The Best Cookbooks For Christmas 2021
Christmas is a magical time of the year. It’s a holiday season riddled with joyful memories of bicycles dropped off on your roof by Santa and half-eaten mince pies. It’s also a holiday season that’s just as much about the food as it is about presents. The perfect way to combine those two is, of course, through some food-related presents.
I’m definitely in the stage of my life where I get really excited about receiving socks and underwear on Christmas but I think my favourite gift to receive from Saint Nick is a brand-new cookbook. Not only does their rectangular shape make them look exceedingly aesthetic under the tree but a cookbook is a gift that keeps on giving.
From leafing through it on the day you get it – and dog-earing the recipes you want to try first – to actually sitting your family down and serving them an elaborate meal that sort-of looks like the photo, the experience of getting a cookbook for Christmas simply cannot be beat. I’ve already highlighted some of our favourite chef’s favourite cookbooks as well as the best restaurant cookbooks and vegan cookbooks out there. But having too many cookbooks is simply not a thing. These are the cookbooks you should be buying the food lovers in your life for Christmas this year.
Three by Selin Kiazim
Three is an in-depth and informative cookbook that explores the elements that make a plate of food truly come into its own: acid, texture and contrast — the fundamental building blocks that make the ordinary extraordinary. This one isn’t for the faint of heat but will make the perfect gift for those that take their cooking seriously.
Jew-Ish by Jake Cohen
The ideal cookbook for anyone celebrating Hanukkah, Jew-Ish is a cookbook that contains recipes inspired by author Jake Cohen’s Ashkenazi heritage as well as his husband's Persian-Iraqi roots. The end result is a cookbook filled with interesting (and hearty) recipes like short rib cholent and cacio e pepe rugelach.
Rice by Michael W. Twitty
Rice is one of the world’s most popular foods and Michael W. Twitty’s latest cookbook is a celebration of all things rice. Featuring everything from savannah rice waffles to Ghananian crab stew, Rice is stuffed with 51 recipes that demonstrate just how versatile that food can be. Know someone that loves their rice cooker more than you? Get them this book.
Colombiana by Mariana Velásquez
Colombian food is about more than just empanadas, Mob. Mariana Velásquez’s Colombiana is a cookbook steeped in the rich culinary traditions of her homeland but Velásquez isn’t afraid of mixing things up either. Expect plenty of classics like tamarind pork tenderloin with mint as well as modern twists on beloved Bogota dishes.
C’mon, I couldn’t not include our new cookbook on here, could I? Ben would probably give me a bollocking if I didn’t give Comfort MOB a plug but I can honestly say that even if I didn’t work for Mob, it’d make this list of the best cookbooks for Christmas. Expect all the flavours and textures of comfort pulled together in one book via 100 recipes. The dishes in this cookbook will warm, soothe and fill your soul. We’re very proud of this one.
Nadiya Bakes by Nadiya Hussein
You can learn how to bake incredible cakes, pastries, pies and puddings for every occasion with Nadiya's simple cookbook. Aptly titled Nadiya Bakes, this bakery-focussed cookbook is stacked with plenty of achievable recipes that’ll capture the imagination of any self-respecting Bake Off fan. In fact, even the most ardent Bake Off hater will probably be charmed.
That Sounds So Good by Carla Lalli Music
Hot off the success of her bestselling cookbook, Where Cooking Begins, Carla Lalla Music is back with another banger in the form of That Sounds So Good. Gorgeous photography accompanies the 100 weeknight-friendly recipes in this amicable companion of a cookbook. Carla keeps things fresh and approachable throughout, making this the perfect “baby’s first cookbook” present for anyone looking to dip their toe into the world of quick stovetop suppers.
Chetna’s 30 Minute India by Chetna Makan
Taking inspiration from the eclectic tastes of Indian cuisine, Chetna Makan’s latest and greatest cookbook is a collection of tempting recipes that can all be on the table in less than 30 minutes. Hence why it’s called Chetna’s 30 Minute India. I’m a sucker for something delicious that you can rustle up in a flash so you best believe this at the top of my wishlist this year.
Tarkari by Rohit Ghai
Tarkari is the first cookbook from the talented chef of Kutir and Manthan in London. The title roughly translates to mean 'vegetable' in Urdu and the recipes themselves are all vegetarian and vegan dishes. Think tangy starters and big, brash curries featuring ingredients like jackfruit, lotus root, and cauliflower.
Sambal Shiok by Mandy Yin
Mandy Yin’s Sambal Shiok is a brilliant restaurant that serves fiery and flavourful Malaysian cooking. Mandy Yin’s Sambal Shiok is now also a brilliant cookbook that serves readers recipes for fiery and flavourful Malaysian cooking. Split into hawker centre favourites, home-style dishes, and snacks, this cookbook will show you how to make Mandy’s signature curry laksa as well as plenty of other Malaysian recipes like soy-braised egg tofu and anchovy fried rice.
One Pot: Three Ways by Rachel Ama
Vegan food doesn’t have to incorporate countless ingredients and complicated substitutes. Rachel Ama has been flying the flag for plant-based eating for a number of years now and her One Pot: Three Ways cookbook is a Christmas gift that’s just as good for non-vegans and vegans. Each recipe uses either one pot, one pan or one tray to serve four people. It’s a simple concept, executed well, with recipes such as Cajun beer-battered oyster mushrooms and garlicky crushed new potatoes proving that you can still feed and please a crowd with plant-based recipes.
Foodheim: A Culinary Adventure by Eric Wareheim and Emily Timberlake
The best word to describe Foodheim: A Culinary Adventure is eclectic. Much like comedian Eric Wareheim’s sense of humour, Foodheim is a cookbook/life manual that offers some off-the-wall and inventive approaches to eating and drinking. With chapters on circle foods, grandma foods, and juicy foods, you can pretty much expect the unexpected from this one. An excellent cookbook if you want a genuinely funny read and something that reminds you of just how fun cooking is supposed to be.
Eat, Habibi, Eat! by Shahir Massoud
Shakshuka, shawarma, fattoush. Any cookbook that contains those three recipes is a winner in my eyes and Eat, Habibi, Eat! from Canadian-Egyptian Shahir Massoud looks set to be a real winner. A vibrant showcase of modern Egyptian cooking, this is one of the best-looking cookbooks out there and exactly the sort of thing you want to have on your coffee table for when your mates come over.