Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Apr 29, 2014 12:07 AM

What's your most useful cookbook?

What's the name of the cookbook which you frequently turn to, with recipes you keep making over and over again? I'm thinking of buying a new cookbook, but I want to make sure that it'll be the one from which. I cook frequently

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison.

    But that's no assurance you'd have the same response to the book...

    1. Rombauer's Joy of Cooking, 1975. All the basics for North American cooking. Even squirrel.

      4 Replies
      1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

        I second JOK. It's the bible of cookery.

        1. re: mtlcowgirl

          As with other sacred texts, this subject sees ecclesiastical debate. Some would rank the Fannie Farmer as the main book of 20th-c. US cooking (it's older, less quirky, and has solider roots -- JoC began as a remarkably hokey set of family recipes for canned foods), but most serious US home cooks I know have both.

          That's all "New Testament" of course. "Old Testament" of US mainstream cookbooks was Eliza Leslie's, the author that everyone used before the Fannie Farmer came along at the end of the 1800s, and in some ways much better than either FF or JoC, but maybe not something to recommend to every household for modern daily use. Food fanatics however generally have copies of Leslie's "Directions for Cookery" (1837, eventually 58 editions). The common modern facsimile paperback edition (from 1851) is ISBN 0486406148, easily and cheaply available used.

          1. re: mtlcowgirl

            Thirded. Fantastic line drawings showing everything from how to skin a squirrel using your hunting boot to constructing a champagne fountain out of glasses. Quirky, yes, but the very personal approach of the two very different women who wrote it are part of what makes it a masterpiece. Would not live in any house without it.

          2. Cooking by James Peterson

            It's got a huge array of recipes, concisely written and everything I've worked from has worked for me.

            He covers pretty much everything, too. From pancakes and waffles to deserts and salads and soups and mains and on and on.

            1. Joy of Cooking is a winner. I also love having Larousse Gastronomique around. It has tons of recipes (although many have to be scaled back to feed the small number of people that I usually feed) but it is also a great reference as an encylopedia of culinary terms and ingredients if you come across something that may be unfamiliar.

              1. Joy of Cooking, Weber's Big Book of Grilling, 400 best Comfort Food recipes (Johanna Burkhard), The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, River Cottage Veg Everyday, Jerusalem.

                Hope this helps!