Cookbook gifts that provide more than recipes

12 new cookbooks offer something for every kind of home chef
“The World Central Kitchen Cookbook: Feeding Humanity, Feeding Hope” by Jose Andres and World Central Kitchen with Sam Chapple-Sokol (Potter, $35)

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

“The World Central Kitchen Cookbook: Feeding Humanity, Feeding Hope” by Jose Andres and World Central Kitchen with Sam Chapple-Sokol (Potter, $35)

For anyone who cooks or is thinking about learning, a cookbook makes a great gift. The challenge is choosing one geared to their interests that serves a higher purpose beyond what a free internet search could provide. Of the many outstanding possibilities from this year’s crop, I’ve singled out the titles that have that one-of-a-kind quality, while tapping into the zeitgeist of the moment.

Wisdom and strategies for minimizing food waste

Rising inflation and climate change worries have prompted cooks of every stripe to develop more frugal kitchen habits. Jacques Pépin has dedicated the better part of his 87 years to passing on those skills to the public in books and on camera. In Jacques Pépin Cooking My Way: Recipes and Techniques for Economical Cooking” (Harvest, $37.50) he offers simple, creative ideas for turning seasonal produce, inexpensive meat cuts and whatever you’ve got on hand into something delicious.

“Jacques Pépin Cooking My Way: Recipes and Techniques for Economical Cooking” by Jacques Pépin (Harvest, $37.50)

Credit: Handout

icon to expand image

Credit: Handout

Tamar Adler provides invaluable lessons in resourcefulness in The Everlasting Meal Cookbook: Leftovers A-Z: More Than 1,500 Recipes for Cooking with Economy and Grace”(Scribner, $35). This ingenious guide shows how to breathe life into every kitchen scrap imaginable, from old crackers to the remnants of an empty peanut butter jar. And her meditative prose makes for soothing bedtime reading.

Stress-free baking projects

Anyone who dreams of whipping up a bakery-quality treat on a moment’s notice with a single bowl and a pan should be thrilled to receive Yossy Arefi’s Snacking Bakes: Simple Recipes for Cookies, Bars, Brownies, Cakes, and More” (Potter, $25), whose praises I sang in my last column. Samantha Seneviratne’s Bake Smart: Sweets and Secrets from My Oven to Yours” (Harvest, $35) shows bakers how to keep the fun up and the stress down in beginner-level recipes such as Maple Tahini Chocolate Skillet Cake, as well as advanced preparations like Raspberry and Almond Bear Claws involving laminated yeast dough.

“Bake Smart: Sweets and Secrets from My Oven to Yours” by Samantha Seneviratne (Harvest, $35)

Credit: Handout

icon to expand image

Credit: Handout

In Still We Rise: A Love Letter to the Southern Biscuit with Over 70 Sweet and Savory Recipes” (Potter, $26), Erika Council, chef-owner of Bomb Biscuit Company in Atlanta, elevates the South’s quintessential quick bread along with the prominent, but often-forgotten, Black women who inspired her.

Comfort food with a noble cause

Since 2010, renowned chef José Andrés and his nonprofit, World Central Kitchen, have provided millions of meals to communities all over the world struck by disaster. In The World Central Kitchen Cookbook: Feeding Humanity, Feeding Hope” (Potter, $35), he and the organization’s editorial director, Sam Chapple-Sokol, present the recipes from missions that tell the uplifting stories of the heroic people behind them and the countries they represent, from Haiti to Ukraine.

Motivation to eat more vegetables

The market is saturated with cookbooks that encourage us eat more plants. Two recent releases excel in helping us reach that goal. Vegetable Revelations: Inspiration for Produce-Forward Cooking” (Harper Wave, $50) melds multicultural flavors and new techniques with the whole-plant principles Atlanta chef and Miller Union co-owner Steven Satterfield introduced in his Southern-focused 2015 debut, “Root to Leaf.”

“Veg-Table: Recipes, Techniques + Plant Science for Big-Flavored, Vegetable-Focused Meals” by Nik Sharma (Chronicle Books, $35)

Credit: Handout

icon to expand image

Credit: Handout

Nik Sharma’s deep research, lively storytelling and cinematic photography makes Veg-Table: Recipes, Techniques + Plant Science for Big-Flavored, Vegetable-Focused Meals” (Chronicle Books, $35) another excellent addition to any vegetable lover’s bookshelf.

Dishes to pay homage to TV food heroes

“Julia,” the streaming series chronicling Julia Child’s journey from cookbook author to pioneer TV chef, has reignited a craving for the classic dishes that made her famous. Recipes from the original episode — along with the star’s encouraging words that emboldened legions of viewers to give boeuf bourguignon and chocolate mousse a try — are now sleekly repackaged in the 60th-anniversary edition of The French Chef Cookbook: The Classic Cookbook Based on Julia’s Beloved Television Show” (Penguin Random House, $35).

“The Unofficial Ted Lasso Cookbook: From Biscuits to BBQ, 50 Recipes Inspired By TV’s Most Lovable Football Team” by Aki Berry and Meg Chano (Harvest, $24.99)

Credit: Handout

icon to expand image

Credit: Handout

Fans of Ted Lasso who were saddened to see the series come to end should be delighted to receive The Unofficial Ted Lasso Cookbook: From Biscuits to BBQ, 50 Recipes Inspired By TV’s Most Lovable Football Team” (Harvest, $24.99). Food bloggers and fellow Lasso aficionados Aki Berry and Meg Chano cleverly capture the show’s humor and heartwarming spirit in delightful-sounding recipes designed to bring those favorite characters and episodes to life.

Shake up the cocktail routine

Many a home bartender was born during the isolation days of the pandemic, and the flood of resources for maximizing the liquor cabinet shows no sign of abating. In Every Cocktail Has a Twist: Master 25 Classic Drinks and Craft More Than 200 Variations” (Countryman Press, $25), spirits writers Carey Jones and John McCarthy make the art of mixology accessible and fun for anyone.

“Every Cocktail Has a Twist: Master 25 Classic Drinks and Craft More Than 200 Variations” by Carey Jones and John McCarthy (Countryman Press, $25)

Credit: Handout

icon to expand image

Credit: Handout

I love the stories behind the spirited and zero-proof drinks in Toni Tipton-Martin’s Juke Joints, Jazz Clubs, and Juice: Cocktails From Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks” (Potter, $30). Look for details about that new release in next week’s cookbook review column.

Susan Puckett is a cookbook author and former food editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow her at susanpuckett.com.

Sign up for the AJC Food and Dining Newsletter

Read more stories like this by liking Atlanta Restaurant Scene on Facebook, following @ATLDiningNews on Twitter and @ajcdining on Instagram.

About the Author