Books·Gift Guide

11 books for the foodie this holiday season

If you know someone who loves to cook, here are a few bookish gift ideas for them!

If you know someone who loves to cook, here are a few bookish gift ideas for them!

Recipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown

Recipe for a Perfect Wife is a novel by Karma Brown. (Jenna Davis, Viking)

Recipe for a Perfect Wife follows Alice Hale, a newlywed who reluctantly leaves behind a career to live with her husband in a big, empty house in the suburbs. While there, Alice stumbles onto old cookbooks left behind from the previous owner: 1950s housewife Nellie Murdoch. That discovery leads to the uncovering of longstanding secrets, lies and truths about the traditional husband-wife dynamic. 

Karma Brown is a novelist from Ontario. Her other books include Come Away with Me, The Choice We Make, In This Moment and The Life Lucy Knew.

Momofuku's David Chang talks about fame and food

8 years ago
Duration 6:19
David Chang was once an aspiring cook who agreed to work the phones in order to get a job in a restaurant. He's now a world-famous chef who has brought his empire to Canada.

Eat a Peach by David Chang, with Gabe Ulla

Eat a Peach is a book by David Chang, with Gabe Ulla. (Associated Press/Damian Dovarganes, Clarkson Potter)

In his memoir Eat a Peach, David Chang reflects on his life from growing up the youngest son in a deeply religious Korean American family to opening his first Momofuku Noodle Bar in 2004. Eat a Peach chronicles Chang's winding path to success while wrestling with his lifelong feelings of otherness and inadequacy. It explores the mental illness that almost killed him and offers a penetrating look at restaurant life.

Chang is an American restaurateur, author and TV personality. He is also the author of the cookbooks Momofuku and Momofuku Milk Bar.

Chef Jeremy Charles, of the renowned St. John’s restaurant Raymonds, on celebrating local fare in his cookbook Wildness: An Ode to Newfoundland and Labrador.

Wildness by Jeremy Charles

Wildness is a cookbook by Jeremy Charles. (Phaidon, John Cullen)

In Wildness, chef Jeremy Charles takes readers on a journey to Canada's rugged east coast — where wildness has a profound influence on the tasting menu at Charles's acclaimed restaurant, Raymonds, nestled in the historic port at St. John's. The book features more than 160 recipes that spotlight local fare like cod, shellfish, moose, game, wild edibles and more. Charles has written a story to accompany each recipe, along with essays about the people and landscape.

Charles is a chef from Newfoundland and Labrador. Wildness is his first cookbook.

Award-winning Cree chef Shane M. Chartrand on his cookbook, Tawaw: Progressive Indigenous Cuisine. (Interviewed onstage at Calgary's Wordfest.)

tawâw by Shane M. Chartrand, with Jennifer Cockrall-King

tawâw is a cookbook by chef Shane M. Chartrand with Jennifer Cockrall-King. (Ambrosia, Hilary McDonald)

Shane M. Chartrand was born to Cree parents and raised by a Métis father and Mi'kmaw-Irish mother. He has spent his career exploring the diverse cuisine and stories of Indigenous peoples across Canada, culminating in this collection of over 75 recipes. He includes dishes like the award-winning War Paint alongside stories of his culinary and personal journey in tawâw.

Chartrand is the executive chef at SC Restaurant in Enoch, Alta. tawâw is his first cookbook.

We kick off an ongoing focus on what food can reveal about life, culture and society with Francesca Ekwuyasi, the Nigerian-Canadian novelist behind the Giller Prize longlisted novel Butter Honey Pig Bread. She speaks with Chattopadhyay about the role food plays in complex family dynamics and how cooking can be a way of expressing care, regret, desire for forgiveness, and more. For more, visit:

Butter Honey Pig Bread by Francesca Ekwuyasi

Butter Honey Pig Bread is a novel by Francesca Ekwuyasi. (Monica Phung, Arsenal Pulp Press)

Butter Honey Pig Bread is a novel about twin sisters, Kehinde and Taiye, and their mother, Kambirinachi. Kambirinachi believes she was a spirit who was supposed to die as a small child. By staying alive, she is cursing her family — a fear that appears to come true when Kehinde experiences something that tears the family apart, and divides the twins for years. But when the three women connect years later, they must confront their past and find forgiveness.

Francesca Ekwuyasi is a writer, filmmaker and visual artist. Her writing has appeared in the Malahat Review, Guts and Brittle Paper, and she was longlisted for the 2019 Journey Prize. Butter Honey Pig Bread is her first book.

Is there a more unappetizing phrase than “hospital food?” For Toronto chef and food activist Joshna Maharaj, good food is much more than a luxury. It is a fundamental right, and essential to the dignity and well-being of the people in institutions like hospitals, long-term care homes and prisons. Her new book, Take Back The Tray: Revolutionizing Food in Hospitals, Schools, and Other Institutions, makes the case for from-scratch cooking and locally-sourced ingredients.

Oh She Glows for Dinner by Angela Liddon

Oh She Glows for Dinner is a cookbook by Angela Liddon. (Penguin Canada, Sandy Nicholson)

In Oh She Glows for Dinner, Angela Liddon shares meal prep plans, helpful make-ahead tips and her favourite seasonal and holiday menus. She includes foolproof recipes to help streamline your busy week — including storage and reheating instructions to remove time-consuming guesswork. Liddon is best-known for her flavourful, creative and whole foods approach to plant-based cooking.

Liddon is a blogger and chef from Ontario. Oh She Glows for Dinner is her third cookbook. Her other cookbooks are Oh She Glows and Oh She Glows Everyday.

Take Back the Tray by Joshna Maharaj

Take Back the Tray is a book by Joshna Maharaj. (@joshnamaharaj/, ECW Press)

In Take Back the Tray, Joshna Maharaj argues that institutional kitchens can produce good, nutritious and sustainable meals. Maharaj, who has worked in hospitals and schools, has dished out homemade food to maternity ward mothers and students alike. Take Back the Tray aims to revolutionize the way we see and use food as a community.

Maharaj is a chef, food expert and activist who has appeared on CBC and TVO. Take Back the Tray is her first book.

Aladdin star Mena Massoud shares how he developed an animal-free diet for himself in his debut cookbook Evolving Vegan.

Evolving Vegan by Mena Massoud

Evolving Vegan is a book by Mena Massoud. (Alexi Lubomirski, Simon & Schuster)

Aladdin star Mena Massoud chronicles his experiences and discoveries from his recent road trip across North America in Evolving Vegan. The book features 80 international recipes, including dishes like tofu pad thai, fresh chickpea salad and raw sweet potato lasagna, as well as tips for lifelong vegans and people transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle.

Massoud is an Canadian Egyptian actor, best known for playing Aladdin in the Disney live-action remake of the classic story. He also starred in the film Run This Town.

Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage discuss their new cookbook, Flavour, and make the case for why fusion cuisine needs to make a comeback.

Ottolenghi Flavour by Yotam Ottolenghi & Ixta Belfrage

Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage new book Flavour (Jonathan Lovekin/Penguin Random House)

Yotam Ottolenghi and co-writer Ixta Belfrage break down the three factors that create flavour and offer innovative vegetable dishes that deliver new ingredient combinations. The book is broken down into three sections, which reveals how to tap into the potential of ordinary vegetables to create extraordinary food. Ottolenghi Flavour includes simple recipes for weeknight dinners, low-effort high-impact dishes and standout meals for cooks with more time.

Ottolenghi is an Israeli restaurateur and bestselling cookbook author living in London. His other books include Plenty, Ottolenghi Simple and Essential Ottolenghi.

Belfrage is a chef and Ottolenghi's close collaborator. She lives in London. Ottolenghi Flavour is her first cookbook.

Authors Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley discuss how their new cookbook Falastin explores the tastes of Palestinian culture, and the pandemic’s toll on the restaurant business.

Falastin by Sami Tamimi & Tara Wigley

Falastin is a cookbook by Sami Tamimi & Tara Wigley. (Jenny Zarins, Appetite by Random House)

Palestinian chef Sami Tamimi and co-author Tara Wigley explore the history of Palestine through its food and culture.  From the recipes of refugee-camp cooks to the home kitchens of Gaza and the mill of a master tahini maker, they reveal the traditions of an ancient cuisine that has morphed over time, while capturing the stories of the country's people. Falastin retraces the lineage and evolution of Palestine's dynamic cuisine.

Tamimi is a Palestinian restaurateur, chef and author living in London. His other cookbooks include Ottolenghi and Jerusalem.

Wigley is a writer and recipe developer. She also co-authored the cookbook Ottolenghi Simple and has supported the creation of several other cookbooks.

Claire Tansey develops recipes to combat cooking fatigue in Dinner, Uncomplicated.

Dinner, Uncomplicated by Claire Tansey

Dinner, Uncomplicated is a cookbook by former Chatelaine food director Claire Tansey. (Suech and Beck, Page Two Books)

Dinner, Uncomplicated is a cookbook that offers easy and simple ways to create great food when you're strapped for time. It features 90 easy-to-follow recipes that can be made in 45 minutes or less and are easy to freeze, store and transport: perfect for busy family life.

Claire Tansey is a chef, writer, teacher and former food director at Chatelaine magazine. She is also the author of the cookbook Uncomplicated: Taking the Stress Out of Home Cooking.

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