Friday, December 17, 2010

Gifts for Cooks

Yikes, you can barely seed a squash around here without getting some on a holiday gift guide for cooks ...

My favorite so far is We Are Not Martha's Holiday Gifts for Food Lovers, which introduced me to several mind-blowing things (there's an Etsy for food? there's an olive oil store in Boston?) and includes my all-time-favorite two-ended magnetic measuring spoons (I prefer mine, at the link, to the fancy Martha version in the guide). A few of the things are a bit too silly or gadgety for me, but I'm finding it both a source of things to covet and as creative inspiration for gifts for others.

Smitten Kitchen's gift guide (from 2009) has the investment pieces (I love her philosophy of buying high-quality everyday items instead of cooking ephemera, but what kind of lifestyle do you need to justify a $100 serrated knife?). Sadly, the Smitten Kitchen book won't be ready until 2012.

David Lebovitz (a new favorite of mine) has a Favorite Cookbooks of 2010 that's lengthy and inspiring, even for a person (me) who would never consider buying a book devoted entirely to coconut desserts. I don't just say that because the first book on the list is one that I production edited and personally love. (There are, of course, a million year-end cookbook roundups -- New York Times and a web bonus, Publishers Weekly, NPR, the Huffington Post's Best Blogs-to-Cookbooks 2010 -- though I didn't find any of them particularly exciting.)

In the more-practical, less-food-porn, more-referency, not-necessarily-published-in-2010 genre, my personal literary Christmas wishes and recommendations are Harold McGee's new book, Keys to Good Cooking, as well as Ratio, The Flavor Bible, Veganomicon, Cooking for Geeks, and if you're feeling spendy, Larousse Gastronomique.

Oh, and has anyone gotten their hands on a Remedy Quarterly (new indie cooking journal)? I found it via Kickstarter, and then again the other day via one of the editors' gingersnap sandwich cookies, which won me a prize at the office cookie swap. I wouldn't say no to a subscription to Cook's Illustrated or Vegetarian Times, either.

Finally, have I mentioned that I like Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian? I mean, sort of a lot? That would be my desert island co-op cookbook and I recommend it to everyone looking for a first comprehensive helps-with-the-CSA cookbook.

P.S. Oh, gosh, just discovered the Atlantic's Holiday Kitchen Gift Guides, which is ridiculously, lovably discursive and right-on in so many ways (we love our Microplane, immersion blender, electric kettle, and one good chef's knife, and use them all nearly every day) while being completely practical and mundane.

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