Do you have a millennial child or grandchild? Check. Do you want to be the world’s coolest parent or grandparent this holiday season? Check. Carry this Book (Viking, $25) is your golden ticket and hands-down the quirkiest, winningest stocking stuffer of the year. Sprung from the effervescent imagination of Abbi Jacobson, one half of the feminist comedy super-duo behind the Comedy Central hit Broad City, Carry this Book is filled with beautiful, pen-streaked, hand-drawn illustrations. Jacobson imagines what lies in the bags and pockets of the famous; here are her renderings of the things carried by historical figures ranging from Gandhi (a soccer ball and fake teeth) to Anna Wintour (Chipotle Burrito card, “extra guac always”). This is a sly and warm commentary on our new celebrity culture—on the things that truly make us all who we are, when social media isn’t watching.
Yotam Ottolenghi has done it again. Or more precisely he already did it, again. Written six years before his blockbuster, Jerusalem, but only now released in the U.S., Ottolenghi (Ten Speed, $35) presents a collection of well-tested and well-loved recipes from the chef’s eponymous London restaurants. This is a very different cookbook from Jerusalem; where that one was a document of social history and exploration, Ottolenghi offers approachable, weeknight cooking. It’s less complex but also a lot less daunting. The ingredients are more familiar, but it offers the same focus on freshness and unexpected flavor connections that thrilled home cooks in Jerusalem. And while there’s an illuminating section on the baked goods that his restaurants are famous for, the stars in Ottolenghi’s repertoire will always be the vegetables. His combinations are the best in the business, and he usually adheres to a happy trinity, with a main ingredient and two surprising counterpoints: baked okra with tomatoes and ginger, cucumber and poppy seed salad, crushed new potatoes with horseradish and sorrel.