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Cookbook Question - Whose Cookbooks Rarely Disappoint You? Books Where Recipes Always Appeal?

I love cookbooks but if I had to pick one author whose books just make me drool and whose recipes never disappoint, it would have to be Donna Hay.

What about you?

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    1. Ina Garten

      Nigel Slater

      King Arthur Flour Baking Books

      1. Giuliano Bugialli

        Marcella Hazan

        1. Second on Marcella Hazen

          Irene Kuo, the best in Chinese
          Joy of Cooking, not much drool factor but very solid

          1 Reply
          1. re: bushwickgirl

            Third on Hazan and also Batali's Molto Italiano.

          2. For "never fail" - Nigel Slater & Delia Smith.

            1. Marion Cunningham.
              Marcella Hazan, of course (Marcella's Italian Kitchen would be my lifeboat cookbook).
              Madhur Jaffrey.
              Irene Kuo and Fuchsia Dunlop.

              18 Replies
              1. re: buttertart

                I think I have Marcella's Italian Kitchen (published here as Marcella Cucina) but I've barely used it. What would you recommend?

                1. re: greedygirl

                  Marcella's Italian Kitchen and Marcella Cucina aren't the same book. Marcella Cucina is called that in the US, as well.

                  1. re: greedygirl


                    Look out for Marcella's "Classic Italian Cookbook" - you're looking for a 1981 (and presumbaly later) edition re-edited by Anna del Conte. The main edit works are in translating American English into English English - so aubergines, not egglants, are cooked - and in kilos not pounds. In her intro, Marcella makes the point that this version is truer to her original intent, than the American version, as Italian products are available to us in the UK that could not be imported to the US. Got mine via AbeBooks, I think.


                    1. re: Harters

                      Is that not the one that was reworked as The Essentials of Italian Cooking?

                      1. re: greedygirl

                        Dunno, GG. It was mentioned on a thread of "must have" cookbooks some while ago and thought I'd better get it as I don't really have many Italian cookbooks ( a couple by Carluccio and one each Locatelli and Contaldo)

                        1. re: greedygirl

                          There were 2 vols of Classic Italian, combined / updated into Essentials.

                          1. re: buttertart

                            THE CLASSIC ITALIAN COOKBOOK is the first cookbook by Marcella Hazan. It and MORE CLASSIC ITALIAN COOKING, her second cookbook, make up ESSENTIALS OF ITALIAN COOKING. Here are pictures of the jackets on the versions you could buy in the USA in the late 70s/early 80s.

                            I just got a new camera, so I will soon shoot pics of the actual book covers, much more attractive than the book jackets, long since lost.

                            1. re: Jay F

                              These are the ones I have, but I still love Marcella's Italian Kitchen more.

                        2. re: Harters

                          "Marcella's Italian Kitchen" was published in the '80s and is a fairly short book (200 pp or so) but the recipes are truly spectacular. It's my favorite of her books (and I've got them all, surprised?). You'd both be well advised to get it. As would anyone else...
                          Not as keen on "Marcella Cucina" and "Marcella Says" - although the meat and mushroom ragu in the latter is something I must make again soon (made it with ground venison for M's birthday once, it's that good).

                          1. re: buttertart

                            OK, ok, ok. I have "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking." Which OTHER Hazan books do I need to have? I frankly cannot remember which books were combined to create Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.


                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              Classics I and II. Get "Marcella's Italian Kitchen", I use it 5 times to every time I use one of the Classics. I never got Essentials since I had the originals.

                              1. re: buttertart

                                Thank you! By the way, speaking of Jean Anderson (as JoanN did below), my copy of grassroots cooking is on its way. Delayed by giant mountains of snow, apparently.


                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                  I bet! You OK where you are? It's just gearing up here.

                                  1. re: buttertart

                                    Believe it or not, this storm seems to be a non-event in MSP. We got 5-6 inches of that light fluffy snow over the course of the last 36 hours, which has more or less been dealt with, shoveled and plowed. It's cold, but that's par for the course.

                                    But, lots and lots of incoming flights have been delayed, probably with my Jean Anderson book. But at least I have Hesser to entertain me!

                                    I hope you are safe and warm where you are and are stocked up on cooking supplies. It took them 3 days to plow us after our first big storm this year. I was y glad I had groceries and internet! We couldn't drive anywhere! That was during Wolfert, which I bombed at alas. I blame the snow.


                                    1. re: buttertart

                                      My copy of Jean Anderson Grass Roots Cooking arrived yesterday. Good reading!


                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          Dammit! I just thought to myself a couple of days ago that I have enough "new" cookbooks to keep me busy for a while! But, what did I do... ordered Grass Roots!! ;-)

                                          1. re: Katie Nell

                                            Sorry to be a bad influence, Katie. Grass Roots is like the 70's version of "One Big Table" except that she only went to about 30 states. And instead of getting recipes from lots of people all over the place, she found one representative person in each state, interviewed them, then published about a dozen of their recipes. It's pretty neat.


                        3. Thomas Keller's books never disappoint!

                          1. Mario Batali - Molto Italiano
                            Madhur Jaffrey - Indian Cooking
                            Fuchsia Dunlop - Land of Plenty
                            Rick Moonen - Fish Without a Doubt
                            Yotam Ottolenghi - Ottolenghi: The Cookbook
                            Giovanna and Wanda Tornabene - Sicilian Home Cooking

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Gio

                              What have you made from Sicilian Home Cooking? I bought that book in my fall frenzy of cookbook buying, and I just realized that I have barely cracked the spine (though it was probably cracked already since I bought it used!).

                              1. re: roxlet

                                Hi roxlet... my book is newish too but I've managed to cook 5 recipes so far that we really enjoyed and on that basis expect to add more of these dishes to our rotation because they seem very true to tradition:

                                Pg 102, Spaghetti Aglio Olio
                                Pg.118, I Vert Rigatoni all' Amatriciana (The True Rigatoni in the Style of Amarice)
                                Pg 118, La Pasta del Priore (The Prior's Pasta)
                                Pg.182, Patate Siciliane alla Pizzaila (Sicilian Style Potato Pizza)
                                Pg.194, Insalata di Fagiola Bianchi con Verdure (White Bean Salad with Vegetables)

                                OT: I really must say that I'm very glad you and your son are back home.

                                1. re: Gio

                                  Goodness yes. And may I say that you two are the people I look to for Italian cookbook assessments.

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    Thanks, Gio. We're happy to be home too, but there is a part of me (a very SMALL part) that thinks being a witness to this kind of history would have been a major life experience. However, the black out on internet and cell service would have truly flipped me out!

                              2. My absolute favorite is Laurent Tourondel. I have the BLT cookbook and got Fresh from the Market a couple months ago. I've made many from BLT and have loved every one - no joke. I also just made my first two from Fresh fron the Market: an amazing smoked fingerling salad with caramelized bay scallops for a first course and then a roasted veal chop with black trumpet ragu and crispy artichokes. yum!

                                I also like many other listed here: Batali, Madhur Jaffrey...


                                2 Replies
                                1. re: ladyberd

                                  I also really like Laurent Tourondel. In addition to my earlier Thomas Keller post I have to add Jean-Georges Vongerichten's books, "Simple to Spectacular" and "Asian Flavours of Jean-Georges". Both contain excellent doable and inspiring recipes.

                                  1. re: ladyberd

                                    <<<<My absolute favorite is Laurent Tourondel.>>>>

                                    I remembered this while I was out today. I had lunch at my favorite fish market, and if you eat alone, you can read from their collection of fish and seafood cookbooks. I saw the name, Laurent Tourondel, remembered reading it here, and tucked in to his GO FISH. Great recipes for fish you can buy in the U.S. I just ordered it from Amazon. Thanks, LB.

                                    1. re: tldmatrix

                                      Are you watching Avec Eric, Teddy?

                                    2. Mark Bittman's pretty good/reliable

                                      1. marcella hazan and i do like lidia bastianich's cookbooks.

                                        1. In addition to a number of others listed here, I'd add Jean Anderson. She may not have the glitz or glamor quotient of many mentioned above, but her recipes are always thoroughly tested and reliable and rarely disappoint. And she certainly has published an impressive body of work.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: JoanN

                                            Absolutely, absolutely agree. One of my all-time favorites. And her peach soufflé in "Jean Anderson Cooks" is worth the price of any book.

                                          2. I haven't read any of her other cookbooks, but Claudia Roden's Book of Jewish Food is amazing. Everything we've tried has been scrumptious, and most of the recipes are so appealing.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Magelet

                                              all of Claudia Roden's are amazing. i actually opened this thread just to mention her...and Sally Schneider. i know some Hounds disagree, but i LOVE her books.

                                            2. Silver Palate (russo/lukins - also good times/new basics)
                                              Flo Braker
                                              Marion Cunningham

                                              1. Any of Maida Haetter's 8 or 9 books
                                                Agree with Marcella's first two
                                                Paul Prudhomme
                                                Roy Andries De Groot
                                                Craig Clairbornes
                                                James Villas

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                  Deluca, do you know of a recipe for a pate with hazelnuts in one of Craig Claiborne's NYT cookbooks? I've been trying to find it. A friend used to make it every Thanksgiving, and I know it came out of one of his books. It would have been a new book in 1982-1984, or shortly before.


                                                  1. re: Jay F

                                                    I saw your query over on the New York Times Essentials thread and it didn't occur to me then to look in some of my Craig Claiborne books.

                                                    I found the recipe I think you're looking for in the Craig Claiborne's Favorites volume number three. Called, simply, Liver Pate with Hazelnuts. It's quite a long recipe, with an entirely separate recipe for the Quick Aspic. Tried to find it online, but I couldn't. Recipe was from December 20, 1976, in an article titled "To Whet the Appetitle." Perhaps that will help you track it down. If not, e-mail me at the address listed on my profile page and we'll work something out.

                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                      Hi, Joan. Thank you so much for your research. I found the book I'm looking for. It's The NEW New York Times Cookbook." I found a copy for $4+ this morning on Amazon Marketplace. Thanks again.


                                                2. I love the goodness of Barefoot contessa...Never made anything of hers that didn't delight.

                                                  For cookies and cakes and pies, etc. I go with Carole Walters. Seriously money every time!!

                                                  happy cooking friends.