By now, you’ve probably come across several Best Cookbooks of 2013 lists, each filled with drool-worthy tomes that would make great coffee table staples. But if you want to gift your favorite family cook — including yourself — a cookbook that’s actually useful in a busy home kitchen, check out my favorite family cookbooks of 2013 as part of our Editors’ Picks of 2013 series.

Filled with mouthwatering photos and doable dishes, these books not only make pretty gifts, but they also make practical ones. Which is pretty much what every parent needs.


Cool Mom Picks Best of 2013

Keepers (above) is among my favorite cookbooks this year. It just happens to be written by moms, for moms. Or dads, of course. Filled with recipes like Skillet Lasagna and Asian Pork Sliders with Magic Miso Mayo, Keepers has refined the kind of comfort foods that even picky kids love.


Best cookbooks of 2013: How to Feed a Family on Cool Mom Picks

A late entry to the 2013 cookbook scene, How to Feed a Family popped up at just the right time. Written by Ceri Marsh and Laura Keogh, the working moms behind the blog Sweet Potato Chronicles, this book is packed full of nutritious recipes coded by a system that only moms could know to create. Among the key categories are: fast, kids can help, meatless, and minimal mess. Yes, please. How to Feed a Family also has great content on family-specific issues like how to pack a school lunch that will keep kids alert, and how to build a well-rounded meal without meat.


Best cookbooks of 2013: Weelicious Lunches on Cool Mom Picks

No list of family cookbooks would be complete without Catherine McCord., and this year brought us her Weelicious Lunches. Every family cook faces packing a lunch at some point or another — whether for daycare, school, or camp. This book is a go-to source of ideas to keep packed lunches healthy and inspired. It’s possible, and Catherine shows us how.


Best cookbooks of 2013: People's Pops cookbook on Cool Mom Picks

I might be biased since I get to enjoy treats by Brooklyn-based People’s Pops at my local flea all summer long, but I’m pretty sure that anyone who gets the People’s Pops cookbook, packed with 55 fresh recipes for ice pops, shaved ice, and, yes, boozy pops, will be one happy camper. This book will get you as excited about popsicles as the kids. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the recipe for Peach and Bourbon Pops.


Best cookbooks of 2013: An American Family Cooks on Cool Mom Picks

If you feel strongly that octopus salad has no place in a family cookbook, well, then An American Family Cooks may not be for you. Personally though, I love how comprehensive this book is. The subtitle of the book is From a Chocolate Cake You Will Never Forget to a Thanksgiving Everyone Can Master, and this book delivers on that promise with a recipe for everything from Egg Salad BLTs to Coq au Vin. Written by culinary wonder Judith Choate, a chef and the author and co-author of more than 100 cookbooks, this book combines perfected family classics like Pepper Steak and Beef Stew, and reinvented ones, too. Faux Tandoori Chicken anyone? All of the recipes were  crafted for Judith’s family, now all grown–although that might make those of you with octopus-averse kids wonder just what she did to get them so adventurous.

It’s Judith’s clear love for family cooking and her years of experience as a family cook that make this book so completely irresistible to me. Even if it isn’t your typical “20 Ways to Make Grilled Cheese” kind of a cookbook.

You can purchase any of these cookbooks through our Amazon affiliate store or at your local, independent bookstore.

Check our entire Editors Picks of 2013 series to see all of our top picks of the year, and follow on Twitter at #CoolMomBestof2013