We have picks for every type of home cook.
Cookbooks are one of the smartest holiday gifts, but picking the right one can be a bit daunting (there are so many options out there!). At Cooking Light, we get shipped hundreds of books each year, so we’ve done the legwork and sifted through this year’s new releases to find the best titles in each category.
Cookbooks are definitely not one-size-fits-all – you’ll need to know a little bit about the interests of your foodie to ensure you’re buying a gift they’ll love for years to come. Here’s our list of the nine best new titles for every kind of home cook.
For Your Vegetarian or Vegan Friend
The new book from “vegetable whisperer” Jeremy Fox spotlights his incredible plant-based cooking and shares tips for pulling off the trickier dishes. The esteemed California chef isn’t vegetarian and isn’t trying to convert anyone, but his book just might anyway.
You’ll learn so many cool ways to use sweet potatoes (hello, Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls!). They’re a healthy cook’s go-to cold-weather comfort starch, and Heck shows off their versatility with 60 recipes.
We admit – this did come out last year, but it’s truly a must: Those simple veggie sides you always need are all here, plus starters and entrées. Working with the editors of Lucky Peach magazine, Meehan’s “Power Pantry” chapter is an invaluable guide to 12 ethnic market items guaranteed to elevate your cooking.
For the Social Chef
This expansive guide to social gatherings has you covered for everything from potlucks and road trips to tailgates, baby showers, and dinner parties. Many of the Mississippi native’s dishes have deep Dixie roots, but classics such as Quiche Lorraine, Chicken Enchiladas, and Homemade Granola will find favor anywhere.
For the Cheese Aficionado
With down-to-earth language, The Book of Cheese demystifies and organizes the vast cheese world using a “gateway” method. Celebrated cheese wiz Liz Thorpe starts with broad types you know (mozzarella, Brie, cheddar, etc.) then introduces less familiar but similar cheeses. Her charming bottom-line reviews tout why each cheese is worth trying; for Double Gloucester: “Easy like a Sunday morning.” And she says Brie fans will absolutely lose it over a Harbison blend from Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont: “I dare you not to love it.”
For the Expert Mixologist
Jim Meehan’s Manhattan bar, PDT, helped launch the cocktail renaissance. In Meehan’s Bartender Manual, he pours forth tips for pros and amateurs alike, classic cocktail recipes, and a rundown of bar tools.
For Your Family’s Everyday Kitchen Hero
Perelman’s hallmark epicurean blog helps you solve the weeknight dinner dilemma— and now her extensive book does, too. Must make: the four-ingredient One-Pan Farro with Tomatoes.
The wife of one of the world’s best chefs (René Redzepi, of Noma fame) is an outstanding cook herself. Recipes include homey dishes such as pan- seared pork chops or fudgy brownies, all cleverly elevated for a resourceful chef to master at home.
Clark sums up the book thusly: “More flavor, less work.” She knows what you want (starting with an epic chicken chapter) and makes it fresh in every sense.