Unless you were raised by a Hallmark card or happened to have the perfect nuclear family, going home for the holidays can get tiresome pretty quickly. Kill some time by mulling over one of the many Chicago-centric food books that hit the shelves this year—picking up a few extra copies as stocking stuffers for everyone else. Our favorite books ahead.
The book for a locavore: If you're more interested in getting to know your farmer than your brother-in-law, check out The Chicago Homegrown Cookbook to brush up on the intimate stories of 30 farmer-chef relationships paired with seasonal recipes.
The comprehensive checklist for the food obsessed: If you've managed to hit up every restaurant, market, and specialty shop in this 480-page guide book, we applaud you. Actually, we don't believe you and think you should buy Jennifer Olvera's Food Lovers' Guide To Chicago to help you on your tireless eating frenzy.
The "feel good" book: Eating soup is like a warm hug on the inside—much needed when dealing with winter's annual cold slap in the face. So, we can't help but love Martha Bayne's Soup & Bread Cookbook, which details the weekly series at the Hideout (resuming January 4) that brings all facets of the community together for soup and bread for a good cause (all proceeds benefit local food pantries, soup kitchens, and hunger relief agencies).
The conversation starter: Even if you have nothing else to talk about with your family, there's always television! Chances are that someone knows of Top Chef, so while you're thumbing through Season 4 winner Stephanie Izard's cookbook Girl In The Kitchen, you can always debate about your favorite contestants (and potentially challenge a quickfire competition!).
The book for the food historian: History geeks, listen up: this is your book. Chicago's Classic Restaurants: Past, Present and Future gives an inside look at the restaurants that defined Chicago, from establishments pre-dating your grandparents to the Richard Melman and Lawrency Levy micro-empires and current splash of trendy spots.