It’s almost holiday time so I am giving the early shoppers a heads up on some great books to gift to your favorite foodie.

INSTITUT PAUL BOCUSE GASTRONOMIQUE: The Definitive Step-by-Step Guide to Culinary Excellence by Institut Paul Bocuse is the perfect guide for professional chefs in training and aspiring amateurs.  This huge fully illustrated and totally comprehensive step-by-step manual covers the A to Z of cooking.  The guide is an authoritative reference book which covers over 250 core techniques in extensive detail with amazing color photographs.  The book is an astonishing compendium that is an essential guide for a serious cook.

COOK’S SCIENCE: How to Unlock Flavor in 50 of our Favorite Ingredients from the Editors of America’s Test Kitchen is a must gift for your favorite foodie!  This all-new companion to the New York Times-bestselling The Science of Good Cooking, highlights 50 of our favorite ingredients and the cooking science behind them.  The book is divided into 50 chapters, each explaining in depth the science behind and techniques for unlocking flavor in a single ingredient.  The book describes how to buy the ingredients and marries it with practical shopping information so readers learn the best way to chop kale to reduce bitterness; how to cook wild salmon to keep it moist; why brining is important in poultry cooking; and the differences between yams and sweet potatoes.  This is a book from which to cook and also a book to take to bed to devour.

THERE’S ALWAYS ROOM FOR CHOCOLATE: Recipes from Brooklyn’s The Chocolate Room by Naomi Jospeher, Jon Payson, and Georgia Friedman is a perfect book for the holiday season evoking childhood memories of the utter joy of chocolate.  The Chocolate Room in Brooklyn is a café and retail shop which is sought after by many a chocoholic.  Who wouldn’t want to prepare the shop’s famous brownie sundae; their turtle cheesecake; chocolate stout gingerbread; or even chocolate caramel matzo?  I say, yes, there is always room for chocolate and this book tells it all.

THE LONDON COOKBOOK: Recipes from the Restaurants, Cafes, and hole-in-the Wall Gems of a Modern City by Aleksandra Crapanzano is a thrilling exploration of this hotbed city of vibrant cooking.  In the sixties, the only place to eat in London was Simpson’s on the Strand.  Now, London is a hub to diverse cooking styles and fabulous restaurants.  This book takes you on a culinary journey including 100 recipes and gorgeous color photographs of the city’s culinary treasures.  Standouts include pork shoulder, black pepper, and mascarpone ragù; razor clams with fava beans and serrano ham; honey-glazed duck breast with roasted plums and bok choy; and the River Café’s chocolate nemesis!

CHRISTOPHER KIMBALL’S MILK STREET MAGAZINE is a wonderfully exciting new food publication.  This link will give you a free charter issue and start you off.  The 32-page full-color magazine from cooking school authority Christopher Kimball has a fresh approach to cooking including perfect fluffy olive oil scrambled eggs – without butter; foolproof single-crust pie dough; Chinese white-cooked chicken; and caramel oranges.  I particularly liked the article on cooking salmon in foil in a hot skillet which was a great new idea!

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