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3 cookbooks (and 2 cocktail books) to gift this holiday season

Written by
Erin Kuschner

Still stuck on a gift for your foodie friend? Forego the kitchen utensils and cocktail shakers, and instead pick up one of these 2014 newcomers—cookbooks (and cocktail books) that will feel right at home on a kitchen shelf.

Want more holiday gift ideas? Check out our 2014 holiday gift guide.—gifts for men, women, white elephant and secret santa gift ideas, and more.

EAT: The Little Book of Fast Food, by Nigel Slater ($27.99, hardcover). Because it looks more like a novel than a cookbook, the simply-titled, 464-page EAT appears intimidating at first. Take a peek inside, though, and you’ll see that each recipe fits on one page and that the instructions aren’t complicated at all—just simple, concise dishes made with a few ingredients. Slater includes a brief testimonial at the beginning of each section (In a bowl, In the hand, In a wok, etc) describing his nostalgia for each category, giving this cookbook a unique and personal touch.

The Moosewood Cookbook, by Mollie Katzen ($19.99, paperback). No, this cookbook isn’t exactly new, it’s just the 40th anniversary edition of a classic. But beginner vegetarians—a sizable group in LA—may be unaware of this kitchen mainstay. It’s the vegetarian bible, straight out of Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, New York, and Mollie Katzen’s recipes have already proven their lasting power. This new edition maintains its handwritten recipes and innocent illustrations, along with recipes that appeal to everyone (try the corn casserole!)—vegetarian or otherwise.

Huckleberry: Stories, Secrets, and Recipes from Our Kitchen, by Zoe Nathan, Matt Armendariz, Laurel Almerinda and Josh Loeb ($35, hardcover). Diehards of Santa Monica's Huckleberry will go nuts over this beautiful cookbook, which includes recipes for some of pastry chef Nathan's most popular treats. There are her bacon cheddar muffins and her blueberry cornmeal cake, as well as savory items like her smashed avocado toast and green eggs and ham. And the food porn? A+.

The Old-Fashioned, by Robert Simonson ($18.99, hardcover). If you love the feeling of a smooth Old Fashioned rolling around in your mouth, you will be able to relate to this book. Part recipe collection (there are over 40 unique recipes included for crafting the classic cocktail), part history lesson and part love letter, the Old Fashioned ode covers every aspect of the cocktail, both personal and objective. Not only that, but Simonson, who writes about all things drink for the New York Times, has an exceptional way with words—once you've read through a chapter, you'll want nothing more than to concoct your own version of the OF.

Death & Co.: Modern Classic Cocktails, by David Kaplan, Nick Fauchald and Alex Day ($40, hardcover). "This book is intended for anyone with a passion or curiosity for cocktails," the authors write in their introduction, and if you don't start the book with both, you'll certainly finish with them. Written by bartenders from New York's legendary Death & Co. (Alex Day is now at LA's very own Honeycut), the gorgeously bound tome is filled with history, recipes and techniques, and it raises a glass to the bartenders that made the bar—and the book—what it is today.

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