The Best Cookbooks to Gift This Year

By |2017-12-08T21:27:30+00:00December 8th, 2017|The Food & Drink Edit|

The most inspiring and hunger-inducing reads for everyone on your list.

Six Seasons Shot by Editors Inc

Whether you’re searching for a gift for the food-obsessed person in your life, or looking to add a little extra culinary sparkle to your next holiday gathering, there’s a wealth of options that have just hit the market. Here’s a taste of what’s on shelves now.

Lure: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the West Coast By Ned Bell with Valerie Howes, $38.95 from Figure 1 Publishing.
Lure: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the West Coast
By Ned Bell with Valerie Howes, $34.66 at Indigo.

Let’s face it: Seafood may be an excellent choice for so many reasons, but choosing and cooking it yourself can be the teensiest bit intimidating at times. What if it’s not fresh? What it’s not the best choice for you or the planet? Worry no more: Vancouver-based chef and sustainable seafood advocate Ned Bell takes the mystery out of selecting, preparing and cooking delicious west coast seafood with his new book Lure: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the West Coast. Bell’s passion and expertise is evident in all 80 recipes, guiding readers to treat fresh fish with the simplicity and proper technique it deserves. He also encourages readers to open their minds to a wide array of fish and shellfish that they may not have previously considered in order to stay within sustainability guidelines. Any home cook will find these recipes accessible and satisfying. Better still, the book itself is a beauty.

The Edgy Veg: 138 Carnivore-Approved Vegan Recipes
By Candice Hutchings with James Atia, $17.62 at Amazon.ca.

For the vegan who’s longing for comfort classics, The Edgy Veg: 138 Carnivore-Approved Vegan Recipes is a welcome introduction to the new school of meat-free meals. Toronto’s own You Tube and Instagram sensation Candice Hutchings (aka @theedgyveg) has whipped up 138 meat-lover-approved recipes that prove that plant-based doesn’t have to be boring. Vegans and omnivores alike can bond over a shared love for Buffalo Cauliflower Wings, Easy Cheesy Fondue, Garlicky Green Beans (to Keep the Vampires Away), Southern Biscuits and Gravy and more. Hutchings also shares practical tips for vegan substitutions that she has learned from years of trial and error – perfect for the novice cook.

Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables
By Joshua McFadden with Martha Holmberg, $36.16 at Indigo.

Portland, Oregon–based Joshua McFadden has learned to coax the best from vegetables at every stage. Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables boasts 225 recipes that celebrate the flavour of vegetables at their peak, divided into seasons: spring, early summer, midsummer, late summer, fall and winter. While it is not a diet-related or vegetarian cookbook by any means (though you will find some recipes that qualify as such), it does contain creative, drool-worthy, recipes that bring out the best of your veg. This might just be the perfect gift for someone who thinks they’re bored with vegetables. After trying English Pea Toast, Onions Three Ways with ‘Nduja on Garlic Bread, or Burnt Carrots with Honey, Black Pepper, Butter and Almonds, they might just change their tune.

Meehan’s’ Bartender Manual
By Jim Meehan $33.06 from amazon.ca.

Looking to bring a sip or two of the East Village’s best cocktail bars to your next soirée (or even night in binge-watching The Crown)? Look no further than Meehan’s Bartender Manual. Referred to as the magnum opus of renowned mixologist Jim Meehan of New York City’s famed Please Don’t Tell bar, this book is a deep, deep dive that covers everything you need to know, including bar design, menu development, spirits production, drink mixing technique, the craft of service, the art of hospitality, and 100 recipes that range from the classics to Meehan’s own. Providing wonderful insight into the creative process, this is the new definitive guide to bartending. It also happens to be a truly a beautiful book, boasting full-colour photos and black and white illustrations by Gianmarco Magnani, as well as a sleek minimalist cover. If you, or someone you love, is looking to master the art of mixology for your own amusement or to dazzle others, Meehan’s Bartender Manual is an essential pick that will also elevate the look of even the most basic of bar carts.

Homegrown: Cooking From My New England Roots By Matt Jennings, $50 from Artisan.
Homegrown: Cooking From My New England Roots
By Matt Jennings, $39.74 at Indigo.

At his recent stop in Toronto to promote Homegrown: Cooking from My New England Roots, chef Matt Jennings was surrounded by a veritable who’s who of local chefs. And for good reason — as the co-founder of the Northern Chef Alliance, Jennings has collaborated with many of his Canadian counterparts. Townsman, Jennings’ restaurant in his hometown of Boston, is known for its fresh take on New England classics and has landed on countless top ten lists. Not that you’ll find any boiled meat dinners or heavy chowders on his menu or in this book. Instead, expect to see new spins on the likes of clam and lobster rolls and pot roast dinner. (There’s even a Seafood Tourtiére as a nod to his neighbours to the north.) As good as the recipes themselves are, it’s the beautiful photos and Jennings’ affectionate stories that really tie all the elements of the food of this region together — the ingredients, climate, geography, history and traditions.

Honest to Goodness: Every Day Recipes for the Home Cook By Christine Tizzard, $29.95 from Whitecap Books Ltd.
Honest to Goodness: Every Day Recipes for the Home Cook
By Christine Tizzard, $25.22 at amazon.ca.

With her first cookbook, Newfoundland-born chef and TV personality Christine Tizzard tackles that most dreaded of questions: What are we having for dinner tonight? Honest to Goodness: Every Day Recipes for the Home Cook is filled with practical, easy and accessible-yet-creative recipes that will feed the pickiest of families. Because many of us deal with dietary restrictions, Tizzard provides a range of options to suit various lifestyles, including nut-free, dairy-free and more, all indicated by code at the top of each recipe. With 100 dishes on offer, this is a book that will help you conquer that dinnertime dread with a smile.