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Which Cook Book Would You Recommend?

I have been blessed with a Borders gift card for $35.00 - and I'm thinking of getting a new cookbook. I have to admit, I don't have many. I've cooked by the seat of my pants or found what I needed on the internet or through other CH's. And, since I am unemployed, and can't buy out of "whimsy", if you had to buy one cookbook, which book would you buy, and if so, why? Really looking for some new ideas. Any input is welcome.

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  1. Depends what you want.

    Adventurous? Momofuku by David Chang

    General? The New Making of a Cook by Madeleine Kamman

    Bbq? either Serious Bbq by Adam Perry Lang or Seven Fires by Francis Mallman

    Dessert? Sweet Spot by Pichet Ong

    Other suggestions: http://indirectheat.blogspot.com

    1. You may find this link interesting. It caught my eye because the first selection if the Moosewood Restaurant (which I've never been to), but I know one of the owners.


      I know the shelves are filled with celebrity chef cookbooks and I'm guilty to buying a few of them. Jamie Oliver's cookbooks are fun, becuase they range from simple to expert, the stories are wonderful. Beautiful photographs. GIada DeLaurentis' first cookbook is very standard Italian fare, but the recipes are incredibly easy to follow and the results are pretty good. Bobby Flay's recipes each seem to have about forty ingredients (mostly spices). Rachel Ray's (this was sent to me by a book club) are awful, but easy.

      But my real suggestion is to skip the cookbooks and buy Anthony Bourdain's Nasty Bits. One of my favorite books ever.

      1. I like the Cook's Illustrated "Best Recipes". Not that they are always the best, but if you are looking for ideas or something you have never cooked before, it's a great reference point.

        1. Ah, but you ask what book I would buy. What you should be asking is what book should I buy if I was you.

          And I know, from your Home Cooking posts, that you're a confident and creative cook. So, I think you should buy something that plays to those strengths. Go for a cookbook of a national cusine that you enjoy eating and would like to cook (or cook better) - and havnt got a cookbook for. Whatever that may be.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Harters

            Ah, but you ask what book I would buy. What you should be asking is what book should I buy if I was you.

            Good point, Harters. That is really what I was thinking, but sometimes my fingers don't obey my brain when typing! They have tiny little minds of their own.

          2. I have an entire bookcase full of cookbooks, but there are only three that I actually use regularly and trust implicitly: Ruth Reichl's The Gourmet Cookbook, Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, and Diana Kennedy's The Cuisines of Mexico.

            1. These are all great suggestions. Thanks for the input.

              1. If you don't have Dunlop's Revolutionary Chinese or Land of Plenty, I'd pick up one of those.


                1. Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. The cookbook I would keep if I could only have one. (Sure hope that never happens, though......)

                  1. I really like _Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge_. Many of my cookbooks were bought on someone else's recommendation and rarely used. This one I first borrowed from the library, and then bought for myself.

                    Stir-fry is such a versatile cooking form - and Grace Young really walks you through it in the right amount of (useful, not overwhelming) detail. Great explanations, great stories, and great recipes.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: fadista

                      Andrea Nguyen's newish book Asian Dumplings is pretty incredible-- easily the best book on dumplings I've come across. If you're at all intrigued by dumpling making I recommend it. Most of the recipes are a litte time consuming, but if you're unemployed that might be a good thing : )

                        1. re: fadista

                          If you're making your own wrappers and you suck as bad as I do at wrapping...then its pretty time consuming. But the beauty of this book is that so many dumplings freeze UNBELIEVABLY well. In fact, I prefer them cooked-from-frozen (they are less doughy because the gluten has fully relaxed--at least thats my theory). So you can have a day of cooking tons of dumplings and then have reserves for weeks to come. Its really a well-thought-out book. I can't recommend it highly enough.

                    2. Soup and Bread by Crescent Dragonwagon. It's a great book to read and get inspiration, especially when the weather gets cool.

                      1. Marcella Hazan - Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
                        This cookbook concentrates on cooking methods rather than recipes with numerous one-use or hard to find ingredients...Most of the recipes require simple ingredients such as lemons, olive oil, etc. My favorite recipe so far is Swordfish Tidbits. I also like the Olive Oil Cake, although I have not perfected the "rise: yet.

                        The Weight Watchers cookbooks are also a great option..I like the "Evertything Chicken Cookbook" . My favorite recipes are General Tsao's Turkey and Chicken Lasagna

                        1. If it were available at Borders (it's OOP), I'd recommend Giuliano Bugialli's first book, "The Fine Art of Italian Cooking." Since it isn't, let me be the fourth or fifth to recommend Marcella's "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking," which comprises and updates her original two cookbooks.

                          Also, here's a coupon for 35% off at Borders: http://www.bordersmedia.com/coup/33it...

                          Bugialli's first book: http://www.amazon.com/Fine-Italian-Co...

                          1. You've been given some great ideas so far and I won't repeat those ideas.

                            Here are some books that I love. I enjoy reading them, the recipes that I've tried have been great and, when I'm stuck for ideas and looking for something a little different, these are some of the books I pull from my shelf:

                            Off the Shelf or The Instant Cook - Donna Hay

                            New York Cookbook - Molly O'Neill

                            Dean & Deluca Cookbook - David Rosengarten

                            Cooking from the Farmer's Market - Williams Sonoma (just got this recently but I'm addicted to it...beautiful photos and great recipes)

                            The Olive and Caper - Susanna Hoffman

                            660 Curries - Raghavan Iyer

                            Sicilian Home Cooking - Giovanna and Wanda Tornabene

                            China Moon Cookbook - Barbara Tropp

                            Mexican Everyday - Rick Bayless

                            Trattoria Cooking - Biba Caggiano

                            Zuni Cafe Cookbook - Judy Rodgers

                            1. I've really enjoyed The 150 Best American Recipes:


                              With the exception of "The Five-Hour Duck" everything I've made from this book has been excellent (the duck may have been more my fault than the recipe's). Most of the recipes are right quick and don't call for hard-to-find ingredients. I'd highly recommend.

                              1. Have you bought it yet, boyzoma?