HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

If I could only keep the cookbooks of one author/chef/cook that author would be:

Breadcrumbs Mar 8, 2014 05:53 PM

Hello friends,

mr bc asked me this question tonight. He told me I had 20 seconds to answer. My answer was:

Donna Hay

OMG, I'd miss all my Italian books that are the most predominant category in my collection but DH has a bit of everything. As an Aussie, her recipes have an Asian influence that I so love.

What about you? Whose books would you keep?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. drongo RE: Breadcrumbs Mar 8, 2014 06:49 PM

    My "20 second" response was David Tanis.

    Thinking about it for a little longer, I might instead say Yotam Ottolenghi.

    1 Reply
    1. re: drongo
      Breadcrumbs RE: drongo Mar 9, 2014 05:24 AM

      Totally agree with you about Ottolenghi drongo...good point!

    2. s
      sedimental RE: Breadcrumbs Mar 8, 2014 07:26 PM

      Ottolenghi at this minute.

      1. sal_acid RE: Breadcrumbs Mar 8, 2014 07:32 PM

        James Beard.No foreign influences other than perhaps European, but lots of good, well-described recipes; and in some books good technical instruction.

        Or maybe Pepin (+/- Claiboune, whose NYT cookbook is great)

        Yes Pepin, for all the reasons I cited for Beard, but he's better.

        1. juliejulez RE: Breadcrumbs Mar 8, 2014 07:34 PM

          Ina Garten. I really learned how to cook by watching her show and her books were some of the first I owned. Whenever I need a great recipe, especially for parties or company, I usually end up with one of hers.

          2 Replies
          1. re: juliejulez
            Breadcrumbs RE: juliejulez Mar 9, 2014 05:25 AM

            Oh, Ina. I love Ina as well julie..good one!

            1. re: juliejulez
              r
              Roland Parker RE: juliejulez Mar 9, 2014 10:03 PM

              I have to vote for Ina Garten too.

              She's not my favorite cook and I have scores of wonderful cookbooks by other cooks I prefer, but if I had to pick only one author and her cookbooks, it would have to be she. Not only do her cookbooks offer an excellent range of dishes that I could eat every day, the recipes are so perfectly tested and the results are excellent and there's enough variations to keep me satisfied and interested. In short, I could only cook from Ina Garten and never get bored of either the food or recipes.

            2. m
              Madrid RE: Breadcrumbs Mar 8, 2014 07:43 PM

              Paula wolfert

              1 Reply
              1. re: Madrid
                Bada Bing RE: Madrid Mar 8, 2014 10:06 PM

                Another vote for Wolfert.

                But it's not like there aren't others that rush to mind: Pepin, Hazan...

              2. e
                ellabee RE: Breadcrumbs Mar 8, 2014 09:15 PM

                Deborah Madison

                1. DiningDiva RE: Breadcrumbs Mar 8, 2014 09:19 PM

                  In 20 seconds?

                  With no hesitation...Diana Kennedy :-)

                  1. s
                    smtucker RE: Breadcrumbs Mar 9, 2014 05:45 AM

                    You mean, like picking your favorite child? Can't do this..... maybe I could come up with a list of 20 books I would keep if that is all I could have, but down to one author? I just can't do it.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: smtucker
                      Breadcrumbs RE: smtucker Mar 9, 2014 05:48 AM

                      I know right? Just reading this thread makes me realize how many treasures we have on our shelves.

                    2. ccbweb RE: Breadcrumbs Mar 9, 2014 06:14 AM

                      James Patterson

                      1. MidwesternerTT RE: Breadcrumbs Mar 9, 2014 06:18 AM

                        Irma Rombauer - all the editions of Joy of Cooking have enough recipes (ranging from great, good and not-so-good) for a lifetime of cooking.

                        1. h
                          Harters RE: Breadcrumbs Mar 9, 2014 07:23 AM

                          Nigel Slater.

                          If two authors, then also Delia Smith.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Harters
                            w
                            Westy RE: Harters Mar 11, 2014 11:14 AM

                            I second Nigel. Great mix of recipes. All makeable. Also might be the best writer going in the cooking world.

                            Maybe Michael Romano.

                            1. re: Westy
                              Gio RE: Westy Mar 11, 2014 11:34 AM

                              Nigel Slater for me too, especially since I get to keep All his books. I don't think I need a second choice. All the food I like to eat is right here in my head.

                          2. MGZ RE: Breadcrumbs Mar 9, 2014 07:25 AM

                            fourunder- If he'd finally write a book.

                            1. l
                              LuluTheMagnificent RE: Breadcrumbs Mar 9, 2014 09:42 AM

                              Julia child - the way to cook

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: LuluTheMagnificent
                                snowelephant RE: LuluTheMagnificent Mar 9, 2014 05:35 PM

                                I have been thinking about getting that, why do you love it?
                                Just bought Volume 2 of Mastering can't wait!

                                1. re: snowelephant
                                  l
                                  LuluTheMagnificent RE: snowelephant Mar 12, 2014 02:04 PM

                                  Every dish I've made from it (and I've made a bunch) has been delicious. Just wonderful. The sage and sausage stuffing I am required to make every Xmas and thanksgiving since the book came out and I made it that first time. Family comes in looking for it on those days. It's one of the easier recipes in there too.

                              2. alliegator RE: Breadcrumbs Mar 9, 2014 11:07 AM

                                David Thompson. No contest here for me.

                                1. emily RE: Breadcrumbs Mar 9, 2014 11:46 AM

                                  Fuchsia Dunlop

                                  1. greygarious RE: Breadcrumbs Mar 9, 2014 01:32 PM

                                    Ruhlman's "Ratio", since following its proportions allows the reader to create an endless number of dishes/recipes.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: greygarious
                                      w
                                      WNYamateur RE: greygarious Mar 12, 2014 07:44 AM

                                      ALL of Ruhlman's books: the "... of a Chef" series for inspriation & entertainment, the skills trio (Ratio, Elements, 20) as a comprehensive set of basic skills & techniques, and the charcuterie books in case I ever get the time to take that leap.

                                      Oh, and can I stay current with his blog, too?

                                    2. q
                                      Querencia RE: Breadcrumbs Mar 9, 2014 04:31 PM

                                      The Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer. I have several editions and prefer the older ones that Mrs R did herself---check yard sales. Mrs R provides basic instructions for almost everything and all along the way reassures the cook with her side comments. I always remember what she said about Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast: "Let's make something good out of this"---good general advice for life.

                                      1. snowelephant RE: Breadcrumbs Mar 9, 2014 05:35 PM

                                        My William Sonoma cookbooks they are all so good! I have about 7 or 8 of them and I love them all!

                                        1. r
                                          ratgirlagogo RE: Breadcrumbs Mar 9, 2014 05:54 PM

                                          The Joy of Cooking, just out of sentiment and gratitude. Like all of you I learned cooking from many people and not just from books, but that is the book I learned the most from when I really needed a book to show me something. I rarely have reason to consult it anymore, but when I do, how much I enjoy reading it.

                                          1. j
                                            JaneEYB RE: Breadcrumbs Mar 9, 2014 07:44 PM

                                            My instinctive response was Ottolenghi but thinking further, I thought that could become repetitive. So Nigel Slater it is - for great recipes that always work but also for the sheer breadth of his repertoire. I really could not get bored cooking from his 12 books I own.

                                            1. t
                                              tardigrade RE: Breadcrumbs Mar 9, 2014 08:57 PM

                                              My quick top three are Diana Kennedy, Ottalenghi, and Jeff Smith, with Molly Katzen a close runner-up. If I had to pick just one, it would be Smith: he's my go-to for basic American cooking, and covers - albeit briefly - a lot of other cuisines. And he's stood the test of time.

                                              (Does Fanny Farmer count as a person?)

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: tardigrade
                                                KarenDW RE: tardigrade Mar 9, 2014 11:57 PM

                                                "(Does Fanny Farmer count as a person?)"
                                                I was just wondering whether or not Canadian Living counts as a single author...

                                                1. re: tardigrade
                                                  w
                                                  Westy RE: tardigrade Mar 11, 2014 11:16 AM

                                                  Interesting choices. Jeff likely introduced a generation to cooking. Katzen's Sundays at moosewood is great. The other Moosewood books seem less great.

                                                  1. re: Westy
                                                    e
                                                    ellabee RE: Westy Mar 11, 2014 11:26 AM

                                                    Sundays at Moosewood isn't a Mollie Katzen book. It's a collective effort by the staff of the restaurant, years after MK was no longer part of the enterprise.

                                                2. s
                                                  sharebear RE: Breadcrumbs Mar 9, 2014 09:07 PM

                                                  Thomas Keller.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: sharebear
                                                    lamb_da_calculus RE: sharebear Mar 12, 2014 11:50 AM

                                                    Not sure how long I could live cooking only from the French Laundry Cookbook. Great stuff but most of it is both time- and butter-heavy.

                                                  2. sal_acid RE: Breadcrumbs Mar 9, 2014 09:10 PM

                                                    Bourdain's Les Halles book is great. Not the one and only forever...but great.

                                                    1. John E. RE: Breadcrumbs Mar 11, 2014 07:19 AM

                                                      Christopher Kimball

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: John E.
                                                        w
                                                        Westy RE: John E. Mar 11, 2014 11:15 AM

                                                        Nice call. CI gets slammed all the time here, but...his Yellow Farmhouse is a GREAT book.

                                                      2. m
                                                        MyKitchenBroke RE: Breadcrumbs Mar 11, 2014 09:01 AM

                                                        Maybe not the most elegant, but one of the most informative cookbooks I have:

                                                        Alton Brown

                                                        I like having a reason behind the things that I'm doing when I cook. Also "I'm just here for the food" has meat magnets in it!

                                                        Tip: I used his shrimp scampi recipe to make Shrimp Scampi pizza. It's fantastic.

                                                        1. d
                                                          dordogne RE: Breadcrumbs Mar 11, 2014 11:37 AM

                                                          Marcella Hazan: the most rewarding pleasure-to-effort ratio on my overcrowded cookbook shelf. I'm enjoying Ottolenghi but will wait to see whether I'm still turning to those recipes in a year or two.

                                                          1. honkman RE: Breadcrumbs Mar 11, 2014 11:43 AM

                                                            James Peterson - covers a lot of different topics in depth. Very good written books.

                                                            1. malleechick RE: Breadcrumbs Mar 12, 2014 02:27 AM

                                                              As an Australian ... Stephanie Alexander. Her Cook's Companion is SO good that you hardly need another cookbook.

                                                              And for an 'international' it would have to be Rick Stein.

                                                              1. s
                                                                soccermom13 RE: Breadcrumbs Mar 12, 2014 02:44 AM

                                                                Joy of Cooking----no photos, but it's so complete.

                                                                1. p
                                                                  Puffin3 RE: Breadcrumbs Mar 12, 2014 07:35 AM

                                                                  Escoffier naturally.

                                                                  1. s
                                                                    Shann RE: Breadcrumbs Mar 12, 2014 07:39 AM

                                                                    Well, if its a single "author" per se I'd say Alton Brown or Mark Bittman (because he basically covers everything).

                                                                    If its one company, it would be America's Test Kitchen.

                                                                    1. s
                                                                      Siegal RE: Breadcrumbs Mar 12, 2014 08:05 AM

                                                                      Definitely Claudia Roden. Her book of Jewish food is my "joy of cooking"

                                                                      1. The Dairy Queen RE: Breadcrumbs Mar 12, 2014 09:36 AM

                                                                        Dunlop. You might be able to find the recipes online or something, but those ingredient glossaries in her books are so very helpful and you have to have the book for that.

                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                        1. herby RE: Breadcrumbs Mar 12, 2014 11:46 AM

                                                                          If I only can have one author I would choose Anne Willan. I only have two of her 30+ published books - La Varenne Pratique and From My Chateau Kitchen - and even these two will give me lots of interesting dishes to make, techniques to learn and stories to read.

                                                                          Show Hidden Posts