Most used cookbook? And how?


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Most used cookbook? And how?

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Ago 22, 2006, 12:05 pm

So what is your most used cookbook and how do you use it? I'm not a cookbook collector but my cookbooks are probably the most use books in my library - a few of them anyway. I rarely follow recepes but I use them frequently for ideas.

My workhorse is American Wholefoods Cuisine. My wife finally replaced my first copy as she couldn't stand to see it laying around the kitchen (it was a mess).

If I'm headed out shopping I'll read through a few recipes that match the season and what ever I'm hungry for. Then I'll look for produce that may fit in with the recipes I read through. If I have a fridge full of food I go through the cookbook mixing and matching to use up food that needs to be cooked.

If we're entertaining I'll go for other cookbooks but still have a hard time sticking to the recipe.

Ago 22, 2006, 12:35 pm

Joy of Cooking and The All New Fannie Farmer Boston Cooking School Cookbook. These have all the basics and I've had them for years. They probably could use replacement (many pages are loose), but there is something about a spotted and stained cookbook that opens of its own accord to oft-used recipes that appeals to me.

Ago 22, 2006, 3:18 pm

my most used is Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking because I do the same recipes often but can never remember the amounts for each spice. I have one or two favourites in all my other books but I tend to rely on my inspiration and substitute different ingredients. Joy of Cooking is a good reference book when I'm curious about dishes mentioned in American novels, but I don't use the recipes at all; apart from Indian, most of my cooking is French (my husband is a very conservative Frenchman, when it comes to food).

Ago 31, 2006, 11:10 am

I see the "Joy of Cooking" has been mentioned as a basic. People either love or hate that one, and I'm among the haters. That's just the way it goes.

I still reach for the Silver Palate after all these years, and classics like "Clementine in the Kitchen" and anything by Elizabeth David.

Ago 31, 2006, 2:06 pm

I positively love The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper, which I think is the best Italian cookbook written by a non Italian, and Fannie Farmer Baking Book by Marion Cunningham. I am also partial to Pellegrino Artusi, but that is mostly for the sentimental value of the book, one of the oldest and most famous Italian cookbooks.
I do not have The Joy of Cooking, hence I cannot voice an opinion on its merits or demerits.

Ago 31, 2006, 3:46 pm

The Fannie Farmer Cookbook is my favourite too lilithcat. It was the first book I bought when I moved out on my own as my dad wouldn't let me take his. He had a very old one, lots of loose pages, stains, - it was wonderful! I learned how to cook the basics with it, like chicken stew "first, catch chicken and kill it" HONEST!!

Ago 31, 2006, 7:07 pm

I too am a fan of Lynn Rosetto Kasper. Joy & Fannie are both reliable all-round cookbooks for standard recipes, but I often turn to James Beards' American Cookery for basic recipes (with plenty of butter & cream), perhaps because he too is a Pacific Northwesterner. For ideas, Joyce Goldstein always comes up with a comment-worthy dish using oranges or fennel or pine nuts or pomegranate molasses. For classic French country cooking, I am a fan of Lulu's Provencal Table by Richard Olney and any of Alice Waters' books.
Speaking of killing the chicken, Katylit, have you ever seen the old and opinionated George Leonard Herter books, Bull Cook and Authentic Historical Recipes and Practices (Vol I & II) which could send a city slicker like me straight to Safeway! He includes instructions for dispensing and dressing squirrel, snapping turtles, vs. deer along with making whiskey. I haven't cooked many of his recipes but his helpful hints are invaluable (how to quit smoking, use apples as tranquilizers, eat red pepper for nervous stomachs and survive a hydrogen bomb).

Ago 31, 2006, 9:05 pm

use apples as red pepper for nervous stomachs...???? That sounds INTERESTING!

Set 1, 2006, 1:49 pm

featherbooks, George sounds wonderful - I know what you mean about running to Safeway, reading the discriptions of how to gut the chicken after killing it kinda put me off the stew!! I inherited a very old copy of Mrs. Beeton's Cookery Book too which is lots of fun to read. There are recipes handwritten on the end papers and the book is full of advertisments like "Doidge's Cutlery, the Best and Cheapest in the World". Mrs. Beeten is never too specific on measurements, the recipes are full of a pinch of this, a bunch of that.

Set 11, 2006, 1:42 pm

A couple of you mentioned The Splendid Table. I recently aquired that cookbook but haven't had a chance to try very many of the recipes. Do you have favorites in that book that you can recommend?

Set 11, 2006, 3:05 pm

All the recipes in The Splendid Table are great, and REAL Italian recipes. I will go through it tonight, when at home, and then let you know what I think you should try.

Set 11, 2006, 9:09 pm

Most-used, for me, are both 1970s and 1990s versions of Fannie Farmer, Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything, and Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. Also the 1940s Wise Encyclopedia of Cookery, which I 'inherited' as a little girl, and love dearly still. The range is quite impressive, the colored photos lurid, the recipes all over the map - some useful, some genuinely exotic, some pure nostalgia items. I'd hate to lose any of these.

I must align myself with the Joy of Cooking haters, though my copy of The Joy of Cooking Christmas Cookies has seen a lot of use.

Set 16, 2006, 3:09 pm

I tend to use The New York Cookbook a lot, also Leftovers and Beat This and of course The Best Recipe and my collection of Cook's Illustrated Magazines.

Set 22, 2006, 11:12 am

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

15normanack Primeira Mensagem
Set 23, 2006, 9:39 am

I have to admit to The Joy of Cooking because it is such an excellent reference. I also rely on The Cook's Bible and to a lesser extent The Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook, and lately I always check The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook which almost replaces Joy.

Very unfortunately I have to keep a serious eye on saturated fat and cholesterol because of macular degeneration (there is, apparently, a link). "If I eat that, I'll go blind" is an effective deterrent! I suspect my go-to list of cookbooks will change dramatically as I experiment with healthier alternatives (i.e. not traditional American cooking).

Nov 18, 2006, 4:25 pm

I use the Joy of Cooking as a reference for techniques, mostly. Very rarely cook with a recipe in it, I learned to cook the basics from Sunset Easy Basics for Good Cooking. It is exactly what it says, I've never had a failure from it and there are lots of pictures. I always try to find it for new brides. Mostly I use cookbooks for ideas on how to use an ingredient, I rarely follow a recipe faithfully, except when baking, I'm not so assured there. I also refer to my clipped recipes which I have taped into two binders; tried and true and still to be tried.

Editado: Fev 6, 2007, 2:52 am

Moro: The Cookbook by Sam & Sam Clark. Amazing, original 'Moorish' recipes. It is THE BEST book I have in my collection.

I recently received Cook with Jamie by Jamie Oliver. Normally I could take or leave his books, but this one is brilliant. Excellent recipies - most of which I woudl gladly cook. His cheesy peas is a work of art in simplicity.....

I also refer to Stephanie Alexander's The Cook's Companion. It covers pretty much everything you need to know about food. She's a legend here in Australia.

Fev 6, 2007, 2:54 am

Just had to add Silver Spoon for classic and original, if not legendary, Italian recipes. Each page has maybe 3-5 recipes on it - it is an encyclopaedia. The recipes are short and intended for cooks who have some knowledge of how to cook. But very inspirational.

Fev 6, 2007, 9:00 am

My most-used cookbook is definitely How to Cook Everything, which I find so pretentious (not to mention wrong) a title but a very useful book. Of course, it helps that that was the only cookbook I had for the first three years I lived alone. Now I have a few more and have started using them occasionally (the other day, I found a favorite recipe from home in More With Less, though my new copy is unfortunatly not spiral-bound like my parents' copy), but I still stick to Bittman for most things.

Fev 6, 2007, 9:23 am

Due to the OH's allergies I can rarely follow a recipe in its entirity, but when I'm running out of inspiration on making things up then my good housekeeping cookery book covers a lot of the basics. Its not very good on asian styles but does much of the rest.

My parents have a classic Mrs beeton's work, which they still use a s a reference from time to time. I've been keeping an eye out at second hand stalls ever since.

Editado: Fev 6, 2007, 9:28 am

I wish I could copy and paste my parents' cookbook collection :D Yes, I'm on the computer too much...

I could probably list a dozen cookbooks of theirs off the top of my head that I absolutely wish I had (although now that I have More With Less and Joy of Cooking, the list is a bit shorter). They cook. They cook all the time. And they have three...four? And a half? Or something? Shelves full of cookbooks to help them.

Fev 6, 2007, 9:56 am

An excellent book to have in your kitchen, although not a cookbook, is Camille Stagg's The Cook's Advisor. Hollandaise separated? Brown sugar a rock-hard lump? She'll tell you a) why, b) what to do about it, and c) how to prevent it happening again. Invaluable.

Fev 6, 2007, 11:27 am

Definitely How To Be A Domestic Goddess for me. I love to bake, so I'm always trying something new out of it. It's beginning to look a bit tatty; despite my best efforts, it's had lots of things spilled on it, and I've marked it up in a bunch of places.

Fev 6, 2007, 12:57 pm

22 lilithcat

That sounds like a fascinating book. I've often wanted to learn why things do what, instead of just following recipes, because I often don't have exactly the ingrediants needed for any given one...nor would I necessarily like it made that way. But if I knew why ingredient x or y was used, I might be able to figure out a substitute from my understocked kitchen that will satisfy my picky tastebuds.

23 xicanti

Those are the marks of a well-used cookbook! My parents' copies of some cookbooks can be opened directly to some of the favorite recipes, because the pages are a different color, they've sat open there so much over the years in the heat and humidity (and spillage ;).

Editado: Fev 6, 2007, 4:31 pm

re Message #4:
Hi Linda, what do you hate about The Joy of Cooking? I never considered that there would be "haters" for this book.

26bbudke Primeira Mensagem
Fev 13, 2007, 7:56 pm

I've been getting a lot of use out of The Classic Cookbook from the ever-useful Cook's Illustrated people. It's The Cook's Bible and The Dessert Bible bound together, which makes for a comprehensive resource, but it's admittedly a bit unwieldy.

Fev 13, 2007, 9:16 pm

My most used cookbook is probably Moosewood Restaurant New Classics. It has a good variety, and I have liked almost every recipe I have tried. I'm a little surprised to be the first to mention a Moosewood book as 4 of the top 20 books tagged "cookbook" are from Moosewood.

I also get a lot of work out of Seductions of Rice, the Sunset International Vegetarian Cook Book, and Madhur Jaffrey Indian Cooking. (For all of which the touchstones are refusing to load, GRRR!)

Fev 13, 2007, 9:53 pm

Surprised I haven't heard anyone talk about America's Test Kitchen. These are relatively new, but are incredible ... our family has been gradually collection nearly all of them ... the main cookbook, the side dishes book and the grilling book. They have revolutionized our cooking.

BTW .. our family are long time Joy of Cooking, Fannie Farmer and Culinary Institute of America fans ... guess there's always room for one more if it's really good!

Fev 27, 2007, 3:49 pm


Sorry, I have just had an antipathy to it the few times I have used it; I'm not saying it's a reasonable reaction, just a prejudice I've held for a long time. I have rediscovered Julia's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" this year, and am spending most of my time with that, these days.

I don't have good reasons for most of my strong dislikes; my distaste for the actress Andie McDowell is famous at our house and among our friends.

Fev 27, 2007, 7:14 pm

Well, as long as we've changed the subject a touch ... I'll run with it!

Both Brad Pitt and Tyra Banks should forced to stay in a cave until they get some talent!

Mar 7, 2007, 6:12 pm

Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home would be one, along with Hirams bästa recept från A till Ö and the original Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook from my grandmother - actually, I use my mother's beat-up one to cook from as my grandmother's is a first edition.

Editado: Mar 10, 2007, 12:14 am

i learned to cook with a jug of wine by morrison wood and I made practically everything in it. i like to bake out of carol field the italian baker and for sweet stuff all the maida heatter books. her cakes made with ground almonds, lightened with egg white and filled with buttercream are heaven. now I read cookbooks for pleasure, to imaginatively eat what I can't cook. Gain a pound a year for 50 years and you end up 50 lbs overweight. I'm on slimfast now to atone at age 75 but i still occasionally use Mark Bittman how to cook everything.I learned to cook chinese from how to cook and eat in chinese by buwei-yang chow. I learned jewish cooking from my grandmother and would match her gefillte fish, sweet and sour meatballs, potato pancakes and winter and summer borsht against anyones. i started french with escoffier, a gift from my mother in 1948 but I found it too complex for everyday life. thesilver palate books are great, and i cook italian from marcella hazan's books although i prefer to read elizabeth david. i just got claudia roden's book of jewish food and elizabeth luard's books on spanish and portugese cooking. If anyone in the group is in clearwater, tampa or st. petersburg i would love to swap recipes or cook you a dinner! My new husband is a meat and potatoes man and I dont know anyone to do dinner parties for. Give me a shout if you are in driving distance. myrna

Mar 10, 2007, 8:43 am

#32 > almigwin, that is enough to prompt ANYONE to take a trip to Florida JUST to savour your cooking.....YUMMY!!!!

Mar 10, 2007, 8:07 pm

33>aluvalibri- I'll be back in New york in may and you can savor my cooking then. I will offer to cook any italian, french, chinese, jewish or middle eastern menu you would like, given time to shop.

Mar 10, 2007, 8:13 pm

there is a book by someone named Julia whose last name I don't remember, who cooked every recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, vol. 1 at the rate of one recipe per day for a year. she had a small kitchen but a great time, and got an adorable book out of it besides the wonderful meals. sorry i don't remember her last name. the book is something like Julia cooks Julia Child also Julia's my life in france is charming.

Mar 10, 2007, 9:51 pm

#35 > almigwin, the book you are referring to is called Julie and Julia by Julie Powell, and it is quite amusing.

Mar 14, 2007, 10:29 am

I've been rediscovering my huge and largely unused collection of cookbooks as I finally get round to tagging them on LT. I'm with Cursumperfico in praising the Moro cookbooks. I have both and they come up trumps time after time, both Moro the cookbook and Casa Moro. The restaurant is also fab, if you ever get to London! I also find that I go back again and again to Nigella Lawson's How to Eat and Nigel Slater's books (am I really right in not seeing him mentioned earlier?). Having recently looked again at the other 100+ cookbooks on my shelves, the new resolution is to cook at least one new thing from all of them. Perhaps by 2010?!

Editado: Mar 14, 2007, 11:42 am

#37> finebalance, where are you going to find the time??

Mar 15, 2007, 1:32 am

Since I love to cook from scratch, my most-used cookbooks are primarily the older ones I have which do not rely on mixes as the newer ones do. One example: The Family Home Cookbook by the Culinary Arts Institute.
My most-used reference isn't A book but the series Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery. It lets me see pictures of little-known vegetables, for example, and learn origins, storage tips, and methods of preparation, as well as recipes. I use it to find ethnic recipes for our annual missions dinner, as well as regional American recipes.
Note to bluesalamanders: I recommend Cooking Without Recipes by Helen Worth to show patterns for various foods--like cake or meatloaf or quick breads. It really doesn't eliminate recipes, but it does help you know why certain ingredients are necessary and when you can substitute or eliminate.

Mar 15, 2007, 10:37 am

Aluvalibri, you've spotted the fatal flaw in my plan. That's why I keep ending up cooking from Nigel Slater (the titles are the give-away Real Fast Food, The 30-minute cook). I'm not sure if he's taken off in the US in the way he did in the UK, but he writes wonderful recipes, shows how to cook good quick proper food from scratch (he's been seen at my local farmer's market stocking up) and he doesn't fret about calories. Wonderful! Either that or I'll be cooking endless risottos so I can stir and read at the same time....

Mar 15, 2007, 10:44 am

"I'll be cooking endless risottos so I can stir and read at the same time....

I'm so glad I 'm not the only one who does that! the trick is not to get too engrossed in the plot. An uncomfortable chair/no chair at all sometimes helps.

I've only got one Slater book Real Good food and find it virtually useless, as well as littered with annoying non-recipes all of which still get an index entry. grrr.

Mar 15, 2007, 10:16 pm

For what it's worth, I have always had the same feeling about The Joy of Cooking - and, for that matter, The Joy of Sex! Lemme figure out my own joy, willya? ;^)

Mar 16, 2007, 2:17 pm

We are definately a Joy of Cooking family. I have my mother's copy (with eggnog and creamed oysters for Christmas) and the new edition sans the eggnog. Sigh!

Last night we cooked Seafood coconut curry with lime (around pg. 504.). The recipe needs a bit of tweeking or maybe a better cook but we agreed that the tropical meal helped combat the snow and ice that was falling outside.

It never occurred to me that there would be JOC haters - what is at issue here?

Editado: Mar 19, 2007, 6:18 am

I'm ashamed to say I don't own any basic cookbook,and I have so many I don't use one all the time. I do have my favourites, though...I cooked my way through The Sultan's Kitchen by Ozcan Ozan and think I may do the same with World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey.

Mar 19, 2007, 12:17 pm

Reading Fox, I can see your frustration with Real Good Food. It's actually different from all his other books in that it's an amalgamation of his Observer newspaper articles. You therefore get a wide-ranging article that may talk about lots of different recipes, but contains the actual recipes for only two or three dishes at the end of each section. I cooked three great recipies from another of his books Real Cooking this weekend (including a very gorgeous pasta with cream, basil and caramalised onions) and remain a fan. I'd like to persuade you he's worth another look!

And I'm now wondering where my copy of Real Good Food went. I haven't seen it recently but I'm sure no one else would want it. Several of the pages are glued together following rather messy cooking sessions...

Mar 19, 2007, 12:38 pm

finebalance - thanks for that, next time I'm looking for a cookbook I won't dismiss him out of hand.

Mar 20, 2007, 8:34 am

#45 > a very gorgeous pasta with cream, basil and caramalised onions...I WANT THE RECIPEEEEE!!!!!!

Abr 4, 2007, 6:15 pm

I would be lost without my Betty Crocker favorites and Better Homes and Gardens Cookbooks

Abr 5, 2007, 11:47 am

It may sound strange, but mine is Kochbuch der Renaissance. It's a cookbook of Renaissance food, all documented and the food is incredible! My favorite recipes from it are parmesan raviolli, stuffed cucumbers, and wild duck in plum sauce (although I don't often have time to make this one). My mother is also putting together a cookbook of her and my grandmothers recipes for me, and I have a feeling I'll be using that alot too, when its ready!

Abr 5, 2007, 10:01 pm

The Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites I think is my favorite moosewood book. The recipes are really easy to make, taste wonderful, and are healthier than those in the original book.

Abr 6, 2007, 5:11 pm

When I left my former husband, I was forced by circumstances to abandon an old notebook with recipes from my mothers family copied out longhand, Some polish ones and some from newspaper clippings. I loved that book but when I had to run to avoid being murdered I left it and everything else except my daughter. I tried to get it back but couldn't find it when I had a court order and an officer go back with me. I think HE destroyed it.

Abr 6, 2007, 7:00 pm

#49 jenknox - that Renaissance cookbook sounds amazing! I love historical cookbooks. My alma mater has a whole, (albeit, very small), section on historical cooking, and I had a great time browsing through it.

Abr 7, 2007, 2:40 am

#51> What a horrific story. I am so sorry. I don't understand how a person could do that.

Abr 7, 2007, 4:17 am

#52: If you read German you can check out my comments on the book in my library, I've listed all the different recipes. It really is an incredible cookbook.
Also, My Kafka's Soup cookbook came today!!!!!! It's incredible! It's one of those books you read and the whole time you're thinking "I wish I'd thought of that!"

Abr 7, 2007, 11:23 am

#51 > It is horrible, but I can understand as I found myself in an analogous situation. Luckily, we are both here today!!

Abr 7, 2007, 7:35 pm

#51 & 55 - aluvalibri expressed my exact thoughts, it's sad and painful to the heart and soul to loose a book like that, but I am just glad you are both here.

Abr 17, 2007, 10:39 am

Thank you, MrsLee!

Editado: Abr 17, 2007, 12:12 pm

Thank you! I am very grateful to be here! 12 yrs later and I'm still here and thriving! HE has cancer.

Abr 17, 2007, 12:17 pm

Judging by its condition my most used cookbook is The Chinese restaurant cookbook: Featuring recipes from Szechuan, Hunan, Peking, Shanghai, Canton by Barbara Myers. I think it's out of print now, but with it, I finally learned to reproduce favorite dishes from my local Chinese restaurant.

Abr 17, 2007, 1:07 pm

mdochoda: its available, I just ordered it from abebooks for under 12 dollars. Thanks for the reference. I'd love to make some of my favorites, too.

Abr 18, 2007, 7:23 am

Almigwin, a side-benefit to Myers book was that it led me to Asian grocery stores. Food is fresh and cheap, and the experience is always fun.

Abr 18, 2007, 9:23 am

#51 and #55: My heart went out to you with great sympathy for what you must have gone through, and I'm so very glad you are ok now. It took me 17 years to get out of a bad marriage (no violence, just misery) and I want to say to everyone, get qualified to work and if you are miserable, get out. All I fought for is custody, and I got it. I ended up making more money than my ex who had two doctorates!

Abr 18, 2007, 11:07 am

thanks and I agree if I had gone to college and/or prepared myself with workskills I may not have beeen in that situation. Girls! Arm yourselves!

Abr 18, 2007, 1:18 pm

#62> Miriam, thanks goodness I have always had a good job, or else I could have NEVER got out of that nightmare. Even today, he still tries to mess around with me (I still have to deal with him because of the children), but at least I do not have to see him or even talk to him on a daily basis. Thank God for small blessings and also for making women so strong!!!!!

Abr 18, 2007, 7:19 pm

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

Abr 18, 2007, 7:43 pm

I believe my most used cookbooks are the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook and (don't laugh) Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Veggie Meals.

Abr 19, 2007, 3:38 am

My most used cookbooks are from the Australian Women's Weekly series. I've been using them for about 20 years. The recipes are very reliable (generally no nasty surprises as to ingredient amounts, times etc.) and all are triple-tested. I've never been a fan of the women's magazine they produce (ie. 'Women's Weekly' magazine, which BTW, is a monthly mag), it is only their cookbooks I love. They bring out new cookbooks every year and reprints of old favourites. I have used my copy Cakes and Slices Cookbook so much its falling apart...!

My favourite cookbooks for browsing & enjoying the pictures (more than actually using) are Tessa Kiros's Falling Cloudberries and Apples for Jam; some of Ainsley Harriott's books and Donna Hay magazines.

Abr 20, 2007, 9:36 pm

> 67 digifish I love those Women's Weekly books! I moved out last year and was lucky enough to receive a few myself - I've also got my eye on one called Dinner Tonight that I think I might need!

I have other books I love, but I have to say that the three Donna Hay books I have - Off the Shelf, Modern Classics 1 and 10 Minute Meals - get a regular beating at my house! The Modern Classics one especially has recipes for things that are so simple no-one ever teaches you how (gravy! white sauce!) They're great for meals you can get home from work and whip up - and usually be good for you!

Editado: Abr 22, 2007, 4:12 pm

Goose Fat and Garlic by Jeanne Strang - lovely French recipes
East Meets West by Barbara Jayson and Jenny de Montfort - fusion food by all the top celebrity chefs - the banana Tarte Tatin is fabulous :)
The City of London Cook Book by Peter Gladwin - great British recipes plus loads of quirky facts etc about the City of London

Abr 22, 2007, 4:44 pm

I have a collection of several hundred cookery books and I use the internet obsessively to find more. I sometimes think I spend more time looking for recipes than cooking them. I have loads of favourite cookery books but my all time favourite is The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden. I also have about 4 of her other books including her very comprehensive book and history of Jewish cookery The Book of Jewish Food. I am quite surprised that no-one else has mentioned her as I don't think you can find anyone better on Middle Eastern Food. I also love Nigel Slater - particularly Real Fast Food and Appetite. I have four of the Moosewood Books but think the low-fat one is my favourite of them. Anything my Elizabeth David and Jane Grigson are still worth reading and cooking from. For all sorts of information about food and cookery then how about Alan Davidson's The Oxford Companion to Food. Having started this I could go and on (you probably think I already have!) but it has made me realise how many of my books I love.

Abr 22, 2007, 5:01 pm

I apologise almigwin, you are also a Claudia Roden fan. I should read things more carefully!

Abr 22, 2007, 5:04 pm

Jaine9, I only have Arabesque by Claudia Roden, but I will definitely get The book of Jewish food as well. I like the way she explains the recipes - very clear and mouthwatering.
I am sure many others, like me, appreciate her.


Abr 22, 2007, 6:35 pm

One of the other wonderful Claudia Roden books, is her book on the regional cooking of Italy. Apology accepted, jaine9. Claudia Roden, Paula Wolfert, Elizabeth David, Marcella Hazan, Julia Child and Jeff Smith are my all time favorites. I also love Mark Bittman and the Silver Palate books.

Jun 19, 2007, 8:28 am

Well, looks like I'm two months too late for this conversation, but figure I'll throw my hat in the ring anyway. My go-to books are those by Ina Garten and Joanne Weir and I'm also a huge fan of The Silver Spoon for reference.

Linda, I have to agree with you on The Joy of Cooking. I also dislike it; I've made a few things from it and none of them had any zing. However, I have found it a good source of inspiration for making holiday cookies.

Jul 14, 2007, 9:48 pm

Following up on the Joy of Cooking bash, I finally bought my first copy 1943 as part of my WWII cookbook project. Still don't like it, but it does have some WWII ration recipes that I haven't seen elsewhere.

Jul 16, 2007, 10:25 am

Jumping in late to this but I want to back up finebalance (Message 37) on Nigella Lawson and Nigel Slater. I love all their books - neither are trained chefs so seem to be more practical for home cooks. I'm now going to get the Moro books on her recommendation (as if I need any more cookbooks). Still got to find the time to add my hundreds of cookbooks to my library.

Jul 17, 2007, 8:17 am

>76 janeekelly: LLP Please give us some more info on your WWII cookbook project.
Re: Joy, I have my mother's copy, and my first copy (wedding present 1974) and yesterday I broke the spine on the "new" Joy (2000 or so). It is still the "go to" cookbook.

Jul 17, 2007, 9:57 am

Joy of Cooking> as we are teaching teenagers the basics.
"Do such and such." "How?" "Look it up...."

Everyday Italian : 125 simple and delicious recipes by Giada De Laurentiis because everthing seems to come out wonderful.

Jul 18, 2007, 12:06 pm

LarsonLewisProject - are you still working on a WWII cooking thing? I have a book Operation Vittles compiled by the American woman in blocked Berlin, January 1949. I am not willing to part with the book, but I might be willing to share it, photocopied. let me know

Ago 15, 2007, 9:25 pm

Hands down, my go-to books are the three latest s (i.e. 1975, 1997, 2006). I use one of them almost daily for almost anything in them.

For cakes, I use . For pies, I often use Ken Haedrich's . For certain Asian dishes, I use by Jacki Passamore (couldn't live without that one). I often use and . I use Maida Heatter's cookie book a lot, and Ceri Hadda's is one I turn to often, also. I also love and use frequently Maryana Vollstedt's .

Ones I use less frequently, but turn to repeatedly for certain things are: Beatrice Ojakangas's and , Sheryl and Mel London's , Elizabeth Riely's , Nick Malgieri's ,Martha Stewart's and , and Mollie Katzen's Moosewood cookbooks as well as her .

It's fun to think about this. Usually I'm just grabbing a book that I know will have a recipe that will use up the ingredients I have on hand and don't give it too much thought that it's this one or that one over and over.

Sometimes I grab a book off the shelf and see if there's something in there that I've forgotten about and make something new that way.

Tremendous fun.

Ago 15, 2007, 9:26 pm

All the book titles I put in brackets in my last posting aren't showing up!!!! The posting looks so funny--but after all that work--arghhh!

Ago 15, 2007, 9:34 pm

Fill in the blanks?:
Joy of Cooking
The Cake Bible (Beranbaum)
Pie (Haedrich)
The Encyclopedia of Asian Food and Cooking (Passamore)
Cupcakes (Hadda)
The Big Book of Casseroles (Vollstedt)
Great Scandinavian Baking Book (Ojakangas)
Chocolate Lover's Cookies & Brownies (Ojakangas)
Versatile Grain and Elegant Bean (London)
A Feast of Fruits (Riely)
How to Bake (Malgieri)
Hors D'Oeuvres Handbook (Stewart)
Martha Stewart Living Cookbook
Still Life with Menu (Katzen)

Editado: Ago 16, 2007, 7:39 pm

sgardner - At the risk of telling you something which you may already know, if you want the titles of books to show up as blue touchstones, you bracket them with these not these {}. Does that help?

*edited to say: O.K., the brackets don't show up and they are puzzling as to what book I meant by enclosing nothing, so I'll just do one and see if that works. Anyway, it is the straight brackets not the wiggly ones. I have never been at peace with proper terms. ;)

Ago 16, 2007, 7:05 pm

I have all sorts of cookbooks I use for different occassions and favorites for each of the different styles of food (e.g., Indian, Chinese, Vegetarian, etc.).

But I would say the cookbook that I use the most often is The Cake Bible. It is good for any occassion--not just for the recipes but for the techniques and information. (Does it count as a cookbook if I use it for information and not recipes? Or is it a cooking encyclopedia?)

Editado: Ago 17, 2007, 3:12 am

I've just come across this thread, and I'm surprised nobody else uses Rose Elliot's Complete Vegetarian Cookbook - although its now out of print (and I was surprised to find out how much my copy is worth). I'm not vegetarian, though I eat a lost of meals without meat, but Rose's recipes are 100% reliable and easy to follow. There is a recipe for lentil loaf, which she suggests a gravy for, and says it is guaranteed to convert meat-eaters -- she's right!

Like many of you, I love to read cookery books, but usually only to get an idea of what I want to do. I haven't really started adding to my list from that shelf yet...

Ago 17, 2007, 6:46 am

>85 sarahemmm: sarah ~ I have Rose Elliot's book Vegetarian Supercook but I am yet to have tried any of the recipes. I got it as a gift-with-purchase on some other books. I'm not vegetarian either but there are some good recipes in there and some nice dishes which also could be served with meat.

Ago 23, 2007, 4:09 am

>86 digifish_books: digifish_books

I think the best thing about Rose Elliot is that her recipes are so reliable - do try some, you'll be hooked!

Editado: Ago 27, 2007, 11:51 am

After I posted my favorite cookbooks above, I realized that I should have mentioned my most favorite cookbook. It's my own! Actually, I made a "cookbook" for my daughter when she got married. It's huge! I have collected recipes since 1982 and saved all my favorites and put them into a cookbook for her. I made one for myself as well and am now mostly cooking out of it. It's nice to have all my favorites in one place, without having to dig through all the clippings and torn out magazine pages. All my daughters want one now when they get married. Good thing I stored them all on the computer too!

Fev 27, 2008, 12:35 pm

I recently got Nigel Slaters 30-minute cook and I absolutely love it. I liked his Observer recipes as well (my father's got a subscription) although they can be a bit complicated.
But this one gives so many great ideas that are manageable too! I've only got it 3 weeks, but I've already made quite a few recipes out of it, and they are just wonderful.

Out 25, 2015, 6:56 pm

I see that this conversation ended a while ago, but it is always fascinating to see readers' most reliable reference material given that cookery book readers tend to have a lot of books. In the years that I have been cooking, I have found that some books are for reference only, others are for inspiration, and some have good practical value. There are, of course, some books that fill all the gaps. The books I most often cook from are: Claudia Roden's The New Book of Middle Eastern Food, Diana Henry's Roast Figs, Sugar Snow, Rick Bayless' Mexican Everyday, Tamasin Day-Lewis' Tamasin's Kitchen Bible, Maggie Beer's Maggie's Harvest, Nigella Lawson's How to Eat and Suzanne Goin's Sunday Suppers at Lucques. They tend to cover the broad range of food in which I am interested, but for cooking I find that they are reliable and inspirational.

Out 25, 2015, 9:34 pm

Agree completely. Gastronomy, reference, entertainment, and battered covers with stained pages!

It changes over time. When i started out in 1977 it was the PWMU (Presbyterian Women's Union) Cookbook, the little spiral-bound volume with basic advice and recipes which has been updated a few times since. I soon acquired A Taste For All Seasons by Beverley Sutherland Smith. I still cook from it, in fact had to get another copy when the original fell apart. The recipes pre-date EVO, food processors and microwaves, but I have adapted them as appropriate.

Nowadays my first choice go-to cookbook is Stephanie Alexander's The Cook's Companion. I also cook a lot from various books by Jill Dupleix, David Herbert and my great favourite Nigel Slater.

I also have a wonderful app, My Recipe Book. It is the electronic equivalent of clipping recipes out of printed publications. So far I have 507 recipes, many from The Guardian and The Observer, and I cook from it frequently.

Out 26, 2015, 8:04 am

My copy of The Chinese Restaurant Cookbook is still the most dog-eared, stained on my kitchen shelf.

Nowadays, though, I rely a lot on recipes collected from the web or typed from family card-recipe collection, titling them with major ingredients and other searchable terms (e.g., frittata) and YUM if they've become go-to favourites. I save them to folders--appetizers, condiments & sauces, soups, entrees, etc. Back-up, of course!

Out 26, 2015, 9:11 am

I can't believe I havent put in my 2cents on this yet. Jeff Smith's The Frugal Gourmet on Our Immigrant Ancestors

Out 26, 2015, 3:27 pm

My most used book is Sharing our Gifts from the church ladies at St. Michael's in Chicago, circa mid-1980s. My mother gave me a copy and I use it all the time, although I often take the recipes as starting points and tweak away.

I'm fond of church-lady cookbooks because they reflect home cooking with easily accessible ingredients and techniques that don't require special equipment. I don't have the budget for a lot of fancy stuff.

I've also got a three-ring notebook with handwritten recipes, clippings, and magazines that I use an awful lot. I offered to make up a recipe book for my nieces and nephew with all the old family recipes, but bless their hearts, one is vegan, one is vegetarian, and the last one (the nephew) was only marginally interested. So I decided it was too much work.

>93 TLCrawford: I've used that one a lot, too.

Out 26, 2015, 11:03 pm

I have two cookbooks I have tried to cook through methodically from start to finish. Elena's Secrets of Mexican Cooking and Curry Cuisine. I haven't finished either one, but by cooking from front to back, it gives you a firm handle on technique and ingredients.

Editado: Out 27, 2015, 4:03 am

Lovely, my last entry in this thread was before my cookbook addiction really took off! I think that after 7 years an update is in order.

I still love Nigel Slater, although his Eat is probably the one I use most now. Other cookbooks that I use very regularly:
The flavor thesaurus when I have a particular ingredient I want to make the best of.
The river cottage meat book and the river cottage fish book when those ingredients are meat or fish.
I think the complete meze table is very underrated, great easy recipes with good use of spices.

Out 27, 2015, 5:04 pm

I have The Flavour Thesaurus in a Kindle version. It makes hopping around following the cross-references so easy!

I heartily recommend Slater's latest, The Kitchen Diaries III. It's actually more like Eat in style than the previous Kitchen Diaries.

Nov 2, 2015, 9:20 am

>94 PhaedraB: I like the church cookbooks but you can't beat the cooking experience that the church ladies have. When I worked in Oxford (Ohio) the local AME Church would have fundraising lunches a few times a year. I did my best not to miss one.

Ago 13, 2016, 4:36 pm

> cursumperficio 17: Based on your endorsement of Moro, I looked it up and found a cookbook on a cuisine that is completely absent in my cookbook collection. I added it to my Amazon wish list, since I've purchased a lot of cookbooks lately. I really am looking forward to trying it. I have no idea what to expect! Moorish cooking is totally new to me. Would you like to suggest a few recipes to start out with? Ok if not. I will have no problem diving right in. Thanks for listing this book!

Ago 13, 2016, 4:58 pm

>99 chibitika: You realize that post was from 9.5 years ago, right? That person doesn't look to have even been around for more than a few days back then.

Ago 14, 2016, 10:58 am

I love cookbooks and books about food, really, and lately have been more inclined to pick them up to learn about a culture or a technique than because I need or want new recipes. That said, I do have one book case in my kitchen that is for "cookbooks I use a lot" and of the books in that case, there are a number that I use so often I wear them out. So I'm on my second or even third copy:

Madhur Jaffrey's World of the East Vegetarian Cooking
Claudia Roden's Book of Middle Eastern Food
Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
Diane Kennedy's Mexican Regional Cooking
The Seasonal Palate by the Bloodroot Collective
The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Bernard Clayton's complete Book of Soups and Stews (which also has my go-to french loaf recipe)
and an old book called The Beachcomber's Book of Seafood Cookery that was produced locally and is de rigeur for coastal living.

Not that I don't have a ton of other favorites, but these are the books that are usually found cracked open on my kitchen counter at some point, or that have recipes I've done so often I don't even need to look at the book anymore. In fact, the last time I did look at how Bernard Clayton made a "rustic country loaf" of bread, I was a little surprised to see how much my version had evolved.

And all of these books tend to look a little worse for wear. I've replaced all of them at one point or another, and sometimes more than once.

Ago 15, 2016, 10:00 am

>101 southernbooklady: I think I would love to be eating at your table. :)

I too have reached the point where I rarely follow a recipe, but use them for inspiration. I find that reading a whole cookbook (or at least the kind of cookbooks I like) will give me insight into cooking techniques and seasonings which stick with me more than specific recipes. My mother is frequently amazed at the food I create on a whim, but I give credit to all of the cookbooks I have read and absorbed over the years.

Ago 15, 2016, 11:58 am

>101 southernbooklady: will give me insight into cooking techniques and seasonings which stick with me more than specific recipes

Oh yes. I make chili differently every time because it is one of my "use up what's in the fridge" recipes. But I always stir in a paste made of dried guajillo chili peppers that have been soaked in hot water, seeds and stems removed, and mashed into a pulp. No matter what's in the pot, that gives the chili a nice deep smoky-hot flavor. I think that was a Diane Kennedy trick. I've collected a ton of little things like that I now do almost without thinking about it.

Ago 15, 2016, 11:08 pm

It's the same with me. After just on 40 years I have a repertoire of things I make on automatic pilot, including a dish we refer to as "automatic pilot chicken", which is actually an adaptation of a Jill Dupleix recipe. Over time I have done quite a bit of adapting! Of course you have to closely follow recipes when baking, but I've never been much of a baker - for years Mum kept me supplied with cakes and biscuits, these days I worry about our waistlines.

I also have a small collection of cookbooks, stained and bristling post-it-notes, which I use on a regular basis. They are in a way a reflection of my culinary history, not to mention everyone else's. Just when you think you've got the hang of it along comes some new kit (microwave, food processor) or ingredients (quinoa, freekeh, goat's cheese) and you need instruction and inspiration.

I started out with Beverley Sutherland Smith, who I still rely on for unfussy family food; my second copy of A Taste For All Seasons is starting to get a bit tattered. I moved on through Jane Grigson, Maggie Bear and of course the divine Stephanie Alexander, whose Cook's Companion is what you would choose if you were allowed only one cookbook. Only a few years ago I discovered David Herbert, whose Complete Perfect Recipes is not as encyclopaedic as Stephanie, but a much more convenient size!

Developing a taste for Middle Eastern food led me to Claudia Roden and Greg Malouf. Nowadays creeping physical disability has me looking for speed and simplicity and I have become a devotee of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and particularly Nigel Slater, whose (non-baking) recipes assume a certain level of experience - a handful of this, a glug of that.

These days my new books are usually books about food or food history, generally with recipes attached to inform the narrative. Jennifer McLagan's wonderful books like The Odd Bits are a good case in point.

One thing I have learned is to have a well-stocked pantry, which is a great assistance with short notice or "bottom of the fridge" cooking.

Ago 16, 2016, 8:44 am

One more cookbook that has been recently added to my honor shelf of "I'm on my second copy of this" is One Big Table by Molly O'Neill. I think it would probably satisfy a lot of people here in that it is specifically a celebration of people who love to cook at home. In fact, O'Neill first came up with the idea for the book after attending some New York society party where everyone seemed to have come to the conclusion that Americans no longer cooked at home, they just went out to eat or ordered take out. She thought that was bullshit, and set about calling for people to submit recipes, and traveling around the country to meet all these people who just love to cook. Five years later, One Big Table is the result. Talk about a fun research project.

It's a massive book with recipes from a huge range of places, cultures, ethnicities, cuisines and styles. So it's inevitable that there are going to be recipes for things you won't want or like. But on the whole there are going to be more that you do. And while the recipes all come with personal stories and bits of history, (which I love), what's impressive from a practical standpoint is how reliable they all seem to be. These are the recipes that hundreds of other cooks just make "automatically." One of my favorites is "Dominic's Italian-American Nicoise Salad" which I've adopted as my own.

And the chapter on pies is a thing of beauty.

Because the book is so thick, the binding has not stood up to the hard use I've given it, so I actually purchased a "back up" copy.

Editado: Ago 16, 2016, 4:58 pm

"The ABCs of Vegan Home Cooking: the art of simple and wholesome cooking" is a well-organized basic vegan cookbook complete with step-by-step color photos; 226 pages, paperback. Their sections I use most are those for 29 different kinds of vegetables and those for desserts. They self-published this book in 2014 ... it is listed on Amazon:

Author 1 is Masao Miyaji, who opened a vegan restaurant (Masao's Kitchen) in Massachusetts in 1993. Author 2 is Evelyne Miyaji, who has been a macrobiotic cooking teacher and counselor for 30 years.

The recipes are not only tasty and beautiful, but also profoundly health-supporting. With a few adjustments, they can be made compatible with dietary guidelines of Caldwell Esselstyn, MD, John McDougall, MD, Neal Barnard, MB, and Dean Ornish, MD.

Ago 19, 2016, 3:50 am

>100 .Monkey.:.Monkey: Yes, I did realize that, but I didn't look around to see if the person was still active in this group. I figured I'd take a chance. I've been on LT for years now, and I lurk in many groups, and I thought that might be the case here.