Petrucelli Picks: 2018 Gift Guide: The Best Food & Cookbooks of the Year

Nothing is tastier than serving up out picks for the best books of all things food.

We tasted several tomes from Kyle Books. What wonders!
In Five Seasons of Jam ($24.99) Lillie O’Brien proves why jam cannot be rushed. Five Seasons of Jam by [O'Brien, Lillie]These preserving recipes may be short on the page, but they’re designed to stretch time, from when you first find and organize the ingredients, to when you stir the pot slowly and lovingly, then spread it on toast, and take the first magical bite.

Sudie Pigott’s Flipping Good Pancakes: Pancakes From Around the World ($16.99) proves that you don’t have to wait till the weekend to enjoy pancakes. Taking inspiration from countries all over the world, this dynamic collection of recipes shows how versatile and easy pancakes can be.  Chinese Rice Flour Pancakes with Shitake and Sugar Snap Peas anyone?

With step-by-step photography, detailed instructions, specialist advice and Vanessa Kimbell’s indispensable encouragement, The Sourdough School: The Ground-Breaking Guide to Making Gut-Friendly Bread ($24.99) celebrates the timeless craft of artisan baking. Pass the butter. Please.

The Goodness of Honey: 40 Healthy Sweet and Savory Recipes ($12.99) offers vibrant recipes packed full of goodness. From Baked Energy Bars to Honeyed Carrot Cupcakes, and from Foolproof Root Vegetables to a Fig, Nectarine, Burrata & Prosciutto salad, these delicious recipes will allow you to embrace your love for honey without the guilt.


On a 10-year journey to seek the origins of wine,  Kevin Begos unearths a whole world of forgotten grapes, each with distinctive tastes and aromas, as well as the archaeologists, geneticists, chemists—even a paleobotanist—who are deciphering wine down to molecules of flavor.

In Tasting the Past: The Science of Flavor and the Search for the Origins of Wine ( Algonquin Books, $26.95), we meet a young scientist who sets out to decode the DNA of every single wine grape in the world; a researcher who seeks to discover the wines that Caesar and Cleopatra drank; and an academic who has spent decades analyzing wine remains to pinpoint ancient vineyards. Science illuminates wine in ways no critic can, and it has demolished some of the most sacred dogmas of the industry: for example, well-known French grapes aren’t especially noble.

Begos offers readers drinking suggestions that go far beyond the endless bottles of Chardonnay and Merlot found in most stores and restaurants.


Think outside the crust: Slab pie is just like regular pie . . . only better and bigger! Instead of crimping and meticulously rolling out a round crust, slab pies are an unfussy twist that are perfect for a potluck or dinner party or just a family dinner.

Baked on sheet pans, slab pies can easily serve a crowd of people dinner or dessert. Pie Squared: Irresistibly Easy Sweet & Savory Slab Pies (Grand Central Life & Style, $28) includes 75 foolproof recipes, along with inventive decoration tips that will appeal to baking nerds and occasional bakers alike. And this fresh, uncomplicated take on pie will surely pique the interest of those who have previously been reluctant to take out their rolling pin.


Just when you thought you knew everything about a cup o’ Joe… The World Atlas of Coffee: From Beans to Brewing — Coffees Explored, Explained and Enjoyed (Firefly Books, $35)  takes readers on a global tour of coffee-growing countries, presenting the bean in full-color photographs and concise, informative text.

It covers where coffee is grown, the people who grow it and the cultures in which it is a way of life. It also covers the world of consumption—processing, grades, the consumer and the modern culture of coffee. Organized by continent and then country or region, The World Atlas of Coffee presents the world’s favorite brew in color spreads packed with information.


The first official cookbook from the beloved world of Margaritaville features laid-back favorites like the explosively good Volcano Nachos and the heaven-on-earth-with-an-onion-slice Cheeseburger in Paradise, alongside more sophisticated options that will wow your guests. With its combination of recipes, stories, and gorgeous full color food and lifestyle photographs throughout, it is sure to put you in a Margaritaville state of mind!

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere and no vacation is complete without a cocktail―preferably a margarita, of course! Margaritaville: The Cookbook: Relaxed Recipes For a Taste of Paradise (St. Martin’s Press, $32.50) is loaded with drink recipes to inspire your blissful island cocktail hour―from Jimmy’s Perfect Margarita and Paradise Palomas to Cajun Bloody Mary’s and the quintessential Key West Coconut and Lime Frozen Margarita.


With detailed explanations of Middle Eastern foods, and suggestions on the best way to build up a home pantry of staples, you’ll discover a world of flavor. Once you begin cooking from Tahini & Turmeric: 101 Middle Eastern Classics Made Irresistibly Vegan (Da Capo Lifelong Books , $24.99), you’ll find yourself experimenting with pistachios and pomegranate syrup–and, of course, tahini and turmeric.


For this sumptuous cookbook, restaurateur Yann de Rochefort and Executive Chef Marc Vidal tell the story of Boqueria, which has now spread to four New York City locations as well as to Washington, D.C. While the recipes-all deeply rooted in Barcelona’s culinary culture-take center stage with phenomenal food photography, Boqueria: A Cookbook, from Barcelona to New York (Bloomsbury, $35) also swings open the kitchen doors to reveal the bustling life of the restaurant, and offers exciting glimpses of the locales that inspire it: the bars, markets and cervezerias of Barcelona. 

Boqueria’s recipes are delectable variations on authentic Barcelona fare, but more than that; along with their origin stories, these recipes inspire a bit of the Boqueria experience-the cooking, the conversations, and the connections-in your own home.


Zoë François and Jeff Hertzberg shocked the baking world when they proved that homemade yeast dough could be stored in the refrigerator to use whenever you need it. Now, they’ve done it again with Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day: Sweet and Decadent Baking for Every Occasion (St. Martin’s Press, $35), a cookbook with savory, sweet, healthy and decadent recipes for every occasion.

In 100 clear and concise recipes that build on the successful formula of their bestselling series, Holiday and Celebration Bread will adapt their ingenious approach for high-moisture stored dough to a collection of breads from the four corners of the globe.


In Provisions: The Roots of Caribbean Cooking (Da Capo Lifelong Books, $30) , Michelle and Suzanne Rousseau share 150 recipes that pay homage to the meals and market produce that have been farmed, sold, and prepared by Caribbean people–particularly the women–for centuries. Caribbean food is often thought of as rustic and unrefined, but these vibrant vegetarian dishes will change the way we think about this diverse, exciting, and nourishing cuisine. The pages are spiced with the sisters’ fond food memories and fascinating glimpses of the islands’ histories, bringing the region’s culinary past together with creative recipes that represent the best of Caribbean food today.


Derived from the Turkish word “keif” meaning “feeling good,” kefir is a tart, tangy cultured milk, low in sugar and lactose free, and an excellent source of protein, calcium, and B vitamins. Originating from a grain that dates back two thousand years to the Caucasus Mountains of Europe, it is also one of the healthiest natural foods available—scientifically shown to help boost immunity, improve gut health, build bone density, fight allergies, and aid the body’s natural detoxification.

The Kefir Cookbook: An Ancient Healing Superfood for Modern Life, Recipes from My Family Table and Around the World (HarperOne, $29.99) offers more than 100 globally-inspired sweet and savory recipes, as well as unique spins on classic recipes, while introducing contemporary flavors and textures to inspire you in the kitchen every day.


We always savor the cookbooks published by Robert Rose.

Since Santa already brought us an Instant Pot, we sampled two delicious treats: The Complete Indiana Instant Pot Cookbook: 130 Traditional & Modern Recipes ($24.95) and 5-Ingredient Instant Pot Cookbook: 150 Easy, Quick & Delicious Recipes ($19.95).

The recipes are as easy as A-B-C, the photos are glorious and, well, we’re getting hungry for another Ham and Cheddar Egg Muffin . . .

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