Your five favorite cookbooks

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erehweslefox

Sous Chef
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May 20, 2016
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578
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Hatfield, PA
So I'm interested, for learning, to know what cookbooks you use. I'm going to list my five and stay away, from the usual, Joy of Cooking, Julia Child, etc... Basically I'm taking books off of my cookbook shelf in the kitchen (don't you have one?) and picking the ones that have the most food stains on them.

#1 is Darina Allen, Forgotten Skills of Cooking. (ISBN 97819068062). One of the reasons behind this thread is that outRIAAge, had never come across this cookbook. 700 recipes, mostly focused on, well, forgotten skills. THE go to book for cooking game of any kind, but plenty of advice for the casual grocery cook too. The chapter on bread is worth the price of the book alone. If you like Allen, you can then branch out to her Irish Traditional Cooking. One of my life ambitions is to attend her Ballymoe cooking school. to wit: Darina Allen's Ballymaloe Cookery School | The only cookery school located on it's own 100 acre organic farm.

#2 is Seven Centuries of English Cooking, by the lovely named Maxime de la Falaise. (ISBN 9780802132963) We can describe this cookbook as 'the one my wife hates' as it involves a lot of old ingredients and techniques that she, sometimes correctly, maintains have no place in the modern kitchen. While I hate his policies, and despise him as a person, if you vote for Donald Trump, my wife and I have a bet, if he wins she has to eat an eel pie. Now where would I go for an eel pie recipe? Oh yeah, here.

#3 Yotam Ottolenghi, Jerusalem. (ISBN 9781607743941). This is a really sophisticated cookbook, by a very admirable chef. It is also the one on my list here that might send you on an expedition to get the ingredients. Mostly I am about 'things I can find in the supermarket' level. It, though, has a bit of narrative about it that the writer in me loves. It is, on the whole, a loving tribute to the people and the city of Jerusalem, and all the cultures that inhabit, clash, and just live there. It is a piece of heartfelt poetry. I've never been to the city, but this book makes me feel like I've been there. It makes me feel like I *should* be there. And the fish recipes are amazing, the thing I love about them is they are heavily spiced so you can use inferior cheap fish and get a great result.

#4 Creative International Cookbook, Edited by Charloette Turgeon (ISBN 9780517349212) "The Creative International Cookbook provides a way to experience other countries without leaving your own kitchen" from the intro, serious. This was a yard sale find, and a previous chef had marked several recipes. It has 1,500 recipes and well, you can pick them by country. (how it is organized) the recipes aren't always the best, but there are so MANY of them, you can pick a page and get an idea at least.

#5 A guy's Guide to Great Eating, Don Mauer (ISBN 978039591563) A cookbook aimed at men, and men who don't like to cook. I like to pretend I am a sophisticated cook, but I am, in truth, just a guy that cooks, this one has as many oops stains as the others, so I have to include it. It really excels at having simple, ingredient friendly recipes and explains them well. As a home cook I (delude myself that I have) grown beyond it, but it has an honored place on the shelf. I give this book to college graduates, male and female.

So, what are yours?

Cheers,

TBS
 

Domestic Goddess

Senior Cook
Joined
Jul 25, 2005
Messages
165
Location
Marshfield, Wisconsin
I have quite a collection of cookbooks, but these are my 3 favorites which I'll always treasure...

1973 Betty Crocker's Cookbook

1976 A Campbell Cookbook Cooking with Soup

1979 Pillsbury Kitchens' Cookbook
 

CraigC

Master Chef
Joined
Jan 27, 2011
Messages
6,483
I have favorite recipes from many cookbooks, but I wouldn't say any one book is a favorite. None inspire me to make the recipes from cover to cover.
 

GotGarlic

Chef Extraordinaire
Joined
May 9, 2007
Messages
27,067
Location
Southeastern Virginia
So I'm interested, for learning, to know what cookbooks you use. I'm going to list my five and stay away, from the usual, Joy of Cooking, Julia Child, etc... Basically I'm taking books off of my cookbook shelf in the kitchen (don't you have one?) and picking the ones that have the most food stains on them.

I have four shelves of cookbooks in my kitchen, plus overflow on the counter above. Like CraigC, I don't think I use any particular ones more than others for recipes. I have cookbooks for Mexican, Italian, Greek, Turkish, Lebanese, Moroccan, German, Thai and and Japanese cuisines, as well as canning, grilling and salads.

I'll mention a few I really like, though. I'm not at home, so this is just off the top of my head.

- Ruhlman's Twenty by Michael Ruhlman

- Cooks Illustrated's International Recipes by America's Test Kitchen

- Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless
 

PrincessFiona60

Ogress Supreme
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Jul 14, 2009
Messages
38,955
Location
Wyoming
Better Homes and Gardens - wish I could find this edition again, it's falling apart

The National Trust Complete Traditional Recipe Book - Sarah Edington

How To Cook Everything - Mark Bittman

Cook's Illustrated Cook Book

Mexican, Creole, Japanese, Chinese, Mediterranean, Cajun...

King Arthur Flour Cookbooks

I know, too many for your list...
 
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medtran49

Executive Chef
Joined
Feb 20, 2011
Messages
4,943
Location
Florida
Just to simply look through and drool, plus make a few recipes now and again, the following (which could also be used as coffee table books they have such beautiful pictures and stories).

John Besh - Cooking from the Heart
Hubert Keller - The Cuisine of Hubert Keller
Norman Van Aken - Feast of Sunlight
Marcel Desaulniers - Death by Chocolate

There's one more than used to fall under this category but it's getting kind of old and the binding is failing, plus there are a few pages that have been well used. It's got gold edged paper and is called International Cuisine something or nother (not the book mentioned by the OP). That's the book that has the spinach pasta with garlic/onion sauce that I was asked to write out the recipe and at least one person made. Kind of an odd book, it's got casseroles that use canned and/or prepackaged products and then totally from scratch recipes, Simple American food to International Cuisine broken down by country, then separate dessert, cake/pie, cookie chapters. Um, the best white chocolate chip/macadamia nut cookies. Some kid came by selling them at the office I used to work for almost 30 years ago for less than $20.

We've made at least 1 dish out of each of the first 4, usually more, but the first 2 especially tend to be quite complicated and use things a home cook might not have easy access to, ingredients mostly. The most recent acquisition, John Besh's book, has had only 1 thing made out of it, but OMG, it was to literally lick the plate clean good. I would have been seriously tempted in the restaurant to do that! But would have used a piece of bread. Very time consuming and a bit pricy but had the truffles and crab anyway from B-day present/dinner. Hubert Keller's recipes tend to be quite complicated and technical, and fussy to put together, but are always excellent when it comes time to eat. Norman Van Aken's tend to be on the spicy side, sometimes REALLY spicy, have a lot of ingredients and take time, but, again, come out great. Death by Chocolate, what can you say about recipes in a book named that, everything I've made from that has gotten rave reviews.

Oh, forgot Taste by David Rosengarten. It's getting a bit used too. Has an excellent crab cake, the best I've ever had, just barely (and I do mean barely) has enough filler to hold it together. His moussaka recipe is one of our favs too.

You can definitely tell the books we use a lot, Paul Prudhomme's, Ming Tsai, several of Jeff Smith's, Memories of a Cuban Kitchen by Mary Urrutia Randelman, a Sunset House Italian book, Emeril's Christmas book, New New Orleans book and Real and Rustic. I use the internet a lot, whether recipes from a reliable web site or inspiration from a blog. Plus, the cooking shows and shows like Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives where I got the inspiration to try to copycat the 5 or 6-meat bolognese recipe I posted.
 

medtran49

Executive Chef
Joined
Feb 20, 2011
Messages
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Florida
Oh, we've got a 3-shelf, at least 3 feet wide unit that is packed full, with overflow books and mags in a couple of places.
 

Addie

Chef Extraordinaire
Joined
Nov 9, 2011
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22,295
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East Boston, MA
Only five! :ermm::ohmy::LOL:

https://www.amazon.com/Fannie-Farmer-Cookbook-Marion-Cunningham/dp/0553568817

https://www.amazon.com/More-Less-Cookbook-World-Community/dp/083619263X

https://www.amazon.com/New-Laurels-Kitchen-Laurel-Robertson/dp/089815166X

Those are the top three that I refer to most often. I have many, many more, it is just to difficult to choose a couple of must haves from those that remain.

My mother had the original Boston Cooking School Cookbook. I think I read that from front to back several times. :angel:
 
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Aunt Bea

Master Chef
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Mar 14, 2011
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near Mount Pilot
My mother had the original Boston Cooking School Cookbook. I think I read that from front to back several times. :angel:

I have one that was revised in 1910. It still assumes that a cook knows what a hot or moderate oven is and gives no information about the specific oven temperatures to use. It also instructs the cook to boil some vegetables for a long, long time.

The one I use was updated by the late Marion Cunningham. IMO Marion Cunningham was a great home cook.

Here she is with Julia Child.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSx1qwfwsSA
 

Addie

Chef Extraordinaire
Joined
Nov 9, 2011
Messages
22,295
Location
East Boston, MA
I have one that was revised in 1910. It still assumes that a cook knows what a hot or moderate oven is and gives no information about the specific oven temperatures to use. It also instructs the cook to boil some vegetables for a long, long time.

The one I use was updated by the late Marion Cunningham. IMO Marion Cunningham was a great home cook.

Here she is with Julia Child.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSx1qwfwsSA

I know what you mean by oven temp. My mother started out with a wood burning stove. She had one on the farm and also when we left. She taught me how to stick my hand in it, and I could tell the temp. Then she got an oil burning stove that had a thermometer on the front. It wasn't very accurate. :angel:
 

Markf

Cook
Joined
Sep 9, 2004
Messages
89
Location
Petaluma, California
I just downsized my cookbook collection to almost nothing. I get most if not all of my recipes on line. I virtually stopped using them.

I am curious if their are other of you that have or are considering the same thing.

Guess I am trying to figure if I just did something bad....

Mark
 
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