Gift Guide for the Cookbook Lover and Serious Cook

The madness that is the holiday season is upon us. I will be doing at least two gift guides this year. This guide will include cookbook ideas for a wide variety of subjects. There will be a baker’s gift guide with cookbooks and baking gift ideas along with a giveaway hopefully by this weekend! The tag #giftguide will bring up all past gift guides for even more inspiration.

For the purposes of this guide, I’ll be including titles from 2019. Prior gift guides as linked above will include older titles in the various genres. Another great source for ideas is our monthly cookbook reviews, these information-packed posts highlight all cookbook releases by month and my best books of 2019, first half shares highlights of January through July of 2019. Also these articles: a list of cookbooks that cookbook authors use and cookbooks for home cooks might provide some additional help.

Of course, a gift certificate for Eat Your Books is always a thoughtful present for the cookbook lover. If you need help purchasing a gift certificate, see this help section or email

As always, we appreciate our members using our affiliate links that can be found on the home page (lower right corner) or using the BUY BOOK button provides the same action. Using our links, helps us to earn a small commission and allows us to make site improvements and index more cookbooks!

For the new cook or experienced cook who wants to learn more:

Lateral Cooking: One Dish Leads to Another by Niki Segnit is a companion to Niki’s best selling The Flavor Thesaurus. Niki strives to teach us the fundamentals of flavors so that we can be less dependent on recipes and become a more intuitive cook. Find out more in our giveaway.

Where Cooking Begins: Uncomplicated Recipes to Make You a Great Cook by Carla Lalli Music is simply brilliant. It is the book that new cooks, experienced cooks, and cookbook lovers will love. Carla is the Food Director at Bon Appetit magazine and has a deep affection for her pressure cooker and black steel pan. Nestled in the myriad photographs and recipes are “notes” that instruct us to what we need “from the market” “spin it” (variations), “at home” (pantry ingredients) and more.

The Recipe: Classic Dishes for the Home Cook From the World’s Best Chefs by Josh Emett is brilliant. Filled with gorgeous photography and “the recipe” for each dish presented – it is a must-have. This is the type of book I crave – familiar but reaching – beautifully done and a reference to turn to repeatedly. This book will also live in my kitchen. For more details please see our full review. EYBDPreviewButton

Canal House: Cook Something: Recipes to Rely On by Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton is a culinary course tucked between two covers. Exquisite photographs, primers on ingredients, meat cuts, and even a tutorial on how to build a fire for the grill are included. Recipes are detailed and variations on those dishes are shared. This book is perfect for any level cook from the novice, who will appreciate the attention to detail, to the chef, who will benefit from the inspiration the contents provide.

Milk Street: The New Rules: Smart, Simple Recipes That Will Change the Way You Cook by Christopher Kimball redefines 75 new rules that appear in more than 200 recipes that will simplify your time in the kitchen with improved results. For example, rule 21 covers creating creaminess without adding cream to a recipe: grating corn kernels release their pulp and starches to create the base of a rich sauce for Campanelle pasta with sweet corn, tomatoes, and basil. Every cook, new or experienced, will benefit from this book.

From Scratch: 10 Meals, 150 Recipes, and Dozens of Techniques You Will Use Over and Over by Michael Ruhlman is one of those titles that you will keep in the kitchen to refer to time and again. I did a flip-through of this cookbook on Instagram if you would like to take a look inside. Undoubtedly this volume will become a classic.

Signature Dishes That Matter by Pat Nourse, Susan Jung, Christine Muhlke, Howie Kahn and Andea Petrini is a global celebration of the iconic restaurant dishes that defined the course of culinary history over the past 300 years. Darcie wrote about this title in a post last month and we will have a promotion up for this gorgeous book soon. Please remember that Eat Your Book members receive 30% off Phaidon titles when using the link provided. EYBDPreviewButton

The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker and Ethan Becker (new and revised this year). Here readers will find many beloved recipes from previous editions retested and updated, as well as over 600 new recipes geared to modern tastes and the way we cook today. From quick, weeknight-friendly recipes and meals you can cook ahead to show-stopping, celebratory dishes and DIY projects such as fermenting foods and making sausages, the new Joy has dishes for every occasion, whim, and skill level.

For the cook that wants to liven things up

South: Essential Recipes and New Explorations by Sean Brock is the long-awaited follow up to the chef’s 2014 debut cookbook, Heritage, a New Times bestseller and James Beard award winner. With recipes that range from Fried bologna with pickled peach mustard, Spring lamb with rhubarb butter, Peanut butter chess pie with a chocolate cornmeal crust, Grapefruit creme Anglaise, to Watermelon molasses, Brock has triumphantly proven that lightning does indeed strike twice. Events

365: A Year of Everyday Cooking and Baking by Meike Peters follows the success of Eat in My Kitchen, the author’s James Beard award-winning debut cookbook. Meike’s recipes and stunning photography fill this book that is organized monthly. Black forest pancakes, Potato tart with chevre and rosemary, and Spaghetti with pea pesto, roasted garlic, and fresh marjoram are just a few examples of the recipes here. Find out more in our promotion. EYBDPreviewButton

The Art of Escapism Cooking: A Survival Story, with Intensely Good Flavors by Mandy Lee is the long-anticipated debut cookbook from the spectacular blogger behind Lady and Pups. I knew this book was going to be amazing but I had no idea that it would be mind-blowing. As soon as I opened the package it arrived in, I had to do a flip-through on Instagram which will give you some idea of its brilliance. Recipes for a showstopping dessert called Pandora’s box, Mochi challah bread stuffed with prosciutto and dates, Crispy whole-fried sandstorm chicken, Nutella focaccia di recco and Cruffins with salted yolk custard are just a few of the standouts.

From the Oven to the Table: Simple Dishes That Look After Themselves by Diana Henry is another keeper from the great Ms. Henry. Find out more details in our promotion.

For cooks who enjoy global flavors

The Food of Sichuan by Fuchsia Dunlop is a new and updated edition of the author’s Land of Plenty with 200 recipes and stunning photographs. Almost twenty years after the publication of Land of Plenty, Fuchsia revisits the region where her own culinary journey began, adding more than 70 new recipes to the original repertoire and accompanying them with mouthwatering descriptions of the dazzling flavors and textures of Sichuanese cooking

Alpine Cooking: Recipes and Stories from Europe’s Grand Mountaintops by Meredith Erickson is part travel guide and part cookbook but 100% gorgeous. Need a recipe for Huckleberry dumplings, Salzburger Nockerl (a stunning soufflé) or a Tyrolean cake on a spit – it is here along with many soups, roasts and so much more.

Maangchi’s Big Book of Korean Cooking: From Everyday Meals to Celebration Cuisine by Emily “Maangchi” Kim contains the favorite dishes Maangchi has perfected over the years, from Korean barbecue and fried chicken to bulgogi and bibimbap. It explores topics not covered in other Korean cookbooks, from the vegan fare of Buddhist mountain temples to the inventive snacks of street vendors to the healthful, beautiful lunch boxes Korean mothers make for their kids. Maangchi has updated and improved the traditional dishes, without losing their authenticity.

Asma’s Indian Kitchen: Home-Cooked Food Brought to You by Darjeeling Express by Asma Khan shares recipes and stories of the Darjeeling Express which began as a dinner for 12 guests at home – Indian food, lovingly cooked from family recipes going back generations. The recipes in this book are an homage to Asma’s royal Mughlai ancestry and the busy streets of Kolkata. The kitchen at Darjeeling Express is run by an all-women team and champions home-style food cooked with passion. The recipes are split between simple mid-week meals for two, family feasts for quick and easy cooking with less spice, feasts for friends for when you want to show off a little and feasts to celebrate. Many of the recipes are vegetarian and feature classic feasts. Find out more in our full review.

Baltic: New and Old Recipes from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania by Simon Bajada perfectly orchestrates a unique and exciting view of Baltic cuisine. I have a fondness for eastern European cookbooks as my mother’s family came from that region. Spiced honey cake with brown butter icing, Rye and carrot pies and Curd pancakes with sour cream and blackcurrant jam are a sampling of recipes that caught my eye. The local photography and that of the dishes are spectacular and take you from a colorful market place, lush green hillside or a cold snow-kissed forest. EYBDPreviewButton

Sababa: Fresh, Sunny Flavors from My Israeli Kitchen by Adeena Sussman is one of this month’s highlights. Sababa is Hebrew for basically “everything is awesome” (anyone who has seen the Lego movie will curse me for that earworm) and the title reflects the contents. 125 brilliant recipes bring Israeli kitchen staples such as tahini, sumac, silan (date syrup), harissa, za’atar to our table, while also presenting more exotic spices and ingredients. Find out more about this title in our promotion.

Cook Like a Local: Six Ingredients That Can Change How You Cook – and See the World by Chris Shepherd and Kaitlyn Goalen educates the reader in the wonder that can be found in fish sauce, chiles, soy, rice, spices and corn, This book will awaken your inner chef. With recipes for Vietnamese fajitas, Fried chicken tamales, and Lamburger helper, the authors encourage us to break free of our comfort boundaries and experience a world of flavor. EYBDPreviewButton

Shuk: The Heart of Israeli Cooking by Einat Admony and Janna Gur shares over 150 recipes with countless photographs that embrace Israeli cuisine. Israeli food is having its moment. This month our female chefs, such as Einat and Adeena, help us to celebrate their beloved cuisine in two gorgeous books

A Place at the Table: New American Recipes from the Nation’s Top Foreign-Born Chefs by Gabrielle Langholtz and Rick Kinsel is a stunner. The US is a melting pot of people from many nations and there is no better time to exalt our diverse culture than now. This title delivers profiles of top immigrant chefs along with their prized recipes. Cilantro rice chicken congee (Vansana Nolintha), Banana Bibingka (Charles Olalia) and My Mom’s coffee-braised brisket (Michael Solomonov) are just a few examples of the recipes and chefs highlighted.

The Gaijin Cookbook: Japanese Recipes from a Chef, Father, Eater, and Lifelong Outsider by Ivan Orkin and Chris Ying is the second title from the author of Ivan Ramen. Orkin has always considered himself a gaijin (guy-jin), a Japanese term that means “outsider.” He has been hopelessly in love with the food of Japan since he was a teenager on Long Island. Here he shares approachable recipes for every occasion, including weeknights with picky kids, boozy weekends, and celebrations

Cookbooks for pasta lovers

American Sfoglino: A Master Class in Handmade Pasta by Evan Funke, esteemed chef of L.A.’s Felix Trattoria, is a comprehensive guide to the best pasta in the world. Sharing classic techniques from his Emilia-Romagna training, Funke provides accessible instructions for making his award-winning sfoglia (sheet pasta) at home. With little more than flour, eggs, and a rolling pin, home cooks can recreate 15 classic pasta shapes, spanning simple pappardelle to perfect tortelloni.

Tortellini at Midnight: and Other Heirloom Family Recipes from Taranto to Turin to Tuscany by Emiko Davies is as astounding as the author’s other books, Florentine (review) and Acquacotta (a celebration of the traditional cuisine of a lesser-known part of Tuscany, the Silver Coast). For more information on this beautiful book, please see my review post

Pasta Grannies: The Secret’s of Italy’s Best Home Cooks by Vicky Bennison is a work of brilliance. To find out more about this title, enter our worldwide promotion to win a copy of this book and a 5.25 quart covered braiser from Ruffoni to celebrate its release. EYBDPreviewButton

The Pasta Friday Cookbook: Let’s Eat Together by Allison Arevalo provides 85 recipes to encourage families to create their own tradition of pasta Fridays (or Mondays or Wednesdays). Find out more about this title in our review. EYBDPreviewButton

Cooks who enjoy restaurant driven cookbooks

Laurel: Modern American Flavors in Philadelphia by Nicholas Elmi, Top Chef winner, promises to be as engrossing and delicious as its restaurant namesake, a culinary stronghold in South Philly. The book is everything and more than I thought it would be with elegant offerings that I can’t wait to experience in my kitchen.

Felidia: Recipes from My Flagship Restaurant by Lidia Bastianich is the beloved Italian chef’s first restaurant cookbook. This title was written with the restaurant’s executive chef Fortunato Nicotra and Lidia’s daughter Tanya and shares dishes from across the restaurant’s forty-year history. Along with gorgeous photos, recipes include the famous Eggplant flan with tomato coulis that reworks pasta alla Norma; Almond and chocolate tart and signature cocktails.

Dinner at the Club: 100 Years of Stories and Recipes from South Philly’s Palizzi Social Club by Joseph Baldino and Adam Erace is filled with photographs and recipes from the members-only South Philly hot spot where “if the neon is on, we’re open”. Palizzi Social Club is 100 years old, but it was after chef Joey Baldino took over from his late uncle Ernie that business really exploded. The photos of the interior of the club harken back to the golden age of rat packers and the stories clue us into what it feels like to be a member. With recipes such as Parmigiano crespelle en brodo and an entire chapter devoted to the feast of the seven fishes, this book is gold. EYBDPreviewButton

The New Orleans Kitchen: Classic Recipes and Modern Techniques for an Unrivaled Cuisine by Justin Devillier and Jamie Feldmar details the fundamentals of the city’s cuisine from proper roux-making to time-honored recipes such as Shrimp and grits. In this stunningly photographed title, the James Beard award-winning chef, Devillier, shares far more than the classics. Recipes designed to stretch the imagination include Crawfish pierogi, Hazelnut spaetzle with butternut squash and maple syrup, Cornbread financiers with sea salt ice cream and S’mores tarts.

Cookbooks for younger cooks

What’s Cooking at 10 Garden Street?: Recipes for Kids From Around the World by Felicita Sala is a wonderfully illustrated book that kids of all ages will find joy in. From Coconut dahl to Meatballs with turkey, zucchini and feta, take this gem into the kitchen with your children and grandchildren and embrace global flavors.

MasterChef Junior Bakes!: Bold Recipes and Essential Techniques to Inspire Young Bakers: A Baking Book celebrates creativity, technique, and deliciousness, embracing simple to sophisticated and sweet to savory baked goods.

The Little Women Cookbook: Tempting Recipes from the March Sisters and Their Friends and Family by Wini Moranville and Louisa May Alcott is the first cookbook to celebrate the scrumptious and comforting foods that play a prominent role in Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel Little Women. If your family includes a Little Women fan, or if you yourself are one, with this book you can keep the magic and wonder of the beloved tale alive for years to come.EYBDPreviewButton

Cookbooks for gluten-free needs

Gloriously Gluten Free: Sweet Treats, Cakes, Tarts and Desserts by Frederique Jules shares 80 recipes for decadent cakes and pastries, all gluten-free with stunning photography. More information can be found on our promotion postEYBDPreviewButton

Gluten-Free Baking at Home: 102 Foolproof Recipes for Delicious Breads, Cakes, Cookies, and More by Jeffrey Larsen shares gorgeous photography and delectable recipes that bring gluten-free baking to patisserie levels. Larsen is a food stylist and recipe developer and has worked on numerous cookbooks and projects. His talents shine in this stunner of a book. Find out more about this title in our review post. EYBDPreviewButton

Cannelle et Vanille: Nourishing, Gluten-Free Recipes for Every Meal and Mood by Aran Goyoaga is the second cookbook by the blogger behind Cannelle et Vanille. Every cook and baker should have several titles dedicated to gluten-free cooking and Aran’s book covers it all from pantry staples to dessert. The book is filled with gorgeous photography and inspiring recipes. More information can be found in our promotion post. EYBDPreviewButton

Cookbooks for cocktail lovers

Tiki: Modern Tropical Cocktails by Shannon Mustipher offers a refreshingly modern take on tiki. With original recipes, techniques, tasting notes and recommendations, and tips on style and music, Tiki is an inspirational resource for cocktail lovers ready to explore fine Caribbean rums. EYBDPreviewButton

Last Call: Bartenders on Their Final Drink and the Wisdom and Rituals of Closing Time by Brad Thomas Parsons, the James Beard Award-winning author of Bitters, comes this funny exploration of the question, what is the last thing you’d want to drink before you die? Last Call also shares bartender profiles, portraits, and 50 cocktail recipes.

The NoMad Cocktail Book by Leo Robitschek is an illustrated collection of nearly 300 cocktail recipes from the award-winning NoMad Bar, with locations in New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. Originally published as a separate book packaged inside The NoMad Cookbook, this revised and stand-alone edition features 80 additional recipes, an expanded service manual explaining the art of drink-making according to the NoMad, and 30 new full-color cocktail illustrations.

Cookbooks for the entertainer

The Art of the Host: Recipes And Rules For Flawless Entertaining by Alex Hitz, “the very best host in the world” says the Wall Street Journal, shares more than 100 timeless, tried-and-true recipes for classic comfort foods to serve with his inimitable style of gracious entertaining.

Celebrate with Chyka Keebaugh: Inspired Entertaining for Every Occasion by Chyka Keebaugh, an Australian businesswoman, author, media and television personality, tackles special occasions from around the world and shares tips, inspiration, and suggestions for hosting the perfect themed event. Sprinkled within are recipes suitable for the event.

Life Is a Party: Deliciously Doable Recipes to Make Every Day a Celebration by David Burtka is the glamorous and fun book you’ve been waiting for into the lives of one of Hollywood’s most beloved couples. Author David Burtka and husband Neil Patrick Harris share a love of entertaining and their celebrations have become (wait for it) legendary. And now David wants to share his go-to recipes, party themes, music lists, decor tips, and Pinterest-worthy spreads with all of us.

Impressive gifts for the serious cook

Photo: Williams-Sonoma

Ruffoni cookware. It is beautiful and will stand the test of time. Williams-Sonoma’s page dedicated to this beautiful brand will have you dreaming of Italy and copper.

Manual Pasta Machine “Imperia” r220 has changed my life. This workhorse makes approximately 26 1/2 lb. of pasta per hour with a rolling mill cylinder of 8-5/8” and pasta dough with a maximum thickness of 3/8”. Now I don’t need to make that much pasta in an hour but this makes wider sheets of pasta for lasagna and other dishes and I am using it with some pastry doughs. I’ll have more on this beauty soon. Matfer Bourgeat is trusted by chefs, pastry chefs, and cooks everywhere.

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One Comment

  • Shelmar  on  December 11, 2019

    Anyone else having problems on an iPad or iPhone getting the purchase gift membership links to work? I tried to start an inquiry on support page, but it did not recognize my email and password.

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