Cookbooks for Mother's Day!

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. And Canal 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).  Kitchen and Co. is whimsical in content, Full of Flavor is graphically  whimsical, and The Silver Palate is awash in whimsy from cover to 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?

1 Comment

  • NaomiManygoats  on  5/7/2013 at 2:39 PM

    I am thrilled with any food or cooking related book I don't yet have.....saying that, nobody ever gives me any because I 'have too many already' according to THEM!

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