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Jan 2, 2008 10:39 AM

I gots me a $50 gift cert to Barnes and Noble? Best Cookbook to get?

I have the 2006 Joy of Cooking already, a better homes and gardens, Jamie Oliver, a few vegetarian and fish lover's cookbooks. What is the INDESPENSIBLE book I MUST HAVE?

I love to cook and bake and more, and I eat everything but nuts, to which I am allergic. I'm pretty proficient, so I can handle tricky things. Living in LA, I can get a wide arrange of ethnic and hard to find ingredients.

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  1. Cooking -- The Silver Palate books.

    Baking -- the Maida Heatter books.

    2 Replies
    1. re: dolores

      I second the Silver Palate 25th Anniv Edition. It is great!!
      Also, The Les Halles Cook book (Anthony Bourdain). So interesting and informative!

      1. re: Cecilbee

        is the Silver Palate 25th much different from the original?

    2. We just got the Mark Bittman "The Best Recipes In The World" book and it looks pretty good. Did a pork roast with prunes and dried apricots that was great and am doing a stuffed Squid recipe tonight.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Eric in NJ

        I second this vote -- other favorites are Border Cookbook by Jamison and Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Madison.

      2. Two gotta have books from Jfood:

        - Hazan - Essential of Italian Cooking
        - Child - Mastering the Art of French Cooking

        These are both "INDESPENSIBLE book I MUST HAVE"

        6 Replies
        1. re: jfood

          I agree with Hazan, but would buy The Way to Cook before MAFC, though I have those too.

          1. re: MMRuth

            Really? Jfood always seems to grab the MAFC. It's been a few years since he sat in front of the fire and delved into Way to Cook (a present from mrs jfood many years ago).With your reco, jfood will have to do some reading tonight. Just went through the Boulud book this weekend and there are a few recipes that are ao the "gotta try" list.

            Thanks MM, coming from you that is high praise over a high bar.

            1. re: jfood

              It may well be because I taught myself to cook using Hazan and also TWC. I did cook from MAFC when Julia was "cookbook of the month" and enjoyed it, though I think she rewrote a lot of recipes for TWC to make them less labor intensive (adding the FP to her repetoire) and, sometimes, healthier. Also, TWC has some non-French recipes, I realized while browsing through it during Julia month. I think that, at the end of the day, I find TWC much more accessible.

              I also agree with Jennalynn's suggestion of The Cake Bible - I did almost no baking over the holidays - just the cake for Christmas (from Goins) - and miss having some bites of that White Spice Cake.

              1. re: MMRuth

                That's interesting! I rarely use The Way to Cook, while my Mastering the Art of French Cooking is falling apart. I like the way that MTAOFC is organized better than The Way To Cook. Also, I prefer the authentic/intricate recipes in MTAOFC, rather than the more simplified methods/shortcuts and lighter recipes offered in The Way to Cook. It sounds like you and I are point-counterpoint on these two books -- the reasons you like The Way to Cook over MTAOFC are the exact reasons I prefer MTAOFC over the Way to Cook ;-)

                1. re: DanaB

                  Sounds like it - grin. Though I was awfully pleased with myself after completing some of the very detailed/intensive MAFC recipes!

              2. re: jfood

                I happened across this post - a list of TWC recipes that I've used and liked:


          2. I like all Mark Bittman's books, since you've only started your cookbook library.

            You might also go with the queen of classics: Julia Child Mastering French Cooking.

            Baking: Rose Levy Birnbaums The Cake Bible.

            1. I would highly recommend Homebaking: The Artful Mix of Flour & Traditions Around the World by J Alford & N Duguid because: the book contains both sweets and savories, has great photos, stories, and, most importantly, the recipes are excellent.

              For a general purpose cookbook, I love the yellow Gourmet cookbook because it covers a wide range of ethnic foods and spans all cooking skill levels.