You know better than to be the person who says in their old age, “I should have learned how to cook.” However, if you know someone who doesn’t cook, save them from that frustrating realization by giving them this new cookbook from Phaidon. In addition to recipes that will make your friend look like a star in the kitchen, this book is a work of art unto itself. The pictures that guide you through the preparation of each dish go far beyond the boring instructional snapshots that accompany many cookbooks, but do not veer into food porn like some current offerings on the shelves at your local bookseller. Preparing just a few dishes from this latest Phaidon tome will instill a love of cooking in your friend that will drive them to collect every other Phaidon cookbook they find. With a diverse selection of publications, covering cuisines ranging from tapas to Indian, you will no longer have to devise complex excuses to avoid unpalatable meals.
If you’ve had a good upper-body workout at the gym, you can also treat your friend to this cast iron skillet from Williams-Sonoma. For a really good friend, don’t spend a dime on the skillet, but ask an older relative very nicely for theirs. Although a new skillet will often claim to be “seasoned,” such assertions should always be taken with a grain of salt. A seasoned skillet is a priceless addition to your friend’s growing kitchen arsenal, and with it they can do everything from roasting a chicken in the oven, to pan-cooking a couple of marbled rib-eyes to celebrate the holidays. Enjoy.