If you happen to find a cookbook that belonged to one of your grandparents, or maybe even a parent, thumbing through it can reveal the tome to be a pretty boring slog. Many of the books of the past were utilitarian affairs, meant to get you from point A to point B in the kitchen. Add 1 cup here, 2 tablespoons there, put in an oven at 350, and voila. How should it look? Well, there generally weren’t pictures. What culture did this originate from? Eh, those old books didn’t give that much context and weren’t that diverse. Modern cookbooks are totally different—chock full of colorful pictures and stories. Not only are many of them useful guides, they’re great coffee table books as well.
We surveyed a year when some of our favorite chefs and TV personalities from Massimo Bottura to Gail Simmons released their tomes on food, and picked which would make great gifts for the gourmand in your life. These aren’t books simply to cook from (one of them is so complicated, it may be tough to cook a single item it); they will all inspire you to get into the kitchen and express your creativity. They tell you not only how to make something, but also share a good story and introduce you to cultures along the way.
And if you’re looking for more luxury gift ideas, check out the complete Robb Report Ultimate Gift Guide for 2017, which includes inspirations in every category from cars to watches to fashion, to travel, and more, as well as the culinary gift guide with food and kitchen tools to make your holidays more delicious.