2009 Cookbooks for Holiday Giving

The holiday season means quality time with family and friends, and of course, gift giving. If you’re like me, most of this will occur while cooking, eating, or planning the next meal. Gonna need a cookbook for that! Here are some new releases that your giftee will be thrilled with.



Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller (Workman, $50) (11/09)

Normally I stay far away from four-star chefs and their overwrought books, but this one promises to be something different. From Keller’s casual, family style restaurant in the Napa Valley comes a book filled with food you might actually make in a time frame that is based on reality. Imagine!

Burger Bar: Build Your Own Ultimate Burgers by Hubert Keller (John Wiley and Sons, $22.95)

The French-born Keller, owner of San Francisco’s acclaimed Fleur de Lys, has opened some great burger restaurants in SF, St. Louis, and Las Vegas, and they’re fantastic. The Lamb Burger alone is worth the price of admission. How about Chicago, Mr. Keller? What are we, chopped liver?

The Gastrokid Cookbook: Feeding a Foodie Family in a Fast-Food World by Hugh Garvey and Matthew Yeoman (Wiley, $15)

The subtitle – “Feeding a Foodie Family in a Fast Food World” – pretty much says it all. This is for the kid watching the Food Channel. You know who you are.


Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express by Mark Bittman (Simon & Schuster, $26)

I’ve been a big Bittman fan for years; this book is a compilation of all the great, fast ideas he’s had in the NY Times Food Section. Big flavors, quickly.

Memorable Recipes: To Share with Family and Friends by Renee Behnke and Cynthia Nims (Andrews McMeel, $35)

Behnke is the President Emeritus of Sur la Table, and has spent the last 20 years shopping around the world for food products and kitchen equipment. She knows what she’s talking about.

My New Orleans: The Cookbook by John Besh (Andrews McMeel, $45)

Loved his NOLA restaurants August, La Provence, Luke, and Besh Steak; now I can cook the food. Or at least attempt it. And the man is easy on the eyes.

Paula Deen’s Cookbook for the Lunch-Box Set by Paula Deen, Susan Mitchell, Martha Nesbit ($21.99, Simon & Schuster)

For a woman who spent years in her home with agoraphobia, Deen has come out of her shell in a big way. This is filled with hands-on, approachable recipes to cook with your kids.

The Pleasures of Cooking for One by Judith Jones (Random House, $27.95)

If she was good enough for Julia Child, she’s good enough for the rest of us! This is a charming book with practical applications. You don’t have to cook for a crowd, and if you’re alone, you don’t have to resort to canned soup and yogurt.


Rustic Fruit Desserts: Crumbles, Buckles, Cobblers, Pandowdies, and More by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson (Ten Speed Press, $22)

Schreiber is a well-known chef from Portland, Oregon, land of bounty. His take on rustic desserts is full of color and flavor. Worth making.


Tacos by Mark Miller (Ten Speed Press, $21.95)

His Coyote Café in Santa Fe is a seminal restaurant; this book is filled with great ideas for anyone who, like me, will eat anything in a tortilla. Almost anything.