The Next Chapter holiday cookbooks panel


First aired on The Next Chapter (5/12/11)

These days, a lot of time is spent in the kitchen, baking holiday goodies and preparing delicious meals for friends and family. Which makes it the perfect time to shake things up with a brand new cookbook.

Shelagh Rogers brought two expert foodies together for the first-ever cookbook panel for The Next Chapter. Check out their culinary choices below. You might find a new favourite cookbook in the mix.

Bal Arneson is the host of The Spice Goddess on the Food Network. She has three great cookbooks she thinks you should try this holiday season:

From Pemmican to Poutine by Suman Roy and Brooke Ali


This journey through Canadian culinary history is loved by professional and amateur chefs alike. It won the Gourmand World Cookbook Award last year. Suman Roy took quintessentially Canadian ingredients from across the country and "made the most amazing recipes," such as Mashed Potato Fudge. But don't let the weird combinations turn you off. "I absolutely fell in love with this book," Arneson says. "It's fantastic."

The Best of Chef at Home by Michael Smith

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Michael Smith has a lot of fans, thanks to the winning combination of his charm and culinary prowess. Arneson thinks that Michael Smith's The Best of Chef at Home is a must-have for every Michael Smith fan because it's a comprehensive overview of the chef's best work. "He makes food so accessible," Arneson says. Smith has recipes for every occasion and skill level, from a casual brunch with friends to delectable desserts that will steal the show.

Fresh with Anna Olson by Anna Olson


Arneson loves the seasonal approach to cooking offered in Fresh with Anna Olson. The recipes, most of which are from Anna's hit show on the Food Network, are "quick and friendly" and have a low-key, family-friendly vibe that should please chefs concerned about their food being fresh and local.

Bonnie Stern is an internationally renowned chef and cookbook author. Here are her picks for cookbooks of the year:

Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi


Stern turns to this vegetarian cookbook whenever she wants to take a break from eating meat. She thinks it's still a great option for full-time plant eaters, too, as the recipes are "very down to earth and easy to cook." Despite the no-fuss vibe, Plenty is bursting with creative recipes and unique takes on cooking and preparing vegetables. Simply put, the book itself and the recipes it provides are "so yummy."

The Food of Morocco by Paula Wolfert

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Stern is convinced that Middle Eastern cooking will be the next big thing. For that reason, Stern believes that Paula Wolfert's The Food of Morocco "is a really important book." Stern is a fan of this flavourful cooking and is impressed with Wolfert's approach. The chef spent seven years in Morocco and "she's done her research," Stern says. Any chef wanting to give Middle Eastern cooking a try will find everything they need, from ingredients to techniques, in this comprehensive cookbook.

Odd Bits by Jennifer McLagan

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Want to eat ethically but don't want to give up meat? Stern suggests you give Jennifer McLagan's Odd Bits a try. Chef McLagan is "ahead of everyone" when it comes to trends in food, according to Stern. In Odd Bits, McLagan demonstrates how to eat the entirety of any animal — from brains to blood — and how to treat what you eat with respect.

Don't forget to check out The Next Chapter's mystery books panel and children's books panel.

What were your favourite cookbooks of the year? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook or in the comments below!

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