The Food Fanatic Christmas Gift Guide

9th Dec 2013

Christmas is traditionally a time for overindulgence, so here are a few choice tomes to help you create a mess and a stir with your cooking. If you’re on a budget, tight on space, a novice or an expert we have something to tickle your taste buds, whether you’re giving or receiving.

Style and Substance

Beautiful and inspiring to the home cook, Leon: Ingredients & Recipes first half is a quirky popup book of ingredients, then well grouped recipes in the second. Healthy fast food chain Leon co-founder and all round flavour lover, Allegra McEvedy, has written eight excellent cookery books but this is the one you’ll keep coming back to, for the sweet potato falafel if nothing else.

Budget Blogger

Left wing darling and For Books’ Sake favourite Jack Monroe, has defied poverty with her blog that made her a massive hit. Her début food book A Girl Called Jack – 100 Budget Busting, Delicious Recipes has all your favourite recipes from her blog, along with extras all written with an eye for budget and taste. Many foodies would tell you they were mutually exclusive. Jack dares to say otherwise.

Vegan Superstar

Super popular vegan blogger Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Post Punk Kitchen creates modern vegan food with contemporary twists without the hard to source ingredients. In Isa Does It we’re treated to easy everyday recipes with an eye for shortcuts and timesaving, from creamy curries to one bowl desserts and my personal favourite, beetroot burgers,.

The Feminist Classic

Cooking In A Bedsitter, originally published in 1961, was provocative but sensible and down to earth. It encouraged and made it acceptable for unmarried women to live and cook alone. Katharine Whitehorn’s funny, referential and, at the time, indispensable food book has been in print for over forty years for good reason.

The Modern Classic

Although the queen has been usurped by a plethora of pretenders to the throne there is only one Delia Smith. Throughout the 80s and 90s she reigned supreme by simply explaining how to make your food taste better. Make something from Delia’s Complete How To Cook and when someone inevitably compliments you say, ‘It’s not mine, it’s Delia’s’, for a retro feel.

For the Playful Creative

If you have a young family or you’re just young at heart you’ll love Eat Your Art Out by Ida Skivenes because it’s packed full of cute and healthy breakfast recipes with an emphasis on presentation and taste. Her Little Red Riding Hood made from strawberries and kiwi and her oatmeal lion are sure to be a big hit with everyone.

The Memoir

The inspiration for Meryl Streep’s star turn in the film Julie & Julia, My Life in France showcases so much more of Julia Child than an hour on screen ever could. Her warmth and her tongue in cheek yet informative prose speak to you like a friend. Instead of dominating, her obsessive passion for French food punctuates, frames and compliments this charming work.

The Food Historian

If any other writer named their book Gastronomy of Italy they would be accused of hyperbole but not Anna Del Conte. She has been researching Mediterranean food and food history for over 40 years and leaves no stone unturned. Her informed and evocative prose about her native cuisine conjure feasts that you cannot resist trying yourself.

Popular Food Science

How ethical is my food? What food is good for me? How do I source local food? All these questions and more are answered practically in What to Eat? 10 Chewy Questions About Food, by placing no blame on the individual. Hattie Ellis scooped two awards at Guild of Food Writers Awards by approaching the food debate form a non-judgemental place.

Middle Eastern Monster

The food of the Middle East is having a moment right now and the 700 page Istanbul: Recipes from the Heart of Turkey is not surfing the zeitgeist. Rebecca Seal has been writing about the food of Istanbul for years. This journalist, editor and broadcaster invites us to experiment with this beautifully art directed, accessible and authentic tome.


  • Alice Slater says:

    Paul, it’s Julie & Julia, not Julia & Julia! <3 another brilliant foodie book though. I read it this year and even though it's really meaty (veggie over here), I really enjoyed it.