Cookbook Round-Up

Around the holiday season I often find myself struggling to find the perfect gift for that one particular person. You know the one: they already have it all, they’re really picky with gifts, or their interests are so broad it’s hard to pinpoint what sort of gift they would really love.

I think cookbooks are a fabulous gift for one simple reason: they suggest creativity and new discoveries. And who doesn’t like new discoveries?! Some are beautiful and dreamy as you ogle over the gorgeous dishes, and some can be like culture capsules to a whole new form of cuisine. Here is my round up of some of the best cookbooks on the shelves now, why they would make wonderful gifts this holiday season and who would appreciate them the most. I hope you find my guide helpful, and perhaps one or two will make you think of someone special.

Happy reading!

Montreal Cooks by Jonathan Cheung and Tays Spencer

There is a reason Montreal’s food scene is internationally renowned. This beautifully curated book highlights some of the most recognized chefs and allows you to recreate some of their best dishes at home. The minimalist design of the book contrasts with dark and hyper-saturated images, making it a unique book to add to your repertoire.

Hear from the best like Danny Smiles from The Bremner, Josh Lauridsen from Garde Manger, and Marie-Fleur Saint-Pierre from Tapeo. Learn how to cook a perfectly tender Moishes’ steak, or the crispy maple-glazed pork belly from Pastaga. Or try another recipe from the 250 page book- you’re sure to find something tempting!

Who would love it: An experienced home cook with an appreciation for perfected dishes, or an intermediate cook with lots of enthusiasm! It would be a great gift for anyone who is in love with the Montreal food scene. Be sure to read the introduction by Gail Simmons.
Who wouldn’t: Vegetarians, look elsewhere

Simply Nigella: Feel Good Food by Nigella Lawson

Nigella believes cooking can de-stress, and just by reading the passages in her latest cookbook, Simply Nigella, you will find yourself relaxing as you’re whisked away with her poetic way of writing.

This cookbook highlights some of her favourite and uncomplicated dishes that have offered comfort during the most challenging years.  The clear directions for dishes such as White Miso ice cream or Malaysian red-cooked chicken will ensure you aren’t left wondering what happens next. Of note: Nigella included a wonderful section called “Breathe,” which explores the land of slow cooking.

Who would love it: Anyone who wants cooking to be a stress-free experience (ie. everyone) and who wants a book that is written for the home cook and not a professional chef. A Nigella fan would certainly appreciate it as well!
Who wouldn’t: Those who have crowds to feed on a regular basis, or if you’re looking for culinary challenges.

The UnDiet Cookbook: 130 Gluten-Free recipes for a Healthy and Awesome Life by Meghan Telpner

I heard Meghan speak at the Food Bloggers’ Conference this past fall and she was incredibly inspiring. Her new cookbook is beautiful with big, full-page photos of delectable dishes and Meghan’s joyful energy comes through in her writing. This nutritionist isn’t here to tell you there is only one way to eat: she believes you eat what you need for your beautiful, radiant and nourishing life. You feel virtuous just by flipping through the pages!

It is also so much more than a cookbook: read about making your own beauty products, tips on staying healthy while traveling, or suggestions for when entertaining.

Who would love it: anyone who is curious about integrating more gluten-free and dairy-free recipes or who is looking to spice up their vegetarian/vegan routine. This is also a great book for general life-improving tips.
 Who wouldn’t: someone who can’t have a meal without meat, or someone who hates chopping vegetables (they exist!). Eggs and Jam Jars by Aimee Wibush-Bourque

This cookbook, carefully organized by season, offers year-round foods that tug on our childhood nostalgia such as corn on the cob with Chili Basil Brown Butter, or Blueberry Cardamom Butter.

The gorgeous photography and cozy flavours are beautifully constructed in a way that reminds you that food is ultimately a wonderful way to bring people together.

Who would love it: Parents (there are thoughtful ways of including smaller hands throughout the book), or anyone who appreciates a homier style of cooking.
Who wouldn’t: If your someone who is looking for a cookbook that specifically addresses one style of cooking or a particular cultural approach, this book isn’t for you.

Disclaimer: While I was given these books as a gift from either the author or publisher, I was not compensated to conduct this round up. All opinions, words, and ideas are entirely my own.