6 cookbooks that will help you slay your holiday hosting

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Vancouver Public Library and V.I.A. have teamed up to help you discover new reads, hidden book gems and surprising literary finds. Check back every couple of weeks for the latest reading recommendations from the experts at Vancouver’s library.

Relatives coming to town? Hosting a holiday party? Need some recipes to feed the variety of diets and food preferences? Our reading experts have gathered some cookbooks to help you avoid culinary mishaps and create memorable meals this holiday season.

Salad & Vegetables

Saladish: A Crunchier, Grainier, Herbier, Heartier, Tastier Way with Vegetables by Ilene Rosen

It’s hard not to enjoy Ilene Rosen’s creative take on salads and not-quite-salad salads. Rosen blends a range of textures and flavours to create great dishes that are not only delicious but visually appealing. Each recipe is paired with a striking picture and arranged seasonally to get the most flavour out of the ingredients. Try the Sourdough Bread Salad or the Red Cabbage and Chickpea Slaw with Spicy Tahini Dressing.

Appetizers

Cravings: Hungry for More by Chrissy Teigen

Chrissy Teigen returns with another serving of recipes in her newest cookbook, Cravings: Hungry for More. Her hilarious personality and enthusiasm for food is contagious as she draws you in with recipes like Jalapeño Parmesan-Crusted Grilled Cheese, Tom Yum Noodles, and Crispy Parmesan Waffles. Try Pepper’s Spring Rolls or Thai Fishcakes, two dishes from the “Thai Mom” chapter created as a tribute to Teigen’s mother Pepper.

Vegetarian Mains

Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi

Fans of the brilliant Yotam Ottolenghi will be delighted to know that this master chef has a cookbook of accessible dishes without compromising the “Ottolenghi” Middle-Eastern flavours. Many of the recipes use less than ten ingredients and in half an hour, your dinner guests are certain to be impressed. Try the Whole Roast Celeriac with Coriander-seed Oil for a unique and delicious vegetarian meal.

Gathering at the holiday table (Shutterstock)

Mains

Season: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food by Nik Sharma

San Francisco food columnist and blogger (A Brown Table) Nik Sharma introduces home cooks and cooks-to-be to flavour combinations that represent his Indian roots and American influences. If Sharma’s storytelling doesn’t pull you in, the gorgeous photography will. Try the impressive Tandoori Swordfish Steaks or the Steak with Orange Peel and Coriander for your hungry party guests.

Sides

Cuba: The Cookbook by Madelaine Vázquez Gálvez & Imogene Tondre

This is a compendium of traditional Cuban cuisine that pays tribute to the cultural nuances that helped shape Cuban food to what it is known today. With over 350 recipes in this cookbook, curious cooks can dive into the vibrant and intense flavours. Try the Eastern-style Rice and Beans (congrí oriental), a common dish for Christmas and other family gatherings.

Desserts

Food52 Genius Desserts: 100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Bakr by Kristen Miglore

Food52’s creative director Kristen Miglore gathers recipes from this online food community to share the most mouth-watering desserts, from classic treats to less popular (but equally as delicious) sweets (think Lucky Peach’s Parsnip Cake with Blood Orange). The recipes in this cookbook are a necessary addition to your repertoire if you want to wow everyone at your next potluck. Try Dorie Greenspan’s 3-ingredient Almond Crackle Cookies or Maida Heatter’s ironic East 62nd Street Lemon Cake.

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