Shopping & Reviews

The 2018 SAVEUR Cookbook Gift Guide


By SAVEUR Editors

Published on November 23, 2018

If you're on the hunt for a great cookbook gift this season, look no further. Whether you've been cooking along with the SAVEUR Cookbook Club all year or are just now hearing about this group of our most engaged readers, you're in luck. We've compiled a list of key ingredients and equipment inspired by 2018's featured books. Zero in on one or two selections and fill a gift basket with related food and kitchen tools, or go big and order all 12 books and stock a full international pantry to catch up on this year's culinary trip around the world.

Check out our Holiday Gift Guides:

<a href='' rel='nofollow' title=''><em>Tasting Georgia: A Food and Wine Journey in the Caucasus</em></a> by Carla Capalbo

    Essential Kitchen Tools & Ingredients

    Svanetian Salt
    A spiced salt mixture usually including a variation of dried marigold, blue fenugreek, dried chilies, cumin, coriander, garlic and/or dill, it's used throughout Georgian cooking, but most commonly in the Western Georgian provinces of Samegrelo and Svaneti. It's perfect on chicken, pork or beef and thrown onto a hot grill, or to add as the flavoring to braised vegetables.

    Mortar and Pestle
    Integral to grinding your own Georgian spices at home or making your own adjika, this is a crucial piece of equipment for this cookbook. It's not only useful in Georgian cuisine, but throughout the globe--from Thai papaya salad to crushing Sichuan peppercorns, the mortar and pestle cannot be replaced by any other kitchen gadget.

    Typically used in their dried form, barberries have tart and sour front notes, with a citrusy finish to them. You'll find these fruits throughout Persian and Western European cooking, in both sweet and savory capacities. They pair perfectly as the base of a sauce for roast pork or duck, and you'll commonly find them stewed with other fruits as a sweet treat to end the night.

    <a href='' rel='nofollow' title=''><em>Lulu's Provençal Table</em> by Richard Olney</a>
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      Essential Kitchen Tools & Ingredients

      Savory Herb
      Little used in American cooking, you can find both winter and summer savory dotted throughout French cooking. Summer savory has a lighter, more delicate flavor, while winter savory has a heartier, slightly bitter flavor. Savory can be added to a variety of soups, stews, vinaigrettes and poultry dishes to bring additional brightness to anything you're cooking.

      Coarse, Grey, Unrefined Sea Salt
      Grey salt has a distinct flavor and texture that is hard to match with a basic kosher salt. And considering it lasts forever, I was more inclined to purchase a bag of it. The minerality, the crunchy, coarse texture, and the color in general makes it perfect as a finishing salt, but it also adds a special, "can't put my finger on it" taste in soups, stews and braised meats. If you're set to make a provencal style meal, I highly recommend picking up a bag.

      Food Mill
      I used to think that a food mill was one of those kitchen tools that just lived in my kitchen to collect dust. But, over the years, I've come to realize how easy it is to find ways to use it. Lulu primarily uses in the soups and stews section, but it's also perfect for making the best tomato sauce, as well as the fluffiest mashed potatoes you've ever had in your life. Instead of pulverizing ingredients like a food processor might, the mill gently breaks up the product, creating soft, uniform pieces, highlighting the main ingredient in whatever you're making. Truly, it's almost impossible to find a subsitute for a food mill in the kitchen.

      <a href='' rel='nofollow' title=''><em>The Africa Cookbook: Tastes of a Continent</em></a> by: Dr. Jessica B. Harris
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        Essential Kitchen Tools & Ingredients

        Deep Fryer
        In order to create the most authentic fritters, the author Jessica B. Harris recommends deep frying only. This is the more traditional method, allowing the fritters room to expand, without absorbing so much oil and becoming greasy. This is the perfect countertop fryer, taking up as little room as possible, while keeping your countertops splatter free.

        Bitter Leaf
        A member of the daisy family, bitter leaves are traditionally used many West African soups and stews. To cook with them, they must be washed, rubbing the leaves together during washing and then squeezing the leaves until most of the bitterness has disappeared. Most often seen in Nigerian cooking, the leaves can act as a thickening agent, but they're also revered for their health benefits.

        Egusi Seeds
        Egusi seeds come from a variety of squashes or gourds and are incredibly high in protein and good fats. Ground into a powder, equsi seeds are used as a thickening agent throughout Western Africa, but more specifically Ghana, Nigeria and the Ivory Coast. Try out Harris' Egusi Soup, made primarily from the powder, which brings a nutty, unctious flavor combination to the dish.

        <a href='' rel='nofollow' title=''><em>Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes</em></a> by Jeffrey Hamelman
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          Essential Kitchen Tools & Ingredients

          Bread Scorer (Bread Lame)
          For those bakers who have gone above and beyond the standard loaves, a bread lame is an ideal gift for those who want to take their baking game to the next level. You can create all manner of designs with the shallow blade, allowing more intricate designs to take shape with each loaf of bread baked.

          Kitchenaid Mixer
          Every kitchen is not complete without should a trusty Kitchenaid stand mixer. The ultimate multi-tasker, not only is it perfect for making breads, but it churns together cookie dough, royal icing, and with the right attachments, helps you make the perfect fresh pasta.

          Heirloom/Specialty Flours
          Located in Asheville, North Carolina, Carolina Ground is committed to milling the best heirloom and specialty flours one can buy. Unbleached and stone ground and all locally grown in NC, this is your go-to for hard to find baking mediums.

          <a href='' rel='nofollow' title=''><em>Japan: The Cookbook</em></a> by: Nancy Singleton Hachisu
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            Essential Kitchen Tools & Ingredients

            Deba Bocho
            While a deba-style knife is used primarily for cutting through fish, it can also be used on poultry and other basic butchery because of its thicker, more durable blade. Coutelier NOLA is a small operation run by Jacqueline Blanchard and Brandt Cox and creates some of the finest Japanese style knives in the US, traveling to Japan each year to keep their skills (and knives) honed.

            Wooden Tofu Forms
            If you've ever wanted to delve into the world of tofu making, this is the perfect starter kit to learn how. It comes complete with a wooden tofu box and press, a tofu cloth bag and Nigari liquid, the agent that coagulates the soy milk and creates solid blocks of tofu. You'll have 24 ounces of tofu in no time.

            Brown Rice Vinegar
            Aged in clay crocks for at least a year, brown rice vinegar has a less acidic profile than Western style vinegars. Its gentle taste is integral in many Japanese dishes, particularly in "sunomo" or vinegared salads. Eden Foods comes highly recommended from the author herself, as the brand sources it directly from Japan. Try it in her Asparagus with Sesame Vinaigrette dish, or Pickled Daikon Radish recipe.

            <a href='' rel='nofollow' title=''><em>Poole’s: Recipes and Stories from a Modern Diner</em></a> by Ashley Christensen
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              Essential Kitchen Tools & Ingredients

              Ball Canning Set
              This set will last you a lifetime and it's the perfect starter kit for anyone who would like to begin their foray into canning at home. Complete with a 21 quart pot, a tightly fitting wire rack and every utensil needed for canning, it helps you clean and sanitize your mason jars before you pack them full of pickly goodness. There's a reason Ball has been around since 1880.

              Oval Baking Dish
              Poole's has become almost synonymous with mac and cheese, with the dish putting them on the map in the city of Raleigh, NC. We highly recommend you try making it at home, and this oval baking dish is perfect to pack the bubbly, noodly, cheesy goodness into.

              Anson Mills
              Straight from Columbia, South Carolina, Anson Mills Goods is known by many chefs and consumers for milling and selling the highest quality grains out there. They've revived some virtually extinct heirloom corn, rices, and other similar fare so if you're looking to find a little known product, this is your spot to shop. We recommend their coarsey ground cornmeal for the best grits you'll ever make.

              <a href='' rel='nofollow' title=''><em>The Austin Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from Deep in the Heart of Texas</em></a>
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                Essential Kitchen Tools & Ingredients

                Slicer Knife A slicer knife is a great multi-tasker in the kitchen. Not only will it perfectly slice the brisket you've just worked 18 hours on, but it can take the skin off of a pork belly, slice uniform chops and is just in general workhorse knife. No collection is complete without it!

                Electric Smoker
                The great selling point with this smoker was the glass window. Although monitoring an electric smoker is ten times easier than a charcoal smoker, being able to actually see your food makes all of the difference. Keeping the temperature constant and consistent is crucial to smoking meats, and the window into your brisket world is officially open with this smoker.

                Crystal Hot Sauce
                Yes this is a Louisiana based hot sauce, but author Paula Forbes pays homage to it many times throughout her fantastic cookbook. Personally, I buy a case of it a year and usually blow through it. It has a wonderful fruity flavor, the perfect amount of vinegar and packs a decent punch at the end. Feel free to liberally apply this to over anything from eggs to tortilla chips to barbeque--pretty much anything you can get your hands on.

                <a href='' rel='nofollow' title=''><em>Honey From a Weed</em></a> by: Patience Gray
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                  Essential Kitchen Tools & Ingredients

                  Oval Copper Sole Pan
                  Patience Gray lists this as one of her most important cooking tools in her collection. She first received one as a gift, and began to use it with more regularity as she found it versatile, a great conductor of heat and a beautiful dish to serve from.

                  Oliera/Oil Dispenser
                  A great oil dispenser is something you'll have for life. Just like your Grandma's bacon fat jar, an oliera keeps good quality olive oil shielded from the sun, preventing it from going rancid or picking up any funky flavors it may encounter. It's also a beautiful centerpiece for any provencal meal (or any meal for that fact) that may grace your dinner table.

                  Great Quality Olive Oil
                  High quality olive oil cannot be substiuted when it stands as a main ingredient in much of Gray's cooking. Her style of cooking highlights the simplicity and depth of flavor that can come from cooking food at the height of their season. When a dish only has three or four ingredients, ensuring all of them stand alone, as well as meld together is essential. Our love for KATZ's vinegars also extends to their olive oil, with choices ranging from peppery and tannic, to soft and supple, we recommend picking up 2-3 bottles for a variety of cooking applications.

                  <a href='' rel='nofollow' title=''><em>Basque Country</em></a> by: Marti Buckley
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                    Essential Kitchen Tools & Ingredients

                    Spanish Chorizo
                    Many may be familiar with the fresh, bright red, garlic and paprika laden Mexican sausage known as chorizo. Spanish chorizo, however, is a completely different game. Stuffed into slender casings and cured and/or smoked, Spanish chorizo has the texture of many familiar Italian salumi, and is dotted with white fat, pimenton, garlic and smoked paprika. Try out author Marti Buckley's recipe for cider braised chorizo and you'll never look back again.

                    Basque Apple Cider
                    The Spanish Table is your go-to website for any and all Spanish speciality ingredients, cookware, and/or a variety of libations. This particular cider is very ripe apple forward, with a nice acidic finish to round it out. It pairs perfectly with the spicy, fat studded chorizo, or any selection of Basque cheeses. Make sure to pour only one sip at a time, and if you'd like to follow Basque tradition, pour from a few feet above the glass. This helps break the carbonation of the cider, allowing you to enjoy the taste and aroma more.

                    Cider Glassware
                    Cider Houses are an essential part of Basque culture. Each serves the same traditional menu, yelling out "txotx" (pronounced choach), as the barrels of cider are opened, creating a line of people at the ready to fill their glasses with sips of cider. You may not be able to house an entire cider barrel in your home, but you can have your own slice of the experience with these traditional Basque cider glasses in your own home.

                    <a href='' rel='nofollow' title=''><em>Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables</em></a>
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                      Essential Kitchen Tools & Ingredients

                      KATZ Vinegar
                      Having high quality basics is the beginning to making stand out food. And KATZ is a stand out company. They've been offering a selection of oils, vinegars, honey and preserves for 25 years, with a passion for making the best product possible. It shines through in the quality of their vinegars, whether it be the soft and supple Sauvignon Blanc vinegar or the robust Apple Cider vinegar, your salad dressings will never be the same.

                      Pizza Stone
                      Having high quality basics is the beginning to making stand out food. And KATZ is a stand out company. They've been offering a selection of oils, vinegars, honey and preserves for 25 years, with a passion for making the best product possible. It shines through in the quality of their vinegars, whether it be the soft and supple Sauvignon Blanc vinegar or the robust Apple Cider vinegar, your salad dressings will never be the same.

                      Rancho Gordo Beans
                      The key to making good beans is to start with a good product, and Rancho Gordo knows what they're doing in that department. Based in Napa, California, the owner Steve Sando travels the world searching for a variety of heirloom beans, chilies, herbs and spices. Highly regarded by Six Season's author, Josh McFadden, this is your one stop shop for any hard-to-find legume.

                      <a href='' rel='nofollow' title=''><em>Fasting and Feasting: The Life of Visionary Food</em></a> By Patience Gray
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                        Essential Kitchen Tools & Ingredients

                        Field Guide for foraging
                        Although Gray learned what she knew of foraging from the local women she met, she knew most of her readers would need to rely on a field guide to safely gather what they need. She recommended Phillip's book, first published in 1983.

                        A Discourse of Sallets
                        Believed to be the first book ever written on salads in the English language, Gray received a copy from her friend Alan Davidson, a well known food writer and former diplomat. She fell in love with the simplicity and inventiveness for the push for cold, vegetal based dishes. If you're interested in food history, or just want to learn more about the origins of something that has become commonplace for us, absolutely grab this book!

                        Plats du Jour
                        Patience Gray's first book, meaning "Foreign Food", it brought French, Spanish, Italian and Greek food to the home cook in an approachable and enticing way. Written in conjunction with Primrose Boyd, it helped many home cooks stray away from the basic English fare that settled on dinner tables at the time. Instead, opened a new world up to seasonal, fresh and bright food from across the Mediterranean.

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