The Hottest Cookbooks for Everyone on Your List


Collecting cookbooks is one of my favourite hobbies, and nothing fills me with more excitement that cracking open the spine of new title or flipping through a well-loved favourite. I spend an inordinate amount of time at the bookstore, and always end up in the culinary corner. There I search for new titles to discover, unearth older books that I may not be familiar with, and seek inspiration in the form of food photography, recipe development and clever writing.

The books that usually capture my attention are unique in their premise, and offer a fun approach to cooking’€”something I wholeheartedly believe in. They also teach rather than preach, and are visually appealing, although I’€™m not a fan of overly styled photos that look as though the food is too pretty eat.

After months of reviewing some of the hottest titles of 2014’€”and believe me, there were many’€”I’€™ve curated a list of a few of my favourites. I’€™ve categorized them according to whom they might be appropriate for, so you can allocate titles to all the cooks on your shopping list (or make your own wishlist for this year).

For the Junior Chef:
Candy Aisle Crafts, by Jody Levine
The former editor of Martha Stewart’€™s Kids magazine has released a crafting cookbook filled with creative projects made with supermarket sweets. Featuring 59 projects for birthdays, holidays or just any ordinary day’€”and using everyday items readily available at the grocery store’€”your young creative cook will have a blast in the kitchen making a few of the projects found within the pages. Recipes to try: Monster S’€™mores, Ball Gown Ladies Cupcake Toppers and Gummy Letter Necklaces.

For the Home Baker:
The Messy Baker, by Charmian Christie
I usually add a new title or two to my baking book collection in the fall or winter, and this year I didn’€™t hesitate to snatch up a copy of Charmian Christie’€™s The Messy Baker. In the interest of full disclosure, I know Charmian; she’€™s completely delightful, not to mention a true inspiration, and her new baking book needs to be on the shelves of every home baker looking to whip up tasty, imperfect treats. Her charming tone coaches you through each recipe using the informative headnotes, and the recipes encourage you to get back to having fun in the kitchen. While modern and relevant, the collection of baked goods is guaranteed to remind you of the treats your grandmother likely served to you as a child. Recipes to try: Double-Stuff Uber Oreo Cookies, Chocolate Orange Gingersnap Drops and Sweet Potato Samosas.

For the Family Dinner Maker:
Jamie’€™s Comfort Food by Jamie Oliver
My family is pretty obsessed with hosting a large Sunday supper each week, and since its fall release this is the first book I turn to when I’€™m looking for some dinner inspiration. The recipes are designed for sharing with your loved ones, many of them yielding 6-8 servings each, and the food spans many cultures and flavours as it brings international comfort food front and centre in your own home kitchen. This collection of ‘good mood food’ is sure to put a smile on your face, and is guaranteed to become your go-to comfort cookbook. Recipes to try: Double Whammy Toad in the Hole, Insanity Burgers and Sticky Toffee Pudding with Caramel Sauce.

For the Health Enthusiast:
The Oh She Glows Cookbook, by Angela Liddon
I am very far away from becoming vegan, but that doesn’€™t mean I’€™m not smitten with The Oh She Glows Cookbook, one of my favourite publications of the past 12 months. The healthy recipes are creative and make use of accessible ingredients. And regardless of our respective food philosophies, I’€™m certain we can all benefit from adding more plant-based meals in our weekly diets. Also, Chapters-Indigo recently named this their best cookbook of the year, so there’€™s that, too. Recipes to try: Ultimate Nutty Granola Clusters, Taco Fiesta Potato Crisps and Beat the Heat Frozen Dessert Pizza.

For the New Cook/First-Time Homeowner:
The Kitchn Cookbook, by Sara-Kate Gillingham and Faith Durand
The Kitchn is the one website I try to visit daily, and I’€™m continuously amazed by the fresh content they create each day. Their first book is an updated version of the blog and is full of recipes, kitchens and tips to inspire your cooking. Divided into categories like setting up the kitchen, stocking the pantry and planning the meals, 50 essential skills to have in the kitchen, and a collection of 150 smart and savvy recipes, this book is ideal for the new cook or first-time homeowner. Recipes to try: Baked Brie with Blackberries and Sage, Monkey Bread with Bourbon Crème Anglaise and Slow Cooker Carnitas.

For the Food Network Fan:
Make it Ahead, by Ina Garten
I’€™m unabashedly fond of Ina Garten and her barefoot contessa recipes, and her latest book speaks volumes to me because I’€™m always in search of make-ahead foods that can be cooked or prepped far in advance of when I need them. I honestly think it’€™s the back-pocket secret to having people over and entertaining them well (who wants to spend all of their time in the kitchen when their friends are there?), and this new collection of recipes has me planning more parties than I think I can host. Recipes to try: Roast Chicken with Bread and Arugula Salad, French Chicken Pot Pies and Tres Leches Cake with Berries.

For the Food Lit Fanatic:
Delancey, by Molly Wizenberg
Molly Wizenberg’€™s sophomore book that tells the tale of how she, a New York Times bestselling author and one of the world’€™s original food bloggers, and her husband Brandon, a pizza-loving PhD student known for his ambitious attempts to plan/start new businesses based on his personal interests and hobbies, decided to open a pizza place in a yet-to-be-established neighbourhood in Seattle. I don’€™t want to give away too much about the book, as it’s a delicious read, worthy of a few hours of your time (and if you’€™re familiar with Molly you’€™re obviously aware of Delancey’€™s success). But I will say this: opening a restaurant, or any small business, isn’€™t nearly as easy as it may seem. While the book offers an incredible peek into the behind-the-scenes story of getting a pizza place up and running, it’€™s also about navigating the early years of marriage and learning how to pursue passions, both separately and in tandem, while determining the roles each person will play in the new life they are building together.

Now it’€™s your turn’€¦what cookbooks are you currently cooking from? Do you have a new favourite from the past year? Are you putting any books on your own Christmas list this year?


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