Hunting for a last-minute gift? Cookbooks might just be the move and Philadelphia has several excellent examples to help spark the imagination for any level of cook. These books offer narratives about families and generational recipes, the history of a famed Philly social club, and a slew of dishes from popular Philly chefs and home cooks throughout Pennsylvania.
While gifting these cookbooks for your favorite cooks (or yourself), you can also shop local bookstores to support their businesses, too. And don’t forget to check out Eater’s gift guides for even more food-filled ideas.
Homage: Recipes and Stories From an Amish Soul Food Kitchen by Chris Scott
This narrative cookbook is filled with 100 dishes reflecting Scott’s Southern, German, and Dutch upbringing and the Black diaspora. Scott, a finalist on Bravo TV’s Top Chef Season 15, is currently an instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education as well as the owner of Butterfunk Kitchen in New York City. He describes the book as “a story of strength and resilience.” The cookbook includes vivid, engaging photos of him as well as treasured family pictures and handwritten notes. Scott describes his hardcover book as a “love letter from my mother and grandmother to my children, through me.” He adds, “I hope people love the stories and get a different perspective of what soul food is.” Recipes include cheese grits with jerk pork, Pennsylvania Dutch tater tot casserole, turkey neck gumbo over rice, charred radicchio salad with roasted grapes and shaved Amish cheddar, and Nana’s cornbread.
The Philadelphia Chef’s Table: Extraordinary Recipes From the City of Brotherly Love by Adam Erace and April White
This hardcover, second edition book offers a snapshot of Philly’s food scene based on conversations with more than 50 of the city’s chefs with more than 70 recipes for dishes such as Oyster House’s New England clam chowder, Buddakan’s edamame ravioli, Booker’s Restaurant and Bar’s fried jerk chicken and waffles with pineapple butter, and Franklin Fountain’s hot fudge sundae.
Dinner at the Club: 100 Years of Stories and Recipes From South Philly’s Palizzi Social Club by Joey Baldino and Adam Erace
Coauthored by native Philadelphian chef and restaurateur Joey Baldino and Philly-based food and travel writer Adam Erace, this book offers a range of recipes such as braised rabbit with tomato and oregano, grilled swordfish, and semolina gnocchetti with short rib ragu. Readers will also be treated to retro-looking photos from the Palizzi Social Club, its history, the neighborhood, and a synopsis of the food.
This hardcover book is available at Bookshop for $35.
All Time Favorite Recipes from Pennsylvania Cooks by Gooseberry Patch
This community-style cookbook features family-friendly recipes collected by Gooseberry Patch. It’s filled with a whopping 154 recipes from people who love to cook — and are good at it — throughout Pennsylvania. Among the recipes, home cooks can expect autumn Amish baked oatmeal, baked cinnamon-apple French toast casserole, Pennsylvania Dutch chicken and waffles, Pittsburgh pigskin pierogies, Sunday meatball skillet, and more.
Available for $11 to $15 at Rowman & Littlefield.
Israeli Soul: Easy, Essential, Delicious by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook
After traveling worldwide and visiting restaurants, bakeries, and juice carts, Solomonov and Cook teamed up again to produce this popular cookbook filled with food history, generational recipes, and striking photographs. Cooks who have an interest in spicing up their meals at home will find recipes such as green garbanzo falafel with labneh and pomegranate; a range of shawarmas such as lamb shoulder, cauliflower, and chicken thigh; and a slew of salads including a Moroccan cooked tomato and pepper salad and chickpeas with baharat, tomatoes, and brown butter salad.
This hardcover book is available at Barnes & Noble Downtown Philadelphia for $35. 1805 Walnut St., 19103, or order online at Barnes & Noble.