Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Top Five in Five #1: Recipe Books

With only five weeks left until Christmas and other holiday gift giving days, I thought it was time to offer up some gift suggestions for the amateurs chefs, entertainers and foodies on our lists.

Over the next five weeks, I plan to offer a weekly post with five ideas along a specific theme. To kick-off my new series, here are my top five recipe book gift ideas. In the spirit of buying local, if one of these books looks interesting, please consider buying it from an independent book-seller (like Appetite for Books in Montreal) close to home before ordering it on-line.

  1. Farmers in Chef Hats by Linda Arsenault is a bilingual book featuring recipes and products from Île d’Orléans near Quebec City, where most of the farms are still family run. This book won the Gourmand World Cookbook for best local cookery book in 2007, and is a wonderful showcase for Quebec local foods.
  2. Earth to Table: Seasonal Recipes from an Organic Farm by slow-food pioneer Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann is a stunning collection of recipes and articles organized by season. Many of the recipes come from the Ancaster Old Mill restaurant near Toronto, where Crump is executive chef and Schormann is the pastry chef. This book is equally at home on the cofee table as it is on the cookbook shelf.
  3. Along a similar vein, Farmer John's Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables by Farmer John Peterson and Angelic Organics, is also divided by season, but then it is also divided by vegetable. The goal here is to help folks cook with the produce from their CSA (or farm-share) baskets. Although Angelic Organics is near Chicago, almost all of the veggies have appeared in my local CSA basket. The book is also peppered with anecdotes and offers insight into biodynamic farming.
  4. In Fish, UK's Michelin-starred restauranteur and 'green chippie' pioneer Tom Aikens teaches us how to cook-up great seafood while keeping our impact on the oceans to a minimum. It contains over 200 recipes, as well as cooking and buying tips. Since this is a British book, a drawback for cooks on this side of the pond is that some species common to and sustainable in the U.K., may not be over here. It's nothing that a local seafood guide can't overcome though.
  5. Finally, for the baker or health-conscious foodie on your list, consider the Whole Grain Baking book by the folk at the King Arthur Flour company. Based in Vermont, King Arthur Flour is 'America's oldest flour company." It is also an employee-owned company that eschews GMO wheat and advocates sustainability.

Do you have a gift suggestion or did I miss one of your favourite books? Drop me a comment or a tweet and let me know!


Nate-n-Annie said...

Hi there,

I just added your list to our Big Guide to Foodie Gift Guides. Check it out! If you like it, please share it with your social network (Foodbuzz, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

Aloha, Nate
House of Annie food blog

Amanda said...

Wow, thanks! And I'll go check out your site.