Insights & Actions for Healthy Living
Giving a Cookbook as a Gift? Tips for Selecting the Right One

Giving a Cookbook as a Gift? Tips for Selecting the Right One

Cooking at home is growing in popularity, reversing a trend toward eating out in recent years.

Many people are doing it so they can make fresher, healthier meals for their family and friends, to stretch their budget and to be great foodies!

What home cook or foodie wouldn’t love to receive a new cookbook to get inspired – – such a thoughtful gift anytime of the year?

It has been estimated that as many as 60 million cookbooks are purchased each year, either from publishing houses or self-published authors.

I love cookbooks and have close to 100 in all shapes and sizes in my collection! Each one gives me a new spin on favorite foods, great ideas for feeding partygoers or just making weeknight dinner a special occasion.

Tips for Selecting A Cookbook

If your gift recipient hasn’t given you a specific chef or book title that they would love to have, your cookbook choice is wide open!

Here are a few suggestions for things most of us would love to have in our cookbooks and tips to select just the right one so any book will be well received by your lucky friend.

  • Get an idea about what types of cookbooks they already have and those that they enjoy using. (Some we get and never use!) You should be able to take a sneak peek on their cookbook shelf so that you don’t buy them one they already have.
  • Are there specific food allergies or medical issues that need to be adhered to that could also dictate the type of cookbook which might be most helpful? For example, the latest gluten free book might not appeal to someone who doesn’t need that type of diet restriction but a plant based selection might appeal to those hoping to reduce their risk for chronic disease.
  • My favorite cookbooks show a picture of the finished product. When I can see what it looks like when it’s done, it helps me know I hit the mark or if I even want to attempt that particular recipe! More and more cookbooks are being beautifully illustrated!
  • One of the most important bits of information that makes a good cookbook is one that gives nutritional information for each recipe. Can I make the recipes and keep within my personal nutrition budget for calories and fat and also for those I am serving? Will a particular recipe fit into the points for someone on Weight Watchers who is strictly counting points?
  • I hate when cookbooks will say makes 4 servings but never tells me the size of a serving! Do I give 1 cup or ½ cup; is the bar 2 x 2 or 4 x 4? Those things make a big difference to me especially if I am paying attention to the nutrition information because that data is meaningless without a portion amount.
  • Having some good information about cooking techniques or purchasing tips on each recipe help especially when the cook is not skilled in cooking new items. How to cut up a mango if you never held one before, how long to boil an egg, what is the best apple variety to use or chocolate to buy or other help with basic cooking techniques can aid the cook be successful no matter their skill level.

So many recipes that are printed in health publications, on blogs, recipe websites or in cookbooks do not give a reference point in nutrition, servings or a visual cue of the end product. It can be very frustrating!

When that happens, I will just keep searching until I find one that fits the bill on the complete information that I request. This is what I would want to look for in a cookbook too – one that gives me all the helpful information I need and want.

Cookbook Accessories

Don’t forget special accessories that can help the home cook in addition to a print cookbook.

  • A cookbook stand that will hold the book while they prepare the recipe.
  • A cover that will protect the cookbook from splashing foods during prep.
  • Think about an online cookbook that can be downloaded into a tablet in a kindle or other reading app or get an app itself, such as Betty Crocker Cookbook, AllRecipes, or Food Network in the Kitchen.
  • If connecting recipes for use on a tablet, buy a tablet stand made just for the tablet that has a protective shield to keep it from spills or splashes.
  • Make a gift basket with a particular cookbook. You can preview some of the recipes in the book you choose and select some gift basket items that would go along with the book that your gift recipient may not yet own. For example, for a book that is cooking with vegetables — add in a vegetable peeler, spiralizer, vegetable brush, pot holder and steamer basket so that they can really make use of the recipes in the book. If buying a BBQ book get gadgets for the BBQ like gloves, brush, apron, and tongs.
  • If they love sharing recipes, get a pretty little box that can hold recipe cards and a supply of pretty blank cards that can be used to share some of the new recipes they love in the cookbook you thoughtfully selected.
  • You may want to include a safety kit for the kitchen for the new cook – or even a seasoned veteran – to help make their meal preparation a bit safer. Many of these types of tools we don’t buy ourselves but could really use. Some safety items include a meat thermometer, oven thermometer, refrigerator thermometer, BBQ thermometer, hot glove to get things in and out of the oven without burning hands, prep product labels to date freezer items and leftovers, cut glove to avoid knife cuts, and antimicrobial cleaner to clean surfaces.
  • Splurge on a chef’s apron that fits the cookbook or the cook! There are so many beautiful aprons that lend a personal touch to the job. There are funny ones too and even some that are more protective for heavy duty jobs.

Giving gifts for kitchen enthusiast on your list can be so much fun for any gift giver! People who really appreciate the art and joy of preparing food for themselves and their families will be thrilled to get a new ‘toy’ to use for their kitchen creations!

Let me see, I am going to go add a few things to my wish list right now! You can never have too many cookbooks!

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