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If you’re like me and haven’t started your Christmas shopping yet … yes … it’s true … and I’m not ashamed of it either … then here’s the post that might help you figure out how to begin.

In past years, many bloggers have summarized their favourite cookbooks of the year and last year I vowed I would do the same thing.

This is by no means to say that there aren’t more cookbooks out there that are worthy beyond the ones you see listed here. This is simply a list of my five favourites for 2008.

In no particular order, here we go:

(1) A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes by David Tanis

What could I possibly add to the countless articles and posts about this incredible cookbook? Really. Suffice it to say that as far as I’m concerned, this book is a love letter to food. This is one of those books that just makes you feel happy to be in the kitchen.

(2) Ottolenghi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.

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I am a frequent visitor at Toronto’s Cookbook Store and when I walked in a few months ago, one of the salespeople very quietly handed me this book and said, “Buy it.” I’m nothing if not obedient. Needless to say I have not regretted it once. Gorgeous. Gorgeous. Gorgeous. This cookbook is about the beauty of flavour and the joy of sharing large amounts of food. As was said to me, buy it! (The Salted Caramel Macarons pictured above are from this cookbook.)

(3) Field Guide to Cookies: How to Identify and Bake Virtually Every Cookie Imagineable by Anita Chu.

I did a post about this lovely gem of a cookbook and you can read it here. The book is the baby of my dearest Anita and not only is it a fabulous cookie book, it’s one of the highlights of my year in that it proves that good things do happen to good people!

(4) Nigella Christmas: Food, Family, Friends, Festivities by Nigella Lawson.

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Oh, Nigella! When I grow up I want to be you. This book is basically a testament to the glory that is Nigella and the glory that is Christmas in her house. Please … adopt me!

(5) Urban Italian: Simple Recipes and True Stores from a Life in Food by Andrew Carmellini.

One of the very best Italian-themed cookbooks that I have ever seen. This is modern Italian food to the very core.

Honourable Mentions: Baking for All Occasions by the legend Flo Braker, The Ski Country Cookbook by Barbara Scott-Goodman and Rita Maas, Dish Entertains by Trish Magwood, Luscious Creamy Desserts by Lori Longbotham, Wine Bar Food by Cathy and Tony Mantuano.

Happy Shopping!

Ciao!