1. Cheerful Money, by Tad Friend ($24.99)
A wonderful memoir from New Yorker writer Tad Friend, aka Mr. Amanda Hesser, that takes a look at WASP culture—or the decline thereof—in America. It’s a stylishly written, entertaining and insightful blend of family and cultural history.
2. Tennis Fashion, by Diane Elisabeth Poirier ($18.95)
Obviously I need this book and am, in fact, irate that I didn’t write it myself! Looking on alibris.com, I can pick up a like-new copy for as little as two bucks, but wouldn’t it be more fun to go to the swanky new Assouline store on Melrose Place in the former Bastide space? And about the cover…a tennis beret! Fascinating food for thought.
Here’s a book I refer to often, not just for excellent cocktail recipes and inspiration, but for fascinating cocktilian history. It’s written by a friend and colleague, Dave Wondrich, whose stories you’ve undoubtedly read in Esquire, Bon Appetit and Saveur. A must for any cocktail lover.
4. The GastroKid Cookbook: Feeding a Foodie Family in a Fast-Food World, by Hugh Garvey ($22.95)
If we are friends and you have kids, chances are you got one of these from The Foodinista for Christmas! I love this book, love the message, and love the author. Hugh is a friend, colleague and neighbor—and in addition to being a totally great guy, he can cook. I love his recipe for roasted chickpeas even better than the original Babbo version on which it’s based.
5. Freidlander, by Peter Galassi ($165)
For the photography collector on your list. I desperately wish I’d bought this book when I saw the exhibit back in 2005 at MoMA in New York. I love the vision and wit of Friedlander’s images of everyday life (billboards, storefronts, cars), and perhaps my most prized possession is one of his photographs—a self portrait taken in 1966—that hangs above our fireplace:
6. Momofuku Cookbook, by David Chang and Peter Meehan ($40)
Here’s a must-have cookbook for the food obsessed from my very favorite restaurant in New York, Momofuku Noodle Bar. David Chang’s ramen with Berkshire pork belly and poached egg is reason enough to hop a flight to JFK. My friend Alex gave me a copy of this book for my birthday last month, and we’re planning a cooking date where we take over her kitchen or mine for a day and try to recreate (I’m told the ramen broth takes 10 hours to make). We’ve already sourced the pork belly at Huntington Meats at the Third/Fairfax farmer’s market. Game ON!
7. My Wonderful World of Fashion, by Nina Chakrabarti ($19.95)
It’s been a while since I’ve been interested in coloring books, though something tells me I’d better get my head in the game with Tiny G just learning to wield a crayon. I think this coloring book for fashion addicts just might do the trick! There are gorgeous illustrations to color, pages on which to design your own creations, and brief historical notes for inspiration. Santa, baby?