An odd combination, I know, but I promised something for everybody! I'm sure after the kids go to bed there are plenty of parents who could use a cocktail.
Even though I don't have kids, I know when recipes appeal to the kid in me. The books I'm recommending fit with my style completely. The recipes are creative, fun, generally pretty healthy, and most importantly, delicious.
My first pick is Toddler Cafe: Fast, Healthy, and Fun Ways to Feed Even the Pickiest Eater. What could be better than getting a child interested in a variety of delicious healthy foods? The Toddler Cafe is filled with fun recipes for of course, toddlers. But I bet even adults would be tempted by pea green Lilly Pad Pancakes and Knock-Knock Gnocchi made with instant mashed potatoes (almost identical to my recipe, great minds think alike!) If you know someone with a picky kid, this book will surely help get them excited about new flavors and textures.
Real Food for Healthy Kids: 200+ Easy, Wholesome Recipes is another book to tempt young palates. Seeing kids eat junk food and drink soda makes me sad. My parents insisted I eat healthy food and I never felt deprived. As with Toddler Cafe this book features recipes even adults will relish and why not? The authors are none other than the editor in chief of Epicurious and a test kitchen editor for Every Day with Martha Stewart! Recipes like Oven Barbecued Ribs, Chickpea Pita Pockets and Harvest Tomato Tart are no dumbed down versions, but good stuff for kids of all ages.
Technically Imbibe! From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash came out late last year, but it's such an important book I'm including it this year anyway. It's just too wonderful to leave out of the mix, so to speak. Current cocktail culture is a rediscovery of the history of mixed drinks and there is no finer historian on the subject than David Wondrich. He researched the life and times of Professor Jerry Thomas the author of the seminal Bartenders Guide and his discoveries are tremendously important to understanding the origin of many cocktails and spirits. Wondrich brings to life the stories and the many personalities behind classic cocktails of the past. And yes, there are plenty of recipes too.
The Essential Cocktail: The Art of Mixing Perfect Drinks is another must have book for anyone who fancies himself or herself a bartender. The subtitle of this book really says it all--classic favorites, new ingredients and modern techniques. This is a beautiful tome, but more a practical guide than a coffee table book with over a hundred recipes plus instructions on garnishes, glasses and more. They don't call DeGroff the King of Cocktails for nothing, a focus on fresh ingredients and plenty of background on each drink will help you raise the bar in your own home.