I recently counted, and I own at least one hundred and sixty books about food. Most, but not all are cookbooks, and I say at least because I only counted the ones I can see from where I am sitting as I write this. I didn’t make a full walk through the house, and I think there are a few more floating around. I also borrow cookbooks from the library, and if there are at least five recipes I would make, I buy them. Some make me think I should really get started writing my own.
I have been reading cookbooks, food magazines, and food ‘literature’ since my teenage years, way before the internet entered and took over all our lives, providing us with millions of recipes with just a click or two. In the olden days I used to clip recipes from the newspapers, and I still have a file folio stuffed with them. So I’ll share some of my favorite cookbooks here. If you are thinking of buying one, please use my link, and I’ll get a small percentage of that sale, for which I will be very grateful! All the links can be found on my home page under the Cookbook drop down. So, with no further ado, and in no particular order:
Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything: As the title states this is a pretty comprehensive cookbook. There have been recipes I’v looked for and haven’t found, but not many. This is one of my ‘if i could only have three cookbooks’ this would be one.
Deb Perlman, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook: I love Perlman’s Point of view—making everyday food really excellent. Her directions are clear and easy to follow no matter your level of expertise
Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso, The New Basics: This is the second of my ‘three cookbooks’ challenge. Like Bittman it is a comprehensive book with loads of helpful side notes and drawings.
Irma Rombauer, The Joy of Cooking: AKA the bible of food. Book #3 on my top three. It is often the first book I reference when I am trying something new, or want to check things like proportions.
Julia Child Mastering the Art of French Cooking; If you want to make a proper boeuf bourguignon, or any classical French dish, this is where you go!
Shirley Corriher, Cookwise and Bakewise; Both of these as well as Harold McGee talk about the science of food. They explain things like the Maillard reaction and what makes us love roasted coffee, and browning meat on the outside.
Harold McGee, On Food and Cooking; See above
Thomas Keller, Ad Hoc at Home; This is one of the most beautiful cookbooks I own, and it also has recipes I actually use. If someone asks you what you’d like for a gift, ask for this book!
Martha Stewart; Hors D’oeuvres Handbook; Though I am not a huge MS fan, I am a huge hors d’oeuvre fan, and this book is the best one I’ve ever seen on the subject. great photos and great ideas.
Marcella Hazan; Essentials of Italian Cooking; Marcella is the queen of Italian cooking, and if you want to know how the Italians cook, this is The Book.
In addition to these, my main go-to books, there are others I’ll reference from time to time. Some are out of print books handed down to me. I love used bookstores where I can find these treasures, and I really love the types of cookbooks published by churches and synagogues, and I have several of those too. As I mentioned earlier, there are books written about food and cooking, some are good reference books, some more historical or social commentary, I try to keep up, but there are so many, and I do like to read other things too.
Here are some of those:
Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma , changed mine and the world’s awareness of how food gets to our tables, a must read!
I recently read Melanie Warner’s Pandora’s Lunchbox, and it was another look into what we eat, and the shopping choices we exercise.