The Gift Book Guide

Cooking, art, design...10 inspiring new titles to give to friends, family, and even yourself.
The Recipe Project

The Recipe Project: A Delectable Extravaganza of Food and Music

116 pages; Black Balloon Publishing
Have celebrity chefs turned into the new American rockstars? This snappy book-CD package takes this question to hilarious heights by recording the recipes of famous chefs—word for word—as songs. What results are 10 tracks in which Mario Batali's 100 Sweet Tomatoes is sung as a whimsical Italian number and Tom Colicchio's Creamless Creamed Corn is performed as a classic rock tune, complete with guitar solo. Along with the music comes a book—co-edited by's Leigh Newman—filled with chef interviews (read about David Chang's struggles with violin lessons), recipes you can actually cook (try Michael Symon's Octopus Salad with Black-Eyed Peas) and personal essays by food writers from just about every major newspaper and culinary magazine  (catch Melissa Clark from The New York Times on the Beatles' White Album). The star-studded chef lineup—Aarón Sanchez to Mark Kurlansky—makes The Recipe Project a natural for die-hard foodies, and the music by the band One Ring Zero is the kind of album that you hear on NPR and wish you had just stopped the car and written down the name. The idea, though, appeals to anybody who just likes to does the recipe for gooey, salty, sweet peanut butter "brunettes" by Isa Chandra Moskowitz—a reminder to us all that any good thought about cooking must end with dessert.
— Lynn Andriani