Holiday Gift Ideas
Welcome to the first installment of our themed December newsletters. Today we're spotlighting some of our favorite new cookbooks.
2013 is a boom year for cookbooks, and we couldn't be happier. Nothing but a cookbook can warm your heart and your belly at the same time, and this year's crop is particularly grand, and especially suitable for gifts.
These books are a help, an inspiration, a comfort, and a trip around the world. They are a celebration of local food and an adventure to unknown lands. They are beautiful and humble, elegant and simple. Whether you love cookbooks for their recipes or their literary value, these books will feed you.
As a reminder, we are now open extended hours for your convenience.Until December 23rd, we'll be open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 9 pm, and on Sundays from 10 am to 7 pm. On Christmas Eve we'll be open from 10 am to 5 pm.
Roberta Dyer and Sally McPherson
Broadway Books1714 NE BroadwayPortland, OR 97232503-284-172
Gifts for Food Lovers
Cookbooks seem to fall into two categories: those designed to make our lives simple and easy, and those featuring aspirational cooking that holds us to a higher standard. We've got some real beauties this year from both groups.
Among the more ambitious are three from Portland's cuisine pantheon.Aficionados of these restaurants will surely want to add these cookbooks to their collection:
- Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Street, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand, by Andy Ricker ($35, Ten Speed), a beautifully and abundantly illustrated Thai cookbook that serves up a sense of place as well as recipes from the restaurant. Ricker includes tips for finding unusual ingredients, such as fresh pig blood and betel leaves.
- Le Pigeon: Cooking at the Dirty Bird, by Gabriel Rucker and Meredith Erickson ($40, Ten Speed), continues the food terroir theme, this time offering up Portland culinary history with its geoduck and calf's head recipes.
- Toro Bravo: Stories. Recipes. No Bull, by John Gorham and Liz Crain ($35, McSweeney's), is one part memoir, one part travelogue, one part cookbook, and entirely delicious. (Spring onions from Catalonia are a must!)
The Inspired Vegan: Seasonal Ingredients, Creative Recipes, Mouthwatering Menus
, by Bryant Terry ($19, Da Capo), is a vibrant, confident book -- the Saag Tofu alone is a revelation. Terry not only supplies above-and-beyond recipes, he suggests music and books to go along with them.Soup Night: Recipes for Creating Community Around a Pot of Soup by Maggie Stuckey ($19.95, Storey Publishing) is not only full of simple recipes but also extolls the joys of simple neighborhood gatherings. The phenomena of near-strangers becoming friends over a bowl of chowder may have started in Northeast Portland, but it has wide appeal, so send a copy to your sister in Tuscaloosa.
Here are some more cookbooks that make life easier without sacrificing taste:
Ottolenghi: The Cookbook
, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi ($35, Ten Speed), sticks to what is achievable at home. Like Jerusalem
before it, this new cookbook is a praise-song to tradition and to innovation. Above all, the authors want people to really enjoy food.
Cooking Slow: Recipes for Slowing Down and Cooking More
, by Andrew Schloss ($35, Chronicle), promotes big flavor with little hands-on time. Techniques range from slow frying (who knew?) to the mysterious sous vide, recipes range from posole to brisket to banana custard pie.The Heart of the Plate: Vegetarian Recipes for a New Generation
by Mollie Katzen ($34.99, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) shows that a good cook/writer/illustrator doesn't stop evolving. Katzen has lightened up her touch since Moosewood days (who hasn't?) but kept her gift for flavors that sing. The recipes are new, not recycled, and are designed to fit busy schedules.
Offering strong Portland roots, The Kinfolk Table: Recipes for Small Gatherings
, by Nathan Williams ($35, Artisan Press) continues the theme of lovingly made food that doesn't require you to quit your day job to cook supper. Growing out of the Kinfolk
magazine, it is about the real over the virtual, celebrating the joys of cooking for friends.
It's a good year for the literature of food, too, as shown by the Best Food Writing 2013
, edited by Holly Hughes ($15.99, Da Capo). This anthology provides a gratifying mix of reverence and debunking, and Corby Kummer's essay "Tyranny: It's What's for Dinner" alone is worth the price of admission.
We all love our Northwest weather, of course, but let's do some armchair traveling to somewhere sunny. Pour yourself a cup of tea, settle into your sofa with a cat or dog or two, and relax with these three French wonders.
- Julia Child Rules: Lessons on Savoring Life, by Portland's Karen Karbo ($24.95, Globe Pequot), is a charming, inspiring look at Child's philosophy of living and cooking. Cheryl Strayed says that she wants to make wallpaper of this book so she "can always have Karbo's wit and wisdom at hand."
- Mastering the Art of French Eating: Lessons in Food and Love from a Year in Paris by Ann Mah ($25.95) details what happens when a diplomatic wife is unexpectedly by herself in Paris and spends her time reveling in the cuisine of la belle pays. She travels from Brittany to Provence and even to Alsace for the choucroute, and provides recipes.
You can find many more gift ideas for people of all ages and interests in our 2013 Holiday Books Catalog.
Watch for our other themed holiday newsletters in the next two weeks.