The year brings shelves upon shelves of new and glorious cookbooks, but which to seek out? And even harder still, which book hasn’t your food-loving friend or relative already purchased for themselves? For any of you who have a loved one wishing for a Le Creuset dutch oven or Sur la Table spatulas underneath the Christmas tree, here are six of the year’s best sure to fit the cooking style of your special someone.
“Smith & Deli-cious: Food From Our Deli (That Happens to Be Vegan).” This book isfor that vegan cutie in your life, college roommate or family member who’s decided to drop all animal-related eating, but still insists on cooking for you. If you’re vegan, no problem. If you’re a meat-eater, this will still have you covered.
The second “Smith & Deli-cious” vegan cookbook features fun eats and casual vegan banter. The chef is a meat-eater with a love for plant-based cooking. This means killer vegan food without just that … the killing. That said, be sure to point out that any recipe calling for “beef” or “beef broth” is actually vegan meat substitute. (By Shannon Martinez and Mo Wyse, $35.)
“One Knife, One Pot, One Dish.” This one is for that busy homecook who dreams of hours spent in the kitchen in homage to Julia Child, but doesn’t seem to have the schedule to fit. This is a “one pot” cookbook that proves convenient cooking isn’t flavorless cooking. You can still bring French finesse to the table without hours at the stove. Plus, cleanup is a breeze. This is a beautiful, homy cookbook, and one of my favorites this year. Bonus points for pairing with some gorgeous enameled cast iron cookware. Bon appetit! (By Stéphane Reynaud, $29.99.)
“The Jewelled Table: Cooking, Eating & Entertaining the Middle Eastern Way.” Middle Eastern cooking is the flavor au courant. Yotam Ottolenghi has a new book out this year, and many similarly inspired cookbooks are in selection this year. Pick this one if your loved one is already a fan of Middle Eastern cuisine, or just looking for something new and exciting to cook. Beautiful and personal, “The Jewelled Table” brings authentic recipes paired with interesting details on the region, food and author’s experiences. During a season of family and feasts, this is the perfect gift. (By Bethany Kehdy, $35.)
“Foundations of Flavor: The Noma Guide to Fermentation.” Any craft-coffee brewing, artisanal-meat loving, kombucha-drinking person on your list this Christmas would be impressed by this compendium of fermentation. Noma, a renowned restaurant in Denmark, is the pinnacle of eating-from-the-earth dining and its fermentation cookbook is no different. Simply presented and educational, this is a thoughtful gift for any home cook who enjoys foraging for their own ingredients, preserving the season and eating produce grown locally. (By René Redzepi and David Zilber, $40.)
“From Crook to Cook: Platinum Recipes From Tha Boss Dogg’s Kitchen.” This one fits almost anyone on your list — provided they’re down with rap lingo, a few humorous R-rated references and good grub. Serve up Billionaire’s Bacon, OG Munchies, The Last Meal Shrimp Alfredo and Bow Wow Brownies and Ice Cream (cannabis optional) with help from the herb-lovin’ Snoop Dogg. Out with his first cookbook, the rapper, entrepreneur and all-around entertainer dishes out his favorites with a little intro by “my homegirl” Martha Stewart.
“Not only has he taught me new lingo and cultural references,” Stewart writes, “he surprised me with his unique cooking techniques and recipes.” Grab a slice of his Go Shorty, It’s Your Birthday Cake and get schooled in the kitchen by the DO double G himself. And, of course, there’s a recipe for Gin & Juice. (By Snoop Dogg, $24.95.)
“Milk Bar: All About Cake.” I finish this list with the sweetest subject — cake! Who doesn’t like cake? Tosi is famed for her delicious, sassy, fun and creative cake-making. Her cookbooks are friendly, thorough and filled with her sweet-loving personality. She’s tested her recipes with gluten-free flour, too, so this is an adaptable book, should your loved one have an allergy to work around. This is the perfect gift for that person in your office who’s always bringing in sweets, a family member who’s recently taken up baking, or that go-to person in your life who you rely on to bring birthday cake to the party. (By Christina Tosi, $35.)
More gift ideas
Here are some bonus hits, not from this year, but a good fit if you’d like to give a Christmassy cookbook this season.
Look for Nigel Slater’s “The Christmas Chronicles” ($33), a journal of his Christmas seasons, with wintery recipes and classic British fare.
Alternatively, seek out “Elizabeth David’s Christmas” ($17.95) edited by Jill Norman and featuring collected recipes and writings from David on the food and menus of the holiday season.