This isn’t going to be a ‘Best of 2013’ cookbook list. The simple reason being that I haven’t cooked from, read through or lapped up every new cookbook that came out this year.
My particular list is compiled with books that have inspired me in the kitchen and homestead and motivated me to learn more about cooking, baking, canning, and more. They have sparked research, initiated conversations on everything from pudding to preserving, and made. me. hungry!
In some cases, they’ve picked me up when I’ve been completely uninspired to make dinner (oh, it happens) and coaxed me back to the stove. Although they are new to my shelves, many of these cookbooks are already old friends.
I was a judge for this year’s Taste Canada Cookbook Awards and that experience really taught me how to scrutinize a cookbook. Before my involvement, I could intuitively separate the solid cookbooks from the weaker ones, but now I’m also aware of how important elements such as the author’s voice, research, organization, originality and food safety play into my choices.
2013 was an epic year for cookbooks. For the home preserving enthusiast to the vegetarian on your holiday gift list, here is my inspired cookbook gift guide for 2013. Happy browsing. Happy cooking.
For the aspiring home preserver:
Saving the Season is the latest addition to my growing collection of DIY resources. I may not need any other cookbook of this genre as Kevin West’s guide to all things canning, pickling and preserving is well-rounded and thorough. Short on large styled photographs, but long on charming short essays and tutorials, Saving the Season has me excited to further expand my knowledge of preserving.
I love that this cookbook has inspirations for preserving year-round, not just during the summer months. First up for me? Apple jelly, preserved walnuts in maple syrup and brandy, and a big batch of vin de pamplemousse. Happy Holidays indeed!
For the beginner home cook:
Michael Smith’s Back to Basics stands out for its gorgeous photography, workable typography, and well-written recipes. Chef Michael’s warm voice draws the reader in and encourages them to get in the kitchen, play with flavors and have fun.
Recipes are simple, but crammed with flair. It’s a great cookbook to give to someone starting out on their culinary journey, and who may need a little coaching in the kitchen.
Find Back to Basics: 100 Simple Classic Recipes with a Twist on Amazon.
For the lunch lady at home:
In Weelicious Lunches Catherine really understands what appeals to kids and offers over 160 recipes for fresh and creative healthy lunches. Her tips on reinventing leftovers, strategies for picky eaters, and principles for a balanced lunch are all incredibly useful – both for school lunch and around the home.
I have two boys in school, and I pack a lunch for them five times a week. They both have different ‘tastes’ and things can get a little boring. Fortunately, this cookbook has sparked my creativity and the lunch boxes are coming home empty!