Cookbooks. Some people use them for cooking, some people read them cover-to-cover, and other people just display them in their kitchens (which is understandable—cookbooks are beautiful!). However they are used, cookbooks are always a welcome gift. The following is a selection of unique and interesting new cookbooks, and we've pinpointed their ideal recipients as well.
Alice Eats: A Wonderland Cookbook by Pierre A. Lamielle and Julie Van Rosendaal: Ever noticed how Lewis Carroll's story is jam-packed with food and edible things? Lamielle and Rosendaal did, and created Alice Eats in tribute, featuring Carroll's complete text, all-new illustrations by Lamielle, and recipes by acclaimed cookbook-author Rosendaal.
Perfect for: Lovers of all things culinary and all things literary. For readers who like their stories to live on off the page. For anyone with a hankering for her own Mad Hatter's Tea Party.
The Book of Kale by Sharon Hanna: Winner of a 2013 Taste Canada Award for single-subject cookbook, Hanna's book is an ode to everybody's favourite superfood. Her recipes show readers how to make kale delicious and also how to make kids eat it and love it.
Perfect for: Anyone whose kale repertoire begins and ends with kale chips.
Camp and Cottage Cookbook by Tonya Hughes: We're fast approaching the dead of winter, but some of us will be warmed by the thought of sunnier seasons ahead. To that end, we offer Camp and Cottage Cookbook, a great take-along volume for upcoming adventures, with tips for such things as maximizing cooler space (handy!) and recipes for quick and easy meals to enjoy.
Perfect for: Your favourite camping fiend. Anyone who's been depressed since they closed up the cottage at Thanksgiving.
Dutch Oven: A Cookbook of Traditional Recipes for the Kitchens of Lunenburg by FMH Ladies Auxiliary: There is something about the community cookbook, that their recipes are tried-and-true, for example, and also how much they tell us about the women's lives who created them. This cookbook was first published in 1953 as a fundraiser for Lunenburg's Fisherman's Memorial Hospital, and has been brought back into print by Nimbus Publishing.
Perfect for: Your hipster friend who craves all things vintage and authentic. Also a good gift for any homesick Maritimer.
How to Feed a Family: The Sweet Potato Chronicles Cookbook by Laura Keogh and Ceri Marsh: This cookbook boasts great design and is full of gorgeous photographs, but we promise you that every copy is going to be splattered and stained in no time—it's that useful! These are great recipes designed for busy family life. They're tasty, healthy, easy to prepare and really do call for ingredients you've got in the cupboard already.
Perfect for: Busy moms and dads who don't want crazy weekday schedules cramping their culinary style. Also: anyone who loves a killer blueberry muffin.
Modern Native Feasts by Andrew George: George has a really cool resume. A member of the Wet'suwet'en Nation in British Columbia, he participated on the first all-Native team at the Culinary Olympics in Frankfurt, Germany, and was head chef at the Four Host First Nations pavilion at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. In 2012 he was part of a delegation of chefs from 25 countries on a US State Department initiative called "Culinary Diplomacy: Promoting Cultural Understanding Through Food." In his latest book, George promotes sustainable eating by updating traditional Native menus with healthy modern twists.
Perfect for: Ardent locavores.
Titanic: The Cookbook by Yvonne Hume, adapted by Virginia Lee and Elaine Elliot: This book came out last year, one of many books commemorating the centenary of the Titanic disaster. Its recipes have been carefully researched to ensure authenticity, as well as thoroughly tested for deliciousness. Readers will also find essential tips for such things as napkin folding and effective food presentation.
Perfect for: A hungry history buff, your favourite Downton Abbey enthusiast, or anybody up for an Edwardian dinner party.
The Vegetarian's Complete Quinoa Cookbook, edited by Mairlyn Smith: Winner of the 2013 Taste Canada/CBC People's Choice Award. This book offers many different ways to enjoy "the mother of all grain" (but it's more than a grain—it's a protein, see?).
Perfect for: Everyone who knows it's keen-wa. Or your pal who's just gone gluten-free.
The Zero-Mile Diet Cookbook by Carolyn Herriot: Herriot is author of The Zero-Mile Diet, and puts her home-based philosophy in practice here with a new cookbook. The book provides great ways to prepare and use herbs, fruit, and vegetables grown in your own backyard.
Perfect for: Anyone for whom 100 miles is just too great a distance...
BONUS PICK: Baking as Biography by Diane Tye: Not a cookbook but a fascinating perspective on culture, family, food, and how these things define our lives. Tye uses her late-mother's recipe file to discover what her life was really like, as a wife, mother and minister's wife in mid-20th century Nova Scotia, to learn what stories and secrets are hiding in the margins. A personal story that speaks to a wider tale of how and why we cook and eat the way we do.
Perfect for: Your mom. Anyone who's ever had a mom. Anyone who's ever picked up a spoon.