Cookbooks r Us

Naomi’s Holiday Gift Guide

I have been accused of being particular. I prefer to think of it as having high standards. And that is to your benefit when it comes to my recommendations on cookbooks. Whether it’s a gift for someone else, or just for you, here are my 2017 cookbook gift guide picks. To avoid disappointment I have focused on new releases. So many books, so little time….


Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat has recipes, sure, but the purpose of the book is to teach you how to be a better cook by focusing on the key elements of good cooking (salt, fat, acid, heat) without necessarily using a recipe. There is lots to read and it seems simple, but if you’re interested in the science of cooking you will like the book and learn a lot. There are all kinds of charts. Literally, there is an avocado matrix and a salad axis.  Some highlights – Buttermilk-Marinated Roast Chicken, Fresh Ginger and Molasses Cake and Lori’s Chocolate Midnight Cake.


Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh will be on everyone’s list. Ottolenghi is famous for his savoury recipes, but this is all about the sweet. Really interesting flavours influenced by Ottolenghi’s Middle Eastern heritage and Goh’s Australasian one.  Some highlights – Middle Eastern Millionaire’s Shortbread, Banana Cakes with Rum Caramel, Pot Barley Pudding with Roasted Apples and Date Syrup and Campari and Grapefruit Sorbet.


Also to try in baking – Classic German Baking by Luisa Weiss and BraveTart by Stella Parks.  


I recently heard about Cherry Bombe, an indie magazine and podcast about women and food.  There is now a Cherry Bombe cookbook, featuring recipes and stories from women chefs, bloggers and stylists from all over. Photography is beautiful and the recipes look good too, including Pink Spaghetti with Beet & Ricotta Sauce and vegan Spicy Ginger Cookies.  


Food Network star Alex Guarnaschelli has released The Home Cook: Recipes to Know by Heart. She is a restaurant chef but these are home cooking recipes, like an updated Chicken Marbella and Beef Brisket with Pastrami Rub. Toronto’s own Gail Simmons has also released a book about home cooking called Bringing it Home:  Favourite Recipes from a Life of Adventurous Eating. Think Spaghetti Pie, Latke Reubens and Za’atar Chicken Schnitzel.


I love it when I look through a book and want to cook almost everything. That happened with Melissa Clark’s Dinner: Changing the Game.  Each recipe in the book is meant to be a one dish dinner recipe. Some highlights – Smoky Paprika Chicken with Crispy Chickpeas, Roasted Lemon and Baby Kale, Creamy Caramelized Broccoli Soup, Herbed Parmesan Dutch Baby and Rustic Eggplant and Tomato Galette.  


Also in the what-should-I-make-for dinner category – Smitten Kitchen Every Day by Deb Perelman, Simple by Diana Henry and Simple Bites Kitchen by Aimee Wimbush-Bourque.


Happy holidays!      

Naomi Bussin is a lawyer, mother of three and accomplished cook. Food is her favourite subject and she reads cookbooks in her spare time.

Categories: Book Review