HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Refresh my cookbook collection

  • a

I am looking to purchase some new cookbooks. I'm a pretty experienced cook, but I run around after a 2 yr old all day so my prep time is limited to her nap time. I like food on the lighter side, but am not interested in "light" cookbooks. We like all cuisines. Some of the books I currently have that I like to use are the Dean and Deluca cookbook, Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking, Silver Palate, Staffmeals, Maida Heatter for desserts. Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I'm no expert, but right now I'm grooving on David Thompson's Thai Food. It's really interesting if a a bit challenging to find the ingredients at times.

    Good if you're trying to bump up the veggie and bump down the meat proportions of your meals.

    1 Reply
    1. re: orangewasabi

      Thompson's book is excellent. In a similar asian vein, I just got Cradle of Flavor by Oseland and Into the Vietnamese Kitchen by Andrea Nguyen.

    2. Frank Stitt's Southern Table
      Duguid and Alford's Mangoes and Curry Leaves
      Tamsin Day Lewis' Good Tempered Food
      Greenspans Baking
      Preuss' Seduced by Bacon
      Trang's Essentials of Asian Cuisine
      D&A's Hot Sour Salty Sweet
      Green and Blacks Chocolate book it has savoury and sweet
      Sharffenberger's The Essence of Chocolate
      Damon Lee Fowlers New Southern Baking book, also savoury and sweet
      Any of Rick Bayless' books
      Nigella's How to Eat

      2 Replies
      1. re: Candy

        Hi Candy, Have you made anything yet from the bacon book?

        1. re: pikawicca

          Not until I can use my cook top. Glass arrived yesterday.

      2. I really love Donna Hay's cookbooks. I have Flavours, Off the Shelf, The New Classics and New Food Fast. I use them all frequently. The photos are inspiring, the food is stripped-down and simple and it is very un-fussy and easy and quick to prepare. Most of the recipes are minimalist in their ingredients, but wholesome and flavorful.

        1. I have little ones too so my time is pretty limited.

          I like Barefoot Contessa, BC Parties and BC Family Style (her recipes usually work well, are not too labor intensive and serve enough people that I can freeze portions).

          I also like Cook's Illustrated, The Best Recipe.

          I am really into Sunday Suppers at Lucques. The recipes come out amazing but they are very time consuming to prepare. But, the short ribs, for example, can be prepped during naptime and then they cook for hours unsupervised.

          I have also gotten some amazing recipes off this website over the past few years as well as off epicurious.

          1 Reply
          1. re: roxhills

            I love Cooks Illustrated, but I have never had luck with the Best Recipies series. The BR recipeis never seem to turn out that good. Go figure, since BR is really just a compilation of old CIs. Maybe its the excitement of the monthly magazine that gets me inspired.

            Also -

            Rick Bayless - Mexico One Plate at a Time. If you don't have much experience with true Mexican, this is an excellent place to start. Good background, ideas on what to serve with the entrees, a couple of versions of each recipe for experimenting, and a wide range of recipies - some very easy, some more complex.

            Marcella Hazan - Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. If you are interested in Italian cooking, this is the place to go. The recipies are quite simple and leave a lot to your discretion as long as you have some experience in the kitchen.

            Jaques Pepin - The complete Today's Gourmet. Full of relatively simple French inspired dishes. I had enormous success with thiese as a new cook and found that the recipies almost always work as described, which I have not found with many others. Very healthy cooking as well.

          2. Essence: Recipes from Le Champignon Sauvage - David Everitt-Matthias

            This is an astonishing set of recipes. Ambitious stuff for the home cook but worth buying just to see his style and his notes on recipe development.

            Tom Aikens Cooking - Tom Aikens

            Some recipes are simple classics, easy for the home cook, others are more ambitious.

            In Search of Perfection - Heston Blumenthal

            More than just a cookbook - long stories about the development of the dishes and honing of cooking techniques. Novelty and enthusiasm pack this book.

            1. i love mark bittman (aka the minimalist)--any of his books, specifically how to cook everything & the minimalist cooks at home. his whole approach is down to earth, varied, focused on getting the most flavor out of the fewest, simplest ingredients. you'll find that the recipes encourage your own tweaking & seasoning. awesome.

              1. If you like lighter desserts with classic roots - try Roland Meisner's Dessert University. He was the White House pastry chef for over 30 years. He states his desserts were the result of having to cook for people who were worried about their public image and were jaded by too many rich calorie laden desserts. I have made tons of stuff from this books and have not found anything I could resist.

                1. I really love "Flash in the Pan" and "Big Book of Easy Suppers".

                  1. I would also vote for some of the Moosewood Cookbooks for healthful everyday eating. Moosewood Low-Fat and Moosewood Cooks at Home are two I use all the time.

                    If you like Indian, Madhur Jaffrey is great.

                    For bistro fare, Patricia Wells is one of our faves - simple, straight-forward, fresh, yummy food :-)

                    Also, ever tried "Fine Cooking" mag? I use their recipes every month - everything from the complex to the simple and always tasty.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jcanncuk

                      I do have a couple Moosewoods, a Madhur Jaffrey book and Wells's Bistro Cooking. In fact, I have many of the books mentioned above -- Bittman, Pepin, Bayless, Hazan, others! I do have to look into some of the books on Candy's list. Thanks again to everyone for taking time to offer suggestions. I've been doing research on Amazon and might try "Think Like A Chef" by Tom Colicchio since I do have a good library of cookbooks but maybe I am just feeling bored in the kitchen.

                      Yes, I subscribed to Fine Cooking for years and always enjoyed thumbing through it. Some of their recipes I always return to are for Chicken Marsala, zucchini and tomato gratin, fluffy mashed potatoes, and mixed roasted vegetables. Maybe I should resubscribe, thanks for reminding me. I did sometimes encounter recipes that didn't work. The only cooking magazine I currently get is called "Cuisine At Home." I recommend taking a look at it (website cuisineathome.com) At first it might look a little unsophisticated, but their recipes are obviously very well-tested. I've gotten great recipes for meatloaf, meatballs, pork chops, creative salads and pastas and soups from Cuisine At Home.

                    2. nigel slater's kitchen diaries is a great read and has some wonderfully simple recipes. i have been mad for him since we had british tv while living abroad. "right food, right place, right time" is his motto and it's spot on!

                      1. All of the Chez Panisse books are good. Chez Panisse Vegetables is a great resource for simple, healthy meals. Excellent for helping you figure out what to do with farmer's market finds.