All the Best Cookbooks to Gift in 2020

Here are our picks for the most beautiful and inspiring cookbooks of the year.

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November 25, 2020
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A new cookbook can be a wonderful, personal gift, which is why we love to give and receive them, especially during the holidays. We've cooked our way through many new cookbooks this year, and have recipes bookmarked in many more to try in 2021. If you're looking for a cookbook to gift this holiday season, these are just some of the titles Food Network staffers can't get enough of. Not only to do they cover a wide range of topics like bread-baking basics to comfort food upgrades, they’re also so full of new and delicious dishes that even the littlest of chefs will be excited to find one peeking out of their stocking.

We encourage you to purchase from small businesses, including independent bookstores in your area or those that exist online. We love to shop at Bookshop for online shopping, and Indie Bound can help you find independently-owned bookstores near you.

$17.98

If there’s anything that 2020 has taught us, it’s that comfort food not only has the power to soothe people during the hardest of times, it also has the ability to bring us all together — even when we’re six feet or more apart. Just ask Ina Garten. In her newest and twelfth cookbook, Ina shines a beautiful light on the comfort foods that have gotten her, her husband, Jeffrey, and her nearest and dearest friends through the darkest of times and the most joyous of moments. Giving each dish a modern upgrade, Ina offers a new and delicious approach to comfort food classics like Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (with a generous smear of mango chutney on the inside of her bread), Split Pea Soup (topped with crispy and spicy kielbasa sausage pieces) and Tuna Melts (served with a towering pile of crunchy microgreens), while still paying homage to the flavor notes and textures that make them so beloved. Ina also shares her go-to way of dressing up her all-time favorite comfort food — the BLT. By adding in cooked lobster meat and creamy avocado slices, Ina states it’s now good enough to serve "to your mother-in-law."

— Michelle Baricevic, Online Coordinator, Food Network Magazine

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$32.20

Alex Guarnaschelli describes her latest cookbook as a "road map to who I am as a cook, parent and daughter." The result is a collection of her favorite meals from childhood, her extensive professional culinary career and her contented family life cooking for her daughter Ava. She may be an Iron Chef, but her recipes are tailored specifically for the home cook in a completely unintimidating way that feels like a personal invitation to sit at her family table. Whether it's her Mom's Quiche Lorraine, her Dad's Risotto with Tomatoes and Parmesan Cheese or her own Whole Roasted Fish, Ava-Style, you'll be sure to get a taste of what makes Alex, Alex.

— Katherine Lok, Recipe Editor, Food Network Kitchen

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$18.39

It's safe to say the Zakarian girls, Madeline and Anna (both in middle school), know their way around the kitchen, thanks to their Iron Chef dad, Geoffrey Zakarian. But their philosophy about food couldn't be more down to earth. "Cook for others, not yourself," they advise. It will keep you happy, humble and help you become a better cook. To that end, their book has plenty of recipes inspired by father and family roots that are suited for all ages, such as GZ's Spaghetti Bolognese and their grandmother's Middle Eastern Eggs, as well as more kid-friendly recipes like their Crazy Popcorn Soup, Honey Mustard Chicken Skewers and Classic Meatballs with Garlic Bread. Whatever you may be in the mood for, take a page from their book and make it to share with others in mind.

— Katherine Lok, Recipe Editor, Food Network Kitchen

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$28.49

If delicious escapism is what you’re seeking, look no further than this cookbook. Between pages filled with beautiful photographs and delicious recipes, Maneet Chauhan shares personal stories and anecdotes from her childhood trips throughout India’s railway system, as well as historical and cultural tidbits. Through her words, it’s easy to imagine that you too are navigating your way across the country, taking in the hustle and bustle, sights, smells and tastes of each individual region. Start cooking her recipes, inspired by the foods she would find in these markets and train stations, and it’s even easier to convince yourself that you’re right there with her. No matter your preference — sweet or savory, drinks, snacks or dessert — there is something for you. A few favorites: Nadir Monji (Spicy, Crispy-Fried Lotus Root), Peanut Chaat (Spiced Peanut Snack), Bombay Ice Halwa and Fresh Lime Sodas. Now, more than ever, we all need this cookbook.

— Trish Clasen, Digital Programming Manager

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$17.59

There’s a reason Duff Goldman is known throughout the food industry as the "Ace of Cakes" — there isn’t much he can’t do when you give him a bowl and some baking ingredients. That being said, Duff will be the first person to admit that despite his years of baking prowess, he’s still learning. That’s the exact purpose behind Duff’s new Super Good Baking for Kids cookbook — to teach kid bakers of all ages how to become a baking ace in their very own right. "Think of the recipes as a coloring book," Duff writes on the introduction page; he then goes on to explain how once you master coloring within the lines, you can go off and make your very own designs and drawings. Baking is the exact same way — once you master simple cookies, cakes and tarts, you can use the same basic skills and techniques behind them to make melt-in-your-mouth ice cream sandwiches, irresistible cream pies, memorizing rainbow blondies and so much more. Broken up into seven different chapters — which each focus on a different category of baked treat — this cookbook also teaches kids how to make everything from sprinkle-studded Confetti Snickerdoodles, to bakery-quality Bear Claws, to bedazzling Unicorn Cupcakes. Duff also includes step-by-step guide pages for things like how to make the picture-perfect chocolate ganache and how to properly pipe a cake border.

— Michelle Baricevic, Online Coordinator, Food Network Magazine

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$16.85

When the Swiss Buttercream recipe fell out of my copy of Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes after a decade of frequent use, I thought it might be time for a new baking book. Luckily, Martha's latest is just what my cookbook shelf was missing. This beautiful guide from the editors of Martha Stewart Living does not disappoint. It includes plenty of tips on tools and decorating, as well as a robust collection of foundational recipes for frostings, fillings and cake bases. Looking for an attention-grabber? The Show Cakes chapter is dedicated to desserts with mirror-glaze finishes, fancy piping and elegant fillings, like Eggnog Semifreddo Genoise. If traditional cakes are more your style, head straight to the Layer Cakes chapter for classics like devil’s food and carrot cake, plus wow-worthy creations like Chocolate Pecan Guinness Caramel Cake. There’s a brilliant section dedicated to sheet cakes — each one as beautiful as it is practical — as well as chapters for cupcakes, everyday cakes and occasions. If you seek perfection in your cake-making, look no further.

— Regan Burns, Recipe Editor, Food Network Kitchen

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$10.27

Anyone who has ever watched an episode of Kids Baking Championship knows that kids can achieve some pretty incredible things when you invite them into the kitchen. Just ask the editors behind Food Network Magazine. They filled this first-ever kids’ cookbook with over 150 recipes that kids can not only make, they can do so with little-to-no adult supervision, too! Every single recipe in the book comes equipped with tips from the chefs behind Food Network Test Kitchen, plus full-page photography, so kids have a blueprint for every dish. As if all that wasn’t exciting enough, The Big, Fun Kids Cookbook also comes with interactive quiz pages, fun food trivia and a coloring book section, so kids can have additional fun while they’re waiting for their Cereal Bowl Fake Out Cake to bake or their Confetti Cookie Pizzas to cool. My kid cousins couldn’t get enough of the gooey and saucy Pizza Grilled Cheese Sandwich recipe found in the book’s "Lunch" section; we made a few of the sandwiches while I was babysitting them, and now, their mom says they’ve asked for it every day since! With delicious dishes like PB&J Muffins, Baked Mozzarella Sticks and Spaghetti with Cheeseburger Meatballs, this cookbook is just what you need to keep kids occupied throughout Christmas break — and beyond!

— Michelle Baricevic, Online Coordinator, Food Network Magazine

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$17.98

Joanna Gaines exudes effortless style. Whether on TV, through her housewares line or in her many books, she sets standards with her confident yet approachable mastery of life. This makes her latest cookbook, Magnolia Table, Volume 2: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering, exciting, because unlike her first book of tried-and-true favorites, Joanna developed all-new recipes here, which she admits took a lot of effort, plus trial and error. But in true Joanna style, the results are approachable and appealing, with plenty of gorgeous photos of food and family, and recipes like the Zucchini Bread she craved when pregnant with Crew, variations for the kids’ favorite cast-iron pizza night, plus how to create the ultimate Insta- and Joanna-worthy Charcuterie Board.

— Erin Hartigan, Senior Managing Editor

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$32.20

Recipes can be as much of a family history as scrapbooks — they’re an edible link to the places and traditions of previous generations. In Bibi’s Kitchen pays tribute to the life experiences and culinary expertise of grandmothers from eight African nations on the Indian Ocean. Author Hawa Hassan, with Julia Turshen, interviewed the matriarchs, sharing stories in the experts’ own words, as well as charming photos and each Bibi’s pick of treasured recipes. The choices each of which recipes to share help illuminate her life’s journey, such as Matoke, a traditional Tanzanian plantain stew, and a classic Italian-American Lasagna for Ma Vicky, who now lives in New York. There are gingery spritzes from Madagascar and Doro Wat from Eritrea, as well as dozens of other recipes that make for the kind of edible scrapbook worth savoring with your loved ones.

— Erin Hartigan, Senior Managing Editor

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$25.86

Jonathan Waxman, the chef and owner of Barbuto — a Manhattan-based eatery offering a simplified menu of rustic Italian and modern Californian cuisine — has released a new cookbook, The Barbuto Cookbook: California-Italian Cooking from the Beloved West Village Restaurant. This book eloquently thanks the staff and patrons, as well as provides the tried-and-true recipes so that you can enjoy the full Barbuto-experience in your own kitchen. While it’s easy to jump in and start cooking the customer favorites, including the Kale Salad with Anchovy Vinaigrette and Pecorino, as well as the JW Chicken with Salsa Verde and Pasta Carbonara, there are other dishes throughout the book that pack flavor and simple technique, such as the Cioppino (or Fisherman’s Stew) and Pork Chop Milanese Al Ouvo. He also makes sure to honor his loved ones through different dishes, including Sally’s Birthday Paella; a dish Chef Waxman would make for his wife on her birthday while they vacationed in France. There’s even an extensive section of cocktails and pastries, including the long-lived menu item of Budino, or "pudding" in Italian. When thanking his loyal customers, Chef Waxman writes, "I tried to build something different, a joint that is as comfortable as your favorite show, as rich as your best relationship, and as fun as watching puppies romp." If you had the chance to eat at the beloved Barbuto, you most certainly felt all of these things as you made your way through a meal, and Chef Waxman ensures that you’ll feel the same as your cook through this book.

— Amanda Neal, Recipe Developer

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Whether you are new to sourdough breadmaking or a seasoned pro, Bryan Ford's wonderful book is an essential. A Bronx-born Honduran-American who was raised in New Orleans, Bryan offers clear and expert instruction on the basics of sourdough breadmaking and all the recipes you came for, like Pan Rustico (Country Bread), Ciabatta, Challah and Bagels. But the stars of the show are his naturally leavened versions of the traditional breads of Latin America, Spain and New Orleans, as well as his own creations. You'll find Choco Pan de Coco (pillowy soft Honduran rolls laced with coconut and chocolate), Birote (a Mexican sandwich bread similar to a baguette), Pan Gallego (a Spanish loaf with a distinct knotted shape) and Muffuletta Rolls, where the iconic olive salad is mixed into the dough and then baked to savory perfection. Bryan's book will make you rethink sourdough baking and open up a new world of tasty possibilities.

— Alexis Pisciotta, Purchasing and Events Manager, Food Network

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Patricia Telesco and Jeanne Maack make the timely (if a bit grim) case for mastering age-old (and newer) preserving arts in the name of self-sufficiency and limiting our "exposure to stores, coffee shops, and fast-food restaurants." And despite the title, even experienced preservers will find pertinent advice in encyclopedic chapters on Canning, Freezing, Drying and Pickling that dive deep into equipment, technique, safety, storage and ingredients. The final chapters include 150 recipes for everything from jams and pickles to marinades, stews, fruit leathers and jerkies. Preserving is both science and art, so "be fastidious," the authors advise, but they also provide lots of troubleshooting tips if things go awry. And along the way they include useful advice like this, which thrilled one waste-sensitive reader: "When a...recipe calls...to blanch a vegetable, don't throw that water away! It's rich in flavor and vitamins. Instead, reduce it down over a low flame, adding whatever spices you like, and freeze it for future soups, gravies, and stews." And always remember, "If a cucumber floats in water, it's not a good pickling cucumber."

— Miriam Garron, Senior Director, Food Network Kitchen

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$32.20

Brussels sprouts aren’t just Brussels sprouts in The Flavor Equation. They’re the "Lilliputian cabbages" that author Nik Sharma recalls as the first memorable flavors he tried after moving to the United States. In his latest book, Sharma asserts that the emotional value of a recipe — whether positive or negative — is as important as the typical sensory balance. The recipes are grouped by flavor attributes, including Brightness, Richness and Saltiness, but many are chosen for their personal emotional appeal. A holiday-worthy Masala Cheddar Cornbread, inspired by Sharma’s love of cheese, stands out among Sweetness; Black Pepper Chicken, found under Fieriness, is a dish Sharma prepared for his husband during their move to LA. The aforementioned Brussels sprouts are part of a Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with walnuts, mint, scallions and a garlicky dressing, found in Bitterness. Sharma, an award-winning blogger, author, photographer and recipe developer, is adept at succinctly identifying the appeal of a dish and making things relatable to food geeks and beginners alike. There’s extensive and intensely satisfying science at the start of the book, but each of the 100 or so recipes includes bullet points breaking down the flavor equation, with alchemical details or a spotlight on specific roles ingredients play, making it a positive equation indeed.

— Erin Hartigan, Senior Managing Editor

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$21.54

Alvin Cailan’s book reads. By that I mean it’s not just list of favorite recipes — it’s a put-your-feet-up-and- have-something-good-to-snack-on conversation about the celebrated owner of Egg Slut and the foods that shaped his journey. The chapters mark every point of influence for the American-born Filipino ("or, as my grandma used to call us: Amboy," he writes), from "Mom and Dad" to "Ten Summers in a Row in the Philippines." There are a lot of great recipes — Alvin’s love letter to Pan de Sal (sweet rolls coated in breadcrumbs) inspired me to bake off a batch — as well as technical tips (like the diagrams for building a cinderblock firepit for his drool-worthy Lechon (roast pork)). Written with Alexandra Cuerdo, a celebrated documentarian in her own right, this book isn’t just aspirational — it empowers you to get cooking.

— Michelle Warner, Food Stylist, Food Network Kitchen

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$35

Erin McDowell is a pie genius, which makes this cookbook the only one you'll ever want (or need, really) on the subject of pie. Whether you prefer sweet or savory pie, you'll find a recipe to suit your preferences and then some. But this book is more than just basic recipes. Don't sleep on Erin's advice for how to make an extra-flaky crust, and decorating and storage tips. You can thank me later. If you love classics like Apple Pie or Pumpkin Pie, Erin's recipes for them will be the ones you want to pass down for generations to come.

- T.K. Brady, Senior Editor

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$22.99

You might have caught pie maker Helen Nugent’s intricate and playful pie designs on the Food Network Facebook page. We’re always delighted and surprised by her handiwork, and with her first cookbook, Pie Style, she’s letting us in on all her secrets. You’ll learn the basics of pie doughs and fillings, but also get Helen’s tips and step-by-step instructions for making beautiful designs — delicate dough flowers, ornate fruit arrangements and some ingenious uses for everyday kitchen tools. Her ideas will have you combining butter and flour before you can even throw an apron on!

- Lauren Piro, Editorial Director

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$16.94

This book is an ode to one of Joe Yonan’s favorite ingredients; the humble bean. As a food editor for the Washington Post and previous author of "Serve Yourself: Nightly Adventures in Cooking For One" and "Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook", Yonan has gained extensive knowledge in vegan cookery and all things beans. He writes, "What other source of such nutrition is as affordable, shelf-stable and versatile?" And he certainly shows its versatility in a book of 125 recipes, using beans in everything from Chickpea and Quinoa Chorizo; a vegan alternatively to the spiced Mexican sausage that can be served on tacos, grain bowls and more. There’s also familiar flavors and preparations for different legumes, like the Fava, Ricotta and Lemon Pizza. He even finishes the book with several drinks and desserts, including a Cardamom, Lime and White Bean Bundt Cake with a whopping three cups of navy beans in the filling and topping. To top it all off, Yonan included a "Bean Cooking Timetable", where you can find an assortment of beans and how to cook them on the stove top and pressure cooker, making this book a go-to guide for your everyday dried bean needs.

— Amanda Neal, Recipe Developer

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$25.30

Home baker and award-winning blogger Sarah Kieffer is best known for her viral pan-banging cookies, which were featured in The New York Times. In her second cookbook, Sarah features a whole section devoted to the crispy-chewy treats in flavors like Rum Raisin, Rocky Road and Snickerdoodle. She also extends her reach to new creations already making the rounds on social media, such as her colorful Neapolitan Cookies and crackly Brownie Cookies. Fillings like no-churn ice cream, lemon curd and marshmallow fluff take cookie sandwiches and Chocolate Malt Ice Box Bars to the next level. While Sarah includes some unique creations like Red Wine Cherry Cheesecake Swirl Bars, her forte is putting a spin on classics like Peanut Butter Cookies loaded with candied peanuts. And like her first cookbook, she includes a music playlist to get you in the baking mood.

— Katherine Lok, Recipe Editor, Food Network Kitchen

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$20.24

If you haven't hopped on the Instant Pot train yet, you're not too late. Sarah Copeland admits to being a recent convert, but has since fully embraced the appliance and even credits it with helping her become a better cook. With a focus on wholesome, better-for-you family meals, the popular Instagrammer and author of Everyday Is Saturday delivers hit after hit. For busy mornings, try a 20-minute Breakfast Shakshuka or Breakfast Congee. On chilly winter days, a steaming bowl of her Turkey Meatball Soup or Bacon, Salmon, and Corn Chowder will warm you from the inside out. There are even desserts like Double Citrus Cheesecake and Easy Caramel Flan. Rich with diverse flavors inspired by her own travels and fellow food writers, this book just might change the mind of even the biggest kitchen gadget skeptic.

— Katherine Lok, Recipe Editor, Food Network Kitchen

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Falastin by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley (with a forward from their frequent collaborator and superstar British chef Yotam Ottolenghi), is more than just a cookbook, it's an ode to Palestine's culinary way of life. While anyone vaguely familiar with Middle Eastern food may recognize many of the dishes, they all have a distinct Palestinian perspective. From the Scrambled Red Shakshuka to the Cauliflower and Cumin Fritters and Molokhieh Soup with Fava Beans you are going to want to cook from this book often. In addition to dazzling recipes (and gorgeous photography from Jenny Zarins), Falastin weaves stories from the country's chefs, restauranteurs, farmers and purveyors throughout its pages, providing readers with a one-way ticket to Palestine. There is an ethos of community and togetherness that runs through this beautiful tome. As Sami and Tara write: "Sharing food is not just about sharing food. It's about sharing time, space, ideas, and stories."

— Khalil Hymore, Recipe Developer, Food Network Kitchen

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With intensely flavored dishes, frenetic noodle-slapping, and a hip-hop soundtrack as slick as the house chile oil, Xi'an Famous Foods gives diners a much-needed adrenaline rush in the city that never sleeps. It started as a bare-bones stall in a Flushing mall, where chef David Shi cranked out specialties from his native Xi’an in northwestern China. People lined up for his Liang Pi, bouncy "cold-skin noodles," served chilled in an aromatic soy sauce, jolted with black vinegar and mouth-tingling Sichuan peppercorns. Now, you can skip the queue with this new cookbook from Shi's son, Jason Wang. You’ll find recipes for the Liang Pi and other XFF hits that are eminently doable. The Spicy Cumin Lamb, for instance, is a stunningly simple stir-fry of thinly sliced lamb that reflects the Muslim influence on northern and western Chinese cuisine. Tiger Vegetables Salad (so called because the bracing flavors will make you roar) tosses cilantro, Chinese celery, red and green chiles in a sweet-tangy dressing. Throughout the pages, Jason tells stories of his immigrant experience, how he expanded the Xi'an Famous Foods empire to over a dozen locations in New York City, and about the time the late Anthony Bourdain came to film an episode of No Reservations — all with language that's as in your face as the flavors in his father's cooking.

— Susan Choung, Recipe Editor, Food Network Kitchen

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$34.00

Parwana tells the story of one family's strife and rejuvenation in a time of war. Displaced from their home in Afghanistan, author Durkhanai Ayubi and her family moved to Adelaide, Australia, where they opened Parwana, a restaurant that would serve authentic Afghan cuisine. In doing so, they found that the restaurant not only taught their neighbors about their culture but also served as a link between the family's new and past lives. Parwana is Farsi for butterfly. The name symbolizes the metamorphoses the family made coming from Afghanistan and starting a new life in Australia. The book is filled with beautifully photographed recipes created by the restaurant's founder and head chef, Farida Ayubi. Try one of the many Kebab recipes, such as Du Pyaza, a colorful lamb kebob recipe that the family enjoyed at picnics. Or dive into the rice dishes and learn the three different rice techniques in Afghan cuisine, known as challaw, palaw and sholah. This book reveals the long and rich history of Afghanistan and the gorgeous food it has to offer.

— Jessica Widmer, Recipe Tester, Food Network Kitchen

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Irina Georgescu's lovely Carpathia takes us on a journey through Romania's history under many different colonizers and Communist rule, using the region's complex food as the vehicle. The cuisine is deeply rooted in home cooking, where garlic and sour flavors are abundant in not only pickles and ferments, but also in broths and stews. Ottoman influence comes through in a weeknight dish of trout baked with slow-roasted peppers, onions and bay leaves. Sarmale, a dish of pork-stuffed sauerkraut leaves braised in tomato served with polenta and sour cream, speaks of both the Roman and Austro-Hungarian Empires. Greece makes its appearance in Albinita, a cake made from thin layers of honey sponge with a semolina and rosehip jam fillings. Irina has much to teach us about utilizing ingredients to their fullest and making simple food into something special, which feels like exactly what we all need right now.

— Alexis Pisciotta, Purchasing and Events Manager, Food Network

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$14.42

Ashley Craft knows just what you Disney fanatics want because she's a lifelong Disney parks fan herself. Having grown up in the same town as Disneyland, it was common for her family to pop over for dinner or a quick roller coaster ride — so she's a lifer. Ashley knows you can't bring Space Mountain home, but you can at least eat like you're there. And to help you find your favorite creations, she's laid the book out by Disney location. There are Churros from Disneyland's Main Street U.S.A., the Magic Kingdom's Turkey Legs, Cobbler Shakes from Disney's California Adventure and 97 other dishes from what Ashley calls "the happiest kitchen on earth."

— Michelle Warner, Food Stylist, Food Network Kitchen

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$28.89

Asha Gomez's vibrant I Cook in Color is a melodiously crafted collection of recipes celebrating the colorful culinary language of the world. Gomez, who was born in Kerala, India, resides in Atlanta with her son Ethan and describes the book as "walking the world with Ethan." She takes inspiration from Thailand, Spain, Italy, Peru, Malaysia, Indonesia, Morocco, Greece, France and the American South, effortlessly marrying spices and flavors across cultures and cuisines in dishes like Tandoori Masala Crawfish Boil and Braised Sambal Oelek Short Ribs. There are chapters that celebrate morning juices and other "colorful drinks to sip and savor," a world of bright salads like her Thai Green Papaya Salad, and what she calls "vivid vegetables and rice dishes." I Cook in Color is bold, unapologetic and the perfect addition to the culinary repertoire of any entertainer unafraid to be colorful.

— Matthew Skrincosky, Food Stylist, Food Network Kitchen

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Patricia Tanumihardja takes you on a culinary romp through Asia, giving you a quick taste of various cultures, all in one place. The author, a cookbook writer and food blogger for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, touches on Korean, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese and Filipino dishes, covering everything from noodles and rice to curries, soups, meat, vegetables and dessert. The book highlights the versatility of using an electric pressure cooker, whether for steaming delicate fish in Steamed Fragrant Fish, quickly cooking down tougher cuts of meat in Fragrant Oxtail Stew or Braised Korean Short Ribs or infusing vegetables, grains and legumes with bold flavors in Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes. There's also a helpful primer on using the Instant Pot, as well as tips for pressure cooking, making rice and stocking your pantry.

— Rebecca Fisher, Recipe Editor, Food Network Kitchen

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Cookbook doesn't quite describe London chef and restaurateur Marianna Leivaditaki's paean to her childhood in Crete. Think sweet, evocative memoir with well-written recipes and travelogue photos: blue water and sky, yellow lemons and beach umbrellas, and beautiful meals shot, you imagine, thisclose to the sunny spot that birthed their ingredients. The lyrical recipe headnotes weave instructions into Marianna's tales of working, cooking and eating at her father’s seaside restaurant-- don't skip them. Recipe titles are elemental, little shopping lists in themselves: Fried Anchovies with Potatoes, Chopped Herbs, and Lemon Mayonnaise is both the first recipe in the book and the first of many I dog-eared. The Land chapter includes lots of vegetarian recipes like Cretan Zucchini Bake with Feta and Sesame, while the Mountain chapter is heavy on lamb. Marianna generally sticks to the hyper-local ingredients and cooking techniques she grew up with, but also offers substitutions and workarounds.

— Miriam Garron, Senior Director, Food Network Kitchen

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$28.31

In her third cookbook, Milk Bar founder Christina Tosi serves up more than 85 recipes in a hands-on guidebook for newbie bakers. Categorized by seasonality, the recipes are designed to teach baking basics: they're straightforward, fun and inventive, featuring accessible ingredients and techniques. Stand-outs include Coco Cabana Cereal Squares, Fluffernutter Cookie Sandwiches, Tropical Mermaid Muffins and Purple Cow Floats. Tosi also includes an intro to tools, shares her Rules of the Kitchen (the first one of which is "There are no rules.") and intersplices tips and tricks through the book: a 101 on how to measure, step-by-step pictures, and a page of possible fixes for bakes gone wrong. The photography is mouth-watering and whimsical, a collection of hard-light close-ups of gooey cookies and bars posed amongst childhood relics like puzzles, stickers and toy cars (though some props, like the yoyo, troll doll and perler beads seem more an homage to Christina's generation than the readers she's targeting), as well as action shots of kids themselves rolling out dough, blending up shakes and digging into stacks of pancakes. Overall, Tosi aims to give kids the cookbook she wishes she had when she was younger, and to inspire imagination in the kitchen, stressing that "You can be anything in life, now and forever, as long as it's yourself."

— Drew Salvatore, Recipe Editor

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$40.00

Old World Italian follows blogger and cookbook writer Mimi Thorisson and her family as they journey throughout the diverse and varied landscapes of Italy. Stunningly photographed by her husband Oddur, the book is a combination of classic recipes interwoven with personal tales and stories of the regions' locals. Start with an apertivi, such as the red wine spritz Prampolini. Then move on to such delights as Zucchini Blossom Fritters Stuffed with Mozzarella and Anchovies, Torta Pasqualina and Pumpkin Ravioli with Brown Butter, Chestnut and Sage. Conclude with the delicious simplicity of a Torta Della Nonna or Zabaione. With her personal approach and trademark sense of style that has made her so popular on Instagram, Mimi transports you to Italy and gives you a personal look inside its mouth-watering and rich culinary history.

— Steve Jackson, Food Network Magazine Test Kitchen Director, Food Network Kitchen

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