Throughout the holiday season, we’re gathering books that make the perfect gifts for everyone on your list—from your mother and the teen in your life to your foodie friend and the coworker who loves Harry Potter. Need more ideas? Check out all of our guides.
A cookbook: the gift that truly keeps on giving—and hopefully back to you, when you’re invited for dinner. For the non-chef, however, picking a cookbook can be like blind dating: exciting, a little confusing, the goods never look as good as they do in the photos, and you just hope you’ll get a good dinner out of it. Relax. Here are 11 cookbooks for all the chefs on your holiday list.
For the Francophile chef
Daniel: My French Cuisine, by Daniel Boulud
Because DB is Le DaddyMac of French cuisine, and because one can never have too many langoustine recipes.
For the high-concept chef
Manresa: An Edible Reflection, by David Kinch and Christine Muhlke
If food is art, then San Francisco chef David Kinch’s muse is the Northern California coast, specifically the mountains, farms, and ocean that provide the ingredients and the aesthetic for his “it’s too beautiful, I can’t eat it!” cuisine.
For the chef who calls herself a cook
The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays, by Ree Drummond
Down-to-earth Drummond seems poised to take the mantle of the fallen Paula Deen as America’s favorite non-celebrity celebrity “home” cook. With homespun humor from an Oklahoma ranch, her brand has now bred, with this latest, three cookbooks, two children’s books, a memoir, and a partridge in a pear tree.
For the “pork is a way of life” chef
Bacon Nation: 125 Irresistible Recipes, by Peter Kaminsky and Marie Rama
Caution: Do not give to your uncle recovering from a triple bypass (unless you are at the top of his will).
For the blogger-chef
The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, by Deb Perelman
In an act of holiday magnanimity, give your friend hope that her apartment food blog and obsessive Instagram feed can actually spawn a career like Perelman’s did.
For the traveling chef
Burma: Rivers of Flavor, by Naomi Duguid
Make your globe-trotting friends put their mouth where their money is. With 125 hot, sour, salty, and sweet recipes from Burma (aka Myanmar, aka right next to Thailand), you can barter one dish for every one of their travel photos you like on Facebook.
For the New York chef
I ♥ New York: Ingredients and Recipes, by Daniel Humm and Will Guidara
From the chef and GM of three-Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park, an A to Z love letter to the edible riches that the New York region offers its chefs and residents, featuring recipes designed for the home cook with nary a Michelin star to her name.
For the Church of Alice Waters chef
The Art of Simple Food II: Recipes, Flavor, and Inspiration from the New Kitchen Garden, by Alice Waters
Because she’s Alice Freaking Waters, the godmother of sustainable, local, seasonal cuisine. One averts one’s eyes in her presence and kisses the manured garden she walks on.
For the vegetarian chef
Moosewood Restaurant Favorites, by the Moosewood Collective
The original Moosewood Cookbook (1977) is a classic of the vegetarian and omnivore’s library alike. This collection of 250 veg and vegan recipes from the restaurant that lent the cookbook its name lacks the handlettered, block-illustrated charm of the original but packs the same flavor punches.
For the chef who drinks his dinner
Tequila Mockingbird, by Tim Federle
A cocktail book with a literary twist (Love in the Time of Kahlua, anyone?). Because it is the alcoholidays, after all.
For the chef who drinks her dinner in a slightly different manner
It’s All Good, by Gwyneth Paltrow
And a cookbook with a cleansing lemon and chili powder twist (Quinoa Granola with Olive Oil and Maple Syrup, anyone?). Because it has been the alcoholidays, after all.
What’s your favorite cookbook for gifting?