Books / Entertainment

Holiday Gift Guide 2014: 10 Books to Buy for Your Favorite Home Cook

Not sure about you all, but we LOVE a good cook book (or mixology book). There’s something about a collection of carefully curated recipes, and gorgeous food (or drink) photography that inspires us to be better home cooks slash bartenders. We’re also the type of people to choose which books we buy primarily on the cover. Whoever told you “don’t judge a book by its cover” lied to your face. You should absolutely judge a book based on it’s cover. Unless it’s a book by Martha Stewart. We don’t like her.

We receive a lot of pitches from publishers and public relations professionals all trying to get their clients’ work in front of EDC’s audience. And by a lot, we mean daily. That’s a lot of books during the year. So, with the season of giving upon us, and the inevitable struggle of trying to figure out what the person-who-likes-to-cook-but-already-has-just-about-every-gadget-imaginable-in-their-kitchen (you know exactly the type of people we’re talking about), we compiled a list of the 10 cookbooks that caught our attention this year.

Bread by Dean Brettschneider
Why we chose it: We find breads tricky. They’re usually also quite labor intensive, and while learning a recipe we might have found online usually lends itself to relatively satisfactory results, “Bread” by Dean Brettschneider is packed with tips for baking that coveted perfect loaf. Add in the gorgeous carb-loaded photography, the minimalist hardcover, and recipes ranging from Hand-dropped Sultana & Raspberry Scones to Apple & Custard Brioche Tarts and Panettone, and you got yourself one classy gift.

Heritage by Sean Brock
Why we chose it: We have a thing for farm-to-table cooking. Knowing where our food came from, and knowing it was locally sourced gives us pride in our consumption. Brock, the chef behind restaurants Husk and McCrady’s, offers all of his southern inspired food recipes in “Heritage” ranging from comfort to refined-for-restaurant-service foods. Although perhaps geared more toward a home chef who knows their knife skills, and has mastered techniques past the base level, we appreciate the tribute to Charleston and Appalachia food flavors and think anyone would enjoy a book of recipes that inspire personal improvement in the kitchen. Reach for the stars people. Or the black truffles. Whichever suits your fancy.

Stuffed: The Ultimate Comfort Food Cookbook by Dan Whalen
Why we chose it: Everything is better stuffed, amiright?! Does your friend enjoy playing with their food, have children, or perhaps hosts “man night”? Then this will be their holy grail. We’re talking recipes for Macaroni & Cheese Stuffed Hamburgers, Saag Paneer Stuffed Shells, Carnitas Burrito Manicotti, and Kung Pao Stuffed Shrimp. In fact, you may get stuffed just from contact with the book.

Easy Gourmet: Awesome Recipes Anyone Can Cook by Stephanie Le
Why we chose it: We love supporting other bloggers. It’s that simple. Stephanie Le, the creator of “I am a food blog”, just published her first cookbook. And if you didn’t notice the title, let us point out what it says. EASY. That’s right. Easy gourmet. We know all too well that sometimes there’s just not enough time (or knowledge in our limited noggin) of how to produce those recipes that require a ton of patience and skill, but that doesn’t mean we don’t like to impress when we cook for others, and we’re pretty sure you have at least that one friend who frets over details and aesthetics whenever they host a dinner party.

Food Truck Road Trip: A Cookbook by Kim Pham & Philip Shen
Why we chose it: It should be obvious why we put this one on our list. We think any food truck frequenter and chronic traveler will appreciate the compilation of recipes from some of America’s best food trucks, including DC’s very own Hula Girl Truck and El Fuego.

The New Charcuterie Cookbook: Exceptional Cured Meats to Make and Serve at Home by Jamie Bissonnette
Why we chose it: There’s something about exceptionally good charcuterie that leaves us in awe. You know what we’re talking about, right? The cold meats that just melt in your mouth with that mouth watering salty, meaty goodness. Bissonnette’s book provides more than 100 recipes and step-by-step instructions. Sections in the book cover cooked charcuterie, offal, cold cuts, cured meats, and confit with recipes ranging from Cured Pork Loin Proscuitto-style to Rabbit Mortadella. Bring on the meat!

Taste of Tanzania: Modern Swahili Recipes for the West by Miriam R. Kinunda
Why we chose it: We dream about traveling to Africa and various other eastern continents/countries. The cuisine is a bit of a mystery to us. We chose this book because we know we’re not the only people who like to experiment with ethnic flavors and dishes, even though we are lacking a certain understanding. And, while DC has a lot of variation in the type of food offered, we consider ourselves lucky for this. We think this book is a great introduction to flavors us westerners aren’t accustomed to, and a fun way to break the kitchen mold.

Mediterranean Vegetarian Feasts by Aglaia Kremezi
Why we chose it: Recently Kremezi hosted a book signing event at Zaytinya in DC. Unfortunately we couldn’t make it – book signings usually aren’t our focus – however we couldn’t have thought of a better restaurant to host the signing. It just worked perfectly. If you’ve been to Zaytinya you know by now they have some fantastic Mediterranean vegetarian dishes that make us wish we knew how to cook similarly in our own homes. Kremezi – a renowned cookbook author – provides mouth watering recipes ranging from Pasparaki (Greek style scrambled eggs with preserved pork) to Greek Style Pork Terrine (terrine made from the head and trotters that have been cooked gently with bitter orange and lemon). Give your cook the gift of traveling through Greece without even leaving their kitchen.

Eat Well and Stay Slim: The Essential Cuisine Minceur by Michel Guerard
Why we chose it: While we aren’t typically calorie conscious (seriously give us a double Whopper and it’ll be demolished in the blink of an eye without any regret), we can appreciate that some people are. However we don’t think this book is for your average home cook. The saving grace? We loved the idea that food can still be fancy, filling, and overall beautiful while still being healthy. We’ll reference this book on future cooking endeavors for explanations of principles, techniques, and terms. Having a book on hand that tells you exactly how to make a large variety of stocks, and oils makes it a keeper for kitchen.

Whiskey Cocktails: Rediscovered Classics and Contemporary Craft Drinks Using the World’s Most Popular Spirit by Warren Bobrow
Why we chose it: OK, so this isn’t a “cookbook” per say…but, whiskey! Everyone is a wannabe mixologist these days – so why not provide a little guidance? We loved the variety of recipes making this the perfect gift for that whiskey connoisseur in your life. Give it alongside a bottle of their favorite brand so they won’t be able to control their excitement and will get that party started. See? It’s a gift that keeps on giving.


Rebekah (Editor)

About Rebekah (Editor)

Rebekah spent much of her childhood on the coast of Maine where she cultivated her affinity for local seafood. Her lust for traveling extended beyond her New England borders and so she spent time traveling to Nepal, Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico, and various parts of the U.S. before taking up blogging and spawn rearing as her full time gig. A transplant into the DC Metro Area, she has a newfound enthusiasm for gastronomy, and finding the best indulgences in the District. Rebekah's photographs and writing have been published by various media outlets, however her love of adventure would find her constantly on the go exploring new places and cuisine.

23 thoughts on “Holiday Gift Guide 2014: 10 Books to Buy for Your Favorite Home Cook

  1. I LOVE cookbooks too! The Sean Brock one looks awesome! Love the image they used for the cover-soo colorful, and eye catching.

  2. I actually started reading Brock’s book front to back – it’s an AMAZING narrative! Also, I wanted to get my hands on the Mediterranean book from Zaytinya – right up my alley!
    Love this post 🙂

  3. Pingback: Holiday Gift Guide Round-Up 2014! - Housewives of Frederick County

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