16 Favorite Cookbooks to Give & Receive: 2017 Edition
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16 Favorite Cookbooks to Give & Receive: 2017 Edition

There were so many inspiring cookbooks and compelling foodie memoirs released in 2017 that it was nearly impossible to narrow them down to my favorite 16 books for this Chanukah/holiday gift round-up.

But I did it!

I love all kinds of food related reads: memoirs, humor, historical and cultural explorations and beautiful volumes loaded with glossy photos to accompany recipes… They all seduce me. And now, more than ever, it feels luxurious to step away from our devices to savor a beautiful book. Own it and it will always be exactly where you placed it.

What doesn’t attract me is a cookbook that asks us to work too hard, search for obscure ingredients, buy expensive new equipment or get bogged down with complicated technical shtuff.

Who has time for that?

In an effort to get a handle on my list of favorites, I’ve limited this list to 2017 releases only. I chose not to put this list into any particular order or categories because I believe that reading these volumes, in all of their variety, opens us up to new ideas, techniques, flavors and cultures. I hope you’re with me….

Don’t forget to drop un-subtle hints to those who want to buy YOU a little something….


King Solomon’s Table: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World by Joan Nathan.

James Beard award winning author and revered authority on global Jewish cooking takes us on a brilliantly researched journey from Azerbaijani to Yemen and anywhere else you can think of in-between. This book is THE gift for anyone who loves compelling storytelling, culture, history and foolproof recipes. Doesn’t that include everybody? *


Sweet: Desserts from London’s Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh.

In true Ottolenghi style, these 110 recipes will shake up your ideas about flavor pairings and how to bake the most creative sweets. His longtime collaborator and pastry chef, Helen Goh, joins him on this adventure. This book inspires with tons of new ideas and mind opening approaches to how to punctuate the end of your meal. It’s pure beauty and inspiration, as are all of his previous books.*


Cherry Bombe cookbook
Photo: with permission from Cherry Bombe

Cherry Bombe: The Cookbook by Kerry Diamond and Claudia Wu

The hit indie magazine and podcast has asked some of today’s most interesting female chefs, bakers and food stylists for their most meaningful recipes. Expect gorgeous photos and recipes from thought leaders and creatives including many we have written about. You’ll want to turn to recipes from Jeni Britton Bauer (Jeni’s Ice Cream), Melissa Clark (NY Times columnist and cookbook author), Jessica Koslow (The Sqirl), Padma Lakshmi (Top Chef), Joy Wilson (Joy the Baker), Molly Yeh (My name is Yeh), Amanda Cohen (Dirt Candy) and many more. Not listening to the Cherry Bombe podcast? It’s the bombe!


Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites by Deb Perelman.

Take this one to bed with you but know that you won’t sleep a wink until you’ve read it cover to cover. Perelman’s breezy, personal headnotes are often LOL funny, which is why we love to follow along on her personal journey. These recipes are destined to become your go-to’s. For kosher keepers: DO NOT steer away from this book simply because it is not kosher. Yes, there is a bit o’ treif within, but there is plenty to cook from in these joyful pages.

Modern Jewish Baker cookbook
Modern Jewish Baker, Shannon Sarna

Modern Jewish Baker: Challah, Babka, Bagels and More by Shannon Sarna.

From the editor of the wildly popular website, The Nosher, Sarna teaches us seven classic Jewish doughs and proceeds to get playful and uber creative with them. If you’re ready to have some fun while mastering the basics of these iconic Jewish baked treats, buy this book. And save me a slice of that S’Mores Babka, please. *


Rising: The Book of Challah by Roshie Pinson.

This book is way beyond a cookbook. This is the book for every Jewish woman who loves challah, whether she bakes or not. Thirty eight recipes include gluten- free oat challah, sourdough challah, and at least one special challah for each holiday. Laws and customs are broken down in easy to understand ways. This rebbetzin’s voice is wise and warm, gently instructional and full of spiritual awareness. Want to imbue your challah baking with new energy? This is for you.


Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook by Alice Waters.

For those who have read Waters’ previous books this memoir serves as a prequel leading up to her opening Chez Panisse. Through her honest and forthright prose, we come to understand how Waters became the iconic counterculture chef, writer and restauranteur. Dive right in to be swept away by this 3x James Beard Award winner, chef with unyielding convictions, and founder of the  revolutionary Edible Schoolyard.

Chocolate Quinoa Cake. Recipe by Paula Shoyer- THE HEALTHY JEWISH KITCHEN; Photo: by Bill Milne; Copyright owned by Sterling Publishing.


The Healthy Jewish Kitchen: Fresh, Contemporary Recipes for Every Occasion by Paula Shoyer.

In this fourth book by award winning author and baker, Shoyer hones in on healthy grains, plenty of veggies and flavors rooted in Jewish and international favorites. Expect the unexpected with dishes like Cambodian Spring Rolls with Lime Chile and Peanut Dipping Sauce, Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup and Brazilian Cholent with Collard Greens and Farofa. Classics made healthier, like Shnitzel with Nut Crust and Israeli Herb and Almond Salad, will give home cooks plenty to drool over minus the slick of margarine and frozen puff pastry.  *

charoset Salad Passover
Charoset Salad-Photo: Miriam Pascal for Perfect for Pesach by Naomi Nachman @ 2017


Perfect for Pesach: Passover Recipes You’ll Want to Make All Year by Naomi Nachman

After 20 years of catering large scale gathering for Pesach, Nachman finally put it all together to share with her thrilled guests and clients. She includes tons of tips for freezing, prepping ahead and generally managing eight days that are unlike any other. This book is for those who love the changeover to a Pesach kitchen AND for those who groan at the prospect. Nachman’s book will inspire and guide with friendly, practical advice and uncomplicated recipes for busy home cooks.*


Fress: Bold Flavors from a Jewish Kitchen by Emma Spitzer

British Master Chef finalist Emma Spitzer brings a broad range of approachable recipes reflecting her family’s roots spanning Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Expect an unfussy, easy to follow selection of dishes that celebrates bold flavors and spices from her very modern global kitchen. For favorite recipes I’m torn between Cumin Potato and Harissa Boureka Sandwich and Caramelized Butternut Squash with Whipped Feta and Zhoug. See what I mean? *


The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South by Michael Twitty

As a culinary and cultural historian, Twitty has written a deeply researched and profound exploration of his family’s journey over 300 years in America and for a few hundred more rooted in Africa. Twitty’s fascination with the food ways of the south and how they evolved into a blended culture of African, European and American tastes and recipes is also captured in Twitty’s blog, Afrioculinaria. He was honored with both the readers’ and editors’ choice awards from Saveur Magazine for the best food and culture blog. He is the first Revolutionary in Residence at Colonial Williamsburg. He is also a Judaics teacher in the DC area and writes on Jewish culture. Mr. Kosher Soul is just one of his nicknames. Got your attention?


Little Book of Jewish Appetizers
Little Book of Jewish Appetizers by Leah Koenig; photographs by Linda Pugliese (Chronicle Books, 2017)


Little Book of Jewish Appetizers by Leah Koenig

These twenty five appetizers are beautifully photographed and conceived for our contemporary tastes.   Koenig’s succinct and friendly voice will forever change your view of what might be served as a little nosh.*


I Hear She’s a Real Bitch by Jen Agg

As the owner of five Canadian hot spot cafes, Agg has plenty to say about the male chef culture and the misogyny she witnesses every day. Her memoir is a frank, outspoken observation of the resto world. It’s perfect for those who dine out frequently and wonder what’s really going on in those kitchens. Get ready to read it all from a culinary leader who refuses to mince her words.


France is a Feast; The Photographic Journey of Paul and Julia Child by Alex Prud’homme

Julia Child’s husband, Paul, was an avid photographer who often documented their explorations through Paris and the French countryside. This gorgeous volume includes reproductions of 250 black and white photos, all taken by Paul Child. They are accompanied by personal stories about the famous couple’s time in Paris beginning in 1948, as re-told by nephew, Alex Prud’homme. For those who love Julia, compelling photography and/or Paris- and who doesn’t?

Real Life Kosher Cooking by Miriam Pascal


Real Life Kosher Cooking; Family Friendly Recipes for Every Day and Special Occasions by Miriam Pascal

Pascal is a self taught cook, baker and photographer who has gathered a community of hundreds of thousands of readers to her blog, Overtime Cook. This cookbook follows her first book, Something Sweet, which thrilled kosher bakers worldwide. Over 160 accessible recipes, each with a mouthwatering photo, should earn this cookbook a place on kosher keepers’ shelves.


The German-Jewish Cookbook: Recipes and History of a Cuisine by Gabrielle Rossmer Gropman and Sonya Gropman

This is a priceless and precious compilation of history, culture, flavors and traditions nearly lost to us. For anyone interested in a deep dive into the rich culinary world of the German Jews, this is a must. For those with German Jewish relatives that immigrated to Washington Heights in NYC, the mother/daughter team goes into great detail about this community.*

* denotes that this is a kosher cookbook.

Disclosure: By making a purchase through the clickable links, Kosher Like Me may receive a small percentage of the sale price of your purchase.

Leave Comments, please! I’d love to know which food books you think should be on the BEST OF lists for 2017? Bonus points for any mention of cookbooks you turn to when cooking with your kids. I have a lil’ one who is on the verge and I wonder what YOU’RE reading.

Watch for Part 2 , of our Chanukah gift round-up next week. It’ll include some of our favorite products of 2017, cool gift sites and more.












  1. I have Yotam and Emma’s books. I’m hoping I get an Amazon gift voucher for Hanukkah so I can order more books. May I recommend a book I love? Nisha Katona’ s The Spice Tree. I saw her on Sunday Brunch making Butter Chicken and thought why not but I used Quorn chicken style pieces. It was easy to make and it was delicious. Her recipes are so nice.

    • Thanks for recommending THE SPICE TREE. I love Indian flavors and am always on the lookout for great recipes. As a kosher cook, I don’t mix meat and dairy in the same dish so I’m wondering what the author would recommend instead of the butter in this recipe? I don’t think margarine would cut it. I have substituted vegan sour cream in Indian inspired cooking and find that to be a fine replacement. Thoughts?

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