A Few Good Cookbooks

December 8th, 2011 § 1 comment

With everyone rushing about, searching for holiday gifts, I’d like to suggest a few outstanding cookbooks for your shopping lists. This year I’ve slipped into full Anglophile mode, with four of my seven recommended titles coming from British authors. Yet, no matter from what side of the Atlantic these cooks come, their books will make delightful presents for the food lovers in your lives.

Canal House Cooking by Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton (Canal House)
Created by a founding editor of Saveur and the head of that magazine’s test kitchen, Canal House Cooking is a cookbook-cum-food magazine. It comes out three times per year, covering summer, fall and the holidays and winter and spring. Clothbound, ad-free and chocked full of wholesome recipes, it’s a culinary publication unlike any other. Filled with gorgeous photos and warm, funny anecdotes, it’s also a gift that your recipient will cherish throughout the year.

River Cottage Handbook No. 8 Cakes by Pam Corbin (Bloomsbury, 2011)
For bakers and sweets fans consider the latest offering from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Handbook series, Cakes. In this straightforward and delightful tome writer Pam Corbin explores the techniques for making great baked goods each and every time. Classic British confections such as fairy cakes and Grasmere gingerbread appear alongside such modern goodies as mocha cake and dog bone biscuits. Fascinating and fun, Cakes is a lovely addition to anyone’s cookbook collection.

660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer ( Workman, 2008)
Know someone who loves Indian food? Then 660 Curries is the cookbook to give. In it James Beard finalist and IACP award winner Raghavan Iyer provides readers with tips, techniques and recipes for making over 600 outstanding Indian curries. With this comprehensive yet user-friendly cookbook in the kitchen they’ll never order out for chicken tikka masala or naan again.

Artisan Cheese Making at Home by Mary Karlin (Ten Speed Press, 2011)
The perfect book for the cheese lover or ardent DIY cook, Artisan Cheese Making at Home takes readers through making their own dairy-based products. For more details on this fascinating book check out my review at Zester Daily.

Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi (Chronicle Books, 2011) and Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi (Ebury Press, 2008)
I reviewed Yotam Ottolenghi’s wonderful second cookbook in late 2010 and then received his first book, Ottolenghi, earlier this year. Unlike the vegetable-focused Plenty, his eponymous book focuses on the array of Middle Eastern-inspired foods featured in his London restaurant. Like Plenty, Ottolenghi includes gorgeous photos and sumptuous, creative dishes. Unlike Plenty, the recipes must be converted from metric.

Tender by Nigel Slater (Ten Speed Press, 2011)
Another cookbook that I reviewed earlier this year, Tender shares the gardening and cooking experiences of British food writer Nigel Slater. The first of two volumes, Tender covers 29 vegetables. The subsequent volume, which is only available in Europe at present, looks at fruit. Each provides a beautiful, insightful exploration of growing and cooking your own foods.

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