Great Cookbooks for Families
Reviewed by Katy Killilea
Publishers are churning out a slew of enticing cookbooks for the holiday season. These are my favorites from the new crop.
The Gingerbread Architect: Recipes and Blueprints for Twelve Classic American Homes
by Susan Matheson and Lauren Chattman
Some crafty family somewhere will actually make these stunning gingerbread houses. For us, it’s enough fun to look at the pictures and drool over the ingredients. Each house requires loads of candy and frosting, as you’d expect, but there are some surprises: spoon-size shredded wheat becomes thatched roofing; take an exacto-knife to Juicy Fruit gum and you’ve got mullions for your windows; coarsely break purple, gray, white, and brown Necco wafers for a stone walkway. This book includes architectural blueprints and detailed instructions for making gingerbread houses in styles like “Urban Brownstone,” “Pueblo House,” “South Beach Art Deco House,” and “Carpenter Gothic.” (No blueprint for “McMansion” is included.)
Clarkson Potter Publishers $22.50
Kids in the Holiday Kitchen: Making, Baking, Giving
by Jessica Strand and Tammy Massman-Johnson
Think of this as a holiday handbook: it has a little bit of everything you need to make and do. Well, you don’t actually need to do any of this, but here you’ll find the things you’re likely to have some inkling of wanting to do during the season. Homemade gifts, easy winter meals for busy days, and lots of cookies and sweets—all geared toward those of us with children underfoot—I mean those of us blessed with curious helpers.
Chronicle Books $16.95
The All-American Christmas Cookbook: Family Favorites from Every State
by Georgia Orcutt and John Margolies
Here we have an adorable state-by-state guide to fifty Christmas delicacies, illustrated throughout with vintage Santas, postcards, and rosy-cheeked children. As quirky as it is informative, young Rhode Islanders might prefer Ohio’s Chex Party Mix or Wyoming’s Gingerbread Pancakes to the Woonsocket pork and beef pie known by its French-Canadian name, Tourtiere.
Chronicle Books $16.95
Eat Feed Autumn Winter: 30 Ways to Celebrate When the Mercury Drops
This beautifully designed and photographed book is filled with menus for unexpected, festive, cold-weather occasions. Menus for Winter Solstice, Inauguration Day, Twelfth Night, and many others are included. Because the book is so exquisite, the recipes at first seem fancy-pants, but they’re actually quite straightforward. Foodies and their offspring will love it. Perfect for cooking during a snowstorm.
Stewart, Tabori & Chang $35.00
Healthy Cooking for the Jewish Home: 200 Recipes for Eating Well on Holidays and Every Day
by Faye Levy
This book has a chapter of health-aware recipes for each major Jewish holiday, as well as additional recipes for use every day. It’s big and comprehensive, offering creative new dishes (Magic Carpet Noodle Soup is news to me) as well modern updates of old-time favorites—including potato latkes for Hanukkah that can be baked into crisp, salty deliciousness instead of fried. Not that they aren’t awfully good fried.
William Morrow $29.95
What’s the favorite holiday cookbook at your house? Please share your recommendations.