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Review: Gifts Cooks Love

Recipes for Giving by Diane Morgan

Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the spectacular colors and the feeling of warmth and hospitality that seems to linger in the air. A new book from the award-winning author, Diane Morgan, and one of my favorite kitchenware retailers, Sur La Table titled, “Gifts Cooks Love; Recipes for Giving,” compliments the season perfectly and carries it over into the entire year.

As Fall fades into holidays, it’s on everyone’s mind on what to get that someone. If you’re like me, you want to give a gift that conveys you. A momentum of reflection of your passion, your friendship, and something that whispers, “just for you.” After indulging in the pages of Gifts Cooks Love, I believe Morgan has represented gifting on a level of warmth, joy and truly captures the love a gift should convey.

Inside this book awaits glossy pictures and recipes. At first glance, you might even mistake it for a standard cookbook. When the book arrived, I glimpsed through it at the bus stop. I was impressed by the pictures and loved the kitchen tips and techniques. The bus arrived, and I thought nothing more of the book.

Then the weekend welcomed its way into my week, and I sat on the couch and really took Gifts Cook Love: Recipes for Giving to heart. Page after page presented something different from my other cookbooks. Sure, I noticed those things right off: recipes, tips, techniques, but there was also this whole new world of art and creative expression.

The recipes are broken down into categories, and trust me; they’re beyond Mexican and Italian. We’re talking about creating something in your kitchen that transforms into a gift like no other. Forget about the dry ingredients in the jar to make brownies or cookies. Think instead: Sweet Preserved Gifts; Savory Preserved Gifts; Smoked, Cured & Dried Gifts; Baked Gifts; Confections & Chocolate Gifts; Drink Gifts; No-Cook Gifts; and Make-A-Gift categories.

I admire the author thinking outside the box. The book starts with “The Gift-Giving Kitchen.” It’s a chapter dedicated to the tools and equipment to make the gifts that follow. It’s more than a list of tools. It gives real advice. Say, for instance, you want to make the Double Fudge Brownie Pops (recipe is on page 89). Morgan lets you know in the first chapter, you’ll need Wilton’s silicone molds. That makes sense, but she also goes on to say, ‘For gift-giving, it makes sense to buy two or three molds since each mold makes just eight brownie pops. these molds could also be used for baking other sweet treats, creating ice pops, ice-cream bars, or gelatin shapes.” I love it! How often have I made a recipe and then thought, “I should have gotten another pan!” and I love that she inspires more from my kitchen with the other things I can make and do with the same pan.

Right after this chapter comes “The Gift-Giving Pantry.” It’s not a list of spices you should have on hand, and it covers the “special” ingredients found in the recipes that follow. It talks about Albacore Tuna, 151-proof or 190 proof alcohol, candied orange peels, and Salt.

In both of these “gift-giving” chapters, you’ll find a list on the left side of the page for “at a glance” accessibility and then detailed paragraphs through the chapter that share the tips, the thought behind, or the item in general terms.

Chapter Three talks about decorative packaging. I love the simplicity Morgan uses in each item. They look luxurious and elegant, and yet they are so representative of the warmth of a home. She uses simple things like bottles, jars, trims, boxes, gags, sticks, and labels, but how they all come together makes them beyond spectacular!

Don’t believe me?

Take the Breakfast Kit Gift. Imagine a gift that smells the recipient’s home with the fragrances of Orange Cardamom Marmalade or Rustic Rosemary and Parmesan Crackers. It’s a gift that tantalizes the taste buds with Blueberry-Blackberry-Basil Margarita Puree. These are just a few of the recipes that once made create the beauty of homemade. On page 169, Morgan lists the recipes, complete with page number, and makes it easy by advising on pairing items up, “Any time of year, the Jalapeno and Cheddar Skillet Cornbread with Honey Butter, baked and delivered in a cast-iron skillet, would also delight a host.” 

Every recipe is eye-appealing and would have any host inviting you back again and again. 

Recipes like:

Meyer Lemon Curd on page 57
Orange-Cardamom Marmalade on page 63
Boysenberry and Lemon Verbena Jam on page 67
Salmon Gravlax on page 79
Benny’s Bacon on page 81
Mini Apricot and Crystallized Ginger Quick Breads on page 93
Jalapeño and Cheddar Skillet Cornbread with Honey Butter on page 105
Coconut Granola Crunch on page 119
Mexican Drinking Chocolate on page 171

Whether you’re thinking of the holidays or just looking to do something different in your kitchen, the partnership between Diane Morgan and Sur La Table will have you feeling the old-fashioned goodness of homemade. You’ll be finding more things to be thankful for as you create the beauty of food!

Find this delightful homage to homemade goodness, Gifts Cooks Love: Recipes for Giving on!

I received a copy of the book Gifts Cooks Love: Recipes for Giving from the sponsor to facilitate an honest review. No other compensation was received. The opinions are my own and in no way were influenced by the sponsor. Others’ experiences may vary.

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