Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Gift Ideas: Books for Cooks. . . (or Eaters)

We all have a food lover on our gift lists, or we know a great cook who we want to keep happy and inspired. Here are some Dewey suggestions for great gifts for the chef in your life (hmmm, how many books can Anthony Bourdain write an introduction for?)

A Passion for Baking by Marcy Goldman (see my previous post about this book)

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzbert & Zoe Francois. Make a batch of dough on the weekend, keep it in your refrigerator for up to two weeks, and cut a chunk off to bake whenever you want a bit of fresh baked bread. Brilliant (and tasty)!!


My Last Supper by Melanie Dunea (one of my favourite books of the year!). Top chefs talk about what would be their last meal, who they would eat it with, where, what music would be playing, who would make it, etc. It's a game chefs play all the time. The photographs are stunning and the book is quite fun.


Polenta at Midnight: Tales of Gusto and Enchantment in North York by Glenn Carley. Loosely structured as an Italian opera, the reader is introduced to the love and passion of the author's "adopted" Italian family.


The Elements of Cooking by Michael Ruhlman. An essential handbook for anyone who cooks! An ABC listing of techniques - using the right tools, understanding heat - a launching pad to success with any recipe!


The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food by Judith Jones. A memoir about publishing and hanging out with some of the great chefs and personalities of the twentieth century including Julia Child, Marion Cunningham, M.F.K Fisher, Claudia Roden and James Beard.

Kitchen Essays by Agnes Jekyll. This is a lovely collection of cookery essays (with recipes) originally published in 1922 but brought back into print by Persephone Books. Here you'll find all sorts of menu suggestions for those particular occasions such as a "Little Dinner Before the Play" and "A Little Supper After the Play" and what to serve for luncheon during a motor excursion in the winter. There are chapters entitled "For Men Only", "For the Too Thin", "Food for Artists and Speakers" and my favourite, "Food for the Punctual and the Unpunctual". Agnes was the Nigella of the 1920s; I can't say I've ever cooked anything out of here, but it's so much fun to read.

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