Listen… We all go through it—that phase of life where you eat 20-piece McNuggets and DiGiorno pizzas for dinner on the daily. But when it comes time to grow up and stop clogging your arteries, you realize cooking is one of those things that’s actually exceptionally rewarding and fun to experiment with. Trying new recipes, figuring out what works and what doesn’t, adding your own twist to already-delicious recipes—it’s all really fun once you actually get into it. That said, knowing where to start can be difficult. Here are 5 cookbooks every man should own.


Sauces: Classical and Contemporary Sauce Making, 3rd Edition

Sauces add a whole new dynamic to a dish, and it’s universally recognized that a good sauce can make or break a meal. Sauces: Classical and Contemporary Sauce Making, 3rd Edition is a complete guide to sauces that features 325 recipes, color photos, and covers everything from mild to wild. If you’re not taking your sauce game seriously, you’re missing out on an integral part of culinary mastery. $28


The Complete Nose to Tail

Fergus Henderson is one of the most offbeat and adventurous chefs of the 21st Century. His quirky cuisine has attracted some of the biggest names in the cooking world to his restaurant, including Jamie Oliver, Anthony Bourdain, and Mario Batali. St. John. The Complete Nose to Tail is an excellent book that advocates using every single part of an animal in cooking. The recipes Henderson includes are (mostly) practical, wholly unique, and delicious. Examples include pig’s trotter stuffed with potato, roast bone marrow and parsley salad, rabbit wrapped in fennel and bacon, and even desserts like various puddings, chocolate ice cream and his famous St. John Eccles cake. It’s a must-have. $36


My Last Supper: 50 Great Chefs and Their Final Meals/Portraits, Interviews, and Recipes

An entertaining read as well as an incredibly well constructed cookbook complete with recipes and photos, My Last Supper is by award-winning photographer Melanie Dunea, with a forward by world-famous chef and monument to culinary debauchery Anthony Bourdain. Dunea interviews 50 of the world’s most influential and world-changing chefs to find out what their last meal would be, while providing background stories, beautiful photos and, of course, delicious recipes. The cookbook features meals by the likes of Fergus Henderson, Mario Batali, Jamie Oliver, Masa Kobayashi, Gordon Ramsay, Jean-George Vongerichten, and many others. This one isn’t just a great cookbook, but a hell of a read. $31



Sean Brock grew up in a rural coal town in Virginia. According to him, there were no fancy restaurants or interesting eateries. Where Brock grew up, people grew, raised, and cooked their own food, and it was this mentality that Brock took with him into his career. His first book, Heritage, doesn’t just cover the comfort food staples, but also his unique concoctions like Crispy Pig Ear Lettuce Wrap, Pickled Shrimp, and Baked Sea Island Red Peas. This book has a bunch of great recipes, but where it really shines is in Brock’s incredibly personal headnotes and essays about his life, childhood, and the history of the ingredients he’s using. Heritage is more than just a cookbook. $25


Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto

Smoking meat isn’t just a hobby; it’s a goddamn right of passage. Written by famous pitmaster and owner of one of Austin, Texas’ most famous barbecue spots, Aaron Franklin (and co-author Jordan Mackay), this book covers absolutely everything.  It’ll help you build and customize your own smoker, select the right curing wood, create and manage the perfect fire, and—yes—cook the best barbecue on the planet. It made the New York Time’s best-selling list, and is celebrated by many to be the Brisket Bible. $18

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Unzip your coat and have some mulled wine on the house—you’ve arrived at your final gifting destination: The Holiday Gift Guide. It’s like your friendly neighborhood one-stop holiday shop, except instead of balsa wood ornaments, ours is packed with thoughtful gifts for everyone on your list. Future heirlooms, small-but-significant stocking stuffers, and gear for getting out there (or staying in)—are all right here. There’s no music playing in the background though, so you’ll just have to hum Bing Crosby while you click around instead.

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