Give someone a box of chocolates or a bottle of wine for Christmas, and it'll soon be gone, but wrap a book and put it under the tree, and you're giving someone hours of reading pleasure and memories that may last a lifetime.
In a region famous for locally grown food and wine, it's good to know that there is also a wealth of books written by local authors and about local subjects.
Books make a neat and easy last-minute gift at a reasonable price, so if you still need presents for the literary locavores on your list, here are some picks from books published this year.
"In the Charcuterie” by Taylor Boetticher and Toponia Miller. Ten Speed Press.
The National Restaurant Association rated house-cured meats and charcuterie as the No. 1 appetizer to look for in 2014.
The craft charcuterie movement is catching on with home cooks as well, as this cookbook by the owners of the Bay Area's Fatted Calf Charcuterie attests.
“In the Charcuterie” can help the host pull off all kinds of complicated holiday dishes, with detailed instructions on stuffing, trussing, rolling and tying roasts and poultry. You'll also find step-by-step instructions and photographs for butchering whole animals, if you're so inclined. But you don't have to be a total meat geek to get something out of it. The recipes run the gamut from Ginger Braised Duck Legs and Chermoula-Marinated Pork Chops to Pancetta-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin, along with potted meats, sausages and confits.
“Our book has something for everyone, whether you're a skeptical ex-vegan, scimitar-wielding novice, or seasoned old pro,” the couple writes. “We want you to take the same pleasure from butchering, cooking and preserving your meat as you do savoring it at the table.”
— Diane Peterson
“Cowgirl Creamery Cooks” by Sue Conley and Peggy Smith. Chronicle Books.