What is Your All-Time, Hands Down, Favorite Cookbook? [Moved from Not About Food]
OK...I'm talking about the cookbook that is in constant use, or the one you constantly refer to. You know--it's dog-earred, tattered, has dried drops of sauce and is a mess--but it is your closest friend in the kitchen. I thought about this because with the coming holidays, I'm getting my recipes in order. Naturally, I'm gonna tell you what MY favorite cookbook is because it is all about me!
Some years ago, I purchased this cookbook at Borders in the bargain section. The title is: French--The Secrets of Classic Cooking Made Easy by Carole Clements and Elizabeth Wolf-Cohen. I paid $5.99 for this little bible of mine. The reason for the purchase was because I started going out with a native Frenchman (who is now my fiance) and was going to make a genuine french meal for him. As is the way of Frenchmen, especially Parisians, they are extremely particular so I figured I would need some help.
Let me tell you--this book has turned into the go-to book in my kitchen. Even my man has told me the recipes in this book are exactly to the T for food he has had "at home". As an aside--although I've had tremendous success, the first dinner I did make for him turned out like a comedy. Pyrex exploded, I fell on sauce I dropped, and I spilled an entire glass of expensive red wine that went flying across the table. Nerves I tell you--nerves. Since that night, I've made him very happy with the cooking!
Seriously, I would recommend this book to anyone who can find it! I have gone back to Borders to get this book as a gift and could not find it!
Now--what's YOUR fave?
For many, many years Mastering the Art of French Cooking was my book of choice. It is so dog-eared, and crackled with age. But times change and cooking and eating styles change. I would say for the past five or more years it has been a tie between Fields of Green, Annie Somerville, and Chez Panisse Vegetables. Both of these books are very down to earth, simple and give me inspiration to do more. I have been given books I have never opened - e.g. The French Laundry Cookbook. I guess it looks good on the shelf!!
Bittman--How to Cook Everything. Has just enough of everything usually to give me an idea or concept, at least. A less well known book I refer to frequesntly is 50 Ways to Cook Most Everything, which gives you 50 recipes for common ingredients or dishes--again, it gives me ideas and is a reference if I am looking for a particular dish.