Whether your best friend is a weeknight baker or your partner is a little-bit-of-everything kind of cook, this list is perfect for the season of gifting.
The right cookbook is a moment in time, and an heirloom for the next generation. And, it’s always the perfect gift. This year’s batch (in no particular order) updates on classics and reveals untold stories—with encouragement to get in the kitchen.
The Joy of Cooking
By Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, Ethan Becker, John Becker and Megan Scott
Six hundred new recipes bulk up the all-encompassing, encyclopedic Joy of Cooking: pickle grapes, score a baguette and demystify scrapple (pork neck bones). // Scribner, $40
Tip: Forget 57, make a quick ketchup with eight ingredients, plus water.
Very 2019 Recipe: Sambal goreng tempeh
By Michelle Lopez
Think of weighing and stirring not as a chore, but as a meditative act of wellness, and baking becomes a weekday habit. // Simon & Schuster, $35
Tip: Don’t dare sub anything for real butter.
Very 2019 Recipe: Tahini brown sugar cake
by Priya Krishna with Ritu Krishna
Like a typical millennial, Krishna is obsessed with her parents. Indian-ish is an ode to her mom, a woman with a successful career, a killer closet and enviable kitchen know-how.
Tip: Growing up in Texas, Krishna knows how to American-ize Indian dishes: Sub feta for paneer. // Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28
Very 2019 Recipe: Chaat masala-almond butter toast
By Abra Berens
Of course we should be heeding cooking advice from a farmer who is also a trained chef, and really knows how to highlight the harvest. // Chronicle Books, $35
Tip: Use the phrase “science feel” to defend a sentiment that probably (?) has scientific backing.
Very 2019 Recipe: Carrot salad with yogurt, pickled raisins and pistachios
Rachael Ray 50
By Rachael Ray
A generation of foodies watched plucky, perky Ray churn out dinner in a half-hour and, though continually self-effacing, she is now a genuine star, flanked in photos by the likes of Oprah and Jacques Pepin. // Ballantine-Penguin Random House, $32
Tip: Ray makes a five-minute fudge instead of investing hours for baking and decorating holiday cookies.
Very 2019 Recipe: Toasted cacio e pepe
By Toni Tipton-Martin
American cuisine today is indecipherable from the culinary heritage of black cooks in this country. Tipton-Martin weaves recipes of the last 200 years to paint a broad view of African-American cooking: diaspora peanut soup, fried chicken, gumbo, rolls, ribs and sweet potato pie. // Clarkson Potter-The Crown Publishing Group, $35
Tip: Try lemonade, evaporated milk, soy sauce or rum, but buttermilk is the best way to prep fried chicken.
Very 2019 Recipe: Caribbean roast pork
By Lauren Shockey
No two hangovers are alike, as such, each needs its own cure. From a ginger and spring onion congee to midnight spaghetti (and the author’s savior, a baguette with bacon, prawns, runny eggs and Thai chili sauce), this slim, silly book is fodder for those battling a headache. // Chronicle Books, $20
Tip: Add pickle brine to a hair-of-the-dog bloody mary because the salts will replenish the lost electrolytes.
Very 2019 Recipe: Pepperoni pizza bagel
Cannelle et Vanille
By Aran Goyoaga
From a family of pastry chefs, Goyoaga is a kitchen natural. Until she wasn’t: An eating disorder, an autoimmune disease and a gluten intolerance came next. Eventually finding solace at the stove, Goyoaga’s serene cookbook echoes the rhythms of her life.
Tip: This gluten-free cookbook is full of bread recipes. Use superfine brown rice flour for a sourdough starter. // Sasquatch Books, $18
Very 2019 Recipe: Black rice bowl with figs, radicchio, pickled radishes and pepitas
By Alison Roman
Roman, with high-waisted jeans, red nails and the full Brooklyn aesthetic, recaptures the Instagram zeitgeist with her second cookbook, Nothing Fancy. She’s the anti-Martha Stewart, who simply wants her stans to serve turmeric-flavored, frizzled chickpeas for a casual meal with friends. // Clarkson Potter-The Crown Publishing Group, $35
Tip: A chunk of Parmesean and tinned fish start a party.
Very 2019 Recipe: Salted citrus salad with fennel, radish and olive
The Food of Sichuan
By Fuchsia Dunlop
An update to the seminal Land of Plenty, The Food of Sichuan is nearly 500 pages of thoroughly researched recipes, with history-heavy, but charming notes, about the ways in which to fall in love with the flavors of Chengdu. // W. W. Norton & Company, $40
Tip: Dunlop prefers cooking rice in an electric rice cooker, and serving it with pickled vegetables and chili oil.
Very 2019 Recipe: Pickled yard-long beans with ground pork