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Old 12-31-2006, 06:25 PM   #1
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Best General, All-Purpose Cookbook?

What is the best general cookbook for a relatively inexperienced, non-gourmet home cook? I'm a home cook with a pretty good cookbook collection, but what's missing is one big all-purpose book for general recipes (most of my cookbooks are specialty cookbooks, e.g., Asian cooking, light cooking). Various friends and family members have recommended Betty Crocker, Better Homes and Gardens, America's Test Kitchen, and the Taste of Home, but obviously I can't buy them all, so I thought I'd ask here. Which of these do you rely on or is known to be the best? Or do you use something different? Thanks in advance!

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Old 12-31-2006, 06:30 PM   #2
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What you want sadly does not exist, and quite frankly I don't believe it could.

Would go with the Joy of Cooking.

It has its limitations, as do all cookbooks. But for an all around reference it is purty darn good.
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Old 12-31-2006, 06:39 PM   #3
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another vote for any printing of Joy of Cooking
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Old 12-31-2006, 06:43 PM   #4
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You might go to a bookstore and take a look at Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everthing. We also have Joy of Cooking, Good Housekeeping, McCalls (our first cookbook), Fanny Farmer, the Settlement Cookbook and about 100 other hard cover cookbooks, but Bittman's is the one we reach for first these days.
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Old 12-31-2006, 06:43 PM   #5
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I use The Joy of Cooking and Betty Crocker
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Old 12-31-2006, 07:38 PM   #6
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We've discussed this many time in our Cookbooks, Software etc. sub-forum (under the Cookware and Accessories Forum) and I think Joy of Cooking has always been the #1 overall choice. It's more than just a collection of recipes - it's also a reference book for explaining terms, techniques and ingredients - and a great tutor for the beginning cook.

I would suggest looking for used copies of Joy between 1975-1995 - the ones prior to The New Joy which came out around 1997.

Julia Child was even quoted as saying it would be her choice if she could have only one cookbook.
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Old 12-31-2006, 08:16 PM   #7
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I have never owned a Joy of Cooking but when I bought one for my wedding/kitchen fix up present, I picked one up for me, too.

What a great book. McCall's was my first cookbook, also (which I received as a wedding present). I would recommend that as well.
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Old 12-31-2006, 08:32 PM   #8
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I have a very very old Joy of Cooking cookbook that was given to me by my boyfriends mom and it is the original one that Michael is talking about. I almost never use that one and use my Better Homes and Gardens one. My mom had a Betty Crocker one that she used all the time when I was growing up. My Better Homes and Garden one also has definitions, substitution guide and measurement equivalent guide as well. I would recommend either Betty Crocker or Better Homes and Gardens but I am new to the cooking industry and those are the two that I have worked with the most. A lot of people on here are wonderful cooks and you can feel "safe" taking their opinions. Good luck i the search and WELCOME TO DC!!!!
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Old 12-31-2006, 09:10 PM   #9
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A New Way to Cook by Sally Schneider is a good book. New ways on old recipes.
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Old 12-31-2006, 09:18 PM   #10
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Better Homes and Gardens is a super book. I use that quite a bit, also.
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