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Smitten and Barefoot: Our Top 5 Cookbooks for Christmas

I have a confession to make: I am a cookbook-aholic. I absolutely love reading and collecting cookbooks.

Sometimes I like to sit in Barnes & Noble and read through all of the new cookbooks displayed in the food section of the store. I love the pictures, I love the author's story behind each recipe and I want to make everything I see.

Every year for Christmas, nearly half of my Christmas list is composed of cookbooks. I have reduced my never-ending list to the top five cookbooks you can add to your own list -- or give to someone -- this holiday season. Mom and dad, please take note.

5. Cooking with Love: Comfort Food that Hugs You

Carla Hall was my favorite chef when she first appeared on the fifth season and All-Stars season of Top Chef; she was the fan favorite on All-Stars. I love her enthusiasm and love for cooking. In this cookbook, she expresses her Southern charm in every dish. I would love to try her classic Southern recipes, like fried catfish or her grandmother's pound cake.

4. Modernist Cuisine at Home

As much as I want the six-volume food encyclopedia from Modernist Cuisine, it's quite expensive and a lot to read through. This shortened version is tailored to cooks like me who don't have an educational background in food, but have a passion for cooking. It's split into two parts. The first part explains how to use certain tools and equipment in restaurant kitchens, like sous vide and how to properly use a pressure cooker. The second part is filled with comfort food recipes. Since the only books I like to read are about food and cooking, this would keep me occupied for quite some time.

3. The Chew: Food. Life. Fun

My favorite day-time talk show and new obsession is The Chew. The five co-hosts, including Carla Hall, have created a cookbook featuring their recipes on the show. The two Iron Chef co-hosts, Mario Batali and Michael Symon, offer their delicious recipes like Symon's paella and Batali's chestnut crepes, while Clinton Kelly offers recipes and tips to entertaining. It's a great cookbook filled with more information than just how to cook their food.

2. Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust

I'm pretty sure I have bought a Barefoot Contessa cookbook every year for someone for Christmas. She's full of knowledge and always has delicious recipes. Now, her new cookbook offers recipes that she promises will turn out spectacular. I love how she makes simple food just taste so darn good. Cue the trademark slogan: "How easy is that?" I want to try her many desserts, especially the salted caramel brownies.

1. The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Finally! I have read the Smitten Kitchen blog for quite a while and I am so thrilled that Deb Perelman has released her own cookbook. Her blog is filled with delicious recipes I can't resist to try. Those apple and cheddar scones were to die for. One of my best friends and I jumped for joy when we found out the Smitten Kitchen recipes would be compiled in a cookbook. The best part of this cookbook is that most of the recipes haven't appeared on her blog, so I would love to see what other scrumptious recipes she has created.



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