Monday, December 14, 2015

More Gift Ideas: Books about Food and Drink

More and more I read books on my Kindle or iPad, but I still buy cookbooks in paper form. There's just something to said about leafing through a cookbook or cocktail book--pausing to look at the photos, dog-earing the pages you want to return to--that's not replicated on an e-reader. Any of these eight books, would make an excellent gift for someone who loves to cook or make cocktails.

The Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock. Classic cocktails are back, and this is a classic among classics when it comes to cocktail recipe books. Harry Craddock, an American bartender who worked at London's Savoy Hotel, wrote this book first published in 1930, which is considered one of the best (if not the best) collections of prohibition-era cocktails. Given its age, there are many editions kicking around, some of which include a new section at the front with "new" cocktails that I don't really care for. Go for a facsimile of the original 1930 edition.

American Whiskey, Bourbon & Rye: A Guide to the Nation's Favorite Spirit by Clay Risen. I read that whiskey recently surpassed sales of vodka (in dollars, not volume) in the United States, fueled by a resurgence in popularity of bourbons and ryes, our homegrown “brown” spirits. For any American-whiskey lover, Risen’s guide is essential. The user-friendly format has full-color photos, tasting notes and price information for each whiskey, organized in alphabetical order by brand-name. The new 2015 edition includes 300 bottles, up 50 percent from the 200 in the 2013 version.

Tasty by John McQuaid. Pulitzer Prize-winner Maryland-based author John McQuaid published this fascinating look at how taste works earlier this year. A wonderful read for those who enjoy the scientific side of the eating experience.

The Cocktail Chronicles by Paul Clarke. This was my favorite new cocktail recipe book this year (which I reviewed in July), a wonderful look at the modern cocktail renaissance's love of classic and contemporary drinks.

Chesapeake Bay Cooking by John Shields. Regional cookbooks are a wonderful way to immerse yourself in recipes that are beloved because they represent the ingredients and traditions of a particular place. When it comes to honoring the Chesapeake Bay region, John Shields clearly knows his stuff. The chef of Baltimore's Gertrude's released the 25th anniversary edition of this book this year, a collection that, naturally, has a lot of seafood, but much more as well. Of course there are recipes for Maryland crab cakes, including variations, but have you heard of St. Mary's County Stuffed Ham? It's a southern Maryland tradition, and it appears in Shield's book as well.

Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi. This book came out in 2011, but I suspect is getting more attention in D.C. these days since pastry chef Christina Tosi and her Momofuku business partner/cherfDavid Chang opened their first D.C. restaurant and bakery, Momofuku CCDC and Milk Bar. Lines for Milk Bar have been rather long since it's opening last month, so skip the line and make your own crack pie and blueberry & cream cookies at home with this cookbook.

Lucky Peach Presents 101 Easy Asian Recipes by Peter Meehan and the editors of Lucky Peach. I've been a fan of Lucky Peach magazine for years. The publication was created by Momofuku restaurant titan David Chang and Peter Chang, the latter serving as its editor. The book does a good job adhering to its "easy" promise--the most difficult thing might be finding some of the ingredients, which aren't necessary staples of the mainstream grocery store (but worth seeking out).

Mi Comida Latina: Vibrant, Fresh, Simple, Authentic by Marcella Kriebel. I came across this gorgeous book at the downtown D.C. holiday arts fair this year. Kriebel, a D.C. local, assembled the recipes in this book from her notes traveling through Latin America. The book itself is entirely hand-written and illustrated by her, making it not just a wonderful collection of recipes, but a piece of art unto itself.

Still need more ideas? Check out today's other holiday gift ideas story.

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