You already know about my love of food. But do you know about my passion for books? I love them! Call me old-fashioned but I just can’t do the whole kobo/e-reader/electronic gadget thing. I’ve tried. But part of my love of books are the books themselves, you know? Holding them in my hands, the feel of the paper, their smell, especially in a second-hand bookstore. I could spend hours perusing through a bookstore. Weekly. And after I’m done with my treasures, I can display them on my wall-to-wall, ceiling-to-floor bookshelf that Peter built for me. Just knowing that they’re there is comforting. I walk into the room and catch a title that fits my mood and grab it, losing myself for hours. Or I can take a quick peek at them every now and then, just because I can. And I could even read them again years later! Over and over if I want to.
Ditto with cookbooks. I can sit in my bed at night and just read them. If you’re wondering what to give the foodie in your life, take a look at some of the delicious books I would just love to have on my bookshelf.
For the Smitten Kitchen blog lover… Proof that you can be a self-taught home cook, start a food blog and end up with a published cookbook! Just in case anyone out there might be considering this as a gift for me…I’ve already received it as a B-day present!
For the baker in your life… From the celebrated San Francisco bakery, Tartine, comes the box set of two of the most gorgeous, celebrated, and bestselling baking books of the past five years. I would just LOVE getting these!
For the blood thirsty fan of the HBO series True Blood (of which I am a huge one!)… From Bon Temps, Louisiana, come the recipes featured on the menus of both Merlotte’s Bar & Grill, which will appeal to us humans, and from Fangtasia, for all the blood-sucking vamps out there.
For the meat eater or vegetarian in your life…Vibrant vegetable recipes from London’s famous Ottolenghi restaurant. Yotam Ottolenghi is followed by foodies all over the world through his weekly New Vegetarian food column in The Guardian. Ispired from his Mediterranean background and the diverse food cultures of London, this book is a true delight for both readers and eaters! That would be me.
Also from Ottolenghi is a cookbook he co-wrote with his business partner Sami Tamimi. Jerusalem features the foods of their home city. Ottolenghi was born and raised in the Jewish west, while Tamimi on the Arab east side. Both share their food memories of this city, whose culinary influences come from a mix of Muslim, Jewish, Arab, Christian and Armenian communities. For anyone interested in Mediterranean foods…or just loves to read. I know I could sit in bed for hours reading this one, while I imagine the hot Mediterranean sun warming up my bones…
James Beard. Father of the gourmet movement. Chef, food writer and author of 20 books. He created the James Beard Foundation which provides scholarships to aspiring food professionals, and the James Beard Foundation Award, often referred to as the Oscars of Food. Awards are handed out yearly to honor the finest chefs, restaurants, wine professionals, journalists, cookbook authors, restaurant designers, and other food professionals in the United States. This lush volume compiles the recipients of the prestigious Outstanding Chef Award over the past 25 years, featuring a profile of each winner, along with sumptuous recipes and stunning photography. Discover the culinary philosophy and passion behind each prizewinner’s path to the kitchen.
Also newly released is The Essential James Beard Cookbook, compiling 450 of Beard’s most essential recipes, with minor updates for the modern cook. A great introduction to the James Beard method.
From the author of 4 cookbooks, owner of 6 restaurants and the only American-born chef to receive multiple 3-star ratings from the Michelin Guide comes a cookbook from the famed Bouchon Bakery. Recipes feature American and French baked goods, with gorgeous pictures too. Another one I would absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!
And let’s not forget the Food Truck craze. I know one foodie truckie who wouldn’t mind getting this one! I myself dream of having my own food truck…a double decker bus turned-food truck. Imagine me driving through the streets of Montreal in one of those! Or I could just get this cookbook and pretend my kitchen is my food truck…
How about that beer lover in your life? I know I got one. This book breaks down beer into style categories and includes information on each variety’s background, flavors, aromas, and unique character. A world of beer awaits!
For the carnivore in your life…A Girl and Her Pig. I love the title. April Bloomfield is the critically acclaimed chef behind the smashingly hip New York restaurants like The Spotted Pig, The Breslin, and the John Dory. A memoir of her journey from working-class England to the culinary centre of the world. Fascinating stories and recipes for all things pig.
For the Nigel Slater lover…of which I am one of many. From one of Britain’s best-loved food writer comes the second volume of The Kitchen Diaries. And it isn’t just a diary. It’s a collection of Nigel’s celebrations of food in his kitchen, his vegetable patch, a neighbouring farm. I’ve seen some episodes on the BBC and I love his way with words, his almost poetic writings on food. To quote Jamie Oliver, “Nigel is a bloody genius.”
For the Barefoot Contessa fan… Foolproof. Recipes you can trust. And I do trust her. I love her recipes and what I have tried was fabulous. More than recipes though, Ina Garten advises us on how to make a game plan and have all our foods served hot and at the same time. So we can get that “wow” factor from our friends and family.
And then there are the literary food books, travel food books, fiction revolving around food, even food mysteries! But that’ll keep for another post… for now, I’ll take one of each, please!