The GOOD Gift Guide: Cookbooks for Non-Foodies

Our picks for this year’s best cookbooks for people who couldn’t care less about food

The best new cookbooks this fall aren't just for cooks, they aren't even necessarily intended for those interested in food. Some may be suited for design freaks, others for the tech or travel-obsessed. Here's our roundup of food-inspired books to give to all the people in your life, not just the foodies.

For the Portland/Portlandia Fan

Chef Renee Erickson's cookbook A Boat, a Whale, and a Walrus: Menus and Stories (Sasquatch Books) is as much a crafty tribute to the beekeepers and butchers of the Pacific Northwest as it is a collection of robust recipes for dishes like pickled turnips or lacinato kale gratin.

For the Travel-Obsessed

With Mexico: The Cookbook (Phaidon), you don't have to travel to Mexico to taste Margarita Carrillo Arronte’s cerdo y nopales con chiles (pork with cactus paddles in chili sauce) or an authentic torta de jamón y queso (ham and cheese sandwich). You can at least daydream about those dishes while flipping through this voluminous Luis Barragán-inspired pink tome, divided by region.

For the Photographer or Farmer at Heart

Organic: Farmers and Chefs of the Hudson Valley (powerHouse Books) is a gorgeous tome (no doubt intended for your coffee table) that has no recipes, just stunning full-page photographs by Francesco Mastalia of the new rock stars: farmers. It includes first-person accounts of their lives in the Hudson Valley, New York—ground zero for the U.S. farm-to-table movement.

For the Graphic Novel Geek

Who doesn't need a step-by-step illustration of how to make vegetable- and cheese-filled ravioli or pizza Margherita from scratch? Adriano Rampazzo’s Chop, Sizzle, Wow: The Silver Spoon Comic Cookbook (Phaidon), based on the classic Silver Spoon cookbook, has no ingredient lists, no paragraph-long instructions, and no drool-worthy food porn. Instead it’s just illustrations of little bottles of olive oil or hands punching dough. (Pow!)

For the Philosopher/Aesthete/Italofile

Massimo Bottura’s Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef (Phaidon) is not a red sauce/white sauce kind of book. It’s more of an exhibition catalogue or an aestheticized philosophical treatise than a cookbook, in fact. In addition to photographs of dishes from Bottura’s much-lauded modernist restaurant Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy, you’ll find meandering texts and images that have inspired the chef to create highly deconstructed dishes like Memory of a Mortadella Sandwich or La Dame et son Chevalier (The Crunchy Part of the Lasagna). Recipes are included almost as an afterthought in the last few pages of the book, but they’re aspirational at best.

For Your Drunk Uncle

Named for the East Village bar credited with igniting the modern (or throwback) craft cocktail movement, Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails by David Kaplan, Nick Fauchald, and Alex Day (Ten Speed Press) may inspire your family members to up their game via small-batch liquors with homemade bitters and to lay off the rum and coke. Think of it as a subtle hint to enjoy quality over quantity. Plus, there’s an entire chapter devoted to ice.

For the Television Junkie

Perhaps it goes without saying that In the Kitchen with Kris: A Kollection of Kardashian-Jenner Family Favorites (Gallery Books/Karen Hunter Publishing) is a total guilty pleasure. Because “if I’m cooking an Italian meal, I will grab my red Hermès china to go with the red sauce (Fusilli with Tomato Basil Sauce).”

Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

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"We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart," organizers say.

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"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

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