A cookbook for everyone on your gift list

  • By Aaron Swaney Herald Writer
  • Monday, December 8, 2014 4:32pm
  • Life

Everybody loves food.

Coming in a close second would be the love of books. That’s why cookbooks make great Christmas gifts. Whether the one you’re shopping for is more of a cook or a chef, there’s a wide spectrum to choose. But which cookbook should you get for the daughter who loves French cuisine and idolizes Julia Child? How about the profanity spewing, charbroiled son-in-law who wears a Guy Fieri headband? Have faith, there’s a cookbook for each of them.

Here’s a look at some of the best cookbooks to come out this year:

“A Boat, A Whale &A Walrus”

Renee Erickson; $40, available on nook and Kindle

Buy it for … the wife who loves to cook and loves the Pacific Northwest.

Example recipes: Grilled Oysters with Snail Butter, Pacific Octopus Salad, Pickled Chanterelles

This much-anticipated cookbook from Renee Erickson doesn’t disappoint. The James Beard-nominated chef and the owner of several celebrated Seattle restaurants delves into the bounty of the Puget Sound and marries it with French cuisine. Filled with seasonal menus that are simple yet elegant. It may be more beautiful than practical, but this is a gift so who cares, right?

Death &Co: Modern Classic Cocktails

David Kaplan, Nick Fauchald and Alex Day; $40, available on nook and Kindle

Buy it for … the nephew who recently got interested in making his own bitters.

Example recipes: Botany of Desire (gin), East India Trading Co. (rum), Faithful Scotsman (whiskey), Bloodhound Punch

The name comes from the popular bar in Lower East Side, New York. The recipes from the same. Death &Co likes to think of itself as more of a cocktail textbook than a collection of recipes, sharing the theory and philosophy of drink making and instructions on how to master key bartending techniques.

“Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes”

Dominique Ansel; $35, available on nook and Kindle

Buy it for … the cousin who always dreamed of living in Paris and New York.

Example recipes: The At-Home Cronut Pastry, Christmas Morning Cereal, Baked Alaska

Heard of the Cronut? Well this is the guy who invented the croissant-doughnut hybrid, so you can guess the hype surrounding this cookbook. Classically trained in Paris and owner of Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City, Ansel turns humble ingredients into the most extraordinary and tempting pastries.

“Eat More Better: How to Make Every Bite More Delicious”

Dan Pashman; $29, available on nook and Kindle

Buy it for … the college-age son who is living with four buddies.

Example recipes: Jack the Horse Mac and Cheese, The Hanukkah Miracle Sandwich, Drunken Salami

Think of this as more of a textbook than a cookbook. Pashman, host of The Sporkful podcast, deconstructs food and breaks the book up into different school subjects such as language arts, mathematics, biology and more. His greatest contribution to society is his diagram breaking down the perfect makeshift vehicular French fry dipping basin.

“Haute Dogs: Recipes for Delicious Hot Dogs, Buns and Condiments”

Russell Van Kraayenburg; $18.95, available on nook and Kindle

Buy it for … the uncle who loves Costco hot dogs.

Example recipes: The Depression Dog, Colombian Pineapple Dog, Seattle-style Hot Dog

The Texas-born Kraayenburg goes globe trotting with these truly haute dogs. Starting with the Plain Jane, this book highlights recipes for the classic cookout staple from south-of-the-border BBQ to Japanese fusion. Beware: You may suffer a coronary attack by just looking at the Loaded Guatemalan Meat Dog.

“The New Charcuterie Cookbook: Exceptional Cured Meats to Make and Serve at Home”

Jamie Bissonnette; $21.99, available nook and Kindle

Buy it for … the son who posts up at the barbecue every summer but hasn’t gotten beyond burgers

Example recipes: Beef Heart Pastrami, Liver, Heart and Kidney Tacos, Habanero and Maple Breakfast Sausages

James Beard Award-winning chef Bissonnette goes nose-to-tail in helping readers understand the art of charcuterie. Bissonnette, who is the head chef at Boston’s Toro and Coppa restaurants, lends his insider knowledge and signature charm to the pages of this book and can make any vegetarian a true meat-lover.

“Practically Raw: Flexible Raw Recipes Anyone Can Make”

Amber Shea Crawley; $19.99, available on nook and Kindle

Buy it for … the husband who needs to shed (more than) a few pounds.

Example recipes: Naansense Bread, California Cranberry-Citrus Wild Rice, Red Pepper-Pistachio Bisque

Amber Shea Crawley, who trained at the Living Light Culinary Arts Institute, brings vibrant, fresh flavor and raw cuisine to the masses. This practical and flexible cookbook won’t intimidate the most basic chef but is still inventive and has something for everybody.

“Thug Kitchen: Eat Like You Give a F—-”

Michelle Davis, Matt Holloway; $24.99, available on nook and Kindle

Buy it for … the hipster cousin who recently went vegan.

Example recipes: Black Bean Tortas With Chipotle Mayo, Spicy Pickled Carrots, Summer Rolls

It wasn’t just an overuse of language that would make Gordon Ramsay blush that made this cookbook controversial. The recipes may be a bit underdeveloped but they’re fun. If you can withstand the barrage of four-letter words you’ll likely chuckle a few times as you measure out the ingredients.

“The Vibrant Table: Recipes from My Always Vegetarian, Mostly Vegan &Sometimes Raw Kitchen”

Anya Kassoff; $35

Buy it for … the daughter-in-law who has her own vegetable garden.

Example recipes: Key Lime Pie Breakfast Parfait, Fingerling Potato and Rosemary Flatbread Pizza, Asparagus and Kohlrabi Tart

Kassoff believes whole-heartedly in balance, and believes it starts at the family table. As with most vegetarian/vegan cookbooks there is a lot of creativity in the recipes, from amaranth pumpkin porridge to squash blossom quiche. There are inventive dishes as well as new (read: vegan) takes on classics.

“World Spice At Home: New Flavors for 75 Favorite Dishes”

Amanda Bevill, Julie Kramis Hearne; $24.95, available on nook and Kindle

Buy it for … the aunt who notoriously brings bland dishes to dinner.

Example recipes: Besar Shrimp &Pineapple Skewers, Honey-glazed Eggplant with Ras El Hanout, Baked Chicken with Tikka Masala Sauce

Bevill, who owns World Spice in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, brings together some the world’s most exotic spices and introduces them to traditional dishes. The 75 recipes span everything from small bites to meat dishes to sweets. The first 56 pages are dedicated to teaching about the diversity of spices and how to add dimension to foods.

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