It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without the morning after. When leftovers begin their second life as sandwiches, and Americans trade those turkey hot lines for toy experts who dutifully remind us why exactly we are camping out at Toys-R-Us instead of eating a turkey sandwich at home. Ya, ordering a few childrens' cookbooks online would have been a better idea.

And so to kick off the holiday shopping season, we will periodically offer you the Best Cookbooks of 2010 in various categories. Because books require only a click of your mouse to order, and the bulk shipping is usually free. Which means you can wrap up those Clara's Kitchen books (a Depression-era cookbook published in 2009 worth revisiting) in fancy paper and ship them out to your friends with a personal note on the finer points of your grandmother's squirrel soup recipe.

Turn the page for a peek at what's coming and the Best Cookbooks of 2010, The Holiday Party Host Edition.

Does Anyone Really Need Another George Foreman Grill?; Credit: Flickr user karenwithak

Does Anyone Really Need Another George Foreman Grill?; Credit: Flickr user karenwithak

In the coming weeks, keep an eye out for the best meat (and vegan) books for your protein-specific friends, the best cocktail books for choosy imbibers, and the best coffee table books for that boss who is never going to cook (which is precisely why you really should give him/her a cookbook). And somewhere in there, the best baking book or two of the year for everyone else on your list. Because everyone loves cookies. If they don't, you might want to reconsider giving them a gift.

Best Cookbooks of 2010, The Holiday Party Host Edition

The pivotal question when choosing a token cookbook to hand over to your party hosts is relatively simple: Are they bread or jam people? Both the River Cottage Bread Handbook and the River Cottage Preserves Handbook were among our favorite cookbooks this year — one for the gluten-obsessed, one for your always-in-a-jam and pickle type friends (with several bonus booze recipes, like a sage elixir and hawthorn berry brandy).

And keep in mind that in this case, size does matter. Too big and your hostess' token will feel like a real gift. Too small, like those “mini” cookbooks (a trend that thankfully seems to be waning), and that book is going straight into the re-gifting pile. Both these cookbooks are small enough to fit in the glove box for traffic “jam” dreaming (sorry), but with hefty, recipe-filled middles.

LA Weekly