Dining Playbook Holiday Gift Guide: A Book for Every Foodie on Your List

As we approach the bustling holiday season, we often feel rushed to find the perfect gift for everyone on our list. But if there’s one option that makes for easy gift-giving, it’s books. They have a unique ability to allow us to slow down and hit the pause button on our busy lives. And even when the holidays have come and gone, the books we’ve gifted are bound to bring joy all year long.

Today we’re sharing some of our favorite food-related books that make for wonderful holiday presents. Each book on our list is written by a local chef, restaurateur, or food writer. No matter if you’re gifting to a new cook or a master in the kitchen, we’ve got everyone covered.

Pastry Love by Joanne Chang

Just released in November, Chang’s fourth cookbook features 125 of her favorite baking recipes. Expect sweet treats like Mocha Chip Cookies, Lemon Sugar Cookies, and Malted Chocolate Cake. In addition to recipes, Pastry Love includes master lessons and essential baking techniques. We love this book as an option for the budding baker or that friend with a constant hankering for chocolate. You know who they are!


The New Home Cooking by Christopher Kimball

Got a friend who loves all things food, but isn’t sure where to begin with at-home cooking? Kimball’s book is loaded with simple, straight-forward recipes. A combined effort along with his cooks at Milk Street, Kimball offers an approachable look at elevating the quality of your cooking. The recipes include simple, wholesome ingredients that will give any new cook a boost of confidence in the kitchen.


Out of Line: A Life of Playing with Fire by Barbara Lynch

The next book on our list is a great fit for an aspiring chef or restaurateur. No stranger to the Boston restaurant scene, Barbara Lynch is an award-winning chef whose book is a perfect gift for someone who loves a culinary adventure. Different than the cookbooks above, Out of Line recounts Lynch’s somewhat tumultuous childhood all the way to her successes in the culinary scene. It’s full of grit and determination. Locals and foodies alike will enjoy the colorful stories brought forth in this delicious debut memoir. 


Pitmaster: Recipes, Techniques, and Barbecue Wisdom by Andy Husbands

Go ahead and knock Dad, husband, or grilling aficionado off the list. Pitmaster is the quickest way to step up your barbecue game. Your stomach will rumble as you peruse regional barbecue styles and learn tips and techniques for backyard cooking. You may just want to order a copy for yourself too.


The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs by America’s Test Kitchen 

Here’s a great gift for children, teens, or even those in need of basic kitchen skills. Put together by the America’s Test Kitchen team, this cookbook combines science with hands-on learning. All recipes are kid-tested and approved, and include step-by-step techniques for young chefs. We love this book not only for aspiring chefs, but for those who love to experiment in the kitchen.


Eating From the Ground Up by Alana Chernila 

With the New Year right around the corner, many of us find ourselves with a goal of healthier eating. Post-holiday bliss, a veggie-based cookbook is just what the doctor ordered. Whether that someone on your list is a health nut, a vegetarian, or just appreciates plant-based eating, this cookbook is a delight. Eating from the Ground Up features over 100 versatile recipes along with beautiful images that’ll make you give kale yet another chance.


The Road to San Donato by Robert Cocuzzo

The books on our list will certainly have you cooking up a storm, so to balance it all out, we’re adding in an adventurous travel memoir. This one just so happens to be written by our host Jenny’s husband, so we’re very excited to share it with you. Page by page, you’ll read Cocuzzo’s story of his 425-mile bike ride through Italy. Accompanied by his father, the two trace back their Italian heritage mile by mile, racing from Florence, Italy to San Donato Val di Comino, the village from which their family emigrated. It’s a tale of challenges and surprises and certainly one you’ll be glad you read.


With this list, we hope you’re able to knock a few people off your shopping list. And hey, we totally get it if you order a couple for yourself. We may have done just that already.