Ric TramontoWant to cook like Ric Tramonto? Get the Tru cookbook. Shown here, a first course of Lobster Bisque and Lobster Ceviche, Carrot Parfait, Carrot Juice Reduction, Wild Mushroom Terrine, Truffle Vinaigrette.




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These selections were chosen by CAITLIN BARRETT , who is on the editorial staff of THE NIBBLE.


November 2005

Marketplace / Gift-Finder

Favorite Food Books

What The Editors Have Been Reading


When it comes to holiday gift giving, these are some of our favorite books, with a gourmet twist of course. We present to you selections on cooking, fine food and wine, and entertaining. These books make great gifts for world travelers (and those who aspire to be), those who love to cook, or those who enjoy the pleasure of food and drink. Gift categories include:

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Bakers & Chocolate Lovers


Chocolate: The Sweet History
by Beth Kimmerle

Kimmerle, a candy historian, has created a delightful book that is totally enjoyable for a the novice, yet interesting enough for the connoisseur. Assembling wonderful old photographs, she reviews the history of chocolate and American chocolate companies, how chocolate is made, and how to taste chocolate. An excellent reference volume.

Click here for more information.

Chocolate: The Sweet History

Chocolate Obsession: Confections and Treats to Create and Savor
by Michael Recchiuti

Michael Recchiuti, the “Picasso of chocolatiers,” presents a collection of beautiful confections that promise to yield great results even in the hands of an amateur. Stunning color photography and recipes for burnt caramel ganache for example, make this book a must-have for the chocophiles on your gift list.

Click here for more information.


Gale Gand’s Short and Sweet: Quick Desserts with Eight Ingredients or Less
by Gale Gand and Julie Moskin

This is a superb choice for busy people who love to create delicious desserts in a hurry. Each recipe delivers results that are devilishly simple (and delicious). None of the desserts require unusual ingredients or knowledge of obscure baking techniques. Gand, a partner and executive pastry chef at Restaurant Tru in Chicago, includes tips on cooking with kids, and time-saving shortcuts, making this a highly appropriate gift for busy mom and dads who love great desserts.

Click here for more information.

gale gand

Williams-Sonoma Baking
by Chuck Williams

A trusted name in recipe collections, Williams-Sonoma Baking contains excellent recipes for everything from pizza and focaccia to cheesecake and apple crumble. This book includes a handy glossary and tips on making breads and cakes. A perfect choice for anyone who appreciates simple baked goods.

Click here for more information.


The Wine Lover’s Dessert Cookbook
by Mary Cech and Jennie Schacht

Since pairing wine with dessert can be tricky, most people simply skip it entirely in favor of serving coffee or espresso. Finally, there is a book devoted to delicious dessert recipes and suggested wine pairings, like Peach Tarte Tatin with an ice wine or a vintage port with a Chocolate Soufflé Roulade. In-depth pairing charts make finding the best matches easy, and stunning full-color photography make it impossible not to dive right in to these recipes. This book makes a perfect gift for dessert lovers and wine lovers alike.

Click here for more information.

wine lovers

Wine & Beverages


The Emperor of Wine: The Rise of Robert M. Parker, Jr. and the Reign of American Taste
by Elin McCoy

Any wine lover would be delighted to receive the biography of a man whose name is practically synonymous with wine. From the 100-point scale, to the breadth of wines offered in stores and restaurants, wine critic Robert Parker’s influence on the way wine is consumed in America (and the rest of the world) is undeniable, and his many accomplishments are detailed in this engrossing biography.

Click here for more information.

Robert Parker

Some Like It Hot: 50 Drinks to Warm Your Spirits
by Holly Burrows and Katie Walter

This book goes beyond hot tea, hot chocolates, and hot toddies to seasonally appropriate libations like “Caramel Apple Sips,” “Pumpkin Potion No. 9” and “Sugarplum Punch.” A great hostess gift for a holiday cocktail party or for the hot cocoa lovers on your shopping list, this book sizzles with ideas for keeping toasty.

Click here for more information.

some like it hot

Vino Italiano: The Regional Wines of Italy
by Joseph Bastianich, David Lynch

The vast world of Italian wine is just as exciting to explore as the world of French wines. Joseph Bastianich and David Lynch take you on a tour of Italy through Italian the flavors, aromas and history of Italian wines, and the journey couldn’t be more enjoyable. Clear and concise, this guide combines a survey of each wine-making region, along with its history and a few culinary tidbits. Vino Italiano would make a great gift for someone interested in all things Italian or anyone who wants to expand his or her wine cellar.

Click here for more information.

vino italiano

Wine Bible
by Karen MacNeil

A survey of the wines of the world, this is a great beginner’s guide and an essential volume for any oenophile’s reference section. While being detailed and offering plenty of technical information, Karen MacNeil combines her technical expertise with an engrossing writing style, making this a book that the recipient will go back to again and again.

Click here for more information.

wine bible

Books for Cooks


The Fifth Taste: Cooking with Umami
by Anna and David Kasabian

Umami, the rich, savory taste that lingers on the palate when you eat ripe tomatoes, parmesan cheese, oysters, aged beef, shiitake mushrooms, Asian fish sauce, and other foods is explored in David and Anna Kasabian’s new book The Fifth Taste: Cooking with Umami. Not only do they simplify the science of umami, explain why we crave it, and tell you where it’s found, they show you how to create dishes with maximum umami impact. Popular chefs such as Daniel Boulud, Nobu Matsuhisa, Patrick O’Connell, Hubert Keller, Steve Raichlen, Ming Tsai, and Rick Bayless contributed to the inspired collection of recipes found here including Asparagus Frittata, Lamb Tagine, Sea Scallops with Mashed Potatoes and Red Onion Confit, and Oyster Stew with Sherry. This book is perfect gift for any cook who would like to create more innovative and interesting dishes at home.

Click here for more information.


The New Spanish Table
by Anya von Bremzen

Spain, fast becoming one of the culinary hot spots of the world, has more to offer than tapas and paella. This 275-recipe collection by Anya von Bremzen presents the glory of Spanish food: its marriage of innovation, deep-rooted traditions, and amazing ingredients. It’s the perfect choice for anyone ready to go beyond traditional French and Italian cookbooks.

Click here for more information.

the new spanish table

The Olive and the Caper
by Susanna Hoffman

Greek food has long seemed inaccessible to even adventurous cooks. In this one volume, Susanna Hoffman demystifies Greek ingredients and recipes with great success. She includes notes on language, Greek mythology, literature and botany, all of which relate to the importance of food in Greek culture. Like many warm-weather cuisines, Greek food relies on an abundance of grilled meats and fish and dressed greens. Although the ingredients called for in the recipes are accessible, the resulting dishes are delightfully exotic.

Click here for more information.

olive and caper

Southern Living Christmas Cookbook

Devotees of Martha Stewart will also enjoy Southern Living’s Christmas Cookbook. They’ll find 20 complete menus for holiday entertaining, along with a chapter devoted to recipes for quick gifts, complete with unique packaging ideas. That means, if you’re lucky, you might even get a tasty return on your investment.

Click here for more information.

Southern Living

Staff Meals from Chanterelle
by David Waltuck and Melicia Phillips

While the meals served to customers at high-end New York restaurants like Chanterelle might not be suitable for average cooks to prepare in their home kitchen, the dishes served to the staff before the evening’s service begins certainly are. This book features 433 recipes that chefs, waitstaff and owners enjoy as they bond with each other and prepare for what will be a hectic evening. Elegant comfort food recipes abound, like Butternut Squash and Bourbon Soup, and Lamb Shanks with Tomato and Rosemary. Since most of the recipes adapt well to cooking for a large group, this book makes a great gift for those who love to entertain.

Click here for more information.


Tru: A Cookbook from the Legendary Chicago Restaurant
by Rick Tramonto with Gale Gand and Mary Goodbody

Tru is one of the great restaurants in America, and this recipe collection is suited to the more accomplished cooks on your list. While all of the recipes are accompanied by stunning photography and detailed instructions, ingredients may be difficult to find and some of the preparations are quite lengthy. A must have for fans of the restaurant (that includes us) and Gale Gand’s Food Network program, Sweet Dreams, as it includes a history of Tru and provides insights into the lives of executive chef Rick Tramonto and pastry chef Gand.

Click here for more information.


Vegetarians and Vegans


The Cafe Flora Cookbook
by Cathy Geier

A collection of recipes from the kitchen of the famed vegetarian and vegan Cafe Flora, this cookbook makes a perfect gift for the herbivore in your life. Many vegetarians and vegans express frustration with the lack of quality recipes for brunch dishes, appetizers, main courses, sides, salads, and even condiments that are in line with their dietary needs but will also satisfy their meat-loving friends. Cafe Flora, where more than half of the clientele are meat-eaters, has crafted a volume of sumptuous vegetarian recipes that would satisfy a caveman’s need for a hearty meal.

Click here for more information.

cafe flora

Homegrown Pure & Simple: Great Healthy Food from Garden to Table
by Michel Nischan

This book is a must for those on your holiday shopping list with a green thumb. The recipes are based on fresh fruits and vegetables that can be grown in a home garden (or purchased at a farmers market). There’s a focus on keeping the recipes seasonal and finding ways to preserve your bounty through pickling, canning and creating savory sauces.

Click here for more information.



Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers: Fresh Ideas For the Weeknight Table
by the Moosewood Collective

The Moosewood Collective has been publishing excellent books on vegetarian cooking for over 20 years, and in this volume they present dishes that are simple and delicious. This is a great resource for anyone who likes to feed their family healthy and easy to prepare meals every night of the week.

Click here for more information.


Cheese Primer
by Steven Jenkins

Steve Jenkins has been an authority on cheese for over 20 years, and his helpful guide will aid novices and experts alike to navigate the cheese counter. Jenkins examines cheeses country by country and gives readers the skills to uncover their own cheese preferences.

Click here for more information.

Cheese Primer
Books on Tape  


Audible.com brings an entire library of books, radio talks, comedy shows, magazines and other periodicals straight to your computer or a portable listening device. A number of titles are food-related. Some of the titles that we enjoyed were Jacques Pepin’s autobiography, The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen (which was narrated by an equally charming Frenchman named Michel Chevalier), and French Lessons: Adventures with Knife, Fork, and Corkscrew by Peter Mayle, brought to life with the narration of Simon Jones. Great food writing translates well to the audio format. There are many episodes of radio programs like The Splendid Table and Fresh Air, featuring gourmet topics and guests like acclaimed food writer Ruth Reichl. They can be downloaded to a portable device like an iPod, enjoyed on the computer through a number of players, or streamed directly through the site if a fast internet connection is in place. Foodies will find plenty to enjoy at Audible.com, and the library is constantly expanding. A membership also makes a great gift for those who spend a lot of time on the road.

  • 14.95/month
  • $149.50/year



The new way to catch up on the latest in food, cooking and other gourmet topics: on your headphones. Photo by Raul Mendez.

© Copyright 2005-2022 Lifestyle Direct, Inc.  All rights reserved.  Images are the copyright of their individual owners.

© Copyright 2005-2022 Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. All images are copyrighted to their respective owners.