A cookbook as a holiday gift? We have suggestions

swthompson@herald-leader.comNovember 13, 2013 

Publishers are hoping shoppers will give cookbooks as gifts this holiday season, and if the deluge on our food desk is any indication, there are plenty of wonderful choices. Here are just a few that we think friends and family members would enjoy.

For the person who wants to become a better cook.

The America's Test Kitchen Cooking School Cookbook ($45) is written and edited by test kitchen experts who share what they've learned about cooking during the past 20 years. More than 100 photos illustrate in-depth cooking lessons.

The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook ($45) includes every recipe from 2001 through the upcoming 2014 season. If someone you know is a fan of the show, he or she will love this as a gift. For $34.95, you can give America's Test Kitchen, The TV Companion Cookbook for the show's 2014 season.

The Best of America's Test Kitchen 2014 ($35) includes the best recipes, equipment reviews and tastings from the experts at the famous test kitchen in Boston.

For those who simply like to read about good food.

Notes From the Larder (Random House, $40) is a companion to Nigel Slater's bestselling Kitchen Diaries. Slater, author of Ripe and Tender, is host of the BBC series Simple Suppers. "While I never forget that most cooking is about getting supper on the table at the end of a working day, I see no reason why it can't be something to celebrate. The craft of making something with our hands, something for ourselves and others," he writes.

A Century of Restaurants: Stories and Recipes From 100 of America's Most Historic and Successful Restaurants by Rick Browne (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $40) features 100 restaurants, all at least a century old. From the White Horse Tavern in Newport, R.I., to Pleasant Point Inn in Lovell, Maine, the restaurants represent the best of family traditions and in many ways define what we call American hospitality.

Cooking From the Heart: My Favorite Lessons Learned Along the Way by New Orleans chef John Besh (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $40) reveals lessons Besh learned in the kitchens of the places he has worked, from the American South to Germany and France.

GQ Eats: The Cookbook for Men of Seriously Good Taste (Mitchell Beazley, $29.99) features recipes from the United Kingdom's best restaurants and tips from the country's top chefs. It's edited by Paul Henderson, food and drink editor of GQ.

Ottolenghi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi (Ten Speed Press, $35) is inspired by the culinary traditions of the Mediterranean. This book was written before the authors' hit Plenty and the equally successful Jerusalem.

Classico E Moderno: Essential Italian Cooking by Michael White and Andrew Friedman (Ballantine Books, $50) is a comprehensive collection of the work of White, who is called "America's top Italian chef." White owns the renowned Altamarea Group restaurants, which include Marea, Osteria Morini and Ai Fiori.

The Kinfolk Table by Nathan Williams (Artisan, $35) is a collection of recipes from a wide-ranging circle of home cooks who are reinventing and rediscovering the joy of casual entertaining. Williams, founding editor of Kinfolk magazine, takes readers into the homes of chefs, bakers, writers, bloggers, artisans and artists. It's about good food and "opening up the table to the people around you," Williams wrote.

The Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink by John F. Mariani (Bloomsbury, $35) is the revised and updated version of Mariani's 1983 book, which was last updated in the late 1990s. It catches readers up on more than a decade of culinary evolution and innovation, from molecular cuisine and the rise of the Food Network to the local food craze, from the DIY movement to the food truck culture.

The Founding Farmers Cookbook (Andrews McMeel, $40) is from Founding Farmers, one of the country's leading restaurants offering farm-inspired American food and drink. The restaurant, in Washington, D.C., is owned by more than 42,000 American family farmers.

Next week: We'll take a look at cookbooks that will inspire the home cook to bake more sweets and fry more chicken.

Sharon Thompson: (859) 231-3321. Twitter: @FlavorsofKY. Blog: Flavorsofkentucky.bloginky.com.

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