I’m not much of a shopper, but when it comes to buying books I have a bit of weakness. My husband might be more inclined to refer to it as a bonafide problem, but on this we agree to disagree.
If books are my weakness, then cookbooks are my kryptonite (have you seen one of my cookbook shelves?), and they are thing I covet more than anything else. I usually buy myself one (or three) for Christmas, my birthday and Mother’s Day, because why not? If you’re inclined to do something similar, or have a mama on your shopping list that likes cookbooks as much as I do, here are five new titles that I know you’ll/she’ll love to receive this year. I’ve read and cooked from them all, and each will have a permanent place in my already too-large collection.
Renée is a charming food writer from Saskatoon who’s penned a collection of sweet recipes with even sweeter stories. This cookbook-cum-memoir will have you curled up on the sofa with a cup of tea and blanket, bookmarking all the sweet things you’ll want to make (for a sneak peek I’m sharing her recipe for Buttermilk Scones with Raspberry Butter. A perfect treat for Mother’s Day, I might add!).
I’ve been feeding kids for 17 years, and this is one of the smartest, most approachable books I’ve read on the topic. Nutritionist and mom Sarah Waldman has created forty seasonally-inspired family meals, each one nutritionally fulfilling and completely strategic (think picky eaters, busy weeknights, long work days). Also included are tips for cooking with kids, how to turn each meal into one a baby can also consume (read: cooking one meal the whole family can eat!), and modern, healthy recipes that are sure to become go-to family favourites. I’m a big fan of the Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken with Sweet Peas and the Chicken Tortilla Soup. I’m also amazed at how many similarities there are between the recipes I’ve created for my next book and the ones inside this one. They say great minds think alike, so I’m thrilled to find myself in Sarah’s company in this regard.
Sometimes I think it’s nice for moms to have a little something just for themselves, and that’s exactly how I feel about Laura’s The First Mess, a collection of vibrant plant-based recipes. That isn’t to say I wouldn’t cook for my family from this book, because I certainly would, but seeing as I live with four male meat-centric eaters I really feel that this book is for me more than them, and I kind of like it that way! This debut title really highlights the seasons with recipes that call for much more than just avocado and chickpeas, two overly used items in vegan cookbooks, in my opinion. The book is packed with clever tricks, and lots of good ideas (like her homemade almond milk—brilliant!) you’ll carry over into your cooking regardless of whether you include meat or not.
For the dinner enthusiast, this is a book that delivers inspiration in spades. Each recipe is meant to create an entire meal and only requires a supplemental side salad or loaf of bread to round out the plate. Organized by main ingredient – chicken, meat, fish and seafood, eggs, pasta and noodles, tofu, vegetable dinners, grains, pizza, soups, and salads that mean it—“Dinner covers an astonishing breadth of recipes. There is something for every mood, season, and the amount of time you have.”
I love this book and think you will, too. It’s not perfect, of course, but mostly delivers on the promise of healthier baked goods using natural sugars, whole grain flours and other delicious ingredients. Some modern healthy baking books are full of excellent recipes that also require you to restock your pantry with a bunch of items you’ve likely never heard of. This one uses more familiar items, or those that are easily accessible at your local bulk food store, letting you create healthier brownies, muffins, cakes and cookies for your family. It bridges the gap between standard baking books and those that are heavy on alternative ingredients. We loved the Spelt Brownies and the Double Chocolate and Rye Muffins.