Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gift Guide Number Three: (Mostly) cookbooks.

Darlings. My apologies for the lateness of this post. I fully accept that by posting the final chapter of my gift guide on December 15th, I am catering to procrastinators like myself (Amazon's Super Saver Shipping will still arrive by December 24th, people!), along with those shopping for January birthdays. So sue me.

For those of you who still seek inspiration - or are perhaps in the market for a gift to your fabulous selves - here goes. Queenie's suggestions for books - mostly cook-, some not - to give this holiday season.

1. Tartine Bread
Any of you who've been lucky enough to visit Tartine in San Francisco know that their wares are as gorgeous as they are tasty. This hefty new book (a companion to their earlier, pastry-focused tome) is no exception. Perfect for the carb-loving aesthete in your life.

2. The Gourmet Cookie Book
Gourmet was famous for their December issues, which always featured a series of delectable cookie recipes. The best of those are collected in this book, which is also a beautiful example of photography married with food styling joined with graphic design.

3. The Zuni Café Cookbook
This isn't a new book, but it's one I just received as a (very thoughtful) hostess gift this fall, and I am in love. It reads like a primer on good, soulful cooking, and has some insanely beautiful photographs to boot.

4. The Essential New York Times Cookbook
Edited by the indefatigable Amanda Hesser (co-founder, with Merrill Stubbs, of Food52), this collection of classic recipes is a must-have for anyone addicted to Craig Claiborne's original.

5. The Inn at Lake Devine
Okay, so this isn't a cookbook. Not even close. But it's one of my all-time favorite novels, and the main character is a chef. It's set mostly in the 1970s, and is pretty much the best translation of the Austenian spirit into contemporary fiction that I can think of. Food plays a central role in the novel's WASP/American Jewish culture clash plot (think Yankee pot roast vs. roast capon and blintzes), and I think you'll love it. A perfect stocking stuffer (or, um, late Hanukkah gift).

6. The Blackberry Farm Cookbook
It's gorgeous, it's full of good recipes, and it looks great on a coffee table. What more do you need?

7. The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion and Cooking Manual
You know of my obesession with Frankies. Therefore, you cannot be surprised that their cookbook, published earlier this year, has made the list. Go forth and make lots of tomato and avocado salad, plus some cavatelli with browned butter and hot sausage. You're welcome.

8. As Always, Julia
A collection of Julia Child's correspondence with her close friend Avis Devoto, this is one of my must-reads for the year. It may not be a cookbook, but if Julia's perseverance and dedication (which always shine through when she's doing the talking/writing) don't make you get up and do something, then nothing will.

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