Naomi’s Holiday Gift Guide

Cookbook Ideas for Your Special Someone

Curated by Naomi Bussin


I look at sooooo many cookbooks – sharing it with you is half the fun. Here are some that I really like, and that you might not know about, for you or your loved ones.

For the last year or two, we have all been doing more cooking and a lot of thinking.  Some of us did a deep dive into cooking projects (hello sourdough) and others kept it simple, with pantry cooking or one-pot meals. We are making efforts to acknowledge the significant culinary contributions of historically marginalized peoples. There is also a huge interest in plant-based meals and our impact on the world. These themes are reflected in my picks.

  • Life is complicated enough – for the free spirit, try No recipe recipes by Sam Sifton of the New York Times. It’s ‘inspiration’ with no rules; although it may not provide enough detail for nervous or novice cooks.  Molly Baz, formerly of Bon Appetit has written Cook this book, techniques that teach and recipes to repeat. Recipes are modern, fun and accessible like Pastrami Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy Onions and Dill.  For visual learners, she includes QR codes that link to videos. I also liked the positive messages, and reliable, healthy-ish recipes in Simply Julia: 110 Recipes for Simple Comfort Food by Julia Turshen.  
  • Plant-based cookingTo Asia with Love, by Hetty McKinnon is a delicious, vegetarian cookbook with lots of flavour, as in the Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Chickpeas and Edamame with Ginger-Scallion Oil. One Pot, Pan, Planet: a greener way to cook for you, your family and the planet by Anna Jones provides both fabulous recipes and practical, easy-to-use information about how to reduce our impact on the planet when we cook.
  • Cookbooks by Black, Indigenous and People of Colour Black Food: Stories, Art and Recipes from across the African Diaspora by Bryant Terry fulfils the promise of the title with a fascinating collection of soul food recipes. Everyone’s Table: Global Recipes for Modern Health, by Gregory Gourdet of Top Chef provides recipes with a big flavour punch. They are free of gluten, dairy and refined sugars, but you would not notice. Try the Cauliflower Puttanesca. 
  • For the bakerLa Dolce e Vita by Letitia Clark uses all of my favourite flavours in her Italian desserts – almonds, fruit, olive oil, ricotta, coffee, and of course chocolate. Delizioso.  Mother Grains by Roxanna Jullapat shows you how to incorporate ancient grains in your baking, making them more flavourful and nutritious. Her overnight oats are on regular rotation in my house. 

Remember, you can also rely on my previous articles about specific books, which I have not referenced here.  There are also exciting books not yet released, but stay tuned – I will update this list on the Tonic radio show closer to the holidays.  Happy holidays! 

Naomi Bussinis a lawyer, mother of three and an accomplished cook. Food is her favourite subject and she reads cookbooks in her spare time.