Cookbooks make amazing gifts. I'll admit I'm biased - my mother collects them and I started my collection with Alpha Bakery Children's Cookbook when I wasn't even old enough to see over the kitchen counter. Since then, my library has expanded with the classic, Joy of Cooking, the southern essential, Silver Palate, the popular favorite, The Barefoot Contessa, and many, many more. And though I started twenty years ago, I don't know that my collection will ever be complete.
As a publishing art form, cookbooks have evolved substantially. They're no longer pages of ingredients and instructions. They're rich with stories, vibrant with the personality of each author, and often as beautiful to look at as a those heavy, expensive coffee table books. They're just infinitely more useful.
Pretty, practical, and perfect for all kinds of friends at any age. Can you imagine a more ideal gift?
For your funny friend: 50 Shades of Chicken
Big breasts. Moist thighs. Chicken with a Lardon. I don't care if these recipes turn out to be terrible, and I'm sure whoever you gift this book to won't either. This book takes the term "food porn" to a whole new level.
For your DIY-addicted friend: The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook
Maybe this book will inspire her to try out jam making. The first section of the book has everything you need to know about the basics of jam making, from sanitizing jars to testing for doneness. And even if your friend is a jam-making pro, the recipes in this book are extraordinary - unexpected flavor combinations open up a whole new world of jam making.
For anyone who likes good meals like mom made: Barefoot Contessa, Fool Proof: Recipes You Can Trust
Oh, Ina. Your cookbooks are just flawless. I love every single thing in them. Except for anything with smoked salmon, but I skip over those recipes and just stick to the good stuff. Like the meatloaf. The meatloaf recipe in this book is just stupid delicious. If you're trying to cook your way to a man's heart through his stomach, or feed a large family, or "accidentally" out-cook your mother-in-law...you can't go wrong with any of the recipes in this book.
For your health nut friend: True Food: Seasonal, Sustainable, Simple, Pure
True Food Kitchen opened up in Denver last year. At first I thought, "It's HEALTH FOOD, for Pete(r Luger)'s sake. Who is going to eat there enough for that place to survive?
Well, the restaurant is always packed. And though Denver is a healthy city on the whole, the reason this place has been and continues to be so successful is simply because the food is extraordinary. It's a testament to the school that healthy eating doesn't have to be boring.
The book includes and expands upon the incredible menu offerings.
For your vegetarian friend: The Veggie Lover's Sriracha Cookbook
A celebration of every hipster's favorite condiment - the ketchup nouveau - Sriracha. This cookbook is vegan-friendly, but will be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates the opportunity to spice up the average vegetable side-dish.
For your friend who just needs one: The Joy of Cooking
It's not just a classic, it's the classic. And for good reason. When I graduated from college, I gave these as gifts to my friends because it's just something you should have in your home. If you only ever have one cookbook, it should be this one.