Diane Rossen Worthington

Finding the perfect gift for the cook or food lover in your life can be overwhelming. For one thing, there are so many things to choose from. I've selected a handful of books and other foodie gifts to help you focus your choices. I hope it's a welcome help.


"Jerusalem: A Cookbook" by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

These authors, both from Jerusalem and born the same year, Tamimi growing up in Jerusalem's Muslim east and Ottolenghi in the Jewish west section. The dishes are vibrant and the writing shows these friends and colleagues love their collective history. Sumptuous photographs are a bonus.

Available at Amazon.com: Jerusalem: A Cookbook

"Japanese Farm Food" by Nancy Singleton Hachisu

The author left California in the late 1980s and now makes her home in a Japanese farmhouse. She explains the ingredients, tools and recipes in ways that give you the confidence to cook like a Japanese local. Dishes like Udon Noodles, Fried Eggplant Halves with Sweet Miso, and the refreshing Carrot and Mitsuba Salad with Citrus are all doable for the home cook. The book has a beautiful and unique cover, which would make it a perfect gift for the curious cook on your list.

Available at Amazon.com: Japanese Farm Food

"Vintage Cakes: Timeless Recipes" by Julie Richardson

This cookbook fits the bill for the bakers on your list. Author Julie Richardson has chosen a timeless group of cakes that she has updated for todays palate. Pure ingredients are featured in the recipes, which will appeal to the baker on your list who yearns for a simpler time. Highlights include Eggnog Bundt Cake, Daffodil Cake, Coffee Crunch Spiral (based on the famous Blum's dessert) and Gingerbread Icebox Cake with Mascarpone Mousse. This is a trip down memory lane with sweet results.

Available at Amazon.com: Vintage Cakes: Timeless Recipes

"Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking" by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart

Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart have done for Southern cooking what Julia Child did for French cooking. This tome is comprises more than 750 recipes and 650 variations on this mother cuisine of America. The authors were careful to write clear instructions for both seasoned home cooks and kitchen novices. This will become the new standard reference for cooks everywhere who want a trusted source for the best traditions, techniques and dishes of the region. This is a wonderful gift for the beginning cook or the cook has a large cookbook library.

Available at Amazon.com: Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking

"Seriously Simple Parties " by Diane Worthington

I would be remiss if I didn't mention my own contribution to the genre this year. If you are looking for a book for those that like to entertain but can't spend the entire day in the kitchen, this book will satisfy the novice as well as the advanced cook. It's full of party ideas, menus by season and lots of entertaining tips. Tasty highlights include Parmesan Artichoke Dip, Grilled Chicken with Romeo Sauce and Baked Doughnuts. This one is for the party giver on your list happy.

Available at Amazon.com: Seriously Simple Parties


Other Gifts for the Foodies on Your List

Waring Pro TF200 Professional Rotisserie Turkey Fryer/Steamer

This indoor fryer/steamer is cool. It has a rotating rotisserie that cooks the turkey fast (a 16-pounder in about an hour) and uses 1/3 less oil than other turkey fryers. The rotating spit turns the bird for even cooking that results in a juicy, crisp turkey. The machine can also be used as a traditional fryer and, get this, a steamer for summer clambakes. It's the perfect gift for the toughest-to-buy-for foodie on your list.

Available at Amazon.com: Waring Pro TF200 Professional Rotisserie Turkey Fryer/Steamer

Colorful appliances from Cuisinart

Colors have taken over the kitchen, no matter what appliance you want to choose for a gift. Cuisinart has gone color crazy with immersion blenders, hand mixers and mini-prep food processors. You might want to check on the kitchen colors of the person to whom you are gifting one of these dazzling appliances. Think purple, green, blue and orange. A fun and useful gift that spruces up the kitchen for any level cook.

Available at Amazon.com: Colorful appliances from Cuisinart

Wusthof 4150-7 Classic 9-Inch Bread Knife

Available at Amazon.com: Wusthof 4150-7 Classic 9-Inch Bread Knife

Gifts that will please anyone

Owning a fine serrated knife will bring ease to any cook's chores -- and, best of all, this also works beautifully to slice tomatoes. No more ragged tomato or bread edges with this beauty. I frankly can't live without mine.

Oxo Gadgets

Oxo has everything you can think of and some items you would never think of that make perfect gifts and stocking stuffers. Anyone would love the Pro Swivel Peeler ($12.95), my pick for the perfect peeler. I also love the Chef's Mandoline Slicer with the thin and thick julienne blades ($69.95). Straight and wavy blades can be set to any slice thickness and are ideal for making cucumber salad, potato chips, onion rings and citrus slices. The thin and thick julienne blades are great for making French fries, carrot sticks and garnishes.

Available at Amazon.com: Oxo Gadgets

McEvoy Ranch products: olive oil and much more ($10 and up at www.mcevoyranch.com)

McEvoy Ranch is famous for its award-winning olive oil. Now they have expanded to include such delectable food products as Pink Pearl Apple Marmalade, organic Apple and Lavender Jelly and organic Meyer Lemon Marmalade. I am particularly fond of the body care line, called 80 Acres. The scents are dreamy, and the hand and body wash and body balms are addictive. Select from the Verde, Blood Orange or Lavender scents. You can't go wrong giving any of these products to those you love. Some make great stocking stuffers.

Seattle Chocolates

The chocolatiers at this company have the holidays down pat. The Candy Cane Crunch Bar and box of truffles are simply out of this world. Good luck trying to eat just one! Inventive flavors like Mom's Hot Cocoa Bar and Christmas Cookie Bar are perfect stocking stuffers. For larger gifts, check out their baskets full of chocolate goodies.

Available at Amazon.com: Seattle Chocolates


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