A Christmas Cookbook Collection

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When I was younger, my madrina would ask my sister and I what we wanted her Santa to bring us. I always liked that idea, that she had her own Santa on call. This year, the Santas of our friends and family brought us cookbooks. Lots of cookbooks.

Ina Garten’s “How Easy is That?” already sits in our bookcase, and now we have her latest, “Foolproof.” It’s a truly beautiful cookbook with the typical cozy and delicious recipes you expect from her. There’s always an element of luxury with her recipes, and the seafood sections features plenty of lobster. Lobster potato salad? Can’t wait.

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I’m a big fan of Epicurious and its seemingly endless recipe database. Now we’ve got the website’s best recipes in print form. As a nod to its online community roots, most recipes include a quote pulled from the user reviews I love to read through for tips and adaptations.

Pictures don’t accompany every recipe, but the photos included make me want to head to the kitchen and get cooking. Some recipes that caught my eye: roasted butternut squash and caramelized onion tart, eggplant lasagne, warm tofu with spicy garlic sauce, and mango salad with grilled shrimp. My only question about the book so far is a recipe for so-called extreme granola. Oats, dried fruit, seeds – so what’s extreme, Tanya?

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And then, there’s this. I laughed when I unwrapped this gift from Danny’s dad because it is just so good. You sang the title in your head, too, right? I love it. Most of his favorite recipes are pretty familiar ones, including macaroni and cheese and spaghetti and meatballs. I’d eat a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich.

There were also other books, including a book on Thai food, which I’ve never tried to cook at home. And to go with the cookbooks? From Danny’s aunt, an amusing gadget plucked from ebay: an olive picker.

It’s long and slim, and you press down on the top to release the prongs at the bottom to capture an olive from the bottom of a jar. It’s not on the same level as this slicer and probably wouldn’t garner more than 1,000 wonderfully funny reviews (definitely read the reviews!) but it’ll be fun to place on the cheese plate for our next dinner party. Certainly a good conversation starter.

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