Slideshow SLIDESHOW: Gift Guide: The Ten Best Cookbooks of 2010

When I sat down and looked back at this year's Cook the Book series, it occurred to me that we've covered a pretty wild selection of topics. We've had vegetable and fruit-centric weeks devoted to tomatoes and sweet potatoes; ones that involve the use of single appliances—rice cookers, pressure cookers, and ice cream makers; plenty of big-name food celebs—Alton, Bobby, Ina, and Mario, just to name a few.

We've even featured cookbooks inspired by heavy metal and hip-hop.

Needless to say, whittling down to a top-ten list was not an easy task—there really were too many good ones this year. Staring at my towering stacks of cookbooks, I realized that unlike compilers of other top-ten lists, I had the distinct advantage of testing multiple recipes from each and every book we've featured. And for me, when it comes down to judging a cookbook, it's the success (or failure) of the recipes that counts for the most points.

I decided that my selections of The Ten Best Cookbooks of 2010 would based upon how many truly delicious and statisfying meals each book had produced, the books that I found myself referencing again and again even after its week on Cook the Book had come and gone.

While most of the cookbooks that found their way into the top ten are full of gorgeous photos and exemplary food writing, at their heart they are really all about the recipes and books that any home cook would be happy to receive this holiday season.

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