12 cookbooks to give your favourite foodies this holiday

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      YouTube videos are great for home cooks seeking recipes and cooking tips, but there’s still nothing like ink on paper, a hold-in-your-hands cookbook with pages to flip through and photos to drool over.

      It’s also much easier to wrap a cookbook than a URL link. Here are a few must-finds for the foodie on your gift list.


      The bomb

      Got more than one food-loving friend on your list? Pick up multiple copies of Anthony Bourdain’s Appetites: A Cookbook and you’re done.

      The charismatic rock star of the food and culinary-travel worlds shares a few exotic recipes in his latest (Budae Jjigae, or Korean army stew; Szechuan Ma Po tripe and pork), but for the most part he keeps it real with stuff he enjoys at home with his wife and daughter: po’ boys and other sandwiches, black-bean soup, goulash, lasagna Bolognese, and chicken satay with “fake ass” spicy peanut sauce.

      Provided your mom isn’t offended by F bombs and similar wording (“within an hour of consumption, I’m shitting like a mink,” Bourdain says of the nastily delicious Italian sausage-and-pepper hero sandwiches you can find on the streets of New York, the chef sharing a recipe to be prepared in the presumably more hygienic confines of your own kitchen), this hardcover beauty is a cookbook collector’s score.


      Locavores’ pick

      British Columbia From Scratch: Recipes for Every Season is a celebration of the astounding bounty this province offers.

      Chef Denise Marchessault and photographer Caroline West explored B.C. to come up with a collection of solid, wholesome, and mostly simple recipes made with fresh, local ingredients. Spot prawns in lemon and herb butter, asparagus soup, poached halibut in a light broth, smoked duck with autumn salad, and salmon rillettes are just a few.

      Standout dessert recipes include cucumber sorbet, strawberry ice cream, chocolate-hazelnut tarts, cranberry meringue, and fall apple tart.


      Sweet tooth

      Know someone who loves making their own cookies, cakes, and pies? Make their holidays bright with Bake With Anna Olson: More Than 125 Simple, Scrumptious and Sensational Recipes to Make You a Better Baker.

      The Food Network celeb shares recipes for everything from low-fat granola bars that actually taste good to croquembouche (that grand tower of cream puffs) to chocolate-mousse cups to opera torte.


      Plant power

      Time-strapped vegetarians will love the fact that the dishes in Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking: 101 Entirely Plant-Based, Mostly Gluten-Free, Easy and Delicious Recipes require 10 ingredients or fewer or a single bowl or pot, including corn-bread chili potpies, cashew soba-noodle salad, Thai peanut burgers, and classic vegan lasagna.

      Made With Love: More Than 100 Sweet and Savory Plant-Based Recipes for Every Moment in Life covers everything from a tempeh Reuben and vegan quiche to frozen chocolate cake to salted-caramel cheesecake.


      Thai delights

      Never mind the spectacular beaches and friendly people: a trip to Thailand is worth it for the food alone, and anyone you’re buying for would flip for Pailin Chongchitnant’s Hot Thai Kitchen: Demystifying Thai Cuisine With Authentic Recipes to Make at Home.

      With fascinating content to help you understand the country’s culinary styles, techniques, and traditions as well as info on how to make any Thai dish vegetarian or vegan, the book features recipes ranging from tamarind shrimp to massaman curry with lamb shoulder to lemongrass soup with shrimp and young coconut.


      Trade secrets

      There’s a reason Earls is so successful after 35 years in business, and with Earls the Cookbook: Eat a Little. Eat a Lot. 110 of Your Favourite Recipes, fans of classic dishes like Hunan Kung Pao chicken, potato skins, and maple-glazed salmon can whip them up at home. Remember the mocha-Kahlua pie? There’s a recipe for that, too.

      CinCin: Wood-Fired Cucina came out this year in celebration of that restaurant’s 25th anniversary, the book featuring recipes for such elegant dishes as Haida Gwaii halibut with crosnes, sunchokes, and Brussels-sprout leaves; chicken-liver pâté with prosciutto di Parma and pickled Romanesco; and rhubarb-and-ginger cannoli.


      Gordon Ramsay once called Whistler’s Araxi Restaurant and Oyster Bar the best in Canada, and Araxi: Roots to Shoots, Farm Fresh Recipes is a reminder why. Here are recipes for standout dishes like chorizo-crusted lingcod with tomato fondue, whole wild salmon baked in a salt crust, and slow-cooked beef cheeks in port wine.

      Vij’s Indian: Our Stories, Spices and Cherished Recipes, by Meeru Dhalwala and Vikram Vij, features dishes, many of them vegetarian, that the two offer at their restaurants and that they regularly eat at home.

      These include Bengali-style black-bean-and-corn curry, lentil-and-basmati-rice pilaf with fried eggs, and steamed arctic char with cauliflower curry.


      Healthy eating

      For the health-conscious food lover on your list, consider Amelia Freer’s Cook. Nourish. Glow.: 120 Recipes That Will Help You Lose Weight, Look Younger, and Feel Healthier.

      She’s a best-selling nutritional therapist whose clients include Sam Smith and James Corden, and her book features recipes for wholesome dishes like roasted peppers with baked eggs, Boy George’s raw soup, and grilled sardines and tomatoes with a crunchy herb dressing.

      Registered dietitian Cara Rosenbloom and culinary instructor Nettie Cronish zero in on the health benefits of legumes in Nourish: Whole Food Recipes Featuring Seeds, Nuts & Beans.

      They prove those ingredients are delicious, too, when used in dishes like cod-and-white-bean chowder, underground stew (with root vegetables), Moroccan chicken and pistachio-studded quinoa, and more.