It was bound to happen eventually. The nights are getting cooler, the days shorter, which, to most appearances, means that a certain season called FALL is approaching. In the desert we can’t be sure so we just believe what we are told on the nightly weather report, but we buy pumpkins and go on wearing our flip flops. Let’s just go with the assumption that it is fall and say, hey… you know what? I can turn on my oven now! There are folks who live in other places who actually use these oven things quite a lot instead of just living in one.
The enjoyment of food is a thing we understand after seeing the mouthwatering cookbooks we have in our stores. We decided to talk about them because looking at them made us hungry, and what a better time to get gift ideas for the upcoming and inevitable. When we read them we were amazed that we might be able to really make these foods we were reading about. Getting to eat delicious food is fun but what about the cookbook? Traditionally cookbooks weren’t actually cool to look at. Things have changed. Even if we weren’t going to make the food in these cookbooks we might still buy them and put them on our bookshelves – and that means the people they are gifted to will feel the same. We know it.
These cookbooks are eclectic, hip, bright, and pretty. They also cover foods that are interesting. So let’s take a look at what to cook this fall and how to gift the best cookbook for anyone from the diehard chef to the kitchen experimenter this holiday season.
We can start with a spice most Tucsonans understand – sriracha. The Sriracha Cookbook by Randy Clemens is a hot little number. It has easy to follow recipes for meals and sauces that are original. Sriracha Pesto? Evidently it’s a thing and we never saw it coming. You can also make a Sriracha Cheese Log for those festive fall family fandangos. Who knew you could put sriracha on practically everything; pickled green beans, cheese bread, tuna, corn chowder or Spam fried rice?! If you are feeling really ambitious you can learn to make your own homemade sriracha. This would make the perfect gift to the hipster in your life – or that one that just can’t ever turn down the heat.
Next we cover pudding, or as the title says Puddin’ by Clio Goodman. This cookbook takes recipes from New York City’s best dessert shops. Puddin’ starts with Pudding 101 and takes you all the way through every kind of pudding you can imagine. You will be an expert and your friends will come to your house just to bask in your pudding awesomeness – if they know how to make it (i.e. they need this as a Christmas gift).
Jello gets it’s own book too in Hello, Jell-o! by Victoria Belanger. If you thought jello was boring or only served with brownish lumps of banana or pineapple this book will change your mind. The cover was enough to convince us, it showed these adorable little mini-jello watermelons. They are like tiny works of art, that you can eat. cough-greatgiftforauntsue-cough
For the more protein minded there is a cookbook on fried chicken. It’s called Fried Chicken by Rebecca Lang. We really thought the title was clever so we included it. It teaches you how to make fried chicken. Sexy, spicy, world traveled, down-home, uptown, all around fried chicken. Take that KFC.
If you want your taste buds to travel even if you can’t –  grab one of our international cookbooks. Perfect for the traveler on your gift list! They need presents too, and what better way than to show you remember where they have traveled. The ancient city of Rome is giving all of it’s secrets away in Tasting Rome by Katie Parla and Kristina Gill. Made in Brooklyn by Susanne Koing and Melissa Schreiber Vaughan bills itself ‘an essential guide to the borough’s artisanal food and drink makers’. We gave you the link to the definition of artisanal because we weren’t sure it was a word that could be used for food. It is. Now you know.
Our final featured cookbook just kills us. It doesn’t even LOOK like a cookbook and the title was equally uncertain. A Boat, A Whale, and A Walrus by Renee Erickson looks like expensive vintage literature. It isn’t – it’s a real cookbook. It isn’t only a cookbook however. Part memoir, part history, part photo essay, Erickson adeptly weaves her life into a narrative that teaches you how to cook food. We went to the index and were relieved that the Whale and Walrus part weren’t recipes but stories so we feel good about recommending it. It will also look really awesome in your (or someone on your gift list’s) kitchen, like you are smart and can cook…and have expensive books.
Just don’t mention that you bought it with Bookmans Trade Credit that you got by selling your old Devo records. We know how it goes, life is full of choices. So make the choice to eat interesting food and give awesome gifts this winter and own cookbooks that your friends will think are literature. Boom.