best cookbooks for Mother's Day gift
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Mother’s Day in the time of coronavirus is probably not going to be what you’re used to, but you can still treat the most important woman in your life to a gift she’ll love. Don’t forget to Skype her too, of course; a virtual hug is better than none at all. As for the other present, if your mom loves to cook and always welcomes another book, we’ve curated a collection of the best cookbooks for every kind of mom out there.

Mother’s Day is approaching fast and we don’t need to remind you that moms are complex and amazing; whether they stay at home, work full time, or freelance, they are hard-working women. Rather than chocolates or a bouquet of flowers that will eventually wither away, why not consider cookbooks? Perhaps finding a cookbook that would complement her strengths could be clever and fun. Maybe she was an art history major in college or is obtaining a second degree in higher ed. Whatever your mom is into, it’s fun to choose a cookbook that aligns with her interests. Below is a list of options geared to a few of moms’ various personalities to help you along.

Related Reading: 9 Bread Books for Every Kind of Baker

Best Cookbook for the Science Mom

“The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science” by J. Kenji López-Alt, $30.99 from Amazon

The Food Lab cookbook


For your technical-minded mom, she may favor a cookbook that offers thoughtful recipes and explores the science of cooking and food. Maybe she’s more interested in how to achieve the perfect char on a seared steak or how to make the perfect poached egg (hint: the freshness of the egg is key). Awarded James Beard Best Cookbook, “The Food Lab” uncovers how to create delicious food through a scientific lens.Buy Now

Best Cookbook for the Art Mom

“Modern Art Desserts: Recipes for Cakes, Cookies, Confections, and Frozen Treats Based on Iconic Works of Art” by Caitlin Freeman, $18.20 from Amazon

Modern Art Dessert cookbook


For the artsy mom, she will appreciate not only a cookbook filled with delicious desserts, but a book that showcases artistic expression. Help transport your mom back to her collegiate art history days with “Modern Art Desserts.” Blue Bottle Coffee chef Caitlin Freeman puts her expertise to work by recreating desserts inspired by Modern Art masterpieces. Matisse Parfaits, Koon’s White Hot Chocolate, and Mondrian Cake will delight and inspire your mother to think of her kitchen as her newest art studio.
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Best Cookbook for the Team Mom

“Feed Your People: Big-Batch, Big-Hearted Cooking and Recipes to Gather Around” by Leslie Jonath, $28.13 from Amazon

Feed Your People cookbook


Whether it’s band practice, the hockey team, or the cast party wrap event, this mom is adept at feeding a crowd and hosting hungry kids (so she’s undoubtedly feeling a little lost right now). She needs a cookbook that is simple to use and features recipes that are true crowd-pleasers for when we can all come together again. Large-batch recipes like Grandma Salazar’s Chile Verde and Nepalese Momos will add some ethnic spice to the typical lasagna dinners and Dunkin Donuts’ pre-game breakfasts. Recipe contributors include culinary masterminds Alice Waters, Deborah Madison, Gonzalo Guzman, and many more. (See the Grand Aioli with Roasted Salmon recipe from the cookbook, and the Cherry Tomato Tart with Anchovies and Garlic Confit recipe too.)Buy Now

Best Cookbook for the Healthcare Mom

“The How Not to Die Cookbook: 100+ Recipes to Help Prevent and Reverse Disease” by Michael Greger M.D. and Gene Stone, $21.49 from Amazon

Depending on your mom’s temperament, this bluntly titled book may not be the best choice right now, but for the no-nonsense mother who works or practices in the healthcare world, nutrition is probably an important factor when cooking and feeding a family. It’s no secret that diet is a driving force in our overall health and your intelligent mom may gravitate towards another professional in the field, like Dr. Greger, whose is a wild success. Even if nutrition’s not her day job, but just something she’s passionate about, keep her healthy and glowing with Superfood Breakfast Bites and Stuffed Portabellos with Herb Mushroom Gravy. Sample menus are included to keep her motivated and on track for a lifetime of nutritious eating.Buy Now

Best Cookbook for the Corporate Mom

“Dinner: Changing the Game” by Melissa Clark, $31.46 from Amazon

Melissa Clark Dinner: Changing the Game cookbook


For the mom who is high on that corporate ladder, she may take a more serious and focused approach to food. In fact, maybe her assistant even schedules in chunks of time for cooking and eating. She needs a practical cookbook like New York Times’ food columnist Melissa Clark’s “Dinner.” This cookbook focuses on straightforward dinner recipes without the hassle of creating multiple side dishes. Clark’s book features more than 200 recipes based around a main ingredient like chicken or tofu—and pizzas. Recipes such as Five Spice Duck Breasts with Crisp Potato Cakes, and Asian Grain Bowl with Roasted Shiitakes, Tofu, Brussels Sprouts, and Miso Dressing will be straightforward, filling, and scrumptious.Buy Now

Best Cookbook for the Blogger Mom

“Half Baked Harvest Super Simple” by Tieghan Gerard, $17.99 from Amazon

Half Baked Harvest cookbook 2019


Is your mom an aspiring writer? Does she stay up late working on her Squarespace site and researching SEO for those matcha coconut lattes she’s been blending? Well perhaps mountain food blogger Tieghan Gerard’s second cookbook will inspire her. Based off of Gerard’s popular blog and following the success of the “Half Baked Harvest Cookbook: Recipes from My Barn in the Mountains,” Gerard’s new cookbook features more stunning dishes with an emphasis on ease, whether that means making things ahead or making them fast. Brioche French Toast with Fruit Jam; Balsamic Peach and Brie Tart with Crispy Prosciutto; One Pot Spanish Chorizo and Rice Pilaf; and Fudgy Ice Cream Pretzel Cake will galvanize your mom to go from blogger to book author, especially with stunning photos alongside each mouthwatering recipe. And she’ll have time to do both things, too.Buy Now

Best Cookbook for the Gardener Mom

“Grow Cook Eat: A Food Lover’s Guide to Vegetable Gardening, Including 50 Recipes, Plus Harvesting and Storage Tips” by Willi Galloway, $29.95 from Amazon

Grow Cook Eat gardener cookbook


For the mom who loves wholesome food, shops at the local farmers’ market, and may even have her own vegetable patch in the backyard or window box, she may appreciate a vegetable-driven cookbook. “Grow Cook Eat” illustrates 50 garden-to-table recipes and instructs gardeners–from the novice to the refined– on best practices for growing your own sustainable, edible garden.Buy Now

Best Cookbook for the Back-to-School Mom

“The Instant Pot Bible: More than 350 Recipes and Strategies: The Only Book You Need for Every Model of Instant Pot” by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, $15.69 from Amazon

The Instant Pot Bible cookbook


For the mom who is hustling at night school or glued to her computer for online courses to finish a degree, she will need something that’s easy and quick. A best-selling cookbook, “The Instant Pot Bible” is comprised of more than 350 quick-cooking recipes for that Instant Pot you bought mom during the holidays. She can whip up hot breakfasts like Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal, stews like Not-Your-Jewish-Grandmother’s Sweet-and-Sour Soup, and other delicacies in just minutes with very little planning to allow her to tend to her studies and focus on where she will hang her newest framed degree in the house.Buy Now

Best Cookbook for the Gourmet Mom

“Institut Paul Bocuse Gastronomique: The Definitive Step-by-Step Guide to Culinary Excellence” by Institut Paul Bocuse, $50.69 from Amazon

Paul Bocuse cookbook set


For the mom who is a true epicurean, she will appreciate a cookbook that’s knowledgeable, in-depth, and culinarily-challenging. Enter the “Institut Paul Bocuse Gastronomique,” a fully illustrated tome demonstrating how to prep, cook, and serve 70 recipes for professional chefs and aspiring cooks. With over more than 1,500 “how to” photographs, this book is an essential reference for any cook who wants to tackle classic and contemporary cuisine, from pan frying a rack of veal to preparing monkfish tail.Buy Now

Find more great Mother’s Day gift ideas.

Header image courtesy of Amazon.

Marisa Olsen is a Boston-based writer and founder of Girl Loves Food. Follow her on Instagram at @marisaolsen17.
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