A cookbook is the type of gift that reaches many people. Give it to a friend—whether an epicure or a water-boiling novice—and soon you will have all who frequent his or her table singing your praises.
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Kids' Cakes from the Whimsical Bakehouse by Kaye Hansen and Liv Hansen
Any fan of CakeWrecks.com knows how hilariously wrong cake decorating can go. Kids' Cakes from the Whimsical Bakehouse will help you get it right: Real recipes (not mixes); technique tips; and a handy chart for custom food-coloring.
Rozanne Gold is the godmother of super-simple home cooking, having published Recipes 1-2-3: Fabulous Food Using Only 3 Ingredients way back in 1996. Then came a 1-2-3 series. Now Radically Simple adds 325 recipes to the Gold standard.
Barbecue expert Jamie Purviance teams with iconic Illinois grillmaker Weber for this smart collection of more than 200 recipes and quicker-grilling tips. Speedier smoked ribs? Bake them in foil first, then finish on the grill.
Denmark’s “best in world” Noma restaurant produced a dazzling cookbook, but it wasn’t exactly practical. Camilla Plum’s pan-Scandinavian tome is much more approachable: Chapters on berries, vegetables, and mushrooms burst with life—and tempting recipes.
If it's a small, succulent parcel encased in dough, pastry, batter, or leaves from anywhere between India and Polynesia, you'll find a recipe and crystal-clear instructions for making it with Andrea Nguyen's Asian Dumplings. Want more? Check Andrea's companion blog.
You'll find James Peterson's James Beard Award-winning tome, Cooking, on the shelves of every Cooking Light food editor. He has a special talent for friendly and thorough instruction, which is also evident in Baking.
London- and Bangkok-based chef David Thomspon dishes up huge in-your-face travel photos and authentic recipes, plunking you in the middle of the glorious culinary chaos of Thailad's streets and markets.
As the FDA considers lower salt standards for Americans, salt has never been a hotter chef's ingredient. This is part cookbook (Roasted Peaches in Bourbon Syrup with Smoked Salt), part salt tract (positing "Five Rules of Strategic Salting)," part reference tome.
South Carolina's Matt and Ted Lee are here to challenge Paula Deen's regional hegemony. Lush, lucious dishes like Pimento Cheese Potato Gratin and Roasted Potatoes with Country Ham and Chiles could find a place on your table no matter where you live.
Irish culinary authority Darina Allen's Forgotten Skills of Cooking covers the expected--corned beef and cabbage, soda bread, and nettle soup. But treates like violet vinegar and homemade butter, plus color pictures throughout, make this book a keeper.
If you're expecting complex, simmered-all-day ragùs, you're in for a treat. Julia della Croce's new homage to Italian cooking is filled with suprisingly simple fare, like spaghetti with sautéed radicchio and macaroni with quick broccoli sauce—just the things for cold January nights.