We review a lot of books and cookbooks here on Go Dairy Free, and I would venture to label myself as a self-proclaimed “expert” in the field. That said, there are many different types of books out there for the foodie … some are practical, some are simply fun, and then there is that special category of gift-worthy. To be gift-worthy, a book needs to have some curb appeal that steps it up a bit from the common road. Yet, the content is equally important. Sure, your recipient may initially light up when a beautiful cover greets them, but the second they spot recipes like “Simmered Collard Greens” and “Kasha-Stuffed Cabbage Rolls” (just doesn’t shout “yum” does it?) or they read a paragraph or two to discover the author’s primary goal is weight loss (Tis’ definitely not the season to suggest that someone needs to lose weight!), their excitement may wane. It is important to select a book that will excite through and through, with at least a smidgen of indulgence, an air of ease, and a somewhat broad appeal. Thus, the following, in no particular order, are my recommendations for gift-worthy (and dairy-free) books and cookbooks this holiday season that will help to keep your holiday budget in check …
My Sweet Vegan ~ Nothing says “gift” more than an indulgent recipe book filled with sweets. The fact that every single recipe has an accompanying full color photo is simply the icing on the cake!
Great Chefs Cook Vegan ~ The very allure of masterful chefs like Charlie Trotter creating a special diet menu makes this cookbook feel more like a gift or a special splurge than an everyday purchase.
Levana Cooks Dairy-Free! ~ This is one of the only “just milk-free” cookbooks out there, but luckily, it is a good one. Each recipe has a full color photo and it is a fantastic price for a hardback. This is also a great choice for the kosher recipient on your list.
The Very Non-Dairy Christmas ~ What would the holidays be without some reads for the little ones? It doesn’t get much better than this for tots with milk allergies.
Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World ~ It surprised me when I first spotted this book, it is actually quite petite in sizing, and easy to miss on bookstore shelves. That certainly doesn’t take away from the “a book full of nothing but cupcakes” appeal though. Little egg-free and dairy-free cakes topped with creamy frosting, are you getting hungry? Because I am.
Vegan Fire & Spice ~ This one makes the gift-worthy ranks for a few reasons. It is a collection of recipes from around the globe (international themes are always fun), the recipes are actually rather easy (with easy to find ingredients), and it boasts robust flavor, even for those who don’t like heat. Of course, it is perfect for the chili pepper fan in your family too.
Vegan Bites ~ Something about this book just shouts “whimsical, fun, carefree, and (my favorite cooking word) easy.” The recipes are specifically made in servings sizes for smaller households (best for singles or couples), and while there is a definite healthy spin on the ingredients, the recipes sound simple and very desirable.
Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan ~ The title offers a “merry” feel, and the insides have a neat, tidy, and inviting feel with big titles that invite you to make the recipes. This one is best for those who tend toward healthier options (like using whole grain flours) yet it still offers enough creativity and indulgence to qualify as a cookbook treat.
The Joy of Vegan Baking ~ Most will agree that one of the biggest challenges on any special diet is baking. This cookbook is a good starter for newbies to egg-free and dairy-free baking and it has just enough pictures to keep those of us with a poor attention span, interested.
Go Dairy Free ~ You caught me, this is actually my book. But, I can promise you that it looks pretty darn spiffy, and it is a great read for those who can’t, or don’t want to, consume dairy. This is a half guide / half cookbook option, though it does have over 200 recipes (yes, cakes, cookies, and mac n “cheese” too!) to play around with in the kitchen.
Keep in mind, this is only a list from among the books we have actually reviewed, and there are many more books I would recommend, this is just a top list of books I have on my giving list this holiday season for their overall look and feel.