My yearly guide to help you take advantage of those Boxing Day sales! This year we’re talking about the best cookbooks I’ve ever read. Plus, read to the bottom to enter my very first giveaway!
** This giveaway has ended. Thank you so much for entering! **
I don’t talk about it much on this blog because I like to keep things food-related here, but I am a huge bookworm.
To illustrate my love for the written word, my mother would tell you one of two stories: the time she found me sitting on the floor of my bedroom with every single book I owned pulled off my bookshelf and spread out around me, or the time she arrived at preschool to pick me up and witnessed me “reading” a picture book to the other children.
I would tell you that I’ve lived my life in books. I’ve made friends through books, I’ve learned valuable lessons from books, I gained my university degree by decoding books, and I’ve tried my hand at writing books. Up until recently, that list was devoted to novels and literature. Around the time I started this blog, I also got very into reading cookbooks. Yes, actually reading cookbooks. I wanted to be a better baker, a better cook, a better foodie, so I started with what I knew in order to learn. That meant studying the greats, and what better way to do that than to read their cookbooks?
For this year’s Boxing Day guide, I’ve chosen to highlight the best cookbooks I’ve ever read. These cookbooks all have something that makes them unique and are all great reads with insanely delicious recipes. Each and every one will settle perfectly into your collection!
One of the very first food blogs I fell in love with belongs to Todd and Diane. These two cooks were the first to show me the power of great food photography and the sex appeal of an heirloom tomato. After you read their cookbook, Bountiful, you will never look at a zucchini the same way again — Todd and Diane illustrate how elegant and wonderful vegetables can be and demonstrate just how easy it is to make them the star of your table. If you’re looking to spruce up your veggie game or just admire some of the best food photography, Bountiful is the cookbook you need to buy this Boxing Day. It will make you want to start your own garden!
Half the pleasure of reading Joy’s blog comes from her hilariously sarcastic tone which translates into her second cookbook Homemade Decadence. The other half is obviously her knack for creating irresistible and unique treats. Chock full of easy-to-follow recipes for stunning cakes, cookies, pies, and (my personal favourite) brunch, this cookbook will keep you drooling, laughing, and baking up a storm! The title truly says all there is to say about this book: be prepared and put on your stretchy pants.
Deb is another blogger who I admire for her ability to come across as extremely knowledgeable while being self-deprecating. Her unique voice shines throughout this cookbook as she walks you through how to make some amazing food from easily accessible ingredients. It’s family food that blows your granny’s pot roast and mashies out the window.
If you get jazzed over all things plant-based, gluten-free, or healthy, Meghan’s book is the one for you! Her energy and enthusiasm for leading a healthy life is palpable in every sentence in this book. If you haven’t tried a green juice before, Meghan will make you want to. Her helpful nutrition and heath tips scattered throughout the book are just as intriguing as her recipes, but what I found most unique about her cookbook is how she effectively integrates her online presence through extended reading options. If there’s something she mentions that you want to know more about, chances are she has an online link for you to peruse. Get this cookbook and add some colourful, awesometown flair to your shelf!
I have to admit something. It wasn’t until I picked up this book in my local Chapters that I knew anything about Thug Kitchen. I’m now a hardcore fan. This team keeps their identities secret, which is probably wise considering how much profanity is splattered across each and every page. The profanity, however, is what I love about this cookbook. Thug Kitchen shows you in a no-nonsense manner how important it is to eat healthy and to test your own boundaries — be that in the kitchen or in other aspects of your life. If you can stand the amount of f-bombs dropped in this book, I highly recommend it. Delicious plant-based recipes, colourful photos, and some inspiring words.
Like White on Rice Couple, Izzy’s blog is another I grew to love very early on. Not only is Izzy’s food styling and photography beautiful, but she also produces original recipes that make you say “YUM.” Her debut cookbook runs along the same lines. It is filled with gorgeous photography, impeccable styling, mouthwatering recipes, and dotted with her characteristic genuine voice. If you love wholesome food with a twist, Top with Cinnamon should be your first buy on Boxing Day.
What can I say about Jamie that hasn’t already been said? The man puts out some seriously good grub, and he’s done it once again with Comfort Food. This book was an impulse purchase of mine. I saw the title, skimmed through the pages once, and walked it over to the check out. I’ve only made about six dishes from this book (mainly because the recipes require a lot of time), but I can assure you that each recipe was worth the effort. Comfort Food is all about putting that extra bit of love into your meals and creating something extra special and delicious. If you’re all about warm, oozy cheese, decadent cakes, and those cozy meals your mom used to make, you’re gonna want this book.
This is an oldie but a goodie. If you’re into browsing second hand bookshops, chances are you’ll find Aces among the dusty tattered copies. This cookbook was one of the first books I learned to cook from, and I’m pretty sure most of my family’s favourite recipes originated from it and the others in the Best of Bridge collection. The reason I’m recommending Aces particularly is for the mass index — it holds the recipes for every Best of Bridge book before it. This book contains hearty, classic family recipes that you can make time and time again. Trust me, soon enough your copy will be as stained and ravaged as ours!
I love Gordon Ramsay, and if you’ve watched any of his UK shows like his Ultimate Cookery Course or Home Cooking you probably do as well. He’s not nearly as scary and abrupt as USA channels portray him, and judging by Ultimate Cookery Course he truly wants everyone to succeed. This book is honest, straightforward, and will help you become a better cook. I learned so many tips and tricks from this book as well as the accompanying television series (some episodes available online.) Gordon’s recipes are simple, elegant, and easy to prepare at any level. If you’re looking for a book to help you become more confident in the kitchen, you can’t do any better than Ultimate Cookery Course.
This is it, folks. This is my favourite cookbook I’ve read thus far. Aimée’s book is everything I ever wanted in a cookbook and more. Simple, family-friendly, natural recipes, elegant anecdotes, and an inviting, loving tone form Brown Eggs and Jam Jars. All of Aimée’s recipes are easy to follow, taste scrumptious — try especially her Kale, Pomegranate & Pine Nut Salad, Cheesy Butternut Squash Penne, and Cinnamon Shortbread Bars with Dark Chocolate Ganache — and celebrate natural, local ingredients. But what I love most of all is how beautiful her narratives are. Each story in her cookbook comes from the heart and truly encompasses her values surrounding food, family, and embracing your inner homesteader.
Now for the fun part.
I want to save one of you the trouble of waiting in the horrendous Boxing Day line ups. I’m giving away a copy of Aimée’s debut cookbook Brown Eggs and Jam Jars to one lucky reader!
Below is a form you can use to enter the giveaway. There are many ways you can enter, so use one or all of them to enter as many times as you want! This giveaway is only open to Canadian residents, excluding Quebec (sorry, friends!), aged 18 years and up. The winner will be chosen at random and will be required to answer a skill testing question. I will notify the winner, by email, within 24 hours of the end of the giveaway so please make sure you use a valid email address! The winner must respond within 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen. The giveaway will be open from December 23rd, 2015 12am PST until December 31st, 2015 11:59pm PST. No purchase necessary.
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One last note: I will be taking a little break over Christmas to recharge, spend some time with my family and friends, and generally enjoy the holidays. I’ll be back with a couple posts before New Year’s though, so it won’t be too long! I just can’t seem to stay away from the holiday recipes!
Thank you so much for being a part of The Cinnamon Scrolls family! I’m looking forward to 2016 and all the good stuff it will bring.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!