Looking for a Christmas present for the cook in your life? If they are like me, they will always appreciate a new cookbook.
Here are my top cookbooks from the last year:
Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking
Michael Ruhlman wrote the perfect book for someone like me, who believes that basic techniques are the most important thing in cooking. Commit his ratios to memory, and you can make almost anything without recipes.
Serious Barbecue: Smoke, Char, Baste, and Brush Your Way to Great Outdoor Cooking
Adam Perry Lang's elaborate grilling recipes are daunting, but the layers of flavors he builds are impressive. His idea of basting with a brush made of a bundle of herbs won the Taste of Akron Steak Cook-off for me. That herb brush was the little bit of "wow, what a great idea" that pushed me over the top.
Good Eats: The Early Years
I'm a long-time Good Eats fan, so this book was like a walk down memory lane. It is full of recipes, details, and behind the scenes information from the first six years of Good Eats. I'm eagerly waiting for the next two installments.
The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl
I seem to be the last person in the world to find The Pioneer Woman. Her recipes are loaded with step by step pictures, and they translated that style to the cookbook extremely well. I also love her stories about life with her rancher husband and their five cute kids. It gives me hope that I might bring my kids up half as well.
*Even if we live in the suburbs, not on a ranch.
Michael Symon's Live to Cook: Recipes and Techniques to Rock Your Kitchen
Cleveland's local chef-hero. I haven't dug into the recipes in this one yet, except for his pickled chile peppers, which I loved. There are a number of them I can't wait to try out.
Ad Hoc at Home
The only book on this list I don't already own. It's on back-order at Amazon, but people I trust have been writing good things about it. Thomas Keller, the best chef in America, explaining his perfectionist techniques for the home cook? I'm waiting (impatiently) for it to arrive.
What do you think? What cookbooks did I miss? Any you feel I should add to my list for next year? Leave them in the comments, below.
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