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Old 03-24-2013, 12:19 PM   #1
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Cookbook classics and must-haves

Hello forum,

I am looking for some cookbook classics and must-haves, preferably advanced.

My mother likes to cook all kinds of traditional and advanced "solid" dishes (but also complicated cakes and all that, so pretty much everything that's interesting) and she's really good at it. The problem is she keeps seeing these recommended books by random high-profile chefs and she wants to buy them all.

I was hoping that you guys could give some advice and recommend some good solid books.

tl;dr need good cookbooks, not for a beginner

Thank you in advance

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Old 03-24-2013, 12:24 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by ebbs View Post
Hello forum,

I am looking for some cookbook classics and must-haves, preferably advanced.

My mother likes to cook all kinds of traditional and advanced "solid" dishes (but also complicated cakes and all that, so pretty much everything that's interesting) and she's really good at it. The problem is she keeps seeing these recommended books by random high-profile chefs and she wants to buy them all.

I was hoping that you guys could give some advice and recommend some good solid books.

tl;dr need good cookbooks, not for a beginner

Thank you in advance
The bible for all cooks. Professional and home cooks. "The Joy Of Cooking." Found in any book store or on Amazon. Worth every cent.
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Old 03-24-2013, 12:34 PM   #3
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Old 04-24-2013, 01:11 AM   #4
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The Science Of Good Cooking by America's Test Kitchen
This is a book I wish I'd had when I first started cooking. It explains the why's of different cooking techniques and extensive tests to show the different results. So much I didn't know and I've been at this for almost 60 years. It belongs on the cookbook shelf next to Joy of Cooking which is a great reference book.
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Old 04-24-2013, 06:02 AM   #5
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For American home cooks I think the Fanny Merritt Farmer Cookbook revised and updated by Marion Cunningham is a great resource. I have a paperback copy that only cost a couple of bucks used. When the pages start falling out I will keep an eye open for another inexpensive copy. If I could only have one cooking book it would be this one.

For baking sweets I like Beatrice Ojakangas and Nick Malgieri. They have both written several cooking books.

I have several hundred cooking books and I find the selection of them is a very personal thing. I can never tell if I have gotten a great one until after I buy it and begin using it. I buy them used and am constantly culling my collection to get rid of the duds!
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:46 AM   #6
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Not sure what kind of cooking she does, but my husband gave me American Test Kitchen's The Best International Recipe for Christmas a few years ago. It contains their best recipes from all around the world - South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia - along with their signature evaluations of different techniques and ingredients. I love it.
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Old 04-24-2013, 01:07 PM   #7
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Some other cookbooks to consider (that I own and use as a serious cook):

Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking
Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic italian Cooking
Judy Rodgers Zuni cafe Cookbook
Rose Berenbaum's The Cake Bible
David Thompson's Thai Food
Fuchsia Dunlop's Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook
Paul Bertolli's Cooking By Hand
Diane Kennedy's The Essential Cuisines of Mexico
Paula Wolfert's The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen
Elizabeth David's French Provincial Cooking
Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice

Barbara Kafka's cookbooks on Roasting and on Soups
Molly Steven's on Braising
Peterson (cant recall his first name) on Sauces

Shirley Corriher's Cookwise is more of a food science book with great recipes
The Professional Chef is the Culinary Institute of America's textbook
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Old 07-03-2013, 08:37 PM   #8
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Along with Jennyema's excellent selections,
some choice bits:

Any book by master baker Nancy Silverton.
After all, her dessert brought tears to Julia's eyes!
I have been making her desserts from early years and each recipe has stood the test of time and never failed! She takes baking to the next level without resorting to exotic ingredients...
Christmas Memories with Recipes (from chefs once famous, yet now of a vintage era and gone) The book is an incredible intimate sharing of real memories and recipes from the best of the best vintage era 1970-90? Bert Greenes contribution alone (Hint: his mother HATED Christmas) is worth the purchase alone.
Here are some of the contributers copied from amazon: Lee Bailey, Jerhane Benoit (the last piece this Canadian writer wrote before her death), Robert Farrar Capon, Irena Chalmers, Craig Claiborne, Marion Cunningham, Robert Finigan, Carol Fliners, Betty Fussell, Ed Giobbi. Bert Greene, Jane Grigson, Helen Witty, Maida Heatter, Evan Jones, Jenifer Lang, Edna Lewis, Bryan Miller, Beatrice Ojakangas, Jacques Pépin, Felipe Rojas-Lombardi, Julee Rosso and Martha Stewart.

Another very interesting and curious book is
Jane Grigson's GOOD THINGS
She skips from BOUDOIR BISCUITS (imagine Madame de Pompadour delicately nibbling such delicacies as she sent out her deadly lettres de cachet)... to a diagram and program of purging, cleansing snails for cookery with many fascinating stops along the way. One shouldn't miss this!
Any cookbook by Laurie Colwin
Ms. Colwin was a beloved writer for GOURMET magazines for many years, and her cookbook recipes are SIMPLE, not a challenge for your mother, yet, her throughly modern approach to providing good food everyday for oneself and others is important I think. Her philosophy in simplicity without fuss in order to get on with actual eating.
Everyday. These are really essays with recipes and several re-printed from GOURMET submissions.
Marcella Hazen's cookbooks...
Marcella's savory flair gave everyone fabulous recipes easily made at home, and the entire fabulous menu could be reproduced by a fair cook without a brigade de cuisine in the bowels of an ancient cellar with gigantic stockpots simmering calves heads for stock.
Delicious, yet not high tech. Any recipe could stand alone or pair with others with various compositions.

That's all I can think of now...although I cannot recommend too much, the writings of
MFK Fischer. The passions, appetites, and constant need for feeding the spirit and mind along with body and soul are meat for her pen. Her extensive writing on her pre-war French experiences are tremendous and really give an idea of the real reason French food is so good. It was a very serious subject to eveyone high and low. The (painful to me) recounting of her maitresse de hotel's relentless, implacable devotion to provide delicious meals while driving the meanest bargain was incredible. I am exhausted just remembering this singular, daily triumphant struggle.
I know these writings with recipes are a bit different than the usual beautiful huge chef's offering...but, because they are different, they may be a very delightful experience.
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Old 08-04-2013, 11:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyema View Post
Some other cookbooks to consider (that I own and use as a serious cook):

Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking
Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic italian Cooking
Judy Rodgers Zuni cafe Cookbook
Rose Berenbaum's The Cake Bible
David Thompson's Thai Food
Fuchsia Dunlop's Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook
Paul Bertolli's Cooking By Hand
Diane Kennedy's The Essential Cuisines of Mexico
Paula Wolfert's The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen
Elizabeth David's French Provincial Cooking
Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice

Barbara Kafka's cookbooks on Roasting and on Soups
Molly Steven's on Braising
Peterson (cant recall his first name) on Sauces

Shirley Corriher's Cookwise is more of a food science book with great recipes
The Professional Chef is the Culinary Institute of America's textbook
Another vote here for good old Lizzie David - In fact anything of hers. I've just had to replace my 1975 edition of "French Provincial Cooking". I ordered the 1965 hardback edition second-hand from Amazon. My old version collapsed in a pile of loose pages. I shall keep it on my kitchen shelf next to its replacement for sentimental reasons. It was the first cookery book I bought.

Another cookery writer I would heartily recommend both for cooking and bed-side reading is Jane Grigson. I have most of her books and use them often -
"Good Things"
"English Food"
"Vegetable Book"
"Fruit Book"
"Charcuterie and French Pork Cooking"
"Fish Cookery"
"The Mushroom Feast"

All excellent and practical resources. With Elizabeth David and Jane Grigson on your shelf you don't need anything else (mind you, at the last count there were over 300 cookery books on my bookshelves!!! I won't say I 'm obsessive but.....)

I'd also take "The Good Housekeeping Cookery Book" with me to the desert island but not the latest version which I was given as a gift and I don't think is as good as my older edition.

I have my eye on a copy of Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" but only as a matter of interest.
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Old 08-04-2013, 11:53 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by jennyema View Post
Some other cookbooks to consider (that I own and use as a serious cook):

Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking
Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic italian Cooking
Judy Rodgers Zuni cafe Cookbook
Rose Berenbaum's The Cake Bible
David Thompson's Thai Food
Fuchsia Dunlop's Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook
Paul Bertolli's Cooking By Hand
Diane Kennedy's The Essential Cuisines of Mexico
Paula Wolfert's The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen
Elizabeth David's French Provincial Cooking
Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice

Barbara Kafka's cookbooks on Roasting and on Soups
Molly Steven's on Braising
Peterson (cant recall his first name) on Sauces

Shirley Corriher's Cookwise is more of a food science book with great recipes
The Professional Chef is the Culinary Institute of America's textbook
Wow!!! That's one heck of a list!!! I was going to reply Joy of Cooking and something by Julia Child. I'm going to check out -- literally, check out from the public library -- all of your cookbooks I don't have yet, and I'll buy any that merit it.

One thing I feel strongly about, if there's any cookbook that is worth the price I want it in my permanent library.


I "cut my teeth" on Joy of Cooking. That was way before the Internet. If you had to have just one book in your kitchen JOC was it. You could probably supplement that by something Betty Crocker and various Sunset (magazine) cookbooks. Which is what my library was like in the '80s.


If there was no Internet and I could have only one book on American cooking it would still be Joy of Cooking.
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