2013 has been a great year for cookbooks. Looking over the blog and the recent arrivals, I have to say that I am pretty impressed. Below is a list of my favorite cookbooks of 2013, the ones that made the cut and moved from my desk to my bookshelf.
For the most part, the books that grabbed my attention this year were those that were specific to one type of cooking, like grilling, or a single ingredient, like sprinkles or schmaltz. And a number of Paleo books are new cooking friends. If you know someone with a food issue, chances are they can eat anything that comes out of a Paleo book.
Let's start with the Paleo books. Nom Nom Paleo comes to us from Michelle Tam and Henry Fong, the authors of the popular Nom Nom Paleo blog. The book is brand spanking new, but destined to be a best seller. Clear instructions, heaps of photos, and darn tasty food. Normally the word "nom" sends me running, but the reciepes are so good I will let it pass. Just this once.
Paleo Chocolate Lovers Cookbook by Kelly Brozyana. This book opened my eyes to desserts without dairy or refined sugar. Making the recipe for Chocolate Pie with Raw Graham Cracker Crust was my first time using dates as a sweetener and I was floored. The flavor and texture of the pie was no different than if it had been made with cane sugar and cream.
Paleo Lunches and Breakfasts On The Go by Diana Rodgers and Rob Wolf, helped me from going crazy trying make good food choices at lunchtime. The book includes a three week menu to keep things easy while preventing you from falling into a lunchtime rut. Everything I have made has been delicious.
One of the funnest books of the year is Sprinkles! by Jackie Alpers. A book that is impossible not to love and feel happy while flipping through the pages. Great for the baker on your list. (full review here)
Where There Is Smoke by Barton Seaver. This book focuses on grilling, but is a comprehensive, across the board, good cookbook. The information provided in this book is priceless and I find myslef referencing it again and again. The best possible for choice for someone who likes to fire up the grill. (full review here)
Another book that I find myself using several times a month is The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook by Erin Coopey. Salad dressing, sauces, mayonnaise, mustards, and more. I love having it all in one book. A good choice for anyone on your list with a DIY bent. (full review here)
Winter Cocktails by Maria del Mar Sacasa, is a guaranteed hit of a gift. Perfect time of year to try out a few of the recipes, and if you are lucky the recipient will invite you to sample. (full review here)
My favorite canning book of the year is Kevin West's Saving The Season. At 544 pages it is an impressive book. This book is not limited to recipes, it includes beautiful writing and lots of history, as well as profiles of canners around the world. A real treat for anyone who loves food, history, and literature.
One of the first books I reviewed this year was Small Plates and Sweet Treats by Aran Goyoaga, and my copy now has many pages that are stained and spattered. Everything in the book is gluten free, but can be made with regular flours too. A good choice for someone who likes to eat fresh, seasonal dishes. (full review here)
Last but not least is a book that I have not yet reviewed on the blog, but love dearly. Notes From The Larder by Nigel Slater, is a tome of delicious recipes, photos, and writing. I am very late to the Nigel Slater party. I first learned of him last year when I picked up Tender: A Cook and his Vegetable Patch, it was love at first sight. After devouring Tender, I moved on to Ripe: A Cook in his Orchard, another great read. Larder is similar in that the recipes are simple, using fresh ingredients, and includes gorgeous photography. What is special about Larder is the format, there is one recipe for every day of the year. Not sure what to make for dinner tonight? Look up the date in the book and there will be your answer, a delicious meal using produce that is in season. Every cook on your holiday list will appreciate this book.
There you have it, the books that keep my kitchen lively and my diners happy. I know this time of year is all about gifts, but if a few things happen to land at your house as well, the people you cook for will be glad they did.