All I want for Christmas: Books

A new cookery book is a little like getting a brand new notebook (remember the thrill of the first page of a new school book), with its crisp, clean pages full of hope and potential to start afresh.

Leafing through Christmas gift cook books always makes me vow to be more adventurous and try at least one new thing a week – only to find myself back to the old favourites by January the 22nd (officially the most depressing day of the year) – with the new books relegated to the shelf, along with last years ‘must have’ gifts

This year however, I’m determined only to give, or ask for, only cook books that I know will be really useful. So I asked my favourite food writer (and local friend) Debora Robertson to recommend the books she thought were essential to see us through 2013.

Debora says  “The new Ottolenghi Jerusalem, Penguin’s reissue of Arabella Boxer’s Book of English Food (gorgeous spotty end papers),  River Cottage, Hugh’s Three Good Things (natch), Polpo: A Venetian Cookbook (of sorts) by Russell Norman, Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries II, Diana Henry’s Salt, Sugar, Smoke: The Definitive Guide to Conserving, from Jams and Jellies to Smoking and Curing, Signe Johansen’s Scandilicious Baking……that pretty much covers all bases.”

Other non-food books I will be giving and hopefully receiving this year include Mutton by India Knight, a hilarious and often painfully truthful look at getting older and the second book by the wonderful Caitlin Moran. Moranthology, which takes a look at a wide variety of subjects, including Caffeine, Ghostbusters, Being Poor, Twitter; Caravans, Wales, Marijuana Addiction, Paul McCartney,The Welfare State, David Cameron, Amy Winehouse and Elizabeth Taylor’s Eyes!

I loved the inspiring Gypset Style  by travel writer Julia Chapman and also like the look of her second book, Gypset Travel. Chapman looks at the glamorous yet casual lifestyle of bohemian travellers in Aeolian Islands in Italy, Kenya; North Goa, India and Uruguay, through inspiring photography and first-person anecdotes.

The Eye Has To Travel is one of favourite fashion books and now the documentary about of the “Empress of Fashion,” Diana Vreeland, is out on DVD. A fascinating insight into the visionary who changed the face of fashion, beauty, art, publishing and culture with her amazing ability to invent and discover fashion trends  – it’s definitely one to put on your Christmas list

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