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Serving up cookbooks as holiday gifts Featured

Written by  Thursday, 07 December 2017 15:09
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By Leilana McKindra


STILLWATER, Okla. – Wondering what to get the foodie on your holiday list? Or perhaps you are stumped on what to give the hard-to-shop-for friend or family member who has everything.


Well, everyone has to eat, right? Cookbooks can make great gifts, especially when they closely match the receiver’s interests and abilities.


Begin by thinking about the recipient of the present, said Barbara Brown, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension food specialist.


“Is the person receiving the gift interested in cooking? If not, maybe they’d prefer to get a murder mystery so they can read while eating out,” Brown said. “Or, for some, even though they don’t do a lot of cooking, a cookbook is more about reading and learning about food rather than finding recipes and actually cooking. In that case, maybe a cookbook is a good option.”


Gift givers also should consider the skill level of the recipient.


There should be a fairly close match between a recipient’s skill in the kitchen compared to the skill needed to prepare recipes in the cookbook.


It also is important look at the types of foods the recipes prepare as well as the types of recipes featured in the cookbook.


“Why give a cookbook on preparing meats to a vegan, right?” Brown said. “Meanwhile, a book of recipes with many ingredients and lots of steps probably won’t get much use by someone who wants a meal on the table in 10 or 20 minutes.”


Other criteria to consider are whether the cookbook features colorful pictures and readily accessible ingredients.


Although most foods are available for purchase through the internet, having to wait a couple days for a specific ingredient could dampen the excitement and anticipation of trying a new recipe.


While a more experienced cook or baker may be able to substitute local ingredients for what is not available and the finished product may taste good, it is not the same.


Finally, gifters should look for cookbooks in which the recipes are well written with ingredients listed in the order they will be added and given in common measurements.


“Most recipes are written in standard American format using volume to measure. But, it’s a bonus when cookbooks use both volume and weight, especially for baking, where weighing ingredients is more accurate,” Brown said. “It’s also a nice feature if nutritional information per serving is provided as well as how much equals one serving.”



Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Higher Education Act), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, genetic information, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, or status as a veteran, in any of its policies, practices or procedures. This provision includes, but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. The Director of Equal Opportunity, 408 Whitehurst, OSU, Stillwater, OK 74078-1035; phone 405-744-5371; email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Director of Equal Opportunity. Any person (student, faculty, or staff) who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based on gender may discuss his or her concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of Title IX with OSU’s Title IX Coordinator 405-744-9154.


David Deaton

Digital Editor at Oklahoma Welcome

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