Of Cookbooks and Christmas

Of Cookbooks and Christmas

Chefs & Experts

Of Cookbooks and Christmas

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Last Christmas I found that my grown children finally understand me. They each bought me a cookbook, then watched with delight as I spent the rest of the Christmas holiday alternatively pouring over the books and cooking. From one I received a copy of How to Cook Everything (Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition): 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food; from another it was Cooking From the Hip: Fast, Easy, Phenomenal Meals.

In case you hadn’t noticed, print publishing has been in a decline, but you sure couldn’t tell it from the number of cookbooks available. And we all love them, whether we read them as fantasy, as instructional books, or simply for inspiration.

At The Food Channel, we have the opportunity to read and review a number of cookbooks and food-related books directly from the publishers. So here is our list of our favorites that were published and sent to us within the past year. Perhaps this will help you narrow your choices for the cookbook collector or foodie on your holiday gift list.

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Fairies Cookbook. There is actually a series of these that are delightful gifts for children, including Princess Cookbook and Pink Princess Tea Parties.

We reviewed Cooking Light Complete Cookbook: A Fresh New Way to Cook (Cooking Light) and liked it (see review). So much, in fact, that I bought a personal copy.

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The Complete Whole Grains Cookbook: 150 Recipes for Healthy Living – offers recipes for new grains such as quinoa. Book offers a larger print than most, with photos and tips. Great for New Year’s Resolutions to eat healthy with more whole grains.

The New Food Lover’s Companion Fourth Edition – not a new book, but any foodie who doesn’t have it probably wants it. A bible and dictionary rolled into one, it’s the definitive guide that describes food, utensils, cooking techniques and more.

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Food Jobs: 150 Great Jobs for Culinary Students, Career Changers and Food Lovers – given the state of the economy, this one caught our attention and turned out to be a great read. From freelancer to farmer to restaurateur there are more jobs in the food industry than you might dream. How about Airline Chef? Ice-Cream Namer? Fortune Cookie Message Writer? Find out how to break in to 150 jobs. It’s not a cookbook, nor should it be used as a hint to the unemployed. . .but who could blame you for leaving it in full view!

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Ralph Brennan’s New Orleans Seafood Cookbook
Great book for the speciality cook from an award-winning restaurateur. Here’s a way to bring the flavors of New Orleans home and get a beautiful, hardback full-color cookbook at the same time. The dessert section shouldn’t be missed, with its variety of bread pudding recipes, and the pies and sauces the area has made famous. The recipes are step-by-step and include detailed seafood handling instructions. If you don’t want to cook, this still belongs on the coffee table.

Here’s another one that we reviewed, and it made it back on the list of great ideas for Christmas (see review). Food 2.0: Secrets from the Chef Who Fed Google. A nice way to feed your Internet addiction and your body at the same time!

If you need other ideas for the cook in your life, consider a good set (start with one and build for each occasion this year) of knives. My husband came home years ago holding something behind his back. He said had a surprise for me, then held up a knife. My initial instinct was to say, ‘What, no roses?’ Turned out it was one of the best gifts he’s ever given me – I’m still using that knife to this day. OK, so if it had a piece of jewelry attached it would be the best gift, but I don’t want to push it.

Here are a couple of other gift idea columns that echo our feelings. Whatever you find for the holidays, enjoy the food!

Last Minute Gifts for the Food Lover

Fine Cooking

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