What’s the best part about getting hitched? Well, spending the rest of eternity with the love of your life is (hopefully) at the top of that list, but not far behind are the gifts, especially those that will help breathe new life into your kitchen. Goodbye, “collectors” McDonald’s plastic cups and college-era Foreman grill — hello, fancy stuff!
Once you have the appliances, flatware and other bright, shiny cooking accessories in your cupboards, it’s time to start taking full advantage of them.
Below you’ll find an assortment of cookbooks tailored for the married life, covering everything from quick and easy weeknight meals to do-it-yourself catering for your next big bash. They’ll lead you and your spouse on the path toward exciting new food adventures at home with recipes that are sure to become staples of your family’s gastronomic repertoire for years to come. And if you’re shopping for a last-minute wedding gift, these are also great options to wrap up for the soon-to-be newlyweds.
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Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes from a Lifetime of Cooking by Julia Child
Though you can’t go wrong with any of Julia Child’s legendary cookbooks, Kitchen Wisdom has a particular emphasis on developing your culinary skills and instincts. (Just because you now own all the right tools for preparing that perfect meal, it doesn’t necessarily mean you know how to use them.) Not only does it serve as an easy-to-follow guide on the fundamentals of cooking, the book also includes plenty of tried-and-true recipes for you and your loved one to show off what you’ve learned from the late, great food Yoda.
How to Cook Everything: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food by Mark Bittman
“What are we cooking?” is a question spouses constantly find themselves asking each other and Mark Bittman’s indispensable encyclopedia of easy-to-master recipes thankfully offers plenty of answers. If you have conflicting cravings or simply no idea where to start, How to Cook Everything will set you down the right path.
Barefoot Contessa Parties! Ideas and Recipes for Easy Parties That Are Really Fun by Ina Garten
Now that the Herculean task of putting together a wedding is done, the last thing you probably want to think about is organizing another get-together. But when the time comes to host your next soiree, let Ina Garten be your guide. The all-knowing Barefoot Contessa covers all aspects of party planning from decor to drinks — and, of course, the food for events throughout the year big and small. The emphasis is on easy ideas (remember, “Store bought is fine.”) that still add up to a lot of fun.
Thanksgiving: How to Cook It Well by Sam Sifton
There’s hosting a party, and then there’s Thanksgiving. Whether you’re tired of your uncle’s leathery turkey or are ready to take the reins on Friendsgiving, New York Times Food Editor Sam Sifton offers the ins and outs of tackling the year’s most notoriously ambitious meal.
The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen
You’ve found that killer, mouth-watering recipe, but it serves eight and there’s only the two of you. Ugh, math. The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook alleviates the number crunching, focusing on smaller scale meals that also include traditionally large format dishes like stews and lasagna, pared down to feed a couple. If you eventually add more mouths to feed to your family, hang on to it for date nights (and that challenging period when your kids refuse to eat what you’re having for dinner).
Dinner in an Instant: 75 Modern Recipes for Your Pressure Cooker, Multicooker and Instant Pot by Melissa Clark
Chances are if you didn’t already own one, an Instant Pot or one of its relatives will end up in your cooking arsenal by the time your wedding is over. New York Times food columnist and cookbook vet Melissa Clark will help you put them to good use. Dinner In an Instant offers a diverse collection of 75 recipes for that quick, pressure-cooked meal or a slow-cooked feast when you have hours to spare.
Milk Street: Tuesday Nights by Christopher Kimball
It’s been a long day at the office and the last thing either of you want to think about is getting back to work in the kitchen. But before going the takeout route, consider this newly-minted James Beard Award winner that will help make weeknight cooking a cinch. While quick meal cookbooks tend to focus on tired, familiar eats, Milk Street distinguishes itself from the pack with an array of eclectic, internationally themed recipes (think Vietnamese meatball lettuce wraps and chocolate-tahini pudding) prepared in as little as 30 minutes.
Patisserie: Mastering the Fundamentals of French Pastry by Christophe Felder
Bid adieu to that wedding diet with the help of renowned pastry master Christophe Felder. Containing 3,200 photographs and 210 recipes, Patisserie is a deep dive into the world of croissants, eclairs, tarte tatins and other French favorites. In no time you’ll be able to prepare a delectable spread of sweets with (or for) your sweetheart.
Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine by René Redzepi
You’ve just moved on to a new, exciting phase in your life and ambitions are high. If one of your goals happens to include replicating the dishes from one of the most acclaimed restaurants on earth, here’s an opportunity to live the dream. Noma provides an all-access pass into the mind of Michelin-starred Danish chef René Redzepi offering blueprints to his groundbreaking culinary creations. Best of all, if you find that mastering the art of molecular gastronomy is more effort than it’s worth, the book will prove to be a worthy investment as a centerpiece on your coffee table.