Fuck it, I’m biased. I have a cookbook coming out next year. But I cannot hold it in. Cookbooks are the best possible holiday gift around. Just the best. That is because in the year 2015, cookbooks are not just cookbooks. They are not simply hardcover editions that help you get from grocery store to dinner table. That’s what The Internet is for. No, cookbooks, when done right—and many have done it right this year—give you more than recipes. They offer rich stories of lands far away. They teach you how to eat in restaurants, and shop in the market. There are photos too, and not just a bunch of circle dishes on pretty tablecloths. The photos in many cookbooks have heart and personality. And maybe you will cook from a book until the cover is unrecognizable and splattered with mirin and soy sauce. But more than likely, the book is going to stay clean. And maybe it won’t even make it to the kitchen. Maybe it lands on the nightstand stack. That is OK. Nightstands are meant for cookbooks. In fact, maybe a cookbook can be added to your friend’s nightstand stack after you give her a book this holiday season. Because, cookbooks are the best possible holiday gift. Also, they are like $18-$26. Cheaper than a holiday round. Here are 12 standout titles.