Constantly Cooking’s 2021 cookbook gift guide

Fresh and inspiring publications to spark joy in the kitchen!

One of the best things I’ve done in the past year or so was to reorganize my cookbook collection. In the process, I found and re-homed some that I’d fallen out of love with and rediscovered others that I love which I had forgotten about. I’m drawn to books that are as educational as they are useful, and gorgeous photography is also a must for me. After perusing some of the many recently-published cookbooks, these are among those that stand out for me; all offer a joyful approach to food while also recognizing the time and budget limitations that impact many people’s efforts in the kitchen. Just as buying locally-produced food matters, I similarly encourage you to look to your local independent bookstore for any of these publications. Be sure to check the archives on this site for other cookbook and culinary gift guides, should you wish further shopping (or wish-list making) inspiration – here’s a link to this year’s holiday gift guide for cooks, eaters and coffee lovers!

Hearth & Home by Lynn Crawford and Lora Kirk

Lynn Crawford is one of Canada’s best-known celebrity chefs and in her latest book, she’s teamed up with spouse Lora Kirk, also regarded as one of our country’s leading chefs, to share their favourite family-style recipes for everyday cooking and casual celebrations at home. Based on the premise that enjoying a meal together is one of the greatest gifts we can give one another, the book features over 140 delicious and comforting recipes that are specifically geared to the home cook, with modest ingredient lists and realistic techniques. Useful ‘eat with’ menu-making suggestions throughout the book help make the process of building a meal enjoyable and inspiring. Published by Penguin Canada, it’s available in hardcover and e-book.

Vegetables: A Love Story by Renée Kohlman

This is the second book by this talented chef, writer and recipe developer from Saskatoon whose 2019 debut, All the Sweet Things, was Gold Winner for best single-subject cookbook at Taste Canada in 2018. Fans of her Sweetsugarbean blog know that while she may be a pastry chef, Renée’s love for cooking and eating vegetables is as sincere as her love for the vegetable farmer who won her heart five years ago. The recipes offered in this book – over 90 of them, organized in alphabetical order by vegetable – are accessible, delicious and offer an ideal way to encourage us to cook through the seasons. A TouchWood Editions publication, it’s available in hardcover and e-book editions.

Together by Jamie Oliver

Memorable meals made easy is the premise of this internationally well-known chef and food education advocate’s 35th cookbook. 120 recipes are organized into 18 menus, though you can obviously cook dishes independently too. The book offers tips and tricks to help create feasts that will bring people together, with lots of information about make-ahead components, advice on creating the perfect ambiance for the delicious food you’ve prepared, and more. A companion book to his new television show of the same name, Together is published by HarperCollins, you can find it in e-book and hardcover formats.

Cook More, Waste Less by Christine Tizzard

The book’s subtitle says it all: Zero-Waste Recipes to Use up Groceries, Tackle Food Scraps, and Transform Leftovers. Newfoundland born and raised, Christine Tizzard now lives in the Toronto area and is a well-known recipe developer and food stylist (not to mention model and actress). Her second book provides practical food shopping and storage strategies designed to help families address one of the worst pitfalls of modern life, which is that currently one-third of all the food produced in the world is thrown away. Aside from being a handy guidebook to a more sustainable way of cooking and eating, the recipes are inventive and delicious. The book’s publisher is Appetite by Random House and you can enjoy it in e-book or paperback.  

Food for the Soul by Lucy Lord

The debut cookbook by Australian recipe developer and passionate self-taught home cook Lucy Lord contains over 80 recipes intended to help you fall back in love with cooking and eating. A bold claim, but the book delivers, thanks to its genuinely accessible, simple and deliciously healthy ideas. Ranging from super speedy to slightly (but not too much so) more time-intensive recipes, the dishes and helpful tips presented are aimed at encouraging mindful eating practices, including embracing leftovers and not needing to spend a fortune to eat well. As a bonus, there are lots of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free recipes in this HarperCollins publication, available in softcover and e-book.

Eating Out Loud by Eden Grinshpan

I confess it was the subtitle of this book that initially caught my attention. “Bold Middle Eastern Flavors for All Day, Every Day” sounded like a personal invitation to discover the vibrancy of the dishes that this Toronto-based chef, restaurateur and food personality – she’s the current host of Top Chef Canada – has been championing for years. Inspired by her Israeli roots, Eden loves working with a small collection of simple and traditional ingredients and as the book proves, she’s a wizard at mixing and matching them in fresh, new ways. Her playful, joyful approach to cooking is both exciting and motivating and this book is likely to be in regular rotation in many kitchens. Published by Clarkson Potter, find it in hardcover and e-book formats.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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