Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic is a lifelong picky eater who feared she would pass those habits down to her son. This led to an in-depth and deftly-written and frequently hilarious exploration into the curious science behind food aversions and what we can do to overcome them. -- Suffering Succotash: A Picky Eater's Quest to Understand Why We Hate the Foods We Hate ($15)
Back to nature
Stockbroker-turned-Gourmet Magazine test kitchen chef Ian Knauer wasn't quite sure what to do with himself when the august publication folded, so he went back to tend the land that had been in his family for generations. The result is an earnest, honest, practical cookbook that's a celebration of the seasons and the simple gifts of the earth. -- The Farm ($30)
A woman's place is in the kitchen - the restaurant kitchen. In this engaging (and often enraging) book, journalist Charlotte Druckman wove together first-hand accounts from a stunningly smart panel of over 70 female chefs who are holding their own in a male-dominated field, and commanding only a fraction of the recognition they deserve. -- Skirt Steak: Women Chefs on Standing the Heat & Staying in the Kitchen ($24.95)
Even if you're not familiar with Ruth Bourdain - the unholy Twitter-borne mash-up of Ruth Reichl and Anthony Bourdain - the food freak in your life is. RuBo, as she(?) is known to fans, won the inaugural James Beard Award for humor writing, and brings ever bit of that biting wit to this send-up of modern-day food fanaticism. -- Comfort Me with Offal: Ruth Bourdain's Guide to Gastronomy ($19.99)
Steve McDonagh and Dan Smith won the first season of "The Next Food Network Star" and went on to write my single most favorite entertaining book of all time, "Talk With Your Mouth Full." Their newest book expands on their big-hearted and easily elegant hosting techniques, and include techniques and recipes to make even novice bartenders feel like master mixologists. -- The New Old Bar: Classic Cocktails and Salty Snacks from The Hearty Boys ($19.99)
- Gifts for saving the world -
You've fed your loved one's mouth, mind and soul. How about spreading some of that love around? Everyone has their favorite causes, but I'm a particular fan of the International Rescue Committee's New Roots campaign, which enables refugees to grow foods from their homeland and stay in touch with their culture, while sustaining themselves and their families.
CNN's Impact Your World has more ways to help you channel your time, energy and cash to where it will feed the most people where it's needed most.
Have a delicious holiday season!
*Yes, I know you can make rose petal syrup, chocolate-coated rose petals, etc. I just don't care for them.