8 Great Cookbooks to Give This Mother's Day

Check out a roundup of cookbook ideas for Mom just in time for this weekend's Mother's Day celebration.
By: Guest Blogger
by Mandy Major

If you’re looking for something to add to — or in place of — that fruit basket or flower delivery this Mother’s Day, why not try a cookbook? The following titles are overflowing with fantastic recipes, but they contain far more than just food. Each of these new cookbooks offers its readers a window into a different world, providing a unique sense of place, and the dishes that go along with it.

Food photographer and world traveler Katie Quinn Davies is a superstar in her native Australia, and it’s easy to see why. This lush book is filled with snapshots of far-flung locations and picturesque food. The recipes look lavish but are easily accessible for home cooks — think chicken thighs with pomegranate molasses, puff pastry tarts with chorizo, and chocolate brownies with salted butterscotch and cherries. Clocking in at a hefty 320 pages, it’s eminently giftable, offering up kitchen inspiration and bedtime reading all in one. Avery, $40

How could anyone not be overjoyed to get a cookbook full of nostalgic treats and Southern classics? This is the kind of cookbook that’ll happily sit on the “regular use” part of the cookbook shelf, taken out for sun-soaked Saturday experiments and intimate family birthday parties. From pimento cheese crackers to clementine pound cake, Cheryl and Griffith Day — the authors and owners of Savannah’s Back in the Day Bakery — know how to win a reader over with their vintage charm. Artisan, $24.95

You may know Sarah Britton from her blog, but name recognition isn’t required to appreciate this dreamy book full of vegetarian and vegan recipes. Her inventive “whole foods” approach is intoxicating enough to make you temporarily forget how much you love bacon. Actually, scratch that — no need to forget when there’s a clever recipe for smoky coconut bacon to be made. Even if your mother would never make something like Labneh with Rose Petals, Sesame and Honey, there’s not a chance she won’t read through the whole recipe anyway, inspired by the vibrant photo. Clarkson Potter, $29.99

What’s a fika, you ask? It’s the Swedish tradition of a coffee hour, but not just any coffee hour: It’s one that’s filled with strong brew, delightful baked goods and cozy, lively conversation. In other words, it’s irresistible — and yet another reason to envy Swedes. The book is petite in size and illustrated (instead of using photography), which lends it a wonderful air of whimsy. Given the format, it might not be something your mother cooks from, but it’s full of useful tidbits and inspiration nonetheless. Ten Speed Press, $17.99

Take a look at this cover. Must I go on? OK, fine. You may have seen Jenn Louis on Top Chef Masters, or visited one of her two restaurants in Portland, Ore. Here, she’s given us 65 recipes for hand-formed pasta (and sauces) that you don’t have to be able to pronounce in order to adore: passatelli, crescentina, strangolapreti, canederli, grattugiata, and, of course, the one familiar to most — gnocchi. The recipes also act as a field guide to Italy, mapping out the indigenous pastas by region. Pair this up with an IOU for getting into the kitchen together to make a recipe and you’ve nailed this year’s round of sibling rivalry. Chronicle Books, $25

April Bloomfield is unstoppable. She’s a cutting-edge chef, the head of an expansive restaurant empire, and now the author of a second cookbook. While the first focused on meat (A Girl and Her Pig), this title is devoted to veggies. But please don’t write this off a “just” a vegetarian book. It’s a book for anyone who appreciates quality food. The tone is playful, the look inviting, and if you’re on the fence about buying this one for someone, just go to a local bookstore and check out page 137 — the Swiss Chard Cannelloni. Then get yourself a copy, because you’ll need it. Ecco, $34.99

In case you cringe at the idea of Mother’s Day books being about sugar and spice and everything nice, this meat manifesto from Austin’s beloved Aaron Franklin should do the trick. There are a handful of trademark recipes from Franklin — ribs, the famous brisket, sauces, and marinades — but here’s the telling thing: Those don’t start until page 177. Before that, Franklin covers everything you need to become your own pitmaster (or at least an expert daydreamer), from creating a smoker to choosing the wood to sourcing the meat itself. Ten Speed Press, $29.99

If it were possible to live in a book, we’d all be so lucky to live in this one. Similar to Fika, it’s a pint-sized and fully illustrated cookbook, which imbues it with a bouncy tone that’s extremely inviting.  The authors are the co-founders of the Portland Picnic Society, where, apparently, they’re pros at creating enviable landscapes of wicker baskets overflowing with jammy treats, savory hand pies and pickled vegetables in Ball jars. Sneak this into a gourmet picnic basket and you’ve got Mother’s Day gold on your hands. Artisan, $19.95

Mandy Major is the editorial director of TasteBook.com. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and an alarmingly large collection of kitchen gadgets and condiments. Follow her baking and cooking adventures on Instagram @majornyc.

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