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Feb 19, 2008 10:59 AM

Cookbooks for newlyweds first time out of home?

What cookbooks would you suggest for a young and newly married couple that have never lived away from home before? I thought it would be nice to start off their cookbook library as part of their wedding shower gift but they're not overly experienced cooks nor are they overly adventurous in their eating (don't think he's even ever had sushi). Suggestions? Thank you!

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  1. Betty Crocker has a book for newlyweds. It covers everything!

    1. A#1 is definitely Joy of Cooking. Even with a good cook for a mother and decent practice, when I moved into my own apt after college (and even now sometimes), it is an indispensible reference. Any ingredient or technique they might have a question about, it can be answered in this book.

      I like Nigella Express and any Jamie Oliver books for recipes with only a few ingredients. The recipes look a lot fancier in the pictures than they taste--just really good food.

      2 Replies
      1. re: porceluna

        Also, there are a number of books out there targeted at 1-2 person households (ie recipes with smaller yields). Take a browse at your local Barnes and Noble, and you'll be pleasantly surprised, I think.

        I recently checked out from the library "Cooking for Two: 120 recipes for every day and those special nights" by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough. I haven't actually cooked from it, but it has basics like mac & cheese and turkey tetrazini as well as more elegant (yet not overly complicated) recipes.

        I also really like "Small Batch Baking" by Debby Maugans Nekos. It's a lifesaver! It has cakes, cookies, puddings, breads, etc that make only a few servings. Great for when a small household has a sweet tooth but can't, or at least shouldn't, finish off an entire full-sized cake. It also has a special Valentine's Day chapter with fancier "romantic" recipes--just right for newlyweds, I think! :)

        1. re: porceluna

          I would definitely agree with the Joy of Cooking, my boyfriend's parents bought me that book for Christmas and I wish I had it a long time ago! I plan on buying it for my sister's wedding in August, and I know she'll need it!

        2. Lora Brody's Kitchen Survival Guide. It covers basic cooking and much much more.

          1. If they aren't way into cooking I'd suggest Everyday Food Cookbook. It's definitely for beginners and not an "everything" book but I think it gives new cooks confidence, allowing them learn and grow. There are pictures of each recipe, which is a big help.

            Also, any of the basics like the Good Housekeeping book or Betty Crocker.

            I agree that Jamie Oliver would be good, too.

            I have a book called "Timing is Everything: The Complete Timing Guide to Cooking" by Jack Piccolo that would probably be helpful.

            Great gift idea, apb.

            2 Replies
            1. re: fern

              I can back up both Good Housekeeping and Betty Crocker. I'm more familiar with Good Housekeeping, though. Their basic red-and-white cookbook has lots of photos, illustrations, nutritional information, definitions, identifications of different foods such as cuts of meat, etc. It's a great reference, but is not intimidating.

              1. re: fern

                "Timing is Everything" is fantastic! I wish I had it when I first began cooking, timing was the trickiest skill to achieve for me. It would be great paired with a good general reference. A lot depends on their personalities. Do they like to know "why"? Go with a Cooks Illustrated. Do they just want good flavor but quick & easy? Are they patient & thorough? Are they visual or verbal? Do they appreciate tradition or prefer the novel? There is a basic cookbook geared for every personality. The key to a good basic book is that it help them learn the skills and develop an understanding of how/why the recipe works. If the recipes (some of the tv related books mentioned below) call for just a can of this, a box of that - that info is available on the can label or company website & probably won't encourage any kitchen skills.

              2. Both "Best Recipe" and "American Classics" by the folks at Cook's Illustrated offer comprehensive, straight-forward, and classic recipes for the beginner and advanced cook alike. I still refer to classics in both of those books whenever I need a timeless and solid recipe.

                R. Jason Coulston

                3 Replies
                1. re: Jason_Coulston

                  Anything from CI is great. I'd start them off with "The Best Recipe" series. They even have a lite version as well.


                  1. re: Davwud

                    Of all the CI titles, I would start them off with the big red binder: America's Test Kitchen cookbook. It's great!

                    1. re: katydid13

                      You may be right. We got "The Best Recipe" as a wedding gift so I know first hand of that. You may know first hand of the other.
                      Either way I'm sure is just fine.