Simply one of my favorite kinds of books! I’ve been slowly collecting a few cookbooks since I got my first apartment in college. My mom has a great collection that show just the right amount of wear. But with blogs like Joy the Baker and Smitten Kitchen (and You Are What You Bake!), does anyone really need cookbooks anymore?! I like the look of cookbooks and I like being able to flip through one when I don’t know what I want. And when you find one you really trust, you can try all the recipes. My roommate Carolyn swears by the America’s Test Kitchen cookbook. It has lots of good kitchen reference materials (like how to convert measurements and temperatures or what to do if you don’t have any buttermilk in the fridge). They test recipes and swear they have found the best ones… she’s making zucchini bread right now! YUM!
How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. This is one of the first cookbooks I got and it has become my go-to. Like America’s Test Kitchen cookbook, this one has a lot of useful reference material. Like how to activate yeast or how to filet fish. I haven’t read or used half these recipes, but it’s nice to have the information there for when I come across something I don’t know how to do. Plus, I think Mark Bittman is such a sensible man. I love his column for the New York Times. He keeps things simple. He has mastered the art of less-is-more.
Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten. I used to religiously watch Ina Garten’s show on the food network. I love her french cooking style. I love the way she sets tables. I love the way she plans parties. That said, I can’t afford half of the ingredients. It just hurts my feelings when she says to buy GOOD honey or she tells me to use HOMEMADE chicken stock. Even still, her style inspires me. I made her coconut cake for Christmas dinner last year… I called it a snow-conut cake. 😉
Clean Food by Terry Walters. I just got this cookbook not too long ago. The idea is to eat real food at the time that it’s supposed to be eaten, rather that eating things that are kept artificially in season. I like getting books like this every once in a while, just to get some fresh ideas more than anything else. I haven’t tried any of the recipes yet, but I’m excited by it.
Better Homes Cookbook. This is a throwback edition of the classic cookbook. One of my college roommates got it for me. It’s got a retro look, plus it’s pretty functional. It’s well organized and it has good meal planning help. The recipes are pretty standard, nothing too fancy or swanky. Lots of American staples. Like Joy of Cooking and Julia Childs, this is a classic cookbook that is just good to have around.
Baking Illustrated by America’s Test Kitchen. My roommate Carolyn got this for me for my birthday this year. The cover and the layout of the book are so appealing to me. I made a resolution when she gave it to me to try to bake at least once a week – I hope no one has been counting… I’ve tried a couple recipes. Just recently I made banana walnut muffins. Easy and delicious.
Even though it’s so easy to use online recipes, using cookbooks still feels a little more authentic. What do you think?