Food writer, editor and cookbook author Dawn Yanagihara's Dips & Spreads is one of Dean Tudor's 'Stocking Stuffers' of 2015.

Food writer, editor and cookbook author Dawn Yanagihara’s Dips & Spreads is one of Dean Tudor’s ‘Stocking Stuffers’ of 2015.

Part Three of Dean Tudor’s 2015 Holiday Cookbook (and drink book) review is features “. Previous installments of this year’s Dean’s List include Part One: Art, Travel and Restaurant Cookbooks (here),  Part Two: Literary Food Books (here), and Part Three: Reference” books and books that make health claims (here). – Ed.

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

Typical for food are:

Prison Ramen CookbookPRISON RAMEN (Workman, 2015, 154 pages, $12.95 US soft covers)  is by Clifton Collins Jr. And Gustavo Alvarez. The former is a Hollywood actor; the latter has been through mentorship programs such as SEEK. These are recipes and stories from behind US prison bars, and include such as hot chili corn chip pie, ramen tamale, ramen burger, PB & J ramen, and about 60 others.

Pierogi Love Cookbook Casey BarberPIEROGI LOVE (Gibbs Smith, 2015, 124 pages, $20 US) is by Casey Barber. It’s a series of new takes on old world comfort food with 32 savoury and 28 sweet pierogies. Global influences here include saag paneer and saltimboca pierogies, as well as gnocchi dough.

Nuts Patrick Evans-HyltonNUTS  (Sasquatch Books, 2015, 134 pages, $19.95 CAN hard covers) has 50 preps from crunchy to creamy, and savoury to sweet. The wide-ranging look at staples, snacks, soups, salads, sides, seafood and meats, plus desserts is enough to get you started.

Fried Chicken Rebecca LangFRIED CHICKEN (Ten Speed Press, 2014, 123 pages, $19.99 CAN hard covers) is by Rebecca Lang, who divides the volume into skillet fried and deep fried. These 60 global preps, with everything crispy, include classic Southern buttermilk fried chicken, chicken Milanese with chimichurri, and Thai drumsticks.

The Home Barista Simone Egger Ruby Ashby OrrTHE HOME BARISTA (The Experiment, 2015, 192 pages, $19.95 CAN soft covers) is by Simone Egger and Ruby Ashby Orr. They tell you how to bring out the best in every coffee bean. There’s a primer with history and certain essentials needed for roasting your own (you can use a popcorn maker), a glossary, mastering the espresso, creating milk textures and designs, blending, and how to make seven different types of brew (from cafetiere to Turkish ibrik).

Chowderland Brooke DojnyCHOWDERLAND (Storey Publishing, 2015, 136 pages, $18.95 CAN hard covers) is by Brooke Dojny. These are 32 hearty chowder bisques, soups and stews with sides, breads, salads and desserts – total of 57 preps in all.

Boynton Chocolate Book CoverCHOCOLATE (Workman, 2015, 112 pages, $17.95 CAN soft covers) is by Sandra Boynton, who claims to have “overresearched” the volume. It was out before; this is a revision with more of her illustrations, and was originally published in 1982 before the millennials were around. There are some 200 drawings plus history and descriptions and a few simple recipes (good for the impatient cook).

75 Salad Dressings

SEVENTY FIVE HOMEMADE SALAD DRESSINGS (Gibbs Smith, 2015, $15 US flip cards) is by Jeff Keys. These flip cards are easy to manage and to wash.

Fat Witch Bake Sale CookbookFAT WITCH BAKE SALE (Rodale, 2015, 184 pages, $26.99 CAN hard covers) is by Patricia Helding, who puts out 67 preps from the Manhattan bakery for you next charity/church/school bake sale or party.

Dips and Spreads Dawn Yanagihara

DIPS & SPREADS (Chronicle Books, 2015, 112 pages, $16.95 US hard covers) by Dawn Yanagihara who gives us 46 preps of legumes, veggies, olives, nuts, seeds, yogurt and cheese. Good gift for those who host parties.

The-Worlds-Best-Brunches-Lonely-PlanetTHE WORLD’S BEST BRUNCHES (Lonely Planet, 2015, 224 pages, $19.99 US soft covers) is written by named global food writers, from Africa to Vietnam. This collection of 100 classic dishes has a history for each item, the best place in the world to sample a bite, and a recipe for you to prepare at home. Alternative ingredients are also included.

The Reluctant Hostess ReissueTHE RELUCTANT HOSTESS (Random House Vintage Classics, 2015, 130 pages, $18.99 CAN hard covers) comes from 1954, and was written by Ethelind Fearon for those who dread parties and catering events. She designates most activities as GVC (good and cheap) and NN (not for novices), and includes party games and weird food (e.g., liver flan, curried cheese).

Amber Johns Cattlewomen Ranch CookbookCATTLEWOMEN’S RANCH COOKBOOK (Gibbs Smith, 2015, 176 pages, $13 US) is by Amber Johns and produced by the CattleWomen, a US organization. It is meant for cooking on a ranch. There are many historical photos of cattlewomen, from the late 1800s to early 1900s.

Grill Eats and Drinks CookbookGRILL EATS AND DRINKS (Chronicle Books, 2014,  64 pages, $14.95 US hardback) deals with drinks, nibbles, sides, desserts, and a few mains. These are recipes for good times, mostly previously published.

Fries Cookbook Laura WashburnBut the mother lode of small stuffers must be Ryland Peters & Small. All of their small gift books are hard covers, usually line priced at $23.95 with 64 pages each and 35 recipes. Some of the latest include FRIES by Laura Washburn, using not only potatoes but parsnip, pumpkin, celeriac, and asparagus. THE CAST-IRON SKILLET COOKBOOK is classic home cooking with tarte tatin, Spanish tortilla, and bacon cornbread. A BOWLFUL OF BROTH is for the paleo dieter who wants to reduce a  dependency on processed foods. Classic clear soups are here, such as healing miso soup and chicken noodle soup. PAELLA by Louise Pickford has 28 recipes for different types (Valencia, Basque), plus some associated rice dishes from Spain such as creamy rice with lobster or rice and clam soup.  There is also SUSHI (128 pages, $18.95 CAN paper covers) by Emi Kazuko and two others, with lots of instructional photos amongst its 59 recipes.

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.”