Holiday Gift Guide 2017: Cookbooks to give this year

Infuse your holiday shopping list with some Canadian flavour

TORONTO EATS by Amy Rosen 

Figure 1, 248 pages. $37.95.

Rosen’s 2014 tome Toronto Cooks, a love letter to the city’s food culture, now has a sister volume that packs in 100 new recipes from some of our hottest spots. Together, they’re a must-have for any #tofoodie. Rosen (who had a long and storied career as a food writer before opening Rosen’s Cinnamon Buns) offers brief snapshots into the process of chefs like David Lee, Craig Wong, Nuit Regular, Cory Vitiello and others, while vivid food photography and quirky Polaroid portraits make this a banquet for the eyes, too.

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The Harvest Commission, 178 pages. $28.

Food of the gods, culinary secret weapon, evil cholesterol-booster, misunderstood ingredient – Canadian chef Long tackles the ever-controversial yellow stuff from all sides in this breezy, informative paperback. In surprisingly funny, conversational prose, the Cafe Belong chef (and former Restaurant Makeover mentor) leads readers through its creation, variations and many applications – herbed compound butter for steaks, brown-buttered popcorn, butter-seared chicken. You’ll never go back to marg again.

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FEAST: RECIPES & STORIES FROM A CANADIAN ROAD TRIP by Lindsay Anderson and Dana VanVeller 

Appetite by Random House, 304 pages. $35.

In the summer of 2013, two best friends decided to hop in the car and take a culinary tour of the Trans-Canada Highway, visiting restaurants, farms, breweries and distilleries from sea to sea. The result is a 304-page epic jammed with 100 recipes collected from chefs and cooks they met along the way. Interspersed are vignettes from their travels: braking for two bald eagles battling it out in the middle of a highway in the Yukon, hitting up a pop-up restaurant built on a frozen river in Winnipeg. (Gifting tip: ask the recipient to take notes for your next vacation together.)

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Douglas & McIntyre, 240 pages. $29.95.

Over his 20-plus years in the food industry, Xaxli’p chef and APTN host Wolfman blazed a trail for the re-popularization of Indigenous cuisine. For the first time, he’s poured his knowledge of traditional foods and classical culinary training into this volume, co-authored with his wife, education consultant Finn. The book incorporates traditional recipes like pemmican and bannock tweaked for basic kitchen use, plus fusion creations like ginger caribou and deer lasagna.

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THE EDGY VEG by Candace Hutchings

Robert Rose, 288 pages. $32.95.

Are vegan YouTubers the new celeb chefs? Toronto-based web personality Hutchings has moved off the (really) small screen with a compendium of 138 all-veg recipes. Hutchings’s tone isn’t at all preachy (though it is, at times, punishingly punny – see Tofu To Talk A Bao and Why So Syrian Chicken And Rice), and she’s created veggie alternatives for an impressive range of dishes, including seared scallops, melted crab dip and Cuban sandwiches.

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Penguin Canada, 352 pages. $40.

The Ruby Watchco chef’s latest is a meditation on seasonal cooking, offering simple yet lush ways to showcase whatever’s freshest at your local produce stand: charred tomatoes with blue cheese in summer, roasted carrots with salted grapes in fall, panzanella with morels in spring. Instead of the Food Network-famous chef’s face, the book leans visually on painterly photographs of Dutch ovens, pans and platters teeming with home-cooked bounty. Here, the produce truly takes centre stage.

For more gift ideas at every price point, visit NOW’s Holiday Gift Guide 2017. | @nataliamanzocco

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