Books for Novice and Expert Cooks in Your Life

Housekeeper with cookbook and mixer

By Katherine Sharma

My holiday gift shopping list always includes cookbooks for the foodies in my life, but cookbooks are good gifts all year long. The list of possibilities is so huge that I scour the Internet for recommendations.

I’ve found that the Food Network has a good list of cookbooks for a range of tastes (from foreign gourmet dining to down-home BBQ to gluten-free believers) and a range of skill levels, from novice to expert. While TV celeb chefs are perhaps overrepresented, there are many listed books that I found recommended by multiple other sources, such as gourmet magazines, book reviewers and lifestyle editors.

The books that seemed to be getting the biggest buzz for 2015 include: Lucky Peach, a 101 easy Asian recipes from the independent foodie mag; Nopi: The Cookbook, a collection of Asian-meets-Middle-Eastern recipes from the famed London restaurant Nopi’s Head Chef Ramael Scully teamed with author Yotam Ottolenghi; Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking, featuring Israeli cuisine from the Philadelphia restaurant of James Beard Award-winning Chef Michael Solomonov; Bien Cuit: The Art of Bread by New York artisanal baker Zachary Golper; Milk Bar Life featuring new savory recipes from Christina Tosi, author of Momofuku Milk Bar‘s creative sweets; Near & Far: Recipes Inspired by Home and Travel offering 120 vegetarian dishes from the personal collection of award-winning food blogger Heidi Swanson; Gjelina, the first cookbook inspired by Travis Lett’s Venice Beach-based California-Mediterranean restaurant; The Nomad Cookbook with sweet and savory creations from New York’s popular The Nomad restaurant menu, plus bonus cocktail recipes; and, finally, Mexico from the Inside Out, a debut cookbook from Chef Enrique Olvera, combining the sophistication of his Mexico City Pujol restaurant with family home cooking.

For many more cookbook gift ideas, go to


Katherine Sharma’s family roots are in Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. But after her early childhood in Texas, she has moved around the country and lived in seven other states, from Virginia to Hawaii. She currently resides in California with her husband and three children. She has also traveled extensively in Europe, Africa and Asia, and makes regular visits to family in India. After receiving her bachelor’s degree. in economics and her master’s degree in journalism from the University of Michigan, Katherine worked as a newspaper and magazine writer and editor for more than 15 years. She then shifted into management and marketing roles for firms in industries ranging from outdoor recreation to insurance to direct marketing. Although Katherine still works as a marketing consultant, she is now focused on creative writing.