Favorite cookbooks that can double as coffee table books?

I'm looking for a birthday gift for my food nerd of a mother. BUT she is, just like me, picky when it comes to cookbooks so the recipes have to be good and the pictures have to be beautiful (nothing worse than a cookbook with uninspiring pictures). The cookbooks can in pretty much any genre.

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18 Comments

Ali S. February 21, 2017
Maybe these posts will help! https://food52.com/blog/18482-10-pretty-gifts-that-happen-to-be-cookbooks and https://food52.com/blog/14907-8-extremely-beautiful-cookbooks-to-gift-as-coffee-table-books
 
tranquility February 21, 2017
Thanks for all the answers! I'll have to check all of them out
 
dinner A. February 20, 2017
I have "The Kitchen" by Studio Olafur Eliasson on my coffee table right now. Olafur Eliasson makes large scale art works, and employs a large studio who eat lunch together, cooked semi-cooperatively in house every day. I have to admit I haven't cooked anything from it yet (although lots I want to try), but I find it completely enchanting. Lots of photos and discussion of art works and studio events in progress, and how they intersect with the food and culture of the studio. Hard to describe, just take a look at it if a local bookstore has it.
 
Cav February 20, 2017
I'd highly recommend The Fat Duck Cookbook and Historic Heston, both by Heston Blumenthal. The photography and styling is jaw droppingly gorgeous as are the illustrations by Dave McKean. The recipes are (thankfully) not dumbed down for the home cook, but even if they require equipment and ingredients that are impractical and ask for time and storage that would be a headache, they are inspirational. What makes them ideal as coffee table books is that the recipes are accompanied by with details of how they were researched, thought of, and developed.
 
pierino February 20, 2017
Bouchon is a terrific book. Micheal Ruhlman's text is model for all who write recipes
 
luvcookbooks February 20, 2017
Entertaining by Martha Stewart is pretty and coffee table sized. Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford have a beautiful baking book.
 
luvcookbooks February 20, 2017
Entertaining by Martha Stewart is pretty and coffee table sized. Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford have a beautiful baking book.
 
pierino February 20, 2017
One of the most beautiful books this season is Del Posto
Some of the illustrations resemble Caravaggio. Be sure that's no accident.
 
Windischgirl February 19, 2017
I love looking at the photos in all of Ottolenghi's books...and the recipes are certainly do-able by a good home cook.

Also, a series I can recommend are the "Culinaria" books, published by Könemann, which feature the foodways of a particular country or region. There are recipes, and the recipes work well, but the highlights are the photos and text about the history or culture of food. I own, in large format perfect for the coffee table, the USA Culinaria and a two-volume set of Europe, as well as smaller format Germany and one on Hungary. To give you an idea of content, in the Hungary book there are a few pages on the growing, drying, and use of paprika and how it became a "Hungarian thing", along with 4-5 recipes; sections on pastry and coffeehouse culture, wines, fish, those iconic shepherds and how they invented guylas, etc. These are books that you'd read lounging on the sofa, and then be able to stroll into the kitchen and try that recipe for dinner...
 
Nancy February 19, 2017
Several Asia focussed books tgat are combination travel-cookbook-photography from Naomi Duguid (sp?) & Jeffrey Alford when they were a couple and one ir two recently from her as solw aurhor.
 
Nancy February 19, 2017
Recently by Duguid: Taste of Persia. Also one on Burma but I haven't seen that one.
All their books together are good, but I especially like:
Flatbreads & Flavors
Mangoes & Curry Leaves: culinary travels through the great subcontinent
Hot Sour Salty Sweet
Here's a link for more info:
https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_st_date-desc-rank?keywords=naomi+duguid+cookbooks&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3Anaomi+duguid+cookbooks&qid=1487554000&sort=date-desc-rank
And sorry for the typos above; should read: "one or two recently from her as sole author."
 
Montani February 19, 2017
"My Calabria" by Rosetta Constantino. It is a beautiful book, lots of photos of the Calabria area, and great recipes. I highly recommend it and the author is fantastic.
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Montani February 19, 2017
"My Calabria" by Rosetta Costantino. It is a fantastic italian cookbook by a great cook. It is
filled with beautiful photos and great recipes. It is a wonderful book.
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MMH February 19, 2017
Anything from ina garten.
 
PieceOfLayerCake February 19, 2017
I think Prune by Gabrielle Hamilton is both gorgeous to look at and has some of the most simple, yet unique recipes around. Many have become staples of mine...and I don't really consider myself a cook.
 
Rhonda35 February 19, 2017
I suggest checking out the books in this year's Piglet contest - and you can also do a search and look at books from the Piglets of past years. All of the Food52 books have beautiful photography and great recipes; I'm especially fond of Genius Recipes and Amanda & Merrill's A New Way to Dinner. Jamie Oliver's books are filled with delicious recipes and lovely photos by David Loftus. Thomas Keller's Bouchon has gorgeous photos, yet I would not say it is easy to cook from - it is definitely a chef's cookbook. I don't think Sara Foster's books get as much attention as they should - great recipes and photos.
 
sexyLAMBCHOPx February 19, 2017
Check out Mimi Thorisson’s, A Kitchen in France.
 
sexyLAMBCHOPx February 19, 2017
Also, My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories by David Lebovitz & Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan. I bought my MIL The Vatican Cookbook: Presented by the Pontifical Swiss Guard (via AMAZON) and she loved the stories & photos that were surrounded by each recipe.
 
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