Mankind cannot live on cold cereal alone
Feed a person breakfast and they’re sated until the afternoon. Teach a person to make breakfast, and they’ve got something great to wake up to for the rest of their lives. And if you care enough to give a person a breakfast cookbook, well, they’re pretty much on the hook to make you breakfast from now until the binding wears out, aren’t they? As a professional breakfastologist, I’m often dismayed that there aren’t more breakfast-specific cookbooks out there, but I’m pretty jazzed about the quality, versatility, and utility of the breakfast cookbooks I have managed to find throughout the years. These are a few of my most well-worn classics, new and old.
With all the holiday sales out there, you’re bound to find a great deal on these breakfast cookbooks. You can indeed buy them all online, but consider a trip to your local independent bookstore. Maybe even make a morning of it and have breakfast on the way.
This book came into my life when I met my husband 12 years ago, and I’ve breakfasted better ever since. Yes, it might seem a little random to buy a cookbook from a housewares purveyor, but the recipes are thorough, accessible, and innovative. Dishes like Lacy Hash Browns, Green Onion Omelet, and Apple Pancakes are gorgeously photographed and offer inspiration for everything from simple weekday breakfasts to luxurious weekend brunch spreads.
Williams-Sonoma Breakfast by Brigit L. Binns, $16.95, available at bookstores everywhere
Big Bad Breakfast: The Most Important Book of the Day
When your restaurant has “breakfast” in the name, you’d better be able to put your money where some hungry morning mouths are. John Currence’s Oxford, Mississippi-anchored mini-chain and new cookbook celebrate and elevate Southern staples with dishes like Spicy Boudin and Poached Eggs, Banana-Pecan Coffee Cake and a Big Bad Breakfast Egg Bake with grits, cheese, and plenty of country ham. Currence’s unfiltered wit shines through on every page with edicts like “Thou shalt slather with butter,” and “Try the yolk runny, people,” and breakfast cocktails flow freely throughout. This “bad” is pretty dang good.
Big Bad Breakfast: The Most Important Book of the Day by John Currence, $30, chefjohncurrence.com
Breakfast: Recipes to Wake Up For
Egg restaurant has amassed a deeply devoted following throughout its decade-plus tenure in notoriously fickle Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Plenty are drawn by owners George Weld’s and Evan Hanczor’s excellent ingredient sourcing and employee care policies—and they all hang around for the legendary biscuits and gravy, Eggs Rothko (like egg-in-a-hole, but fancier), and sumptuous French toast. Here’s all that, but in book form. Woven throughout are stories from farmers, fishermen, athletes, and others describing the morning meals that fuel them through the day.
Breakfast: Recipes to Wake Up For by George Weld and Evan Hanczor, $35 signed, eggrestaurant.com
Toast: The Cookbook
You could just slather butter and jam on warmed bread and that would be delicious—if a little dull. You could also take an extra few minutes and turn those slices into proper morning feasts. Raquel Pelzel has collaborated with plenty of well-known chefs throughout her cookbook writing career, but with Toast, her particular passion shines through clearly. Not only does she crack the code of perfect slice browning (seriously, it’s an art)—her wildly imaginative toppings celebrate each season’s produce, as well as pantry staples, to create a cookbook that’s ideal for everyone from novice cooks to seasoned kitchen pros.
Toast: The Cookbook by Raquel Pelzel, $24.95, raquelpelzel.com
The Breakfast Book
Say Marion Cunningham’s name to any food writer or cookbook collector and they’ll swoon. Cunningham passed away in 2012 at the age of 90, leaving behind a rich legacy of home cooking evangelism, and some awfully excellent books. In particular, The Breakfast Book—a cult classic packed with nearly 300 recipes from simple homemade cereals, quickbreads, eggs of all sorts, and plenty of sweets to satisfy the grumpiest of morning folks. The Breakfast Book is not currently in print, but it’s incredibly easy and worthwhile to track down a copy online.
The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham, available used at many retailers
Sarabeth's Good Morning Cookbook: Breakfast, Brunch, and Baking
There’s a reason that lines wind around the block at Sarabeth Levine’s eponymous restaurants in New York City (and presumably the outposts in Florida and Japan). Locals and tourists flock there for unparalleled pancakes, muffins, and sticky buns, and I’m pleased to say that the recipes in this cookbook deliver delightfully. Think there’s no way you could ever make a homemade English muffin that would rival those on your grocery store’s shelves? You're in for a treat.
Sarabeth's Good Morning Cookbook: Breakfast, Brunch, and Baking by Sarabeth Levine, $40, sarabethsrestaurants.com