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Cookbooks: Two Cups of Joy and a Pinch of Comfort

Few would contest the notion that mashed potatoes topped with a pat of butter represent the essence of comfort in a dish. But solace and good cheer come in many forms of food, be it the perfect chewy brownie, a simple picnic with friends or a tomato plucked from the vine at the peak of its ripeness.

However you feed your soul, this season's crop of cookbooks, crafted by big-name chefs, food personalities and just plain good cooks, is sure to please those on your holiday list who take pleasure in preparing good things to eat. (You can print these titles, along with all our other year-end picks, using this master list.)

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Linda Kulman