Hamptons Epicure: Top 10 Foodie Books to Give This Season

Cooking with Sarabeth Levine
Cooking with Sarabeth Levine, Photo: Cleardesign1/iStock/Thinkstock

At my recent presentation on “Surviving the Holidays” at the Rogers Memorial Library in Southampton, I offered attendees a list of possible gifts for the foodies on their holiday shopping lists. Most items were local, some were just practical.

They included wine club memberships to local wineries, Wölffer Estate Vineyard vinegar and verjus for cooking, and Amagansett Sea Salt. I also shared a short wish list for your Santa. If you don’t already have these items in your own kitchen, tell him to bring you: a stand-up mixer, a food processor and a hand-held vacuum.

I particularly like to give books because they can be so very particular to the receiver. When I asked the group at the library if they all wished that someone would just tell them what to buy for everyone on their lists, they all agreed vigorously. So below I’ve listed my top picks for the different types of foodies. We’re all foodies of some kind, after all, so enjoy!

RELATED: The Top 8 Cookbooks You Should Own, from Classic to Contemporary

For Newbies
For newlyweds and those facing the stoves in their first apartments, think basics: The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook by Zoe Carlson (Hearst Books, 1980) has almost everything you could possible need, including how long to cook a turkey, a duck, a chicken and fish. The one thing it doesn’t have is a recipe for salsa—because that wasn’t a thing in the America of 1980—but other than “the other red sauce,” you’re covered. Sarabeth’s Bakery, From My Hands to Yours (Rizzoli, 2010) from Water Mill’s James Beard award-winning chef Sarabeth Levine covers everything from the different types of wheat to how to make croissants from scratch! A cookbook to grow with.

The Latest
New to the scene is Martha Stewart’s Appetizers, More Than 200 Recipes (Clarkson Potter, 2015), a compendium of recipes all in one, neat place—including pigs in a blanket. Cozy. Check out Sarabeth’s Good Morning Cookbook, Breakfast, Brunch and Baking (2015). It features a wealth of Levine’s reliable recipes and gorgeous photos by Southampton’s Quentin Bacon (his real name) that were shot in Levine’s Water Mill home last year. Heirloom Harvest, Modern Daguerreotypes of Historic Garden Treasures by Long Island native Amy Goldman (Bloomsbury, 2015) also features remarkable photos—Daguerreotypes of the rare fruits and vegetables that Goldman grows on her Hudson Valley farm. This is a must-have for the gardener on your list.

The Little Book of Lunch by Caroline Craig and Sophie Missing (Regan Arts, 2015) is truly inspiring. These two Brits have come up with recipes for lunch dishes that may just allow you to stay on in a desk job that you otherwise despise—dining “el desko”—they’re that good.

Tried and True
I made a point of buying and sharing East Ender and culinary legend Anna Pump’s books this season. They include The Loaves and Fishes Cookbook (1987) by Anna Pump and Sybille Pump, The Loaves and Fishes Party Cookbook by Anna Pump and Sybille Pump (Harper & Row, 1990), Country Weekend Entertaining (1999) and Summer on a Plate (2008).

Sharing her books is a great way to honor her legacy of graciousness and hospitality. By following Pump’s precise recipes and no-nonsense advice—you will never go wrong.

Click the links to read Stacy’s full reviews of her favorite foodie books.


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