This is the fourth part of a GFR holiday tradition: Dean Tudor’s annual list of his favourite new cookbooks and food and wine related volumes in bookstores now. Dean covers some of the big names, but always includes interesting and sometimes overlooked gems from this year. Click here to browse the whole series for 2013, and watch for a new category of book every week. – Malcolm Jolley, Ed.


Stocking stuffers are at the top of everybody’s gift list: something affordable (under $10, up to $25) that can also double as a host gift, something small and lightweight. Most of the books here are paperbacks. And, of course, they can stuff an adult stocking.

dishes shax book
DISHES (Artisan Books, 2013, 456 pages, $17.50 CAN paper covers) is by Shax Riegler. It covers some 623 colourful dinner plate patterns from around the world. Riegler provides historical details and anecdotes for each. It’s arranged by theme (art and craft, flora & fauna, people and places, holidays). Artists covered include Frank Lloyd Wright; manufacturers include Wedgwood and Spode.

pie pops hilker book

PIE POPS (Gibbs Smith, 2013, 96 pages, $23 CAN hard covers) is by Marcie Ballard,
and PIE POPS (Ryland, Peters and Small, 2013, 64 pages, $19.95 CAN hard covers) is by Carol Hilker. They cover the same ground: mini-pies on a popsicle stick, either sweet or savoury but always portable. This is good fun at Christmas. Ballard gives us 40 preps, including smores, nutty nutella, lemon meringue, and chocoholic. Each recipe makes two dozen. Hilker gives us 30 preps, including chocolate-dipped key lime pie pops, chicken pot pie pops, orangesicle pie pops, and butterscotch pecan pie pop.

200 cakes and bakes

200 EASY CAKES & BAKES (Hamlyn, 2013, 240 pages, $8.99 CAN paper covers) is part of the 200 Easy series, a trusty database of recipes. Covered are cake, muffins, cupcakes, brownies, cookies, and savouries such as cheese straws or soda breads.

chocolate chip cookies dozens book

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES; dozens of recipes for reinterpreted favorites (Chronicle Books, 2013, 128 pages, $23 CAN hard covers), by the team of Carey Jones and Robyn Lenzi, has a slight 40 recipes, but these cover crispy cookies, soft cookies, vegan, gluten-free, salty and nutty versions. There are some contemporary flavours here, such as coconut-sesame and olive oil.

cereal treats and sweets

CEREAL SWEETS & TREATS (Gibbs Smith, 2013, 96 pages, $23 CAN) is by Jessica Segarra who incorporates all those morning dry cereals into desserts and snacks: bars, cakes, muffins, candies, cookies, frozen items. They add texture and some flavours, as well as sugar replacement, to the end product. It’s a fun thing, like pie pops.

classic candy book

CLASSIC CANDY (Skyhorse Publishing, 2013, 119 pages, $16.95 CAN soft covers) by Abrigail Gehring deals with old-style fudge, taffy, caramel corn, and others. The 60 recipes cover brandy balls, peanut butter cups, raspberry pate, and citrus hard candy.

pork chop book

PORK CHOP (Chronicle Books, 2013, 128 pages, $27.95 CAN hard covers) is an interesting single ingredient book from Ray Lampe. There are 60 preps for such as spicy pork chop lettuce wraps. Various cooking styles are listed: BBQ, grilled, breaded, fried, baked, jerked, stir-fried, slow-cooked, sammie, and salad. Just watch out for bones.

wing it book

WING IT! (Gibbs Smith, 2013, 96 pages, $23 CAN hard covers), by Robert Quintana, has about 30 preps for spicy chicken wings and sides (salads, BBQ beans, veggies, chutneys). Included are some recipes using curry and garam masala for the serious wing lover.

bootleg bakery

And, the mother lode of small stuffers must be Ryland, Peters & Small. All of their small gift books are hard covers, usually line priced at $19.95, with 64 pages. Here’s just a sampling of the latest, suitable as stuffers or host gifts: the above-mentioned PIE POPS; MAC’N’CHEESE (by Laura Washburn who gives us pancetta & gorgonzola & tomato additions, or Serrano ham and Spanish blue); BOOTLEG BAKERY (by Kiki Bee, 28 recipes for decadent cakes and desserts with a cheeky cocktail twist); RETRO CAKES AND COOKIES (by Wendy Sweetser, 25 nostalgic cakes and cookies such as Anglesey cakes, plus nostalgic trivia about each); and BURGERS & SLIDERS (by Miranda Ballard, 30 recipes of mini-burgers such as lamb and feta with tzatziki and baby spinach).

Dean Tudor is a Ryerson University Journalism Professor Emeritus, The Treasurer of The Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada and creator of Canada’s award-winning wine satire site at Visit Dean’s websites at and His motto: “Look it up and you’ll remember it; screw it up and you’ll never forget it.”