Whether your holiday gift list is filled with gourmet chefs, television addicts or people who just love a good tale,this year's crop of cookbooks and other food-related volumes offers some excellent gift choices. Here's a guide to help
you pick through the deluge.
For Food Network junkies
Can't pry that friend/cousin/husband/wife away from the Food Network? Stash a copy
of Alton Brown's Good Eats: The Early Years (Stewart, Tabori
& Chang, $37.50) under the tree. Brown's wacky spunk drives the episode-by-episode breakdown of his hit show's
first six seasons. It's complete with 140 recipes and a fold-out poster.
Ace of Cakes: Inside the World of Charm City Cakes (William Morrow, $35) offers a photo album-scrapbook of
life at Baltimore's Charm City Bakery, the birthplace of those spectacular towers of fondant featured on the show.
Or surprise your aspiring Top Chef with Top Chef: The Quickfire Cookbook (Chronicle Books, $19.95), a
collection of 75 recipes from the show, plus advice on staging your own Quickfire Challenges at home.
For chef groupies
Know people who are two steps away from tattooing I Love Ramen" across their
chests? Give them Momofuku (Clarkson Potter, $40), super-chef
David Chang's spirited account of creating his beloved and unlikely group of New York restaurants.
Last year, devotees of British chef Heston Blumenthal would have paid $250 for the cookbook illuminating his
science-enabled cooking. The recession-friendly reissue of The Fat Duck cookbook clocks in at $50 and offers
everything but the guilt (honest) and size (down to 5 pounds from 12). No one will ever cook from it, but it is an
extraordinary and beautiful monograph (Bloomsbury, $50).
For the truly chef obsessed, Coco: 10 World- Leading Masters, 100 Contemporary Chefs (Phaidon, $49.95) tasks
10 chefs - including Ferran Adria, Mario Batali and Alice Waters - with critiquing 100 contemporaries in a
cookbook-restaurant guide-who's who on the international food scene.
For food geeks
No serious cook can live without "font-weight: normal;">Larousse Gastronomique, the authoritative culinary encyclopedia that dates to 1938.
This 2009 revision (Clarkson Potter, $90) includes cooking methods that have emerged since the 2001 update, such as
sous vide and molecular gastronomy, new biographies of contemporary chefs such as Ferran Adria, and more than 400
Think of The Deluxe Food Lover's Companion (Barron's, $29.99) as Larousse-lite, a handy, accessible, countertop reference for more than 6,000 tools, techniques, ingredients and tips.
For memoir lovers
Julie Powell's second book, Cleaving:
A Story of Marriage, Meat and Obsession (Little, Brown, $24.99) fills out the ton of food-related memoirs
and novels released this year. Anyone who loved Julie & Julia" will want to follow the memoirist into the
butcher shop as she struggles to wield a cleaver and save her marriage.
Part cookbook, part family chronicle, Suzan Colon's Cherries in Winter: My Family's Recipe for Hope in Hard
Times (Doubleday, $21.95), tracks three generations of women who find comfort in their kitchens. Colon begins her
quest after being laid off, making it a tale for today.
Moosewood Cookbookauthor Mollie
Katzen offers beginners recipes for simple, satisfying fare, as well as tips for rounding out a soup meal, riffing on
established recipes and generally getting the hang of things in Get
Cooking: 150 Recipes to Get You Started in the Kitchen (HarperStudio, $24.99). Send your kid off to
college with this one.
Paula Deen's Cookbook for the Lunch-box Set (Simon and Schuster, $21.99) offers pre-teen chef-illustrated recipes for fun food, including apple raisin muffins, basic cheese fondue
and pan-fried chicken. A great book for family night or parties with friends.
Jazz up your kids' steady diet of pizza and pasta with The Silver Spoon for Children (Phaidon, $19.95), a
step-by-step volume that adapts classic Italian recipes for little hands. Whimsical drawings add to the fun.
For busy cooks
For harried cooks who nonetheless disdain five-ingredient cookbooks or 30-minute
meal solutions, there is no better book than Mark Bittman's Kitchen
Express: 404 Inspired Seasonal Dishes You Can Make in 20 Minutes or Less (Simon and Schuster, $26). Filled
with paragraph-long suggestions for delicious, straightforward weeknight fare, Bittman ditches the traditional recipe
format in favor of practical ways to use what you've got on hand.
Rachel Ray's Book of 10: More than 300 Recipes to Cook Every Day (Clarkson Potter, $20) offers recipes as
simple as the title. From Mediterranean chicken to stuffed cabbage soup, Ray offers her top 10 recipes in categories
from Family Faves to $10 Meals.