More and more I’m finding people love gifts of food! Something sweet to have on hand for holiday guests, elegant olive oil or Grade A Dark Maple Syrup, with a colorful homemade tag. Food gifts, DIY or thoughtfully selected, say LOVE—and isn’t that the point? Don’t miss the special new recipe I’ve included this year, from my dear colleague Marti Wolfson, an easy-peasy chocolate bark. Too yum to resist!
What’s the reason to buy a cookbook? For me, it’s either because it’s a good story or because the author has something excellent to teach me. My favorite cookbooks become companions in my kitchen, wise chef/authors I commune with to enhance my kitchen creativity. I love books that share a unique point of view, that tell a compelling story, that are beautifully designed and have gorgeous photography.
Here’s my 2018 list of the best of the best! These would be great gifts... or fit rather nicely on your wish list. :)
One of THE great books of 2017, and sure to endure: Karen Page and photographer Andrew Dornenburg’s Kitchen Creativity: Unlocking Culinary Genius—with Wisdom, Inspiration, and Ideas from the World’s Most Creative Chefs. That’s a tall order! And in this, their 11th book, they deliver.
Here’s a woman who inspires me: Grace Young, who is THE absolute grand dame of the stir-fry. She’s been called the Stir-Fry Guru and the Poet Laureate of the Wok. I think of her as ne plus ultra, a major-award winning cookbook writer and food journalist who is THE one to teach and inspire us all to become sit-fry masters.
When I put this list together, I felt like I was vicariously shopping for all of you! I confess I found a thing or two for myself, too. :) One thing you’ll notice about these gifts: they are NOT the latest kitchen gadgets. The kale stripper, the gimmicks, the bric a brac, the things that take up drawer space. This list is low tech, highly functional, and aesthetically pleasing. Sturdy and durable, made to last, and to inspire. And everything has been vetted, by me!
What is more precious than the gift of time? Unless it’s the gift of yum. :) How about giving both to dear friends and neighbors, the ones who will TRULY savor the delicious, delectable treats that you drop off for their enjoyment? Some might love DIY kits, with all they will need to make something marvelous, and others might like a fait accompli. I’ve got some suggestions for both!
We live in a world where we are SATURATED with information. Gone are the days when we had wait with baited breath for the latest and the greatest. We are ALWAYS confronted with the latest and the greatest! But there is also a place for savoring the very best. One of those places is inside the covers of a superb cookbook. These are the books that have penetrated the constant barrage during 2017 for me, the ones that I REALLY like and recommend!
Jo Cooper, the author, and I have known each other since 2004. We have both been pioneers in the food as medicine world, and she in the mind-body medicine space as well. Jo worked with The Center for Mind-Body Medicine for 10 years, where I had the privilege of working with her on the Food As Medicine professional training program. She was the heartbeat of the Center when she was there.
You know I’m not pushy, right? Well, here and now I’m climbing up on my soapbox and asking you to read Dr. Dale Bredesen’s new book The End of Alzheimer’s. And why would I ask you to read about a disease we regard with such fear, even horror? Because for the first time, there’s good news about Alzheimer’s disease. There’s hope.
It’s no secret that I am an avid cookbook collector, and that I am deeply beholden to the exceptional cooks that have gone before me. Back in the day before food television was busy creating celebrity chefs, there were a group of amazing women cookbook authors, scholarly ambassadors, who brought food from afar to our shores. Julia Child introduced us to French cuisine, Alice Waters brought us fresh, farm-to-table cooking, and Paula Wolfert shared Mediterranean cuisine.
The second edition of my award-winning cookbook The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen is coming out next week on Valentine’s Day!!! Jeez Louise, how many cookbook authors get a chance to do a 2nd edition in this day and age?
If you’re a busy person looking for healthy cooking solutions, I’ve got something marvelous to share: our new ebook, The Slow Cooker & The Instant Pot: Recipes, Tips & Tricks to Get More Time with Less Pressure.
As many of you know, in addition to being a chef, author and educator, I’m an artist! My eye is drawn to the colors of food and to my beloved garden beyond my office window, where life changes moment to moment. I have a front row seat at my desk to watch hummingbirds dipping in and out of the flowers arrayed just outside. Hummingbirds symbolize the enjoyment of life and the lightness of being, as they are such magical, fleeting creatures, here and gone.
Here’s my list of best bets for giving:
The first thing you need to do is get YOURSELF a present! I encourage you to consider this thermos as a little indulgence for you. It has a special leak-proof seal, so you can press a button and it stays closed. It keeps liquid hot for 5 or 6 hours (!!!) and cold stays cold forever. I carry mine around in the winter filled with Magic Mineral Broth or tea. I fill it up with soup when I have an all-day workshop. You HAVE to have it. You have to take care of yourself first!
I’m not just a cookbook writer, I’m a collector! I have a HUGE collection of cookbooks. Due to the limited real estate in my office, I prune it once a year and donate books to our public library, making way for new additions. I watch the new books coming out with an avid, discerning eye, happily choosing only the very best for my personal collection.
Wondering what to give family and friends this holiday season that is unique, beneficial and FUN? May I recommend my new Clean Soups Course? It’s filled with colorful videos about the art of broths, maximizing flavor, pre-prepping and cooking soup, along with an invitation to our private Facebook page where questions are answered and genius discoveries are shared!
Why give an online soup course? It’s the gift of health for people you love, without being pushy. It’s a toy for grown-ups, that will be enjoyed long after the holidays are over and that works well for both beginning and advanced cooks.
Mia is my smart as a whip, 24 year old hipster niece who lives in Brooklyn, NY. When she came to visit me in California, she agreed to shoot a soup session with me, which was incredibly fun, since we started cooking together when she was 8 or 9. The first thing I taught her how to make was risotto.
In my mind’s eye, I can still see the little girl who learned to make soup while sitting atop the yellow formica kitchen counter, watching in wonder as three generations of women worked their culinary magic over my Ma’s flame-enameled Le Creuset cast iron soup pot.
I’m here with a hearty shout-out to Dr. Drew Ramsey’s new book, Eat Complete: The 21 Nutrients That Fuel Brainpower, Boost Weight Loss and Transform Your Health. In my opinion, this is a MUST have: a whole foods prescription, written by a leading brain expert, farmer, cook, and founder of National Kale Day! And the book is beautiful.
I find inspiration in so many different things in my life. Right now, outside my window, my eyes drink in spring flowers blooming, lavender growing, and my beloved Meyer lemons. My garden is so inspiring to me! I find inspiration in other people’s stories, in faces, in COLOR, in gorgeous food photography, and in paintings by Watteau and Monet. I’m inspired by my farmer buddies and the glorious kaleidoscope of produce as the seasons change at the farm market.