Recommendations needed for a good cookbook-gift

Hello all! I would like to give my friend a cookbook for her brithday this year. In the past, I have gifted her with the Modern Vegetarian Cookbook and a Nigella Lawson's Kitchen. This year, I wanted to send her Melissa Clark's In the Kitchen With a Good Appetite but there's a lot of meat in that cookbook and my friend is a pescatarian. The reason Clark's book appealed to me is that Clark lives in Brooklyn and so does my friend and she's also into the seasonal veg and CSA stuff. I looked at Smitten Kitchen but I was not wowed. My friend also works full time, has a toddler, and is due with her second any minute - so we are looking for fun, no fuss recipes for her growing family. Any recommendations? Also looking for good takeout places near Boerum Hill (I am going to send her a takeout gift certificate once baby arrives!)

  • Posted by: puttakka
  • November 26, 2012


alygator November 28, 2012
I know it has been already said, but Heidi Swanson's books are totally terrific. They are by far my favorite cookbooks on my shelf (as well as The Essential NY Times Cookbook, of course!). You cannot go wrong with either Super Natural Cooking or Super Natural Every Day. I have loved every recipe I have tried.

Another healthy living/vegetarian cookbook I'd recommend is Clean Start by Terry Walters. I love it! Her first book Clean Food has few (if no) pictures so that might not be the best choice for a gift. However, Clean Start is a gorgeous book.
enbe November 28, 2012
There have been a lot of great books covered so I'm sure you don't need more input but I love to gift Chez Panisse Vegetables. It's just a really gorgeous book and has some stellar simple recipes or ideas to play around with - especially helpful when you get a CSA share of huhwhatsthat? It's not strictly vegetarian though.
susan G. November 27, 2012
Nikki and David Goldbeck's American Wholefoods Cuisine -- all vegetarian, comprehensive in a Joy of Cooking way with a 'Short Order' chapter for times when simple, quick and tasty is needed. It's been a trusted book in my kitchen for years. (My favorite cornbread!)
puttakka November 27, 2012
Thanks everyone for your recommendations! Lots of wonderful choices.
puresugar November 27, 2012
I am a mother of 4 under 10, and I work 60/week (20 as a personal chef). I was pleasantly surprised by the simplicity & richness of the dishes I've made from Slow Cooker Revolution (America's Test Kitchen). No cans of Cream of Mushroom soup here. Instead, the strategy is to sauté a rich, intense 'sofrito' (for many of the recipes) and then use the low & slow cooking for suitable meats & veg. Even the lasagne was wonderful. I'd recommend this for anyone who wants a stable relationship with their kitchen when other areas in life are in flux (or chaos).
Sam1148 November 26, 2012
Moose wood is good for vegetarians. For fish eaters...look into Mediterranean cookbooks.
However you said baby on the way. Which to me means very busy and tired. Maybe some 'semi homemade' Sandra Lee (Arrrgh I can't believe I suggested that). But, those type of quick throwing together meals using products from supermarkets are a good skill to have.
FutureChef November 26, 2012
Natalia Rose just came out with 'Fresh Energy Cookbook' and it's healthy but sensible cooking for families so I recommend. It's pescatarian so very well-suited.
FutureChef November 26, 2012
Either of Nigel Slater's. Either Tender (vegetables) or Ripe (fruit).
Simple flavors and execution. Chapters are sorted by vegetables so it's very farmer's market friendly. Each chapter also features info on varietals and spice/flavor recommendations for them respectively. Again, I highly recommend.
Diana B. November 26, 2012
The Flavor Bible:
linzarella November 26, 2012
These are all great suggestions. I also love "Vegetables Every Day" by Jack Bishop. Each chapter is devoted to a different vegetable, which I find makes it very easy to use when I have a certain vegetable in the fridge but didn't really plan ahead for a particular recipe when I was grocery shopping.
I also love A New Way to Cook by Sally Schneider, which is full of genius ways to cook with the most flavor possible.
Reiney November 26, 2012
Plenty by Ottolenghi - the recipes are really, really well written. You could add some spices like sumac, aleppo pepper and turmeric from World Spice to complete the gift.
AntoniaJames November 26, 2012
Deborah Madison's "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone" -- a well-written book with excellent recipes that are, for the most part, neither fussy nor time consuming. Is it "fun"? Maybe not. But it's a comprehensive workhorse by someone who for decades has set the gold standard in vegetarian cooking and recipe writing. The writing style is direct and unpretentious. If I could own just one vegetarian cookbook, this would be it. If I could own only five cookbooks of any kind, this would be one of them. ;o)
Christine November 26, 2012
I agree with the suggestion for 101 Cookbooks. I also like Anna Thomas' vegetarian cookbooks- some are a little vintage, but I like her recipes and approach.

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cratecooking November 26, 2012
If your friend is a vegetarian and enjoys seasonal cooking I would HIGHLY recommend Heidi Swanson's cookbooks, Super Natural Every Day and Super Natural Cooking! Also take a look at her blog, 101 Cookbooks. Gorgeous photography, too.
Monita November 26, 2012
How about the New Food 52 Cookbook. It's available at Amazon
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