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A good cookbook can satisfy any food lover on your list

Wed., Dec. 17, 2008, 12:01 a.m.

Still searching for holiday gifts? Don’t despair. Cookbooks are the perfect solution for food lovers. Many foodies love to curl up with a good cookbook – some actually cook from them, too.

To get your hands on any of these books, first call your favorite local bookstore and see if they have one in stock. They can generally get one to you pretty quickly.

If that doesn’t work, check online for the best price, free shipping or fastest delivery (depending on what is most important to you).

Here is a sampling of great cookbooks to consider for gift giving:

“Cooking with Les Dames d’Escoffier: At Home with the Women Who Shape the Way We Eat and Drink,” edited by Marcella Rosene with Pat Mozersky (Sasquatch Books, $35)

Alice Waters, Alice Medrich, Anne Willan, Dorie Greenspan, Marcella Hazan, Julia Child, M.F.K Fisher – the list is a who’s who culinary professionals and members of its premier association, Les Dames d’Escoffier. Editor Rosene has compiled favorite recipes and wisdom from these amazing women.

It’s a book for those who put their heart into each dish; for any cook who strives for something more than just a great meal.

The bonus: A portion of proceeds benefits educational programs and activities of Les Dames d’Escoffier International.

“The Food You Crave” by Ellie Krieger (Taunton Press, $28)

Healthy eaters (or those who aspire to eat healthier) will appreciate the ideas in this book from Krieger, who is a registered dietitian and host of the Food Network show “Healthy Appetite.”

There are recipes to satisfy those cravings many try to ignore: Caesar salad dressing, spaghetti with (turkey) meatballs, baked onion rings, banana cream pie. It is packed with ideas for lightening recipes and adding healthy ingredients.

“A Baker’s Odyssey,” by Greg Patent (Wiley, $34.95)

In this wonderful book, author Greg Patent shares recipes he’s gathered in his travels and the immigrant heritage captured in each succulent bite. It was released in time for gift giving last year, but was a 2008 James Beard Award nominee.

Patent’s previous book, “Baking in America,” was a Beard winner. The veteran baker and cooking teacher lives in Missoula.

“660 Curries,” by Raghavan Iyer (Workman, $22.95)

This tome is for anyone who wants to delve into the aromatic and mysterious mixture of spices at the foundation of Indian cooking.

Iyer, an award-winning teacher, begins with the building blocks of Indian flavors, draws readers into traditional curries and then uses his cross-cultural experience to create contemporary dishes with Indian spices and herbs.

“Chefs on the Farm: Recipes and Inspiration from the Quillisascut Farm School of the Domestic Arts,” by Shannon Borg and Lora Lea Misterly (Skipstone, $24.95)

Locavores and those who love the native foods of this region will find inspiration in this book. It describes everyday life at the Quillisascut Farm School of the Domestic Arts near Rice, Wash., where chefs, culinary students and others come to work on an organic, sustainable farm.

Organized by season, it focuses on the sustainable practices by owners Lora Lea and Rick Misterly and describes their efforts to illuminate the farm-to-table connection.

The book features 65 recipes from Seattle chef and culinary instructor Karen Jurgensen, including Cardamom-Apple Stuffed French Toast with Cider Syrup, Huckleberry-Cider Glazed Chicken and Walnut Italian Plum Cake.

“The Science of Good Food,” by David Joachim and Andrew Schloss (Robert Rose, $37.95)

This A-to-Z reference book is for cooks who don’t just want to know what works in the kitchen, but how it works.

Authors Joachim and Schloss explore everything from exotic ingredients and tricky techniques to everyday edibles and mundane kitchen tasks. Entries span from abalone and absinthe to zinfandel and zucchini.

The book contains 1,600 entries and touches on biology, chemistry, agriculture, nutrition and more, with 100 recipes scattered throughout. Learn how copper bowls affect eggs, why some people think cilantro tastes like soap and where horsemeat is more popular than lamb.

“Hello Cupcake,” by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson (Houghton Mifflin, $15.95)

No need to become a pastry chef or buy a bunch of fancy baking equipment. Tack and Richardson make the most irresistible cupcakes using canned frosting, packaged cookies and zip-top bags.

The pictures will capture the imagination of grown-ups and kids alike. Templates and step-by-step instructions help the home cook make pretty party princesses, howling werewolves, snow globes, edible ornaments or even a partridge in a pear tree.

“Fast, Easy, Fresh,” by Barbara Fairchild (Wiley, $34.95)

This hefty green tome will be able to hold its own under the tree. But don’t let the size intimidate. Fairchild, editor of Bon Appetit magazine, has selected more than 1,100 recipes that are fast. There are no long, fussy ingredient lists.

It is organized by ingredient, as well as by course. So, if the freezer is full of chicken breast, cooks will find recipe ideas all in one spot.

Dinners such as Roasted Garlic Beef Stew, Thai-style Beef and Asparagus Curry and Pork Chops with Cranberry, Port and Rosemary Sauce await even the busiest cook.

“Ten,” by Shelia Lukins (Workman, $19.95)

Any fan of “The Silver Palate” and “The New Basics” would be delighted to see Sheila Lukins’ new cookbook “Ten” peeking out of their stocking.

Lukins, a longtime food editor and columnist for Parade magazine, started with 32 of her favorite foods and created the 10 best recipes for each.

There’s the 10 best burgers, Sunday suppers, lobster, chocolate, kebabs, salsas and more. Lukins also includes a repertoire of basics, cocktails, small plates and “large important roasts.”

Reach Lorie Hutson at (509) 459-5446 or

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