For gift giving that is! And for me, that has always meant books, lots and lots of books. From small inspirational books to novels to non-fiction to cookbooks to decorating guides, books are always my favorite present, and my favorite thing to give other people. There really is something for everyone, and for me, scouring the (often virtual) shelves to that find perfect title or genre can be one of my favorite parts of the season.
So it only seemed natural to share with you a few of the cookbooks that I keep seeing popping up everywhere and think would be fascinating books to give (or receive). My favorite cookbooks always include some sort of story or history about the place or culture or event that served as inspiration for the collection of recipes. There’s nothing like a little food + history to get you in the holiday spirit.
1. Jerusalem: A Cookbook. I first heard about this cookbook while listening to an interview with authors on NPR and was instantly intrigued. The two chefs come from two vastly divergent, fractured cultures within the same city, Jerusalem, but come together to tell a history of this complicated city through its food. Although the recipes are quite different than what’s usually made in my kitchen, it sounds like a fascinating read.
2. The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook: Sweetness in Seattle. This is another cookbook rich in history that I’ve seen pop up in many magazines over the past several months. The author, Tom Douglas, combines recipes + tips about techniques + Seattle culture/history for a well-rounded look inside the recipes of a beloved bakery. Red Haven Peach Blueberry Crisp, anyone?
3. Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza. This is another cookbook that I keep reading about over and over again in magazines and on the internet. I love the process of making fresh bread (more like the process of eating fresh bread, anyway), but am still a bit intimidated by the process. It’s also another cookbook that weaves the author’s, Ken Forkish’s, personal story throughout the pages of fundamentals and recipes.
4. Artisan Cheese Making at Home. I actually bought this book for Jeff last year as he’d been talking non-stop about wanting to make his own cheese. It’s a beautiful book with easy to follow recipes, but fast forward a year, and we’ve still yet to try a single recipe. I am definitely putting making homemade mozzarella on the new year’s resolution list!
5. Canning for a New Generation. Canning hadn’t really caught my eye until very very recently and after moving to the east coast and away from constant fresh, seasonal produce, I’ve really been thinking about delving into the craft a bit next year. When I think of canning, I always think of an old 1900s farmstead housewife preparing for a harsh winter a la Little House on the Prarie, but it’s definitely coming back into vogue these days. Plus, the book is arranged by seasons, so you know exactly what to can when–my kind of book.
Are there any cookbooks out there you’ve been eyeing lately?