The holidays are a perfect time to give a cookbook to someone who loves making food. Taking a break from our usual recipe format, I wanted to suggest some of my favorite books this season for the food lover in your life:
“Duck, Duck, Goose: Recipes and Techniques for Cooking Ducks and Geese, both Wild and Domesticated,” By Hank Shaw (Ten Speed Press, $24.99). Shaw, the author of the blog “Hunter Angler Gardener Cook” takes a fresh approach with this under-utilized protein. “Cooking a duck or a goose in today’s world is ... a way to find that forgotten feast we Americans once enjoyed, to free ourselves from the Tyranny of the Chicken and shake our fists at the notion that fat is our enemy.” Here, here!
Suggested recipe: Duck Breast with Black Currant Sauce
“Pork Chop: 60 Recipes for Living High on the Hog,” by Ray Lampe (Chronicle Books, $22.95). The pork chop is the finest cut of meat any human could hope to eat. First, it comes from a pig, always a wise choice of protein. Second, the meat has a handle. Third, chops taste good and are affordable relative to other cuts of meat. St. Petersburg-based author Lampe takes the chop and has with it, making Pork Chop Noodle Soup, Pork Chop Chili and Tater Tot Pork Chop Casserole.
Suggested recipe: Chicago-Style Pork Chop Sandwiches
“Wintersweet: Seasonal Desserts to Warm the Home,” by Tammy Donroe Inman (Running Press, $30). These are the high holy days of baking. Might as well make something scrumptious. Inman’s book is loaded with seasonal recipes that will have you drooling within the first few pages. Appalachian Whiskey Applesauce Cake? Come one, now. That’s almost unfair.
Suggested recipe: Pecan Praline Bark
“Kevin Dundon’s Modern Irish Food: More than 100 recipes for easy comfort food,” by Kevin Dundon (Mitchell Beazley, $24.99). You wouldn’t expect to find a recipe for Sticky Glaze Chicken Thighs with Asian Stuffing in an Irish cookbook. But Dundon is no ordinary Irish chef relaxing on the island’s staples of breads, butter and potatoes. The world is a big place with lots of ingredients to play with in the Irish palate. He also updates the genre to include delicious vegetarian dishes.
Suggested recipe: Cherry Tomato Tarte Tatin
“Sweet: Irresistible Desserts and Drinks, Cakes and Bakes,” by Levi Roots (Michael Beazley, $29.99). The Jamaican-born and U.K.-raised former musician adds Caribbean flavors to his favorite sweet treats, including a Jamaican tiramisu. Think of it like taking your sweet tooth for an island vacation.
Suggested recipe: Banana & Chocolate Rum Sundae
“Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook,” by Joe Yonan (Ten Speed Press, $24.99). Yonan, the Washington Post’s award-winning food editor, cornered the market on solo cooking with his “Cooking for One” column and “Serve Yourself” inaugural cookbook in 2011. For his second book, he takes vegetarian and vegan readers for a spin through seasonal cooking. Even if you are a meat-eater, you’ll find plenty to love, including a Grilled Almond Butter and Dried Plum Sandwich that sounds irresistible.
Suggested recipe: Grilled Kimcheese
“The Vegan Divas Cookbook: Delicious Desserts, Plates and Treats from the famed New York City bakery,” by Fernanda Capobianco (Harper Wave, $27.99). Capobianco’s Vegan Divas bakery took vegan cooking in Manhattan and transformed it into a flavorful and fun way to eat. Think of it as blinged-out food that is good for you from a health and spiritual standpoint. “Whether we realize it or not,” she writes, “what we choose to eat is fundamentally linked to oru spiritual beliefs as well as environmental and global issues.”
Suggested recipe: Mango Pineapple Cake
“Butter Baked Goods: Nostalgic Recipes from a Little Neighborhood Bakery,” by Rosie Daykin (Appetite, $35). Ah, yes, our good friend butter. So maligned by the current cooking know-it-alls. So beloved by people who remember when great dairy made great baked goods. Daykin, the owner of Butter Baked Goods in Vancouver, Canada, takes readers on a nostalgia tour of deliciousness that our grandmothers used to bake.
Suggested recipe: Banana Chocolate Loaf
“L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food,” by Roy Choi with Tien Nguyen and Natasha Phan (Ecco, $29.99). Roy Choi invented the Korean taco in Los Angeles and revolutionized street food in the United States. Before that, he had to reinvent himself. This book, printed by Anthony Bourdain’s publishing house, shares that amazing story from low-riding to gourmet chef.
Suggested recipe: Cardamom Milk Shaved Ice