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Cookbook Gift Guide for All Cooks

What do you get your favorite cook? This Cookbook Gift Guide is chock full of suggestions that will be appreciated additions to any cook’s library. These books have stood the test of time and continue to be invaluable resources to the home cook.

I fully admit that I get a fair share of the recipes I use from the internet. In fact, the Smitten Kitchen and The View from Great Island are two of my favorite bloggers with recipes that are always reliable and delicious.

But, all that being said, I ALWAYS ask for a cookbook or two for Christmas. Once the gifts are open and the breakfast is in the oven, you can find me sitting in the den amidst all post-gift-opening chaos, listening to Christmas music and reading through the newest additions to my cookbook library.

And when trying to figure out a menu, the internet is great and all that, but I will always appreciate sitting at my kitchen table perusing my assortment of cookbooks for inspiration and recipes. 

So, if you are looking for additions to your cookbook library, or if you are looking for gift ideas for your favorite cook, then enjoy this Cookbook Gift Guide.

And I’d love to know what cookbook you think I’ve missed? What cookbook do you think should be included in any Cookbook Gift Guide?

Nourish and Nestle’s Cookbook Gift Guide

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My Master Recipes by Patricia Wells is included in the Cookbook Gift Guide

I was introduced to Patricia Wells and her cookbooks by a friend of mine who finds herself the happiest when spending time in her kitchen; any visit to her home always includes delicious and out-of-the-ordinary meals. Patricia Wells’ cookbook, My Master Recipes is not so much a cookbook as it is a ‘techniques’ book with accompanying recipes. She teaches the kitchen skills of blanching, searing, simmering, sweating, steaming, braising, deep-frying with recipes, both sweet and savory, using these techniques.

Along the same lines, Samin Nosrat’s Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking teaches cooks how to master the four elements which determine the success of a recipe; Salt, which enhances flavor; Fat, which delivers flavor and generates texture; Acid, which balances flavor; and Heat, which ultimately determines the texture of food. In addition to sharing her theory of these four all-important elements, she shares 100 recipes in which the reader is encouraged to put the theory to practice.

Once again, less of a cookbook than a book about cooking, Tamar Adler’s An Everlasting Meal teaches the reader where to spend and where to economize on groceries, how to prepare foods in the most straightforward and satisfying way, and in general, get the most mileage at the market and in the kitchen. Her goal is to prepare cooks to be ‘instinctive’ cooks, as opposed to just following a list of instructions.

Ina Garten's cookbooks belong in this Cookbook Gift Guide

When I query my cooking friends as to their favorite cookbooks, inevitably Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa books end up being mentioned. While some friends have specific Ina Garten books, like How Easy Is That?: Fabulous Recipes & Easy Tips  or Barefoot in Paris: Easy French Food You Can Make At Home; others just state ‘any Ina Garten book’. As far as my friends are concerned, Ina Garten’s books belong in any Cookbook Gift Guide.

cookbooks that belong in this Cookbook Gift Guide

When I was a newlywed, my mom and her friends gifted me with several cookbooks that are still the bones of my cookbook library. For reliable and well-tested recipes, you can’t beat The Joy of Cooking This cookbook is a great reference for any new cook.

The other books that filled my newlywed library were an assortment of Junior League cookbooks. The Junior League Centennial Cookbook, Tidewater on the Half Shell, Beyond Parsley, and Above and Beyond Parsley are the Junior League cookbooks that have stood the test of time in my cookbook library and so earned a spot in this cookbook gift guide. Shrimp Tom Jones from the Tidewater on the Half Shell book is one of our family favorite meals and the Mushroom Barley Soup from the Jr. League Centennial Cookbook is outstanding!


I appreciate all the well-tested recipes that come out of America’s Test Kitchen. Learning what techniques worked and why and how I can apply these techniques to other meals helps make me a better cook. Their Complete Mediterranean Cookbook helps us incorporate the healthy Mediterranean diet into our everyday cooking.

Learn Italian cooking at the hands of these two masters; Marcella Hazan’s  Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking and Lidia Bastianich’s Common Sense Italian Cooking distill the basics of Italian cuisine.


Of course, we save the dessert cookbook for the end. Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Baking Bible includes tested, meticulously detailed recipes with tips for successful baking results. 

If you are looking for recipes for Classic American Desserts, complete with detailed tips and explanations on ‘why’ certain desserts have become American ‘classics’, then Bravetart is the cookbook for you! This is not a ‘beginner’ cookbook, but more for a baking enthusiast wanting to take their skills to the next level. 

What did I forget?

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Until next time…


MEET OUR SPONSORS who have generously donated fabulous prizes for the Big Christmas Giveaway!

DecoArt  winner will receive a prize package valued at $100!

Dixie Crystals/Imperial Sugar winner will receive a Keurig Coffee Maker valued at $100!

Oriental Trading winner will receive an OrientalTrading.com gift card valued at $200!

Cabot Cheese winner will receive a gift basket of Cabot products valued at $75!

Burlap Fabric winner will receive a prize pack of products valued at $50!

Zulay Kitchens winner will receive one Milk Frother and a Lemon Squeezer valued at $21

It’s Home To You winner will receive one wooden Santa sign valued at $65

12 Days of Holiday Ideas Event Sponsors 2019

Giveaway begins Nov. 8, 2019, and ends Dec. 6, 2019. Winners will be notified by December 13, 2019. Sponsors will ship each prize to the winner. There will be a total of six winners, one for each prize. Drawing is by random selection using the Rafflecopter widget. 

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  1. My family absolutely loves all The Pioneer Woman cookbooks. They are full of great, easy to follow pictures and the food is delicious!
    What a great list of wonderful gift ideas! Thank you!

    1. Hi Sylvia…thanks for those suggestions! I have not cooked from her cookbooks, but guess I need to!

      Thanks for commenting and you are entered into the drawing!



    1. Hi Katie, thanks so much for the add! I don’t have any Mark Bittman books, though I am familiar with him. I will definitely look for this one.

      Thanks for your comment and you are entered into the drawing.



  2. My go to cookbook is my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. My mom has one that she still uses. When I left home, she bought me a copy and I also received one for a wedding gift. Then when each of our children left home, I gave them a copy as well.
    I love Ina Garden so thanks for the chance to win one of her cookbooks.

  3. There is nothing like having a cookbook in front of you that has been used for decades and filled with scribbles and notes than looking at a blue screen for recipes. I still have my Joy of Cooking that I received as a shower gift in 1978 and I still use it often, especially during the holidays. I’m intrigued by the Mediterranean cookbook on your list and will hint to Santa. Pinned 🙂

    1. I have a friend who makes a note in her cookbooks each time she makes a meal and if it was a special occasion. It has become a bit of a diary for her family.



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