HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >


Gift for a Food Lover

I'm looking for a good gift for a food loving partner. To add a twist, it can't be food itself or anything used in the preparation of food. Not being on her level of food fanaticism, I though I'd turn to the experts on this site for some help.

To get the ball rolling, my initial impulse was to find her a book, cook book or otherwise, that focuses more on the sensual and aesthetic pleasures of food. Pretty pictures, great stories, interesting biographies -- that type of thing. Great recipes would be a plus, but that's more of a secondary goal.

So, any favorite book tips you can pass along? Any gift you dream of getting or have had success giving to others? Any help would be much appreciated.



  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Why not a take her to an unusual or 'unique cuisine' type restaurant.

    1. It's not clear from your post whether this is a romantic partner you're talking about, but if so you might take a look at a book called Intercourses: http://www.intercourses.com/

      It's a cookbook of foods purported to be aphrodisiac and includes some creatively sexy photographs involving food and nudes. If you go to their Web site and look at the recipes you'll see small reproductions of some of the photos, one above each recipe. In the book they're full-page and beautifully printed.

      1 Reply
      1. re: BobB

        bob, well....orangepeel did say food "lover". ;-).

      2. A great book for someone who loves food would be Heat by Bill Buford...it's a great read.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Den

          I think Heat appeals to only a certain type of audience. You can love food but not really be that into Mario Batali or certain aspects of that book. I liked the scenes where he started out working in a kitchen, but didn't care for the rest of the chapters. In terms of getting a good idea about working in a kitchen, I felt like Kitchen Confidential was much better.

        2. How about a Couples' Cooking Class?

          1. Gift certificate to some place like Sur le Table or a local cooking shop; perhaps lessons or go to a great cheese chop and ask them to put together a gift basket with some wine.

            1. Thanks, Den and BobB. The books look interesting. Something with excellent photography and/or wordplay is definitely on the right track. She has been known to buy a cook book or two purely for the images and descriptions, without any expectation of ever cooking the dishes.

              I like the cooking class idea, though both of us are pretty busy at the moment. For the time being, we're more "eat out" than "dine in" people. We might have to save that for later on down the road.

              And yes, this is a romantic partner. Thanks for the help everybody. Any other suggestions?

              2 Replies
              1. re: orangepeel

                Two books with great photography:

                - Provence, the Beautiful Cookbook

                - Roger Vergé's "Entertaining in the French Style". Nice anecdotes too. Example: Around Christmas, Vergé gets comfortable, pops a marron glacé into his mouth, then some dark chocolate, then takes a swig of Cognac, and chews the whole works slowly. Then repeats it a few times, then takes himself to bed, for, as he says, you are not good for anything else. I have tried it....yum !!! The book is based upon menus for lunches and dinners.

                1. re: orangepeel

                  I received a great book prior to my honeymoon in Turkey called "A Chef's Travels in Turkey - turquoise" by Greg and Lucy Malouf. It is just beautiful. Wonderful charming stories, gorgeous photography and imaginative recipes as "diverse as the landscape". Perhaps to complete the gift, you could then go to a restaurant with the same type of menu as the book you choose...or perhaps a gift that compliments the cuisine, such as a turkish-coffee maker. :o)

                2. I received Thomas Keller's Bouchon cookbook as a gift. Beautiful photos and great recipes. His French Laundry cookbook is beautiful as well.

                  1. Though they are a little bit dated, the books in the Culinaria series are fascinating reads. Yes, they have recipes, but there's a tremendous amount of cultural (and physical) food geography in them. Beautiful photography. I've enjoyed Culinaria France, Spain, European Specialties, and Germany. Have paged through Hungary. I think I got most of them in the bargain bin at Borders!

                    Or, if she might enjoy vintage cookbooks, look for some of the old Time-Life Foods of the World books. I have the one on The Cooking of Provincial France, written by MFK Fisher. Had it for about two decades and STILL love to curl up with this occasionally.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: nofunlatte

                      the culinaria books are beautiful -- a real joy in reverie! not sexy sensual, but food sensual -- you'll want it all!