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Your top go-to, essential cookbooks that were published in the last decade

  • n

New chow poster who is trying to decide how to best use a lovely amazon.com christmas gift card.

we all have our all time, favorite cookbooks. i have an overabundance of these from 25 years of loving/learning how to cook. for example: the joy of cooking & the new basics cookbook would be in my all time esssential library.

i am interested in which of the "newer" cookbooks chow posters consider to be their go-to's.

my essential, more modern list would include: frank stitt's southern table; dorie greenspan's around my french table; the essential new york times cook book--amander hesser & sara foster's southern kitchen.

thanks in advance for your suggestions

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  1. You may want to peruse this thread which is an archive for all the Cookbooks of the Month (COTM) threads. There's an incredible amount of information on each book which can help you decide.


    1 Reply
    1. re: c oliver

      thank you! still learning the in's and out's of this site

      1. re: rasputina

        i have read great reviews about jerusalem!

        1. re: rasputina

          Just got this for Christmas and I am dying to cook my way through it. So many recipes that I potentially want to make.

          1. re: melpy

            This was the January 2013 Cookbook of the Month. Here's a link to the reporting thread. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8829...

            I was pleasantly surprised by the new and unexpected flavors. Here are some of my favorites from the book (so far).

            Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Tahini and Za'atar

            Roasted Cauliflower & Hazelnut Salad

            Barley Risotto with Marinated Feta


            Chicken with Caramelized Onion and Cardamom Rice

            Roasted chicken with Clementines & Arak

            Braised eggs with Lamb, Tahini and Sumac

            Salmon Steaks in Chraimeh Sauce

            1. re: rasputina

              I never ever buy cookbooks and recieved this as a gift, can't say enough good things about it!

            2. For a big collection along the lines of ENYT, I've had a lot of success with Gourmet Today.

              This is a former Chowhound Cookbook of the Month, and you can see what people thought of the recipes by perusing the threads linked in this one: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/705571

              And while it depends how you like to cook, for me two essentials of recent years are Ottolenghi and Tamimi's two books, Ottolenghi: The Cookbook and Jerusalem.

              Again, both were Chowhound Cookbooks of the Month, so there's lots of reporting to look through if you wish.
              Ottolenghi: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/641730
              Jerusalem: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/882964

              1 Reply
              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                many thanks for your reply! jerusalem seems to be a chow favorite!

              2. The Zuni Cafe Cookbook - Judy Rodgers
                Chez Panisse Vegetables - Alice Waters
                Mexican Everyday - Rick Bayless
                Sunday Suppers at Lucques - Suzanne Goin
                Arabesque - Claudia Roden
                Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day - Hertzberg/Fran├žois
                Plenty - Yotam Ottolenghi, Jerusalem - YO and Tami Samimi
                The Gift of Southern Cooking - Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock

                4 Replies
                1. re: ellabee

                  I'm betting that 50% of these were COTMs :)

                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                      damn, i own three of these and three more are on my amazon wish list. impressive.

                  1. re: ellabee

                    Meant to include Waters' The Art of Simple Cooking also. And screwed up the name of Ottolenghi's co-author on Jerusalem: Sami Tamimi.

                  2. "Fish Without a Doubt" (not newer at five years old, but definitely essential; also a Cookbook of the Month)
                    "Smoke and Pickles"
                    Anything by Fucshia Dunlop; and Grace Youn; and Andrea Nguyen (all COTMs)

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: JoanN

                      Oh, yes, how could I forget Fish Without a Doubt - essential, indeed, if you cook seafood or want to.

                      1. re: JoanN

                        Second Fuchsia Dunlop's books.

                      2. Carmine's Cookbook, Pati's Mexican Table, and Cook's Illustrated Cookbook

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Njchicaa

                          Ditto on the Cook's Illustrated Cookbook. I have it and The New Best Recipe. Both are my go-to for basics that always work. I recently got The Baking Book, by Cook's Illustrated, and it's fabulous. If you just get one baking book, I would recommend this one.

                          1. re: roxlet

                            The Baking Book is definitely on my radar. Glad to hear you like and recommend it. It will be my next baking/dessert purchase.

                            1. re: Njchicaa

                              It's really good. buttertart has written about really like it too.

                        2. Ratio and Ruhlman's Twenty, both by Michael Ruhlman. They live in my kitchen, not on the cookbook shelves.

                          1. Nanne,

                            I have so many cookbooks on my shelves but few that I refer to more than Zuni Cafe, Sunday Suppers, and The Splendid Table (the old one, not the new). Really, if you don't own these 3 and you are interested in upping your game, you will learn a ton from these 3 books. Beyond techniques - wc. they are loaded with, the recipes are all spot on! Available @ most library, take them on a trial ride first before deciding.

                            If I was adding on beyond these three... I would recommend books like The Cheesemonger's Kitchen, Stir, Fish W/O a Doubt, and Isabel's Cantina. And anything by Nancy Silverton. I am esp. fond of her Sandwich book but they are all fabulous and her recipes, again, spot on.

                            Keep us posted about which books make it into your cart!

                            14 Replies
                            1. re: dkennedy

                              Well, that caught MY attention. Don't recall ever having heard of Isabel's Cantina. Didn't even check the reviews; just went right over to Amazon and clicked on "Buy with One Click." New copy for $2.99 +shipping. My excuse? First new cookbook this year. Thanks, dk.

                              1. re: JoanN

                                Joan, I think you will enjoy this book. It isn't a compendium of Mexican recipes, more like a highlights of her favorite meals, some truly Mexican, some California-ized, if you will.

                                You NEED to make the Croissant Bread Pudding with Mexican Chocolate and Almonds on page 171. Even if you don't like croissants or bread pudding or Mexican chocolate I defy anyone, ANYONE, from resisting this recipe. It is out standing.

                                Other great recipes include Steamed Red Snapper in Foil, p. 83, her Black Beans, p. 120 (but not her quick black beans, you can skip that recipe!), esp. when you serve them on the Sopes, p. 28 and the Chipotle Marinated Grilled Rib Eye, p. 106. Enjoy!

                                1. re: dkennedy

                                  That whole post just got saved to Evernote. Sounds spectacular. And who doesn't like croissants . . . or bread pudding . . . or Mexican chocolate? And I have a friend coming to visit two weeks from now who's a black bean addict. Knock formica the book arrives in time. Another big thank you.

                              2. re: dkennedy

                                DK, do you mean the original Splendid Table published in '92 or the newer "How to eat" one? I have all books on your list with exception of this and Isabel's Cantina which is way more expensive in Canada than what JoanN just bought it for. I never heard about it either and intrigued.

                                1. re: herby

                                  The original Herby. I hate the new one, they are in no way similar!

                                  Isabel has a restaurant in San Diego so it would make sense that it would be hard to source outside the US.

                                  ETA: What do you think of The Cheesemonger's Kitchen? I love it! Everything I have made out of it has been so delicious. I am surprised it hasn't gotten more press. Even the local cheese stores around here claim to not know about it.

                                  1. re: dkennedy

                                    So, over 20 years old and you still find it relevant? Good to know! I took her other one (do not remember which) out of library and didn't like it. One of her books was COTM not too long ago, right?

                                    On the other subject, I took GF Asian Kitchen out of the library and going to sit with it a bit tonight - looks interesting and manageable size. Will report back on "voting" thread.

                                    1. re: herby

                                      Thanks Herby. And re Splendid Table, these are timeless Italian recipes, many from small villages, so yes, still relevant. I am actually making the roasted rabbit recipe tonight.

                                      1. re: dkennedy

                                        I just looked on Amazon and it says that The Splendid Table publication date is 2012 - must be a reprint. Expensive too - $35 in Canada. There is Kindle edition but I find e-cookbooks difficult to use and do not enjoy it. Fine to read but not to cook from for me.

                                        I've had The Cheesemonger's Kitchen for a while and have not made anything. What have you made from it that you love?

                                        1. re: herby

                                          Here is a link for the Splendid Table. I am sure there are older editions available at a discount somewhere.


                                          Re Cheesemongers, I am not at home right now but off the top of my head the meatballs (amazing), the beehive, the tomato jam, the ricotta fritters, to name a few.

                                          1. re: dkennedy

                                            I found Splendid Table used for $20 with shipping - going to buy it when I get home - I have gift certificate that I keep forgetting about. I've been thinking about rabbit ever since I started seeing it regularly at an Italian store I like to do some of my shopping in. Have not had it in ages.

                                            Would you consider starting 'Cooking From Cheesemongers' thread? It would motivate a few of us who have the book to start using it :)

                                            1. re: herby

                                              That's a great idea. Will start it but probably not post until after Feb. 1st (my daughter's Bat Mitzvah).

                                              1. re: dkennedy

                                                Mazel Tov! Completely understand :)

                                    2. re: dkennedy

                                      I've had "The Cheesemonger's Kitchen" for a while now. I only tried one recipe, but it was a keeper. I really need to go through it and tag more recipes.

                                  2. re: dkennedy

                                    i am a huge fan of the splendid table radio show & am ashamed to say i do not own any of the cookbooks! great suggestion. have also been eyeing sunday suppers. thanks for the great suggestions!

                                  3. The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart - if you are into baking bread.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Antilope

                                      Southern Biscuits by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart - really good biscuit recipes. [If you don't have soft southern flour (White Lily or Martha White), in each cup of all-purpose flour, substitute 2 Tbsp of cornstarch. Or for each cup of flour mix 1/2 cup all-purpose flour with 1/2 cup cake flour]

                                    2. Barefoot Contessa - hard to name one in particular

                                      1. New Best Recipe and the two Gourmet cookbooks have never let me down.

                                        1. Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything," 2nd edition, and "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian" were both published within the last 10 years. Of course I have some more specialized cookbooks, but these are my basics. Bittman always spells out what to do in what order, and the cooking times are accurate.

                                          10 Replies
                                          1. re: John Francis

                                            You may be interested in this recent thread. Not everyone shared your opinion :)


                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              I participated in that thread. Of course there's disagreement; is there anything under the sun on which the whole world is unanimous? Also, Bittman's personality in his NY Times editorials has nothing to do with the quality of his cookbooks, which fit the original poster's question.

                                            2. re: John Francis

                                              Have to say that I hate Bittman. To me, he is an annoying scold, and I find his recipes to be more compendiums of ingredients than actual recipes. When you use his recipes, there always seems to be something missing. I gave my copy of How to Cook Everything away.

                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                I bought How to Cook Everything because I saw so many recommendations for it, including one by Mario Batali. I;ve flipped through it twice in the past year, both times almost immediately putting it back on the shelf to collect dust. I was totally underwhelmed.

                                                I have a young coworker who truly has no clue how to cook anything. I keep thinking that I should just give the book to her... but I haven't gotten around to doing that yet.

                                                1. re: Njchicaa

                                                  It will discourage her from cooking when all her food turns out bland and tasteless!

                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                    ha good point. I didn't think about it that way...

                                                2. re: roxlet

                                                  I don't find him to be a scold, although I can easily see how others might. But I absolutely agree that his "recipes" (although calling them recipes is a stretch) are very poor. I could not recommend his cookbooks to anyone for any reason. There are other options that are so much better.

                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                    I got his cookbook free when they were giving away the app for it in the iTunes store. After flipping through it, it was the most boring and unoriginal recipes I'd ever seen, I deleted it and haven't looked back.

                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                      Your post made me laugh out loud roxlet. I've mentioned this before (sorry!) but mr bc first bought me the cd version of this and I couldn't stand it. For some reason he then decided to buy me the hard cover version and try as I might, I couldn't bring myself to even look through it. When I did, the book just irritated me. I was put off by the title and couldn't help but think of the saying...jack of all trades, master of none. I simply couldn't think of a reason I'd select a recipe from this book over one for the same dish from a chef or cookbook author I love.

                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                        Shhh. Don't tell mr. bc. Just get rid of it. Anyway, with all the books you have, he'll never notice!!! :)

                                                    1. re: rmarisco

                                                      Really? I have a few of the Canal books and they just don't speak to me. I liked reading through them but never cook out of them. Who else out there loves these books and what recipes have you made with wow results?