New cookbooks spice up holiday season

It’s been decided. Everyone is coming to your house this holiday season. And the pressure is on to give family and friends the ultimate menu to dine on.

So what do you do?

Home cooking · Actor Stanley Tucci and British chef Yotam Ottolenghi both released new cookbooks in time for the holiday season. Both books focus on recipes that draw on the authors’ family heritages. – Hannah Nachef | Daily Trojan

Begin with deciding what to eat. Check out these new cookbooks for some inspiring ideas and tasty treats.

As a first option, A-lister Stanley Tucci just released The Tucci Cookbook, which is filled with flavorful dishes meant to be shared by the whole family.

The book contains a variety of both traditional and modern Italian meals, bringing the best of both Northern and Southern Italy. Highlights range from the Venetian seafood salad to spaghetti with tomato and tuna to eggplant and zucchini casserole with potatoes.

The nearly 200 recipes are even paired with wine recommendations to make the dining experience all the more complete and to give diners the full Italian experience.

If you are looking for something more traditional, Martha Stewart’s new book, Martha’s American Food: A Celebration of Our Nation’s Most Treasured Dishes, from Coast to Coast, is a collection of all the good ol’ American classics, from hamburgers to peach cobbler.

The book is divided into six sections, the first five representing different geographic locations around the United States: Northeast, South, Midwest, Southwest and West. The sixth section, called “All-American,” contains recipes that have become a staple in nearly every American household.

Perhaps the book’s most interesting pages are the ones that tell readers about the origins of certain American foods and ingredients. In these pages, readers can learn about the history behind the most delicious foods, from meatloaf to mayonnaise.

Martha’s recipes range from American classics such as roast turkey to new, innovative combinations such as fig pizza. The traditional, all-American cookbook would be a good place to start for any holiday meal.

If you are looking for a well-rounded cultural experience, check out Susan Feniger’s Street Food, a book containing recipes from nearly every corner of the world.

Feniger, a career foodie for over 30 years, gained her knowledge and inspiration for this cookbook from her world travels to places such as Vietnam, Turkey and Mongolia. Each of the 83 recipes in her book captures her travel experiences, bringing bold and exotic flavors to the table.

Stories of Feniger’s adventures and photos from her many vacations fill the book’s pages with a personal touch and add to the book’s cultural immersion.

With Feniger’s cookbook in hand, you can experience the iconic tastes of many foreign countries without leaving your kitchen.

Sticking with this cultural theme, Jerusalem natives Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s new book, Jerusalem: A Cookbook, provides a sense of the melting pot that is Jerusalem, with colorful recipes inspired by both the Arab East and Jewish West.

The cookbook contains 120 recipes that showcase the author-chefs’ cross-cultural experiences and bring together the bold flavors of the city, from both the home kitchen and street markets.

The recipes unfortunately call for ingredients that might be difficult to find, many being native to the region, but the delicious result at the end will make the search worthwhile. Plus, a trip to a specialty foods store can result in some great holiday gifts, as well.

But let’s say all of these culinary creations are a little too complicated for you to handle.  If this is the case, take a look at The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, a book written by award-winning food blogger Deb Perelman.

Perelman’s philosophy is that home cooking should be easy and approachable. Her goal has been to create recipes that any food lover would be able to make.

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, Perelman’s first compilation of recipes, offers more than 100 recipes, all of which contain very accessible ingredients. The recipes are mostly new, but a few favorites from the blog make an appearance.

The cookbook also provides new and inventive ways of using everyday ingredients, such as asparagus on pizza or cauliflower in pesto. As a result, Perelman’s cookbook is perfect for the average cook looking to entertain and please a crowd, especially during the holidays.

But don’t think these cookbooks are only for the holiday season. Keith Wallace’s new cookbook Corked and Forked: Four Seasons of Eats and Drinks provides recipes for every occasion at any time of year.

From Sunday brunch to Thanksgiving dinner, this cookbook is packed with more than 100 recipes for both the extravagant palate and the quick fix.

Corked and Forked also provides diners opportunities to be adventurous with recipes like grilled watermelon salad and black pepper martinis.

This cookbook can further serve as an instructional guide for pairing dishes with the perfect drink. Not only does the book offer a suggested pairing for each recipe, but it also teaches home cooks how to select a fitting drink for each meal.

Wallace’s new cookbook is a good buy for year-round cooking and entertaining, making it an ideal gift for yourself and others.

Cookbooks get a lot of attention during the holidays, but the year-round appeal of the ones highlighted here make them the most worthwhile investment.