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Jun 23, 2011 03:26 PM

5 Most-used cookbooks this year

I have about 2 1/2 feet of shelf for cookbooks in my kitchen, and an urge to buy more cookbooks all the time. I got to wondering which books I actually use most often and was surprised at the answers. I get most of my recipes off the internet, but there are a few cookbooks I do use regularly

By far my most-reached-for book recently is the Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book. I bought it a year and a half ago along with a grain mill, and I've been cooking from it most weeks. Now, I just glance at it most of the time, but it's already dog-eared.

I use How to Cook Everything and the Silver Palate New Basics cookbook for reference, but rarely follow the actual recipes. There are a few recipes in the other Silver Palate cookbooks that I still go back to sometimes. That's 2-4 books right there.

Land of Plenty, by Fuchsia Dunlop, is one of my favorites, and I also use it often. I lived in Sichuan for a few months, and this is my best (though not perfect) resource for recreating some of the things I really loved to eat there.

There are a few recipes in Sundays at Moosewood that I cook regularly. The book opens to those pages and I haven't explored the rest of it seriously. I bought another Moosewood cookbook not long ago and have barely used it at all.

I'm curious to see what cookbooks others use most often -- not favorites, not necessarily the best, but the most-used.

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  1. My top 5 right now are (some are far from the best, but definitely the most used!):

    1) The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook because no matter what it always turns out right. Most used recipes: ranch dressing, chewy chocolate chip cookes, fudgy brownies. It's my go-to cookbook when I make something for the first time.

    2) Rick Bayless Everyday Mexican if only for the roasted tomatillo salsa. We love the creamy queso anejo dressing and use one of the rubs often when we bbq chicken. I read it often hoping to motivate myself to cook something more from it!

    3) Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That. Everything I've made comes out tasting great and looking like I put more effort into it than I did. It's a favorite for cooking for friends.

    4) Steven Raichlen BBQ USA for our brisket, pulled pork and ribs. Summer staples.

    5) Star Wars Wookie Cookies Cookbook for my four little padawans. And their dad. :)