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Feb 2, 2013 09:01 AM

Essential Cookbooks

What cookbooks comprise/would comprise your essential collection?

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  1. Only one that I'd consider "essential" and that is "The Joy of Cooking." Others, like "La Technique" by Jacques Pepin or James Peterson's "Sauces" can be worthwhile, but so much depends on what you like to cook (or bake). Generally I avoid food "celebrity" cookbooks, but even they can be worthwhile to someone just learning to cook. There's a wonderful resource for anything cookbook-related, Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks. Do a web search, contact her...she's a one-stop resource for all things gastronomic!

    1. Joy of Cooking

      Good Housekeeping Step by Step Cooking

      A number of Canadian Living cookbooks: baking/desserts, vegetables, brunch, fish, chicken -- very tasty, not too tough (i.e. great for weeknights)

      2 Replies
      1. re: CocoaChanel

        If you had to cook from just one book for the rest of your life, this would do it. JOC rocks. Thanks, Irma!

        1. re: pikawicca

          I agree if you limited yourself just one cookbook and one website. Between JOC and Epicurious, you could get by just fine on just about anything. If we were including regional cooking I'd add Marcella Hazan for Italian food and Diane Kennedy and/or Rick Bayless for Mexican. I've got a Craig Clairborne cookbook, and a James Beard, that I always find myself falling back on for inspiration.

      2. When I don't use the Internet (rare anymore), I repeatedly turn to the dull and unexciting "Rodale's Basic Natural Foods Cookbook", edited by Charles Gerras.

        Even though it includes a huge collection of recipes, I don't think it's as good for recipes as it is for ideas about what to do with the raw ingredients at hand, and basic knowledge. it's a hugely useful reference, full of tables, charts, and combinations. To go a step further, you could consider the substantial "The New Professional Chef" from The Culinary Institute of America. Not light, by reading or by weight.

        1. The Joy of Cooking because it is one of the most extensive in terms of subjects and because it is relatively easy to read. I like two Canadian cookbooks, The Laura Secord Canadian Cookbook and The Kate Aitken Canadian Cookbook. I like simple fare and the last two books were used by my Mom so I find many family recipes. As well the french version of Jehane Benoit`s recipe book as it contains French Canadian food and this one is a brick in terms of matter. Also my Laura Calder and Dorie Greenspan books. All of my Julia Child books.

          1. "Talk About Good" is my favorite Louisiana/Southern Cookbook.
            Wonderful recipes.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bbqboy

              Ive had this book for years but never cooked from it. What recipes do you especially recommend??