Holiday Gifts 2011

Gastro Gift Guide Part 1: Gifts for the Literary Cook

Some of the year’s top reads from our local food community.

By Stephanie Rubesh December 1, 2011

Seattle loves its food tomes. This year, the city gained its first culinary bookstore in Book Larder, and you can’t heave a bunch of kale at the University District Farmers Market without hitting a local with a book deal. In the spirit of food-oriented holiday gift giving, here are some releases from the past year, all with local connections. And if you want to take care of your entire list at once, Tom Douglas’s annual cookbook social happens tonight, December 1, from 4 to 7 at the Palace Ballroom. Taste test noshables, meet the authors, and cookbook shop to your heart’s content. Tickets are $20. Now on to the books. And don’t worry boozers, we’ll have a similar list up on Sauced soon.

Since its release, love has been pouring in for the first book by Becky Selengut, chef-author extraordinaire (and an avid and potty-mouthed Twitter user). Good Fish: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the Pacific Coast presents 75 recipes; a hand to hold in the fish market; and details, from how good fish are hooked, to how to sear the perfect scallop—all in Selengut’s witty delivery that will make it a hit with even the most adventurous of seafood culinarians.

Growing a Farmer: How I Learned to Live Off the Land was released last January and is on its way to being a classic in the local-food literature canon (Martha Stewart liked it too). Farmer and chef Kurt Timmermeister recounts his journey from city to field that puts organic local farming on a whole new level. From political scholar to acclaimed chef-farmer and now author, Timmermeister gives you the woes and wonders of farming life, realistically, artfully, and entertainingly telling it how it is.

’Tis the season for sugar, a topic with which one local blogger and shopkeeper is particularly familiar. Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life by Cakespy (alias baking queen Jessie Oleson) leaves nothing lacking. Cupcakes, birthday cake–French toast, magic-cookie-bar pie or any of the 60 cavity-causers are at your bake and call.

Foodie: A person keenly interested in food. When it comes to gifts, the “foodie” is a category so broad it’s almost concerning. Kill several birds with one stone with Food Lovers Guide to Seattle: Best Local Specialities, Markets, Recipes, Restaurants and Events by Keren Brown, whose regular Foodportunity networking events bring together local chefs and the diners who love them. Informative, extensive, and compact, this little guide is the perfect Seattle travel companion.

Shiro Kashiba, the best Sushi chef in town, is now an author as well. Wit, Wisdom and Recipes from a Sushi Pioneer is a memoir-cookbook that outlines Kashiba’s ascent from dishwasher in Tokyo to Seattle’s champion sushi chef—with mouthwatering recipes and exquisite photography thrown in for good measure.

If you’re in a generous mood (a really, really generous mood), one of the year’s most notable releases in the cookbook category is Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking. It retails for $625, and as the New York Times recently noted, “The recipes are likely to drive home cooks mad, but the photography is both revolutionary and museum-worthy.”

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