The holidays are upon us, and I’m sure you’ve got a few foodies on your gift list. Foodies are not easy to buy for, as they usually have the latest sous vide machine, the perfect set of pots and pans, and about 200 different kinds of spoons and spatulas. I’ve got the perfect solution: five cookbooks that will inspire, educate, and get any super foodie excited about their next home cooked meal. And if you play your cards right, maybe they’ll invite you over to taste the results!
- Mastering the Art of French Cooking (2 Volume Set): 2009 has seen quite the Julia Child renaissance, what with the movie Julie and Julia. This has resulted in Julia’s masterpiece work jumping to the top of the bestsellers lists yet again. Buy your foodie the two-volume set, and don’t be surprised if they immerse themselves in a journey through every recipe in the entire set. Tres magnifique!
- The Foods of Greece : Speaking of Julia Child, the author of this cookbook, Aglaia Kremezi, has often been called the ‘Julia Child of Greece‘. Aglaia certainly doesn’t disappoint, as this book is more than just a great recipe reference; it’s a great read from cover to cover, injecting historical and cultural context for the full Greek culinary experience. Gift this with some particularly stinky feta cheese, and that foodie will love you forever.
- Vino Italiano: The Regional Wines of Italy: Alright, alright. This is much more of a wine reference book than a cookbook… but what is Italian cooking without Italian wine? Nothing. Vino Italiano is co-written by Joseph Bastianich (yes, of that Bastianich family) and sommelier extraordinaire David Lynch. Not only does this tome do an amazing job of presenting Italian vino in an intellectual yet accessible way, each region’s chapter ends with recipes of the region from Lidia Bastianich and Mario Batalli. Tell the foodie to channel Lidia and Mario in the kitchen, and you bring the wines. Invite me, please!
- Authentic Mexican 20th Anniversary Ed: Regional Cooking from the Heart of Mexico: As far as Mexican cuisine goes, Top Chef Master Rick Bayless is the master (no pun intended). His book, re-released for its 20th anniversary, is chock full of the recipes that have made Topolobampo and Frontera Grill famous, and beautiful photography. That special foodie in your life will squeal with joy as they run to the kitchen to start perfecting homemade corn tortillas and that ever-elusive mole sauce.
- What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained: Maybe the foodies you know are French masters, consult Italian restaurants on their wine lists, and turn their noses up at Greek and Mexican cookbooks. What to do now? Have no fear, for I have the silver bullet, and it is called Molecular Gastronomy. This book delves into the chemistry behind cooking, explaining the structures and actual chemical reactions behind basic and not-so-basic cooking techniques. The accompanying recipes provide a great foundation from which to start getting seriously creative in the kitchen. I’m particularly partial to the Olive Oil Chocolate Mousse.
Do you have a favorite cookbook that I missed? Let me know in the comments section!