Less than two weeks till
Mother's Day, and we're entering the "spring bump" - next to the
year-end holidays, it's the second-busiest time of year for
cookbook publishing and cookbook sales. (Which is why my developer
timed the launch of my cookbook-rating app,
CookShelf - just out! - for now.)
And that makes me think...if, like so many people, you're giving
someone a cookbook for Mother's Day, what qualities do you look for
in that cookbook?
You don't want to it to be a book that says "Go back to the
kitchen where you belong and make me some food!" so maybe you don't
want a cookbook whose title includes the words "...Cook for a
Crowd". You don't want a book that seems self-serving,
like "100 chocolate brownies your family and friends will
love". And you definitely don't want a book that says
Mom could stand to lose some weight. That rules out every
diet book there is.
So what does that leave us? Well, quite a lot actually:
big, beautiful coffee-table books, cute little books to take
to a beach house, books with gorgeous pictures you can almost
taste. By category, here's a few to consider:
Books that are good for
reading: Melissa Clark's books are both practical and
entertaining to read. And the chicken romances - The Fresh Egg Cookbook, and Chicken and Egg are irresistible for backyard
poultry aspirants. The Splendid
Table's How To Eat Supper is maybe the ultimate browse book,
for interesting trivia and quotations and sidebars and anecdotes.
House Cooking is ravishing to look at.
Books that are
whimsical: I'm a sucker for cute books, like Sweet Gratitude and The Secret Lives of Baking (although this
latter, I have to tell you, is not the best for cooking from).
and Co. is whimsical in content, Full of Flavor is graphically whimsical,
and The Silver Palate is awash in whimsy from cover
Books from far away:
A cookbook can be a virtual voyage to faraway cultures - and
so much more affordable than an airline ticket! The
Mediterranean books are especially good right now - send Mom on a
culinary journey with The Food of Spain or Jerusalem or
Arabesque. Heading further east, Every Grain of Rice is a tremendous value.
Books that are useful:
Authoritative, reference cookbooks are gifts that keep on giving
for years - like Grow Cook Eat (for vegetable gardeners) or The
Apple Lover's Cookbook (all about apples) or Veganomicon (tons of vegan recipes).
Books that party:
Sometimes, Mom doesn't feel like cooking at all.
So, pick up Porch Parties and a bag of ice and bring her a
cocktail while she's lying in her hammock, reading the extremely
entertaining Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz, or The Drunken Botanist.
What books do you think make the best gifts - or, to put it
another way, which would you most like to receive?