to give as gifts:
    Mark Bittman, “How To Cook Everything” or “Food Matters” (depending on the recipient!)
    Julia Child, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”
    Rombauer, “Joy of Cooking” (I like to get a vintage copy from the 60s or 70s)

  105. My husband loves soup, so I will have to pick that up. I’m running out of ideas! Gifts Cooks Love looks beautiful too. I’m also running out of ideas for sprucing up my canned gifts….although today I’m picking up some pretty origami paper and cutting snowflakes to adorn them. Hopefully they don’t suck!

  106. ” I <3 Macarons" is a wonderful book. I did a lot of research on techniques of Macarons but this book makes things simple and fun.

  107. I am usually not a cookbook person but more of a “surf the internet for the perfect recipe” person. I have a file in my favorites of recipes I have yet to try. But I did just recently get a cookbook from my Mom for my birthday and I love it! It is called “The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving” by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard. I have canned several recipes already and since I have just recently started canning, this book is like my Bible at the moment (well that and the Blue Ball Book of course!)!

  108. For us cooking novices, I’ve had great success giving America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook 2001-2010. I’ve gotten rave reviews as feedback from every person I’ve given it to.

    • I love all of the America’s Test Kitchen Cookbooks, too. My husband was just lamenting about renting another DVR because the one we have is so full of America’s Test Kitchen episodes! The fact that they explain how/why things work makes it easier to “wing it” on my own recipes. I think it makes me a better cook all around!

  109. Ohhh…I made it that far alright! I LOVE cookbooks and have a small collection myself. And this post has given me a few more to add to my wishlist!! Thank you for taking the time to tell us about them…now I NEED DIY Delicious..lol!

    Um..hmmm…my favorite cookbook to give as a gift…? That’s a tough one…because I give according to the recipient’s interests. But if I had to choose one…Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. I think making your own bread is a good place to start…

    ps….I root for the underdog, too…;)

  110. Honestly, I’m a horrid cook! My hubby says otherwise, but I can recall countless meals where the dog enjoyed it with more gusto than the rest of the family. I’ve been trying to recreate Julia (Child) & have love leafing through her 1st ed of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

  111. Hi Marisa,

    My favorite books to give are Simply in Season and Extending the Table. Simple, healthful food along with tidbits about the world hunger crisis, food and the ecosystem, etc.

    I made your spinach salad with broiled lemon the other day. Next I’m doing it on Christmas with Meyer lemons.

    Have a great holiday!


  112. How To Cook Everything- By Mark Bittman

    It’s great for the beginner (young newly wed) and it keeps it simple. Simple ingredients, simple recipes, simple. I’m liking that slow cooker book you reviewed!

  113. Preserving by Oded Scwartz… a book for thought for sure… amazing photos…. I am not sure I have ever used one of his recipes, but constantly pull this book out for ideas

  114. My friends either are cookbook people (and have their own collections) or not, so I don’t usually give trade cookbooks as gifts. If I give a cookbook, it’s one I made myself. Growing up, my sister and used to call each other “chowderhead”. So a few years ago, I made her a “Chowderhead of the Month” cookbook, with twelve “featured” chowder recipes, a handful of “bonus” recipes, and some history on the term “chowder”. A couple of years ago, I gave my then-fiance a portobella mushroom growing kit. He ended up with pounds and pounds of mushrooms, so it seemed only right to make him a Portobella cookbook. Even after he dumped the box out in the sideyard after the first year, the mushrooms still come back (3 years running now), so it’s a good thing he’s still got the cookbook!

  115. Everyone purchases cookbooks as gifts for me, but to be honest, I never do the same. My favorite & most treasured gift cookbook was one that my mother made for me from recipes that I remember so well from my youth. I loved all of the effort that went into it & the wisdom that came with it (like how essential it is to use the same cup to measure flour, water, & lard for her tortillas).

    Now I put together handwritten cookbooks for every wedding that I go to. We aren’t born knowing how to cook after all. I hand write out foolproof recipes for everything from pie crust to salad dressing & I include many blank pages for the new bride to fill up herself.

    The best part is, many of those ladies have told me that they liked the gift so much that they do the same for brides that they know!

  116. I know I am not the first one to say it, but I love gifting Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything.” We reference it constantly in my house, and the fact that many recipes come with a handful of suggested variations means that the possibilities are endless. It’s the kind of cookbook no home cook should be without. And there is something in it for cooks at every skill level!

  117. my favorite “cookbook” to give isn’t really a cookbook, per se – it’s a subscription to cooks illustrated. i’ve found so many good recipes there and know that they’re always great and describe the process – and it changes all the time. I’ve seen people converted with that magazine!

  118. I am a huge fan of The Pioneer Woman website. She invites us in to her world and it is an exciting and busy place to be. Ree Drummond (The PW), has a cookbook, “The Pioneer Woman Cooks”, which I love. She is a wonderful cook (among many other things) and illustrates the recipes with beautiful photos. Her sense of humor cracks me up. Check her out!

  119. For my kids when they moved out–I gave them each an old Betty Crocker cookbook. the essential how-to for basic cooking with many pictures of how stuff is supposed to look and even some finished products. I also copy my own collection of family favorites from my own collection and give that in a binder.

  120. My favorite cookbook of the moment reads like a novel and really makes you think about cooking and eating and growing food etc. Jam Today by Tod Davies. In the intro she says that this is less a cookbook and more an answer to the queen in Alice Through the Looking Glass, Jam Tomorrow, Jam Yesterday, never Jam Today. Ms. Davies says, Yes, Jam today, always always jam today.

    I make the green soup in Soup Love at least once a month. So good!

  121. Anything by Deborah Madison is usually a winner, as are most Ina Garten books. Hoping someone will give me Ina’s new one… :-p

  122. Oooh. Either of those sounds really, really good!

    When giving a cookbook as a gift, it depends entirely upon who is getting it and their interests/abilities. Since most of us have everything (and then some! we will ever NEED, I do sometimes pick up local cookbooks when traveling for gift giving.

  123. I love to give ANYTHING “America’s Test Kitchen” – Those seem to be my “google” of the cook book world. I look in my ATK baking book and family cook book for everything from cinnamon rolls to pea soup!

  124. I think Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything” is a great gift for beginner cooks (and those of us with little time) because he simplifies difficult recipes while leaving in all the flavor.

  125. I love, love, love my subscription to Cooks Illustrated. Not only is it chock full of great information, the writing is so amazingly good. I read each issue cover to cover.

  126. PS. On a related note, The America’s Test Kitchen books are also awesome! I bought one for my husband before we got married and now it is one of our favorite cookbooks. Blueberry muffins to die for.

  127. When I was 19 my very first cookbook was “The Vegetarian Epicure”. The very first recipe I cooked from it was Minestrone alla Milanese. It’s still in my top 5 favorite soups today. And now Anna Thomas has “Love Soup”. That has got to go on the wish list! But when I give cookbooks it’s usually to the children of family and friends who are leaving the nest and I choose of all things the “Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook”. It’s full of solid, basic, well-tested, down to earth recipes in all categories that will get a person cooking for him/herself for the first time off and running. I’ve had few reports from recipients of failures and the need to phone out for pizza.

  128. I gave my daughter a Betty Crocker cookbook, which is a classic that I have, and my mother had as well. I also like to give the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook. There’s so much good info there for those of us who love to bake.

  129. I love cookbooks from groups of everyday people, recipes that have been handed down from loving relatives. One of my favorites to give is “Cooking is a LARC”. The “LARC” group aids in fund raising for children and adults with special needs. They do a wonderful job and have recipes that are asked about whenever I take a dish somewhere.

  130. Blue Ribbon Preserves, by Linda Amendt, accompanied by a couple of jars of goodies is my favorite. Then, a cook’s bible, the King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook is a close second.

  131. The cookbook that has been my bible for the past three years is “Vegetarian Classics” by Jeanne Lemlin, so I love to give it to people with comments in the margins about recipes that I love and any adjustments I usually make. Her recipes for granola, black bean dip, bulgur and greens, frittata, whole-grain waffles, miso soup, vinaigrette and butternut squash soup are all amazing, and that’s just scratching the surface.

  132. Although it’s in my top faves (especially when I was first starting out) it’s not my favorite of my collection, but one of my favorites to gift. I’ve given Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything to several people who were also just starting to delve into the world of cooking and they loved it, including my little brother.

  133. This year everyone is getting Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day!I love bread. And I want everyone I know to love bread! I love my copy to pieces and I have tried a ton of the recipes with great success!

  134. Great list! My favorite gift book is the Moosewood Daily Special. It’s soups, salads and a few breads. We use it several times a week and have yet to encounter a dud.

  135. I pick up any copy I find of Tassajara Cooking to give as gifts. It’s not just a how-to, it’s a great why-to’ that reminds me why I love to cook and how to approach it.

  136. There’s only one cookbook that I’ve gifted more than once, and that’s Food Network’s “How to Boil Water” (both times to some of the men in my life who were a bit kitchen-shy). I do think that special consideration needs to go into who the recipient will be before gifting a cookbook – that’s why I really like your Love Soup + soup pot wedding gift idea. But, narrowing it down to three cookbooks that I would happily give: Simply in Season (organized by season and produce availability), Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, and Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

  137. An old roommate had this cookbook and it had EVERYTHING you could want from it. It would be an ultimate gift from me to someone who is learning or loves to cook, because it covers so many bases : The American Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. It’s in a binder, so you can remove pages, it’s sturdy… As I swoon over it, I lament and wonder why I don’t own it.

  138. Merry Christmas!
    My favorite go to party cookbook is “Charleston Party Receipts”, a compilation of the best party recipes from the Charleston Junior League. I just love party food!

  139. I like to give people whole grain cookbooks because too many people have only eaten white bread or maybe tried whole wheat but there’s so much more then wheat out there to eat!!

  140. Boy, I’d love either of these! I like to give an interesting, older (50’s I think originally) cookbook called The Encyclopedia of American Cooking. It was put together by Home Ec teachers and is(was?) sold by The Southwestern Company. They are the kids selling educational books door to door (not magazines) that work in the summer. The cookbook is organized alphabetically by ingredient and is huge. Lots of the recipes are very old school, but there are some gems in there and who doesn’t love having like 120 recipes for chicken? Seriously it is great when I get a glut of something and have no idea what else to do with it…the EAC will have an idea!


  141. I love to gift The Joy of Cooking. It’s a classic, and it has never failed me. It’s become my signature wedding gift, paired with a piece of kitchen equipment or vessel.

  142. I buy and give away Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything” at least three times a year. Wrapped in an apron, it is my standard wedding shower gift.

  143. I’m on my third copy of Joy of Cooking. When the 1997 edition came out my husband (who works in a used bookstore) asked me if I wanted one, since he had several at the store. He’ll never let me forget that I said, dismissively, “That’s a cookbook for fancy-pants people.” He wisely brought one home for me anyway and I was hooked. All these years later I have Joy and just a handful of other cookbooks that I keep. He brings others home for me to look at and while I enjoy paging through them, I always send them back.

    I do love having “The Little House Cookbook.” My single attempt at one of the recipes (homemade apple cider vinegar) was a disaster, but it’s such a wonderful real-life connection to those wonderful stories.

  144. If it is a newish cook, How to Cook Everything. If it is a person that already knows the basics, I usually try to give them a specific book and then a tool to use with it. Like a baking book and a silipat, etc.

  145. Gosh I am thoroughly addicted to cookbooks! It’s so hard to choose one as a gift. Currently though, my plan is to give my friend a copy of the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. I am just totally in love with this book!

  146. My favorite baking book is by a local Portland, OR author. “Rustic Fruit Desserts” is by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson. Everything in this book looks and tastes amazing! I love to give this book away to friends who love baking.

  147. I rarely give cookbooks (except to me ๐Ÿ˜‰ unless I know it’s something someone wants. For a wedding gift, I’ve been know to put together a notebook of favorite recipes and kitchen tips.

  148. Good to the Grain because I’m trying to help my friends see that cooking with more than white flour opens up tons of possibilities!

  149. My two favorite cookbooks are “The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper” by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift and “Simply in Season” by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert. I use them over and over and give them as gifts. Thanks for the giveaway!

  150. The cookbook I’ve given most often as a gift is “How To Cook Everything” by Mark Bittman. It’s also what my husband and I tend to turn to first when looking for a basic or starter recipe for something.

  151. You know, I’ve never given a cookbook as a gift, with one (very silly) exception–to my youngest brother upon graduating high school and moving far away from mom’s cooking or dorm food: 101 Things to Do With Ramen Noodles. He loved it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  152. My favorite cookbook to give as a gift is How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. The title says it all, it’s good for everyone.

  153. When I read I always come away feeling like I know the author and we are great friends. Well, your admission of reading with a British accent in your mind has elevated our relationship to family.

    All best, Brandy

  154. I love cookbooks …I read them like novels … But this one about Gifts Cooks Love is right up my alley …I love giving food at Christmas time

  155. From the Earth to the Table – While it tends to focus on ingredients you can find locally in the Bay Area – there are great recipes for foodies across the US.

  156. I love to give “The Moosewood Cookbook” by Mollie Katzen, her original cookbook filled with beautiful hand done illustrations and many tasty vegetarian recipes.

  157. This is a TOUGH question…I have a few…but probably I will have to settle on my favorite to give being Deborah Madison’s “Local Flavors” cookbook – it revolves around farmers market purchases and recipes you can make with common and not-so-common finds, with plenty of vegetarian fare as well as some recipes with meats. It satisfies me on so many levels and is a pleasure to read again and again, cook from, and gift to others. ๐Ÿ™‚

  158. I don’t really give a standard cookbook. I like the Alton Brown books and Sundays at Moosewood. If someone likes Indian food, I like the Madhur Jaffrey books. This Christmas I am giving my husband a copy of Real Cajun.

  159. Very very simple but I love my Huss Family cookbook that got put together with recipes from all my extended family. I find it incredibly useful when I just need to flip through to find a family favorite!

  160. I’d love to give some of my friends Peterson’s ‘Baking’ cookbook, if only for the wonderful pictures. ๐Ÿ™‚ It has its flaws, but I’ve enjoyed the book and made several delicious cakes using its recipes!

  161. Love Soup is wonderful. I really like the recipe for French Green Lentils with Roasted Carrots and mint.

    My favorite cookbook to give is Simply in Season. I have not yet found anyone who doesn’t love it’s practicality and organization. I know you are also familiar with this book.

  162. For someone who is just starting out cooking a classic book is always best, like the Joy of Cooking or Mastering the Art of French Cooking. But giving a cookbook like my personal fav The New Spanish Table by Anya Von Bremsen is also a great idea

  163. What wonderful books – so many I had not heard of. I think “Baked” would make a nice gift or Pam Anderson’s one dish meals. Thanks for such an enjoyable blog!

  164. I received the classic Better Homes & Gardens red checkered book from my mom when I moved out of the house over 20 years ago. The book is extremely worn out! My first born actually chewed on the book while I was cooking with him. As my kids are slowly moving out, I’ve given each of them one as well. It is a classic book for any new cook and was the one book that launched my ever-growing collection.

  165. I love Anna Thomas’s vegetarian cookbooks- maybe it’s the hippie vibe that evokes my childhood, and I’m really wanting a copy of the Southern Foodways book, maybe for the flip side of the same reason.

  166. I absolutely love my bible to canning: Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving! Using proven recipes is so important in the canning world.

  167. I love giving Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson or How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. They’re both really good as far as offering more than recipes: learning kitchen basics, stocking a pantry, and information about the foods themselves. Heidi’s is a beautiful book and Mark’s is just a great kitchen workhorse. I love them!

  168. Mark Bittman’s, “How to Cook Everything”! A must for new cooks, & my son gives it high marks too! So many choices to pick from, I can’t wait to hit the bookstore after Christmas for me, if I don’t win one of the giveaways!;)

  169. Ooh, so many great things to add to my wishlist. ๐Ÿ™‚ And I love yogurt–I started making my own a couple of years ago but have gotten out of the habit. Also love the Sur la Table book; I have one that’s “Things Cooks Love” or something. Yay cookbooks! (Or cookery books, if you’re using the accent in your head.)

  170. My youngest son just got married and I gave my new daughter-in-law the great standby for new cooks – “Joy of Cooking” – the anniversary edition. It’s what I like to give any young couple to get through those first sometimes ugly days of being new at the stove. I would dearly, dearly love “Gifts Cooks Love”. I have taken to making a wish list at Amazon for hubs to pick and choose from rather than try to explain or describe what it is that I really want. Thank you for offering a nice give-away! I’m new here, but I put your blog into my Google reader and I’ll be BACK!

  171. For canners: Pickles, Chutneys and Relishes, from the Australian Women’s Weekly, a small book I discovered while living in London and was just starting to make chutney. Flavorful combinations, not the usual suspects. Chili coriander (a tomato chutney) is the best! (You can find it on my garden-focused blog, http://alliumstozinnias.wordpress.com/2009/09/17/when-the-glut-strikes/)
    A friend (see her blog at jamsandchutney.wordpress.com) also loves the book.

  172. My husband is the cook in our house, I’m the baker. I cook out of necessity to eat. Eggs for dinner? No problem! But, that said, if I do cook, I really like the Americaโ€™s Test Kitchen cook books. I picked one up from Costco on a whim when I could not bear another night of boring chicken. Surprisingly, the recipes were fairly basic and they offer a lot of great insight on flavor combinations, substitutions and possible side dishes. I like books that do the thinking for me!

  173. My fav cookbook is America’s Test Kitchen Cooking Light. We have made numerous recipes from there and enjoy every one of them.

  174. A hard to find but wonderful little book by an Oregon food writer, Jan Roberts-Dominguez called “The Mustard Book.” All about how to make mustard of course. Also anything by Deborah Madison.

  175. I don’t actually have a favorite cookbook, as I generally use the internet to find what I’m seeking. I really like the recipes from Giada, so maybe her show can substitute for a book? Happy holidays to you!

  176. I am forever ordering books and sometimes ooops and order one I already have. That duplicate is always gifted to a friend. It’s a blessing to give instead of a hassle to return. : )

  177. I don’t know if you can still buy it but, Cakes & Slices Cookbook, by the Australian Womens Weekly, there’s some really yummy stuff in it, even if it’s not really recent. I’ve started to collect all my favorite recipes from all over the place and put them together, so it’d be fun to give a copy of that too ๐Ÿ™‚

  178. The Mrs. Field’s Cookie cookbook…I’m getting copies for my daughters. You can’t beat the recipes because the woman knows her cookies!!!

  179. great selection of cookbooks in this post! i am so dying for salted lately but also have given all food gifts this season – would love to get my hands on gifts cooks love!
    happy holidays!!

  180. I give Laurie Colwin’s Home Cooking and More Home Cooking. I love those books. I stay up late to re-read them. I still want to make everything in them which you can’t say for many cookbooks. Every time I give one someone is learning not only about food but great writing.

  181. I enjoy giving “The Healthy Baby Meal Planner” to new moms. I used this book to make all of my son’s baby food and it is cheaper and healthier than baby food in a jar from the grocery store.

  182. Great cookbook list! Ive been loving another blog darling, Kim Boyce’s good to the grain. its a great way to look at baking beyond traditional flours. I’ve made the kamut flour challah 2x and its lovely!

  183. I’ve given “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes” to a couple of people as gifts–usually folks I’ve brought my own bread to a couple of times who hear about the concept and are as enamored of it as I was! And…well, anything by Moosewood is a good bet! I read cookbooks like other people read novels or magazines, and I love a cookbook with lots of explanation and history and stuff involved…

  184. Deborah Madison’s big hardbound cookbook is the vegetable-based version of The Joy of Cooking. I recently recommended it to a friend who has been inventing creative ways to cook up strange veggies donated to the local homeless shelter – the local grocery stores donate their overstock. I would love to give this as a gift, but strangely most of my friends already own it.

  185. America’s Test Kitchen 10 year cookbook. While it’s not the most creative cookbook I know that all of the recipes will be delicious.

  186. I’m a cookbook hound, too. Right now back into loving Kitchen of Light New Scandinavian Cooking. It was a PBS series several years ago and kind of rocked my world. My favorite recipe from it is vanilla scented rutabaga. Who knew?

  187. I give the More-with-Less Cookbook. It is practical, has just about every recipe you need, tons of nutritional advice, includes many international meals and best of all, the pumpkin pie recipe on page 281 always turns out perfectly and only calls for 1/2 c of sugar. The companion books Simply in Season and Extending the Table are also good, but the classic is still the best.

  188. Cookbooks from my San Francisco neighborhood bakery Tartine – beautiful photos and delicious & decadent recipes! I also love Cover & Bake from American’s Test Kitchen – a wealth of stews to choose from.

  189. I’ve been using mark bittman’s “how to cook everything” quite a bit lately, but the cookbook I’ve given most as a gift is one that my mother and I compiled over the years as a word document and email to friends when they ask.

  190. I definitely second the vote for Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. I’ve practically destroyed the binding packing it full of bookmarks and notes. It makes a great gift for budding vegetarians.

  191. BH&G is my main resource. I have several that I use from time to time, but the Soup Bible, BH&G and two bread recipe books (that I’m really not sure of their names off hand) are my main go-to ones. Both The Yogurt Bible or Gifts Cook Love sound like awesome giveaways. Thanks, Marisa! Good Luck, everyone!

  192. Ooh, I ask for a cookbook every year for Christmas, and this list has got me thinking maybe I chose too quickly! Thanks for all the reviews.

  193. Depends upon the recipient, but the Cooks Illustrated books manage to engage people in cooking in a new way – there’s something fascinating and empowering about their approach, particularly for people who’re just starting to learn to cook. For the foodies in my life, I like to be sure they have a copy of The Herbal Kitchen by Jerry Traunfeld. It makes you want to grow herbs – which is easy to do here in mild Seattle – and use them in new ways.

  194. My favorite cookbook to give is definately The Pioneer Woman. I have given so many copies this past year, since it came out. Everyone always loves it.

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