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Naomi’s Holiday Gift Guide

The Best Books To Help You Cook

Fall is a great time for cookbooks, with big new releases every week just in time for the holidays. But I look at cookbooks all year round and I want to share my 2018 favourites with you.  As you will see, there is a trend towards less complicated, more approachable recipes that people will actually use, which is a win-win. Whether you’re looking for a gift for you (self-care!) or someone you love, enjoy.  


This is a great year for fans of Middle Eastern flavours.  Israeli Soul by Michael Solomonov, owner of the Philadelphia restaurant Zahav and the Zahav cookbook author, is a new release that is on my gift list.  My favourite is the 5-minute hummus plus 25 different toppings. Feast:  Food of the Islamic World is an encyclopedic work by Anissa Helou that spans the cooking of North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.  Honey & Co. At Home:  Middle Eastern recipes from our kitchen by Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich is the newest in a series of great Honey & Co. books. Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi is about streamlined recipes with fewer ingredients that take less time to prepare.


Tasting Paris:  100 Recipes to Eat Like a Local by Clotilde Dusoulier, will transport you directly to the Champs-Elysees or wherever you love to be in Paris.  Dorie Greenspan’s Everyday Dorie is filled with Dorie’s own unique blend of French-American dishes as always.  Also worth checking out is In the French Kitchen with Kids:  Easy Everyday Dishes for the Whole Family to Make and Enjoy by Toronto’s Mardi Michels.  


If you’re interested in seasonal cooking, have a look at Earth to Table Every Day by Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann.  I also feel compelled to mention the most excellent Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden, which is from 2017 but I bought it in 2018 – so that counts.


On the baking front, I highly recommend Food52’s Genius Desserts, edited by Kristen Miglore.  All About Cake by Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar is fun and inventive and more approachable than her previous book – I need an occasion to make the Arnold Palmer Sheet Cake.  Rose’s Baking Basics by Rose Levy Bernbaum, is a new classic, particularly for novice bakers.  I was impressed by the clear directions and the pictures of various steps. And baby it’s cold outside, but I am still making ice cream from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz.


Speaking of guilty pleasures – Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings:  Hungry for More comfort food recipes are fun to make and eat – not necessarily healthy but will inspire you to stay home and cook.     


Shameless plug here – I have discussed many of these books and other favourites on the Tonic talk show and the magazine.  If you’re interested in more details, check out my interviews at Happy holidays!