Holiday Book Gift Guide: 2015

We always love getting books as gifts over the holidays - especially books related to food! Here are our top picks for books to give as gifts this holiday season (or anytime): from the new to the classic, from cookbooks to memoirs - we hope we help you pick the perfect book gift for your friends and family!

Handy Handbooks and Guides

The Food Activist Handbook - Big & Small Things You Can Do to Help Provide Fresh, Healthy Food for Your Community

by Ali Berlow

Get ready to be inspired to take action! In this book, Ali Berlow helps us get more active in the food movement – with actions you can take in your community, from big to small. Berlow guides us through actions like saving seeds, hosting discussions about food and helping create a food hub. Her inspiring “You Can Do This” attitude is bound to create the next generation of food activists, and encourage those of us already working to meet the goals of the sustainable food movement.

the food activist handbook
- Ali

Waste Free Kitchen Handbook

by Dana Gunders

Protect the environment, eat well and save yourself some cash with this guide to reducing food waste. Penned by NRDC senior scientist and renowned food waste expert Dana Gunders, the book is replete with practical strategies for cutting food waste through smarter shopping, food storage and meal planning.

Waste Free Kitchen Handbook
-Dana Gunders

What the Fork Are You Eating? An Action Plan for your Pantry and Plate

by Stefanie Sacks

When your groceries are labeled “low-fat,” “sugar-free,” and even “natural” and "antibiotic-free," it’s easy to assume that you’re making healthy choices. Yet even some of those seemingly wholesome offerings contain chemical preservatives, pesticides and artificial flavors and coloring that negatively affect your health. In What the Fork Are You Eating?, a practical guide written by certified chef and nutritionist Stefanie Sacks, MS, CNS, CDN, we learn exactly what the most offensive ingredients in our food are and how we can remove (or at least minimize) them in our diets. Sacks gives us an aisle-by-aisle rundown of how to shop for healthier items and create simple, nutritious and delicious meals, including fifty original recipes.

What the Fork Are You Eating
-Stefanie Sacks, MS, CNS, CDN

Animal Welfare

Pig Tales: An Omnivore’s Quest for Sustainable Meat

by Barry Estabrook

Esteemed journalist Barry Estabrook turns his investigative skills towards all things porcine as he explores the relationship between humans and pigs. Estabrook shines a light on the deplorable conditions pigs are subjected to in factory farms and makes the case that pigs – intelligent, sensitive animals – deserve much more than the treatment they’re given in industrial agriculture. The book looks at the ways in which farmers raise pigs sustainably – a farming method that benefits not only the pigs, but consumers, too.

Pig Tales
-Politics of the Plate

The Chicken: A Natural History

by Dr. Joseph Barber, Janet Daly, Catrin Rutland, Andy Cawthray, Dr. Mark Hauber

If you eat or raise chickens you should care about chickens. Even if you don’t eat poultry, the chicken has been central to human development and this straight-forward, science-based book offers a better understanding of the bird as more than just an egg-layer and meat-giver. So give chickens the respect they deserve by picking up this informative and visually beautiful book.

The Chicken


Year of the Cow: How 420 Pounds of Beef Built a Better Life for One American Family

by Jared Stone

Not just another year-in-the life memoir – Jared Stone gets in touch with what he is eating by buying 420 pounds of beef directly from a rancher. In the process he learns about feedlot meat versus grassfed, the history of domesticated cattle and all sorts of nose-to-tail eating (heart, anyone?).

Year of the Cow
-Jared Stone

Unprocessed: My City Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food

by Megan Kimble

Megan Kimble, founding editor of Edible Baja Arizona,tries to go an entire year without eating processed foods – and she goes all out, including milling her own wheat, making sea salt and milking and slaughtering animals for food. In the process, Kimble delves into the larger societal issues behind processed food and our food system as a whole.

-Megan Kimble

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

by Barbara Kingsolver

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle was one of the first books to delve into the notion of being a true “locovore.” An author and her family start a farm and commit to a year of eating only what they can produce themselves or source locally. As she explores the intricacies of living as a “locovore,” Kingsolver’s narrative carries a moving sense of gratitude and humility. Her prose is supplemented by recipes, practical tips for the garden and kitchen, and informational portions that highlight the ways in which the norms of conventional agriculture contrast with sustainable systems.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
-Barbara Kingsolver

Cooking, Fermenting and Canning

The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science

by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

You may have come across J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s food nerd posts on the blog Serious Eats, where he delves into the science and mechanics of making better home-cooked food. This book expands on his expertise in this space, and aims to help the home cook become better through a deeper understanding of the science of food. With a focus on classic American cuisine (mac ‘n’ cheese! Steak!), Lopez-Alt’s new book is a boon to any cook looking to better his or her craft.

The Food Lab
-J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

The Boozy Baker

by Lucy Baker

The Boozy Baker is full of ideas for creating cakes, pies, tarts, cookies and more with a special ingredient: alcohol. Learn how to prepare classic treats reinvented with chocolate stout, almond liqueur, coconut rum or whatever dusty bottle you may have sitting around the house.

The Boozy Baker
-Turnip the Oven

The Art of Simple Food

by Alice Waters

Another oldie-but-goodie! Known as “mother of the Slow Food movement”, Alice Waters shares a wealth of culinary wisdom and information for anyone interested in learning about the “delicious revolution” of Slow Food. In addition to a number of easy-to-follow recipes, this book includes comprehensive lists of must-haves for ingredients and kitchen supplies. This practical guide is bound to inspire New Year’s Resolutions!

The Art of Simple Food
-Alice Waters

Canning and Preserving for Beginners

by Alex Wild

If you’re interested in canning and preserving but don't know where to begin, then this book is here to help you. With rising food costs and tighter budgets many people are turning to canning as a way to save money, eat healthier and reduce food waste. This book includes in depth information on how to safely can food at home as well as lots of yummy recipes for meat, soup, pickles and much more!

Canning and Preserving for Beginners

The Art of Fermentation

by Sandor Katz

Did you know that almost all traditional cultures had diets that relied in part on fermentation? This book offers comprehensive instructions for beginners to craft a variety of their own fermented foods and beverages. It also provides rich context by outlining the history, biological processes and health benefits of this ancient food preservation technique. Athough Katz’s book has been out for a few years, we always love to give it as a gift and wait to hear all about our friends’ fermentation adventures.

The Art of Fermentation
-Wild Fermentation