July 19, 2004
Ten Favorite Cookbooks

One of the things my wife and I share is a love of cookbooks and books about cooking. A cookbook is more than a collection of recipes to us. Good cookbooks combine instruction with humor, grace, and the occasional geography and sociology lessons. Now that we are married, our collection has grown to over seventy cookbooks. We are both prone to grab one at random and read it like a book of short stories. We will open it, then enjoy a brief respite from our busy days, and hopefully be inspired to try a culinary experiment.

My favorite cookbooks:

The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion: We are forever beholden to King Arthur Flour for teaching us to bake edible bread at one of their seminars. This book offers recipes from the King Arthur test kitchens, and is presented in an orderly and fact-filled way. Until Alton Brown's baking book is published, this is my baking bible.

The Dean and DeLuca Cookbook: This book by David Rosengarten (with Joel Dean and Giorgio DeLuca) presents both simple and elegant recipes in straightforward presentations, and the asides are as tasty as the resulting meals!

How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking: I may not be a domestic goddess, but Nigella Lawson helped me learn to bake with this book. Her engaging voice makes every recipe a pleasure. If you like comfort food (and we do), this is a great book.

30 Minute Meals: Rachael Ray's first cookbook is a favorite not for the recipes, but for the shortcuts and timesaving tricks she offers.

Beard on Bread: James Beard did not teach me to make bread with this book, but I am entranced by his writing style. The recipes for yeast breads especially are very easy to follow and tasty.

Cheese Primer: Technically not a cookbook, this book by Steven Jenkins is a comprehensive reference to cheese in the western world. Enlightening and humorous, this is the book I turn to to learn more about the second love of my life.

The Fannie Farmer Cookbook: When I want to learn how long to roast something, I turn to the venerable Fannie Farmer. This book has been around forever, but along with the Joy of Cooking, it's like a bible in the kitchen.

The Greens Cookbook: This book is full of elegant vegetarian recipes, from salads to pizza to main courses. We are not vegetarian, but we do use this book as often as any in our food library.

Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites: Filled with low-fat vegetarian meals full of flavor, this book is a dinner favorite. An added bonus is the nutritional information in the back of the book, making a wonderful resource even better!

Soul and Spice: African Cooking in the Americas: This collection of regional African cooking in the Americas has a story attached to every recipe, adding warmth and a human element to the often simple yet flavor-packed recipes.

Posted by david on July 19, 2004

lemme also recommend you check out -- if you haven't yet -- the judy rodgers' zuni cafe cookbook and of course everything by elizabeth david. anything by paul wolfert and carol field would be excellent too!

Posted by: frelkins on July 20, 2004 01:20 PM

my wife and i love the cookbooks by Donna Hay. You should check them out. Really great stuff.

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