Gift Guide 2023: 9 Small-Batch Cookbooks That Feel Handmade

Remember the cookbooks your grandmother had? Spiral-bound and splotched, often souvenirs from roadside taverns or inns, they felt handmade and personal, never mass-produced or fancy, and the same was true for the recipes inside.

Many of our favorite cookbooks this year return to that small-batch style. Spiral-bound (bonus: they lay flat on the counter), independently published, or with hand-drawn illustrations in the margins, they’re more like assemblages of personal recipes and notes than weighty, technical tomes.

Pick one of the nine on our list, tie it with kitchen twine, and, presto: a perfect gift.

apartamento’s eighth annual cookbook is tuber or not tuber?, and it 14
Above: Apartamento’s eighth annual cookbook is Tuber or Not Tuber?, and it’s as irreverent as you might expect, with illustrations, root vegetables aplenty, and tuber and tuber-adjacent recipes by celebrated cooks and artists (this one is by baker-to-the-royals Claire Ptak). The book is €30 from Apartamento.

Above: The cookbook that started us noticing a shift to the intimate and poetic over polished and packaged: [ ] Is a Breakfast Food by Marjory Sweet. More than a cookbook, it’s “a conversation about what to eat in the morning. Breakfast as a mood, a memory, a moment, a mundane routine, a meaningful ritual”; for anyone “who has woken up and wondered what to eat, or who has just woken up and wondered.” It’s $65 from Vestige. (While you’re at it, have a look at Marjory’s “ghostly” Maine rental home here.)