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Holiday gifts for the cook and food lover

| Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, 9:01 p.m.

Finding the perfect gift for the cook or food lover in your life can be overwhelming. Below, I've selected a handful of books and other gifts to help you focus your choices.

Cookbooks

“Jerusalem” by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi (Ten Speed Press, $35.00)

These authors are both from Jerusalem and born in the same year. The dishes are vibrant, and the writing shows these friends and colleagues love their collective history.

“Japanese Farm Food” by Nancy Singleton Hachisu (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $35.00)

The author explains the ingredients, tools and recipes in ways that give you the confidence to cook like a Japanese local.

“Vintage Cakes” by Julie Richardson (Ten Speed Press, $24.00)

Author Julie Richardson has chosen a timeless group of cakes that she has updated for todays palate. Pure ingredients are featured in the recipes.

“Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking” by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart (Gibbs-Smith, $45.00)

This tome comprises more than 750 recipes and 650 variations. The authors wrote clear instructions for seasoned home cooks and kitchen novices.

“Seriously Simple Parties” by Diane Worthington (Chronicle Books, $24.95)

I would be remiss if I didn't mention my contribution. It's full of party ideas, menus by season and lots of entertaining tips.

Other gifts

Waring Rotisserie Turkey Fryer/Steamer ($249.95 from various online sellers)

This indoor fryer/steamer has a rotating rotisserie that cooks the turkey fast (a 16-pounder in about an hour) and uses 13 less oil than other turkey fryers. The machine can also be used as a traditional fryer and, get this, a steamer for summer clambakes.

Colorful appliances from Cuisinart ($35 to $50 at various retail at stores such as Bed Bath and Beyond)

Colors have taken over the kitchen. Cuisinart has gone color crazy with immersion blenders, hand mixers and mini-prep food processors.

Classic Double Serrated Bread Knife by Wustof ($100-$110 from various online sellers)

Owning a fine serrated knife will bring ease to any cook's chores — and, best of all, this also works beautifully to slice tomatoes.

Oxo gadgets (from $10 at retail stores)

Anyone would love the Pro Swivel Peeler ($12.95), my pick for the perfect peeler. I also love the Chef's Mandoline Slicer with the thin and thick julienne blades ($69.95).

McEvoy Ranch products: olive oil and much more ($10 and up at www.mcevoyranch.com)

McEvoy Ranch is famous for its award-winning olive oil. Now, they have expanded to include delectable food products such as Pink Pearl Apple Marmalade, organic Apple and Lavender Jelly and organic Meyer Lemon Marmalade.

Seattle Chocolates (from $10 at seattlechocolates.com)

Inventive flavors like Mom's Hot Cocoa Bar and Christmas Cookie Bar are perfect stocking stuffers. For larger gifts, check out their baskets full of chocolate goodies.

Diane Rossen Worthington is is the author of 20 cookbooks, and also a James Beard award-winning radio-show host.

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