My Cookbook Collection

The 7 most-used books in my kitchen


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My Cookbook Collection I’ve been cooking for well over two decades and have been actively reviewing cookbooks for more than a year, though that doesn’t include all the books I’ve taken a look at and passed by over the years.

The truth is that I rarely use cookbooks today. Sometimes I need a reference check or some inspiration, but I generally have a handle on what I’m cooking. So, when people ask me what cookbooks I love, I’m sometimes stumped to come up with an answer.

I have several hundred cookbooks that span hundreds of years. I even have a reproduction of the oldest cookbook known to exist: De Re Coquinaria (Cooking Matters), written by a man named Apicius in the first century AD, from which I’ve planned out one dinner party. Writing this has whet my appetite for another, but I digress.

People have asked me for my cookbook recommendations and I’ve come up empty. Instead of relaying what my favorite cookbooks are, allow me to introduce the seven that are in my kitchen today. I don’t know if these are all the absolute best cookbooks, they are simply the ones I seem to use the most!

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  • Snooth User: Markask
    413434 4

    The top of my list of essential cookbooks is "Joy of Cooking" by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker and Ginnie Hofmann. Right behind it is the "Fannie Farmer Cookbook" by Marion Cunningham , "Complete Book of Breads" by Jr. Bernard Clayton, and "The Theory and Practice of Good Cooking" by James Beard.

    Nov 27, 2010 at 8:59 AM

  • Snooth User: lorm
    655237 1

    Agreed. "Joy of Cooking" has just about every recipe you could ever want to cook. I rarely follow recipes, but this book is a great stepping off place for when you're trying something new.

    I was baking pies this Thanksgiving with my mom, and had forgotten to bring my copy of "Joy" with me. The recipes we used weren't nearly as good as the original "Joy" recipes, and the constant refrain coming from me was "That's not how Joy does it!"

    Nov 27, 2010 at 1:39 PM

  • Snooth User: Markask
    413434 4

    Well, I guess you know what you can give your mom for Christmas!

    During the period when all my friends were getting married, I would give them the Joy of Cooking and the Fannie Farmer cookbooks as a gift.

    Nov 27, 2010 at 2:27 PM

  • Snooth User: Skipper46
    417882 2

    I have no education; only my experience and a passable wit. (grin) I seldom use a cook book, except as a reference, but I have good times reading them. I have Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking", a two volume set, and it's a real gem of technique and comentary. The one all-encompassing reference book is The Complete "Joy of Cooking" by Rombauer and Rombauer-Becker. Joy of Cooking is THE book that gives me confidence to take on new dishes, though I do not actually follow the recipes. I also use America's Test Kitchen cookbooks and Cook's Illistrated magazines. Their recipes are good enough to use (if you want) exactly as they are printed. And I always find something that helps.

    Nov 27, 2010 at 7:36 PM

  • Snooth User: mzanger
    435485 1

    I never use any of yours. I also own thousands more than I cook out of, but the ones I cook more than one recipe out of are Fannie Farmer, the Joy, Marcella Hazen, Nesta Ramazani's book about Persian cooking, Elizabeth David's book of breads edited by Karen Hess, China Moon, and _A Bowl of Red_, by Frank S. Tolbert. I cook a lot out of my own ethnic cookbook because it is anthology of the kind of recipes I like, and I'm always retesting.

    Nov 27, 2010 at 9:25 PM

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