Each year, hundreds of food and cookbooks cross my desk. I always look forward to sharing my favorites with readers during the holiday gift shopping madness. I know how tough it can be to search out that perfect present for the cook on your list. Here are a few of my picks for various types of cooks:

Ruhlman's Twenty: 20 Techniques 100 Recipes A Cook's Manifesto by Michael Ruhlman

This is the cookbook I am giving all of the serious cooks on my list. Ruhlman is a brilliant and thoughtful chef who brings new ways of thinking to common ingredients like salt, water, eggs and sugar. He does the same for techniques like poaching, roasting, braising and frying. His recipes are carefully written; once the reader learns his method for caramelizing onions, he or she will have the key to many a savory dish.

(Available at Amazon.com)

My Family Table: A Passionate Plea for Home Cooking by John Besh

John Besh, a New Orleans native and renowned chef of eight restaurants, has written a beautifully photographed tome for the home cook. He brings us exquisite food photos along with family photos that would inspire any cook to get into their kitchen and make a memory with fresh regional food. Dishes such as The Perfect Frittata, Pecan Baked Ham, and Salt-Baked Striped Bass all call out to be recreated in the readers' kitchen. If you want to find a gift for the avid cookbook reader, this book will be as at home on the coffee table as in the kitchen.

(Available at Amazon.com)

Inside the Jewish Bakery: Recipes and Memories from the Golden Age of Jewish Baking by Stanley Ginsberg and Norman Berg

For anyone who has ever wondered how to replicate those delectable breads and sweets from the local Jewish bakery, they are in luck. This insider's guide on everything from how to make egg challah and onion rolls to desserts like chocolate loaf babka, apple cake and rugelach is included. It is filled with memories, secret tips and how-to photographs that will thrill the home baker. This is the book to give the baker or Jewish cooking enthusiast on your list -- a perfect Chanukah gift.

(Available at Amazon.com)

Girl in the Kitchen by Stephanie Izard

This is a cookbook I would give to any cook interested in inspired and tasty recipes with lots of extra tips. Top Chef Izard gives the reader drink tips, technique 101 sidebars and pages devoted to spotlights on ingredients such as heirloom tomatoes, potato flakes, fish sauce and Trumpet Royale mushrooms. Did you know that potato flakes are used for breading fish instead of flour so the fish becomes extra crispy? Izard offers lots of advice, and the new ways she suggests to work with ingredients spark the cook to think like a chef.

(Available at Amazon.com)


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The Best Cookbook Gifts for the Holidays

World-renowned chefs with an extraordinary passion for food share their passion on iHaveNet.com. These chefs make great cooking easier than imagined. Each gourmet recipe features expert advice and an easy-to-make recipe. Exactly what you need to transform your home cooking from acceptable to delectable

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