Moms, Grads and Dads 2019 Gift Guide

Cookbooks for the Holiday Season

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It's often the traditional, favorite dishes that are requested during Thanksgiving from year to year, tying families to memories of past gatherings. 

Book Buzz is a blog produced in collaboration with neighborhood librarians from Houston Public Library, Harris County Public Library and the Bellaire Library.

Thanksgiving is about family and food (and in our family it includes football as well). Prior to each Thanksgiving we talk about what dishes to prepare with suggestions from glossy magazines or ideas from cooking shows, but it is the traditional, favorite dishes from year to year that are requested. These holiday family recipes tie us to our memories of past Thanksgiving gatherings, remembering with fondness the holidays and loved ones.

My first cookbook was Betty Crocker’s Cookbook for Girls and Boys and over the years I progressed to the red plaid Better Home and Garden cookbooks. A dear friend was a cookbook collector and “foodie” and gifted me with several cookbooks over the years adding to my recipe collection to help me decide what and how to cook. I still am drawn to the numerous cookbooks and magazine articles published each year - despite the fact that my Thanksgiving menu never changes nor does my cooking sway far from “the usual” dishes.  

One or two cookbooks I own have earned their stained pages from many uses including the home demonstration cookbooks from my grandmothers' era. These flimsy, and sometimes fragile, pages hold the recipes of favorite pies and cakes from my childhood and just reading the recipe can bring back memories. They are not the recipes you find on the Internet with color pictures and step-by-step instructions, but they are the recipes of a basic time, not fancy, but certainly delicious.

Despite the number of specialized cookbooks available today, there are a few titles that are considered basic choices for the novice cook.  

  • The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer
  • Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
  • Martha Stewart’s Hors d’Oeuvres Handbook
  • Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook

With the coming holiday season and you need a gift idea, explore the abundance of cookbook titles available on any conceivable food topic. You will certainly find a cookbook match for someone on your list. Or stop by your local library and travel the epicurean world all through the year. 

As Julia Child would say: Bon Appétit.

See recipe ideas in our Cooking Buzz column produced in partnership with The Junior League of Houston.

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