New Cookbooks That Make Great Holiday Gifts

December 8, 2011 | By | Comments (1)

As part of its holiday gift guide, The New York Times recently came out with a list of notable cookbooks for 2011. Lots of great books on the list, but here are a few more of my personal favorites I’m giving as gifts (to others or, um, myself) this holiday season.

The Meatball Shop Cookbook

The Meatball Shop Cookbook, by Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow
Based on the wildly popular restaurant in Manhattan (there are now two other locations in New York), this book provides more than 80 recipes for meatballs, sides, sauces, dessert, and more. I’m a pretty big fan of this place; I love the mix-and-match style menu, where you can choose the type of meatballs and sauce and whether you want sliders, a sandwich, pasta, polenta, greens…the combinations are endless. And these aren’t your usual meatballs, either—you’ll find recipes for jerk chicken balls, reuben balls, and jambalaya balls, along with options for non meat-eaters, like veggie balls and crab cake balls. These guys are turning meatballs into the next cupcake. It’s a fun restaurant and a fun book, and most of the recipes are pretty easy, too. (image:

Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook

Momofuku Milk Bar, by Christina Tosi
Love him or hate him, David Chang and his Momofuku empire are still going strong. His bakery spinoff, helmed by chef Christina Tosi, offers wacky riffs on classic pastries and childhood favorites—cereal milk ice cream, peanut butter and jelly pie, kimchi and blue cheese croissants. There’s a cult-like following for the crack pie and the compost cookie, and you’ll find all the recipes here. Though the recipes aren’t for beginners, anyone who loves to experiment with baking—or is obsessed with the bakery—will get a kick out of this book. (image:

Serious Eats Book

Serious Eats, by Ed Levine & the Editors of is one of the best food blogs around; it’s pretty much required reading for anyone who loves eating and seeking out the tastiest, most delicious stuff no matter where they are. This fantastic food/travel guide covers everything from “The 25 ‘Cue Joins We Can’t Live Without” to “A Half-Dozen Doughnuts We Love,” plus includes 50 recipes. So the next time you’re in Chapel Hill, NC, or Indianapolis, you’ll know where to get an extraordinary breakfast sandwich or a fantastic burger. (Though I admit, I am a little miffed they neglected to mention the Jersey-style sloppy joe in their list of super-regional sandwiches. They did, however, give a shout-out to Hoagie Haven in Princeton, NJ, one of my personal favorites.) (image:

Food52 Cookbook

The Food52 Cookbook, Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs
Another food-blog-turned-book, this first-ever online community cookbook is full of tantalizing recipes submitted by home cooks just like you and me. Every week for a year, Amanda and Merrill asked blog readers to submit their best recipes on a theme—from “Your Best Meat Loaf” to “Your Best Frozen Dessert”—and then hand-selected and tested the finalist recipes, allowing their online fans to vote and select the ultimate winner. This cookbook offers all the winning recipes, along with gorgeous photos and helpful tips. (image:

What cookbooks are on your holiday wish list this year?