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199 answers 9819 views
Ehanhan4
added over 3 years ago

Because I am unable to make decisions, I would have to pick something gigantic in nature, that has many sorts of recipes. That go-to book for me is "The Gourmet Cookbook." With over 1000 recipes, and many of which I've successfully cooked/baked from, I'm a fan.
http://www.amazon.com/Gourmet...

Sit2
Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added over 3 years ago

Julia Child's "The Way to Cook" has lots of basic recipes and techniques.
I still refer to it for breads,baking, and other things. Nice photographs and clearly written. You can find it cheap now too.

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added over 3 years ago

For basic old fashioned American fare any addition of a Fannie Farmer. I prefer the really old ones myself.

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added over 3 years ago

Well, you've got Amanda's fantastic, The Essential New York Times Cookbook. I happen to be an Ina Garten fan, but wouldn't suggest any one of her cookbooks as a necessarily comprehensive source. Same goes for Keller, though I adore Ad Hoc ad Home. Sunday Supper at Lucques is another favorite. Mark Bittman's books are great in a more encyclopedic and method-based cooking way. I'd also second the Joy of Cooking.

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added over 3 years ago

For simple but delicious French food, I suggest Ginette Mathiot's Je Sais Cuisiner (recently translated and updated, under the English title I Know How To Cook, by Clotilde Dusoulier, who has the food blog Chocolate and Zucchini). It is a fantastic cookbook with over 1400 recipes. I can't recommend it enough!

52
added over 3 years ago

buy this old cook book very informative either for professional aor non-professional cooks. Quite a few old books sold on eBay
http://www.ebay.com.au...

Cakes
added over 3 years ago

I am a fan of 2 series, Time Life Foods of the World and the Good Cook, but if I had to choose one book I would go with How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman.

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added almost 3 years ago

I second the Good Cook series- Contains just about any explanation of how to cook/bake/etc anything you can get your hands on

Zester_003
pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added over 3 years ago

A book that restaurant chefs refer to is Judy Rodgers' ZUNI CAFE for its brilliant clarity of thought. But I'm also a major league user of Keller's AD HOC AT HOME.

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added almost 2 years ago

I love Judy Rogers cook book! It gave me a whole new prospective on using the best ingredients and celebrating the flavor of those foods!

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added over 3 years ago

I can't imagine just one but I'd have to go with Bouchon.

Buddhacat
SKK
added over 3 years ago

Shirley O Corriher's COOKWISE. When it first came out it transformed my cooking. The science and the recipes are remarkable.

Junechamp
ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 3 years ago

If I had to choose just one, it would be either The Way to Cook or From Julia Child's Kitchen. I have always loved that Julia leaves little to the imagination. Her instructions are so thorough there's never a failure. I try to emulate that in my recipe writing.

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added about 2 years ago

I agree; Julia's A Way to Cook.

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added over 3 years ago

Cooking A-Z, a 20+ year old, coffee-table sized book. You can find the hardcover version for a few dollars on Alibris or a similar site. Everything is in here, from techniques to equipment explanations, how to buy and store individual items, and lots of recipes, with "related recipes" in most sections. It is a bit dated, but even though I have many of the books listed here -- and love them -- A-Z is the first book I pull out when I want to learn something. And, it has the best carrot cake recipe in the known universe, and grown men have wept when I've served them the dinner rolls in the yeast breads section.

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added over 3 years ago

Another for "The Way to Cook". My first cookbook, and still the best for technique.

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added over 3 years ago

depends upon the cuisine you're interested in...I'm reading & cooking my way through 660 curries right now and I love it!
http://www.amazon.com/660...

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added over 3 years ago

Deborah Madison... Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
Most comprehensive cookbook I own. Most of our regular recipes come from this cookbook.

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added over 3 years ago

Great suggestions! My brother actually asked me for a cookbook. He knows absolutely nothing when it comes to cooking. He said he'd prefer something precise...so he can't "screw it up". Pictures are a plus. Any cuisine works. Something that covers a bit of everything though.
That being said, all the suggestions make me excited to get some of these.

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added almost 3 years ago

cooks illustrated, the best recipe. anything in the series. if he wants a cookbook that will show him pictures and step-by-step on a lot of the recipes, this is the one. joy of cooking is great, but for a beginner cook, cooks illustrated will tell him the why, what, and how of a recipe. it's a "can't screw it up" cookbook, i think.

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added over 3 years ago

Marc Bittman's "How To Cook Everything" does it for me.

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added over 3 years ago

Apologies, it's MARK Bittman!

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added over 3 years ago

I admire all of you who can choose. I couldn't possibly select just one because I don't think there's one that covers all the cuisines I crave.

Sit2
Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added over 3 years ago

I would like to see Food52 make a list of user submitted cookbook suggestions.
And have them up for either vote or editor choice selections.
With some subcategories for beginner, expert, regional USA, or Ethnic.



Birthday_2012
luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

added almost 3 years ago

Sam, did you know Peter the tech person on food52 also maintains a book list site? Maybe he could do a feature on cookbooks here that could be added to his site as well?

Photo_9
added over 3 years ago

The Canal House cookbook series, for sure!

Zester_003
pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added over 3 years ago

Great suggestion Sam. I'll second you on the list and the categories.

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AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 3 years ago

I highly recommend for your specific purpose Alice Waters' recent book, "In the Green Kitchen." It's actually a compendium of basic techniques she says you should "learn by heart." There are one or two basic -- and superb, Chez Panisse-quality -- recipes per technique. The photos are gorgeous. Each technique is described by a well-known and respected chef. I've bought one copy for each of my sons, who are still near the bottom of the learning curve when it comes to all things cooking. We're working through it this summer, starting next week when they return from their travels. ;o)

Me
added over 3 years ago

These are all amazing suggestions!

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Shuna Lydon

Shuna is a pastry chef in New York City and author of the acclaimed blog Eggbeater.

added over 3 years ago

Jane Grigson's The Fruit Book. Ms Grigson is a fantastic writer, historian & recipe writer. There's sweet and savory food, classics and experimental dishes. I have been reading this book for 20 years + and I have never tired of it. Start with the chapter on Pears or Quince. Books this inspirational and timeless are a rarity these days with the mass production of cookbooks.

Carol_and_cousins
added over 3 years ago

Well, I love anything Barefoot Contessa...elegant everyday recipes. Otherwise, I'd purchase my local Junior League Cookbook. They are always a winner.

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Joanne Chang

Joanne Chang is the pastry chef/owner of Flour Bakery+Cafe and chef/co-owner of Myers+Chang in Boston.

added over 3 years ago

I'd have to go with Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet. I'm completely addicted to the flavors in Asian, especially SE Asian cooking, and if it were only one book I was allowed I'd want to cook my way through this book, one glorious recipe at a time. As it is I'm trying!!

I do love Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything as well- and for this maybe that would be the more useful choice since it literally does seem to contain a recipe for everything. But personally I'd rather have 20 different ways to make dumplings than a recipe for pot roast and fried chicken.

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mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

added over 3 years ago

For me, this is not possible. But here are two of my favorite books:

For general cooking, Essential NY Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser for vast selection of recipes, and I love Amanda's writing style.

For baking, Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan for the brilliant collection of recipes from so many fantastic cooks.

Also, check out The Piglet section of food52 blog: http://www.food52.com/blog... for more great cookbook ideas.

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Fany Gerson

Fany is the author of My Sweet Mexico and Paletas.

added about 3 years ago

that's a hard question but I think Escoffier since it's the foundation of many cuisines and the techniques will carry you through many other ways. It's an approach that I love when it comes to cooking and you can easily understand how you can make the recipes your own

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added about 3 years ago

I started cooking over 50 years ago & as the decades passed, my go-to cookbooks changed. Presently, Mark Bittman is an inspiration, especially Food Matters and Simple to Spectacular which he wrote with Jean-Georges Vongerichten. I am also enjoying Nigel Slater, especially Tender. After a 25 year hiatus, I find myself consulting Elizabeth David again; her classic recipes and straightforward flavors appeal to me. However, in all sincerity, when I want a new recipe idea, I go straight to Food52 first. This website is a great joy!

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added about 3 years ago

In this fantasy world I would be able to keep myself and my family strong and healthy on swiss meringue buttercream alone. Hence the book would be Rose Berenbaum's 'The Cake Bible.'

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Kitchen Arts & Letters

Kitchen Arts & Letters is a culinary bookstore on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

added about 3 years ago

One cookbook only? That's just too cruel to contemplate.

The choice here seems to be between utility and inspiration. With only one book to fall back on, we'd go for inspiration. And, funny as it seems, the store favorite is a small book called "Cucina Fresca" by Evan Kleiman and Vianna LaPlace. The food is simply prepared, always places the emphasis on the innate flavors of the ingredients, and works well for everyday or special events.

There's probably a more logical answer, but in this case we'll go for the gut response.

Sharonhead
added about 3 years ago

I'm a cookbook addict and I love 'In The Kitchen w/ a Good Appetite' better than any cookbook I've ever owned. Every single recipe in it works just like it says, the recipes are well written, and my Cookbook Club used it for months and still love it.

Photo_107
added about 3 years ago

All my cookbooks are in storage at the moment. It's agony. But I'm partial to the ones that got me started, the first being Pierre Franey's 60-Minute Gourmet. Simple, easy, elegant, no-fail food. Second, a quirky number I could never part with, The Myra Breckenridge Cookbook. The tacchino ripieno has wowed many a dinner-party guest at my house. And, last, Martha Stewart's first cookbook, Entertaining. Chock full of recipes I've used again and again to the delight of family and friends.

Birthday_2012
luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

added almost 3 years ago

martha stewart entertaining is the first book i bought after a four year budgetary hiatus while i was in med school. my mom took a picture of me with my new book. photos are great. luv her wedding book also and her hors d'ouevres book but her pie book is my fave for good recipes.

Baqjade2oct2010
added about 3 years ago

I would cook from recipes of "Memories of Philippine Kitchens" by Amy Besa & Romy Dorotan. The recipes come with stories and essays on Philippine cooking, culture and history. My own copy is dog-eared and pages are bookmarked all over. It's a keeper and I gave a copy to each and every family member who loves cooking.

Baqjade2oct2010
added about 3 years ago

I would cook from recipes of "Memories of Philippine Kitchens" by Amy Besa & Romy Dorotan. The recipes come with stories and essays on Philippine cooking, culture and history. My own copy is dog-eared and pages are bookmarked all over. It's a keeper and I gave a copy to each and every family member who loves cooking.

Me_in_munich_with_fish
added about 3 years ago

The Joy of Cooking for sure. It's great for all the basics, and you can take the recipes anywhere you like. For baking, I'm in love with Tartine and Tartine Bread.

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added about 3 years ago

Georgeanne Brennan's "Potager" is where we keep returning, over and over. But "In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite" is catching up. And for reading about food, nothing beats the late lamented Laurie Colwin's 2 collections of essays, "Home Cooking" and "More Home Cooking."

Affen
added about 3 years ago

Still using those '60s stalwarts: The Women's Day Encyclopedia of Cooking, Betty Crocker (great cakes!), and A Treasury of Great Recipes by Vincent Price, which I thought was the height of glamour and sophistication, but does have great recipes and is a fabulous time capsule of mid-century culinary history.

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added about 3 years ago

Well if you only have one book then you don't need recipes, you need to think like a chef. Which is why Tom Collichio's Think Like a Chef is a natural choice. Or Dornenberg & Page's Culinary Artistry. Both of these books are in the 'teach you how to fish' Vs. 'give you the fish' school.

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added about 3 years ago

I like the 'River Cottage Every Day' by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Kitchen_fun
added about 3 years ago

The Silver Spoon is great. It's chock-full of recipes that rely on just a few quality ingredients. I can pretend I'm cooking with the Italian grandmother I wish I had.

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added about 3 years ago

First Presbyterian Church, El Dorado, Arkansas, published a cookbook in the 70's. It's the one I turn to first. I love it! Thanks, Ladies, for giving that book to my husband so many years ago when he was your guest speaker.

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added about 3 years ago

I always go back to my first book for real Mexican food: Elizabeth Lambert Ortiz's Complete Book of Mexican Cooking. I have all the newer ones and love them, especially Rick Bayless, but nothing beats the original.

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added about 3 years ago

Pierre Franey's "60 Minute Gourmet," for sheer dog-eared, cooked-to-death usefulness!

My_catering_(2)
added about 3 years ago

I second hot sour salty sweet...though if I could only eat from one it would've Platter of Figs by David Tanis

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added about 3 years ago

So hard to pick (I collect cookbooks) but if I had to pick one it would be the Boston Cooking-School Cookbook by Fannie Farmer. My #2 would be Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan. And my #3, which I turn to all the time is the Mennonite Community Cookbook by Mary Emma Showalter

Headshot2009
added about 3 years ago

Pam Anderson's Cook Smart and The Perfect Recipe are the most frequently used cookbooks in my collection, as they contain the perfect recipes for pancakes, brownies, chocolate chip cookies and cakes. Meat, pasta and vegetables are easy to cook without a cookbook, but the baked goods need precision to be truly perfect. Unfortunately the cookies are in one book and the pancakes are in the other, so it has to be two books! For special meals I usually fall back on The Silver Palette, the original foodie book. To keep up with techniques, I subscribe to Cook's Illustrated. I have over 100 cookbooks, but these get pulled out most often when I am cooking, not just reading.

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added about 3 years ago

Judy Rodgers Zuni Cafe cook book hands down!

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added about 3 years ago

Fine Cooking annual

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added about 3 years ago

Like other's above, I choose Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything. It's simple, but has all the types of things I want to cook and eat now. (As my 77-year-old mother who is still catering to the tastes of my father whose palate closed down around 1950, puts it 'You eat the new food.') I got it as a gift and as a somewhat accomplished home cook, initially thought it too simple, but I find myself returning to it again and again. (Although a loyal NY Times reader I had never clicked with his columns there. Go figure.) When I want to learn how to make pizza or find a side sauce for some grilled meat, his is the book I reach for.

If it has a deficiency, it would be in the baking department, but nothing is perfect. If I had to chose one, just one. It would be difficult but that that would be it.

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added about 3 years ago

I would have to choose "The Joy of Cooking" for overall recipe needs. But, I love "Whole Foods for the Whole Family" just as much. So for me, it's a tie between these two classic cookbooks.

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added about 3 years ago

Jacques Pepin's 2 books
La Method and
La Technique
all you need to know about cooking.

of course other than Asian...Indian...African

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added about 3 years ago

The Ottolenghi cookbook has a winner on every single page. The taste combinations are simply perfect, the techniques all work 100% and there is bit of everything. The follow up veggie- only book Plenty is also amazing. The reason I'd pick this book is because its inspiring. It forces you to think about flavour. About every ingredient you add. It makes me want to cook.

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added about 3 years ago

Wow. I loved reading the answers to this question. For me personally, at this point in my life, if it really and truly must be just one, let me pluck Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking from the shelf.

But I'm not at all surprised that Cucina Fresca is Number One at Kitchen Arts & Letters. I would probably try and sneak my ragged copy of that and Food for Friends by Barbara Kafka if you weren't looking.

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added about 3 years ago

Gold and Delicious from the Spokane Junior League. We call it the bible because that is what a friend called it when she recommended that I get it. I have never made anything from it that didn't knock my socks off. My favorite recipes from it: Thai Pizza and Autumn Salad.

Stringio
added about 3 years ago

Fannie Farmer (not the oldest ones, not the newest ones, but in the middle ones).

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added about 3 years ago

For those that already know their way around the kitchen, Mastering the Art of French Cooking would be my favourite, it covers the basics in French cooking which is used throughout the world.

For those just learning to cook, Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution is a great cookbook to get people to cook simple, fresh, healthy meals. And the pictures help them in method and presentation of the meals.

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added about 3 years ago

For those that already know their way around the kitchen, Mastering the Art of French Cooking would be my favourite, it covers the basics in French cooking which is used throughout the world.

For those just learning to cook, Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution is a great cookbook to get people to cook simple, fresh, healthy meals. And the pictures help them in method and presentation of the meals.

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added about 3 years ago

Cucina di Calabria by Mary Parker Amabile. It contains all my family favorites and then some. The Classic Italian Cookbook by Marcella Hazan is very close and has probably influenced me more, but Amabile has my Nonna's recipes and Marcella is more Bolognese. My basic reference is Joy of Cooking.

http://www.amazon.com/Cucina...

0781810507_1_

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added about 3 years ago

For me the question is also if the book is for pure inspiration, in which case I will pick the brilliant Patience Gray's "Honey from a Weed" any day - although Elizabeth David's books are a close second ( my first cookbook which I got around 14-15 years of age, was a Danish version of her "Summer Cooking" ) or, if the book is to be one that I constantly use in which case it has to be "Italian Easy, Recipes from The London River Cafe" by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers.

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added about 3 years ago

Joy of Cooking, the 1970s version - I always start there and then branch out to newer, glossier, fancier books, but Irma is my go-to-gal for the basics.

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added about 3 years ago

Cucina di Calabria by Mary Parker Amabile. It contains all my family favorites and then some. The Classic Italian Cookbook by Marcella Hazan is very close and has probably influenced me more, but Amabile has my Nonna's recipes and Marcella is more Bolognese. My basic reference is Joy of Cooking.

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added about 3 years ago

It would have to be the vintage editions of "The Joy Of Cooking."

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added about 3 years ago

I regularly use lots of different cookbooks for ideas, particularly for specific cuisines. I keep coming back to Marcella Hazan's Essentials and Lynne Rosetto Kasper's Italian Country Table, Patricia Wells' Bistro Cooking, The Gourmet Cookbook, Alice Waters' Art of Simple Food, and Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home. I have a few others that I use pretty often, too. It's very hard to pick one! Regardless, I keep my top 20 close at hand in the kitchen.

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added about 3 years ago

As a cookbook reviewer and collector, I couldn't pick just--not at gunpoint or court order! Perhaps my favorite cookbook is LIDiA'S ITALIAN-AMERICAN KITCHEN because it is a fantastic teaching cookbook that honors this hybrid category of Italian cooking and it surprisingly full of variety. But a book that combines an outstanding general cookbook with great recipes, lots of good cooking tips and ideas, and covers a wide variety of foods for the way we cook and eat today--I'd have to say HOW TO COOK EVERYTHING by Mark Bittman.

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added about 3 years ago

Larousse Gastronomique (comes in an English translation). At this point in my cooking life, I can figure out how to make it if I am told its ingredients and origins.

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added about 3 years ago

Lidia Bastianich - Italian American Kitchen cookbook - great for simple Italian and Italian American recipes for every level of experience. Italian food is simple but fresh and filled with aromatics such as garlic, basil, oregano, rosemary, etc., as well wines, vinegars, citrus, anchovies, etc.

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added about 3 years ago

Lidia Bastianich - Italian American Kitchen cookbook - great for simple Italian and Italian American recipes for every level of experience. Italian food is simple but fresh and filled with aromatics such as garlic, basil, oregano, rosemary, etc., as well wines, vinegars, citrus, anchovies, etc.

Chef_emily
added about 3 years ago

IF I have to choose only ONE from my thousand-book collection, it would be "Spice: Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean" by Ana Sortun.

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added about 3 years ago

Pressed to choose only one, I'd have to go with Anne Willan's La Varenne Pratique. It's the whole knowing how to fish (or rather, how to bone it and cook it) thing. While I do refer to Joy, La Varenne has been my guide through 19 years of living in different countries and having to figure out what to do with what I find there and how, in wonderful colour photos, how to do it.

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added about 3 years ago

I value cook books for the voice of the writer, and ultimately their wisdom about simplicity and art of cooking and food. I'd have to include Alice Waters', " The Art of Simple Food", Julia Child's "The Way to Cook", Judy Rodgers', The Zuni Cafe Cookbook, and David Tanis', A Platter of Figs.

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added about 3 years ago

How to Cook by Nigella Lawson or Feast by Nigella Lawson. I love her big flavors and adventuresome recipes. Her recipes have inspired me to try things I never would have thought of and now can't live without.

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added about 3 years ago

The Joy of Cooking for me too, lots of basics and references, been using it for the past 30 years and still a staple today

Kirsten_gourmet_2014
added about 3 years ago

Generally when I cook, I have an idea of what I want, so I need a basic framework and I adapt from there. Bittman's How to Cook Everything is a great starting point. For Italian food, I start with Marcela Hazan's Essentials of Italian Cooking.

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added about 3 years ago

Patricia Wells' "Bistro Cooking" . Some of her later books have become a bit repetitive, but this one is a gem. I've cooked my way through most of it over the past 20 years, and every dish has been a winner. phbrooklin

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added about 3 years ago

Claudia Roden's World of Jewish Food. It has Ashkenazi and Sephardi classics along with great stories, rarer cuisines and tons of history. Way more than "just" a cookbook. My go to...

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added about 3 years ago

Claudia Roden's World of Jewish Food. It has Ashkenazi and Sephardi classics along with great stories, rarer cuisines and tons of history. Way more than "just" a cookbook. My go to...

Chef_emily
added about 3 years ago

Pleaseeeee, no more notifications...I'll check in occasionally:-/

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added about 3 years ago

I'd like to impress everyone with some esoteric and exotic title, but when I need a recipe, or want one to play with, I always pick up Joy of Cooking....but when I need inspiration, it's At Elizabeth David's Table or Ottolenghi, The Cookbook.,,,but Joy of Cooking is the most crinkled up and stained up book I own!

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added about 3 years ago

J'adore Katzen.

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added about 3 years ago

No one has yet mentioned Rick Bayless' first book, Mexican Kitchen, published in 1996 before he got to be TV famous. Written with a near-anthropological scope, it details Mexican methods with peppers and sauces in tremendous variety and precision, and I still rely on it for all things south of the border.

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added about 3 years ago

My choice certainly changes as the years go by. I agree with a previous citation...Shirley Corriher, Cookwise does have some realllllllllllllllllllly good recipes that work.

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added about 3 years ago

My choice: James Beard's AMERICAN COOKERY (1972). I cut my teeth on this one! he's a great fan of butter, so those who suffer from fatophobia had better look elsewhere.

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added about 3 years ago

Alton Brown's cookbooks might be helpful for your brother. Precise, educational and pretty much cover everything from baking to american classics.

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bkw
added about 3 years ago

La cuisine de Madame Saint Ange. Paris, 1927. The heart of French home cooking.

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added about 3 years ago

Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook. They have a great blog too http://www.wholelifenutrition...

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added about 3 years ago

Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook. They have a great blog too http://www.wholelifenutrition...

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added about 3 years ago

Mediterranean Harvest by Martha Shulman. It has so many recipes for every vegetable. I could cook every single meal out of it for the rest of my life and be very satisfied!

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added about 3 years ago

The two I reach for on a consistent basis (so, it's a tie) would be Deborah Madison's The Savory Way, and Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. They are both wonderful in their own particular ways.

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added about 3 years ago

The two I reach for on a consistent basis (so, it's a tie) would be Deborah Madison's The Savory Way, and Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. They are both wonderful in their own particular ways.

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added about 3 years ago

The Complete America's Test Kitchen - full of recipes that are all easy and delicious. I use it all the time and it hasn't failed me yet.

Imgp0071
added about 3 years ago

Silver Palate New Basics. Covers just about everything. It's the only book I took when I moved to Europe to study.

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added about 3 years ago

Definitely my first choice is Julia Child's "The Way to Cook", then of course the Zuni Cafe book by Judith Rogers, any of the Keller books are gorgeous and informative but, aside from Julia, I find myself going to the Moosewood Cookbooks so often as well as Martha Shulman's " Mediterranean Harvest"

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added about 3 years ago

My first choice would have to be The New Best Recipe from Cooks Illustrated / America's Test Kitchen. A great second choice would be Ina Garten's The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.

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added about 3 years ago

Marcella Hazan- The Essentials of Italian Cooking

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added about 3 years ago

The Joy of Cooking.

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added about 3 years ago

It's a tie between Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Italian Cooking and Patricia Well's Bistro cooking. Both have stood me in good stead for years.

Zester_003
pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added about 3 years ago

I have to second davises88 in this now exceedingly long list. Claudia Roden is one of my favorite writers. I'm not Jewish so I don't have to be observant or anything but food history matters to me. And she has a great tale to tell.

Zester_003
pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added about 3 years ago

I keep seeing Bittman pop up here, and I will agree that How to Cook Everything is a valuable volume. But lately he's gone all Borneo on us with his vegertannean nonsense. Kind of preachy and born again boring.

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added about 3 years ago

The Silver Palate.

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added about 3 years ago

I was saying recently that I could survive on a well-stocked desert island with only Amanda Hesser's Cooking For Mr Latte and I stand by that although I was recently introduced to Michael Ruhlman's Ratio and that is a real game changer for me.

Bigpan
added about 3 years ago

I've had over 1,000 cookbooks in my life and have finally given away about 900 of them. Some I've kept only for the value, like my Salvador Dali cookbook, but if I had to live with only one I would still pick the most basic and the most informative albeit no pictures. The Joy of Cooking still answers all the questions and lets you ad lib.

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added about 3 years ago

Mollie Katzen's Moosewood Cookbook is such a favorite and I adore the updated version as well. Beautiful food and a beautiful cookbook.

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added about 3 years ago

As an accidental cookbook collector reading this list has been more fun than finding a Time Life World of Food series book at a yard sale for a buck!

For me...first there was "Joy" and then there was Julia and forever shall it be. Now what is this Platter of Pigs of which so many of you speak? Ginette Mathiot and In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite? Alibris here I come! Thanks Food52. When it's too hard to pick only one book you are just a click away.....

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added about 3 years ago

As an accidental cookbook collector reading this list has been more fun than finding a Time Life World of Food series book at a yard sale for a buck!

For me...first there was "Joy" and then there was Julia and forever shall it be. Now what is this Platter of Pigs of which so many of you speak? Ginette Mathiot and In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite? Alibris here I come! Thanks Food52. When it's too hard to pick only one book you are just a click away.....

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added about 3 years ago

The most dog-eared, food-stained, trusted cookbook in my collection is Sunset's Easy Basics for Good Cooking. But since I got The Essential New York Times Cookbook a week ago, I haven't been able to put it down because I love reading it for just reading pleasure and inspiration, and everything I've made has been fabulous. I have many of the cookbooks already mentioned here, but I thought I was the only one who still owned the Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery (which I haven't used in years). Maybe I will give it another peek.

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added about 3 years ago

The Joy of Cooking. Not the hippest but covers all the basics so I can make my own variations.

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added about 3 years ago

a single cookbook is near impossible, but a suite of books by a single voice has potential. This many years later I find The Silver Palates and the New Basics serving as my "joy of cooking" - a basic go-to, with a more modern (although 30 years old now!) and int'l bent. Anything by Paula Wolfert, and even better is a collection of 3 or 4. I agree with others that Zuni Cafe and Sunday Suppers cookbooks all have a wonderful voice and will give you quite a comprehensive repertoire thru many, many recipes. But ultimately a selection of one book would have to be Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone (also previously mentioned). This is the one book I refer to most repeatedly as a reference and an inspiration. High marks indeed.

Khat
added about 3 years ago

Fried Chicken and Champagne by Lisa Dupar, and Comfort Food by Wiiliams-Sonoma!

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RATIO by Michael Ruhlman!!!! Hands down, without question. He did an amazing job writing it. I would definitely choose Ratio, because from there, I can make anything, the sky is the limit!

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How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman -- it describes cooking techniques, has great tables of information (on things such as types of beans and how to cook different grains), and offers lots of flexible "alternative" additions to the basic recipes so you can make them no matter what you have on hand in the kitchen. It's a wonderful cookbook for both beginners and experienced home cooks.

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added about 3 years ago

So many entries here I agree with! If forced to choose just one, though, I'd probably have to forego cookbooks altogether and stick with The Flavor Bible.

Dscn0274
added about 3 years ago

My cookbook collection has been growing since the 70's.I havea signed copy of Julia Child's, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. But it's not my fav cookbook. I love cookbooks with a great picture to inspire me. The Williams-Sonoma kitchen collections are great because each book covers a type of cooking or baking. For baking I love Nick Malgieri, fav is Perfect Cakes. For cooking I love love Lidia Bastianich; fav is Lidias Italian table. As a self taught baker, my fav is Baking with Julia. This book is from her TV series of guest bakers.

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added about 3 years ago

I have many cookbooks, including Jacques Pepin & Julia Child as well as the Joy of Cooking. I must say that "Avec Eric: A Culinary Journey with Eric Ripert " is a stand out....many flavorful, easy recipes with the accent on flavor.

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If I am cooking for guests, my first go to book is Deborah Madison's "Greens", or Field of Greens by Annie Somerville, then on to Tartine for pastries, their pumpkin pie is very good! I started many years ago with "Diet for a Small Planet", and all of the Moosewood cookbooks, but have a very large collection that I will choose from!

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added about 3 years ago

I'd go with The New Basics by Rosso and Lukins, which hits a nice sweet spot between classy and easy/convenient. In reality my everyday go-to books for getting dinner on the table are that one and Brooke Dojny's New England Home Cooking, my favorite book on American cooking.

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added about 3 years ago

Silver Palate New Basics...to me it was about locavore/seasonal way before so many others. Loved their zest for the food, the wine, the experience of cooking & eating.

Sp_nb_cookbook

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added about 3 years ago

The cookbooks I use all the time are Marion Cunningham's Fannie Farmer, Julia Child's 1st volume, Silver Palate #1, and it looks like the New York Times cookbook will enter the pantheon. I don't think I can narrow it down to one book, unless I memorize the Silver Palate's glazed lemon cake recipe and tattoo a couple of others on my arms.

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"Vegetarian cooking for everyone", by Deborah Madison. This was my first comprehensive cookbook and it's still where I turn first for a recipe. I'm not a vegetarian, but her dishes are easy to pair with meat, and besides, even meat eaters should know how to creatively prepare vegetarian dishes.

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added about 3 years ago

The Zuni Cafe Cookbook...more than just recipes...it is a philsophy of cooking reflecting Judy Rodgers influences...Alice Waters, Les Freres Troigros....Johnny daHand

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added about 3 years ago

Does a boxed set count? I have used "Elizabeth David's Cookery Book Set" for over 40 years now. Published in 66
In this set is French, Provincial Cooking, Italian Food, Mediterianean Food, French Country Cooking and Summer Cooking. Falling apart, crumbling. This set is inspired, especially Summer Cooking.

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added about 3 years ago

I would have to pick as #1: The New Best Recipe from Cooks Illustrated / America's Test Kitchen; #2 would have to be Bread by Jeffrey Hamelman/ King Arthur Flour because baking bread is an art and he is a rockstar of teaching classical baking techniques.

Young_spencer
added about 3 years ago

There are so many great candidates for this, it's really tough to choose just a single one. I'm in total accord with many of the suggestions above: Joy of Cooking, New Basics, and Fannie Farmer are all great go-to cookbooks, and I strongly considered each one.

But if I had to limit myself to one... it might actually have to be the Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas. It's by no means comprehensive... but I feel like I no longer need to brush up on a lot of those missing basics. This isn't "What is best go-to cookbook for anyone?", but rather, just for me. :)

I've made most of the recipes from that book, and never come across a bad one. In fact, this book has many of my all-time favorite recipes in it, even many that were favorites of mine in my omnivorous days.

Great book, can't recommend it enough. Really.

Junechamp
ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 3 years ago

I know I commented above, but there are a couple of wonderful, instructional books in my life that I haven't seen mentioned above.

Richard Olney's Simple French Food. One could cook from it every day and never get bored. I think many people who are unfamiliar with REAL French food are put off when they see "French" in the title, thinking the recipes will be complicated, or terribly fattening, or very "saucy." Although it's true that some French recipes are those things, French food is, in the main, pretty basic. And the techniques are universally used.

Edna Lewis' "In Pursuit of Flavor" is an amazingly "simple" book but anyone who cooks their way through it will gain a culinary education in the process.

Culinary Artistry is a book I use a lot, but I already know how to cook, and OP mentioned her brother is a rank beginner. I think he needs some basic techniques before he's cut loose with a book like that.

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added about 3 years ago

I would have to pick Larousse Gastronomique. It is the quintessential Chef's bible.

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added about 3 years ago

I love this question! I have often tried to come up with an answer for this...but I'd have to agree with MsLarkin, "Essential NY Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser for vast selection of recipes, and I love Amanda's writing style."

Lucy
added about 3 years ago

Bittman's style is fresh and easy to understand and I use it more often now that my puppies attacked the lowest cookbook shelf with Joy of Cooking and Jacques Pepin on it. I have given Donna Hay's The Instant Cook several times as a gift and everyone has been impressed. The photos are spot on, lots of options given for basic techniques, and reasonably priced. I, myself have 5 of her titles, and pick up her magazine whenever I see it

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added about 3 years ago

I have a Now You're Cooking database I maintain and with over 1/4 million recipes at my disposal, I would have to say my favorite is my recipe database which is really an electronic cookbook. Whenever I see a recipe I like, I add it to my database... and although it is broken down into 15 "cookbooks" all the recipes are available in only one search. Are there duplicates? You bet. But I have some really cool cookbooks in there including one which I started to put gigantic recipes to feed our local homeless folks... my wife and I serve dinners at our local Annapolis Light House http://www.annapolislighthouse...

Bill

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added about 3 years ago

I have a Now You're Cooking database I maintain and with over 1/4 million recipes at my disposal, I would have to say my favorite is my recipe database which is really an electronic cookbook. Whenever I see a recipe I like, I add it to my database... and although it is broken down into 15 "cookbooks" all the recipes are available in only one search. Are there duplicates? You bet. But I have some really cool cookbooks in there including one which I started to put gigantic recipes to feed our local homeless folks... my wife and I serve dinners at our local Annapolis Light House http://www.annapolislighthouse...

Bill

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added about 3 years ago

OMG. I commented above, but there are so many great suggestions here. Edna Lewis - who I am always reminding myself I have to try. I enjoyed eating at the (late?) great Gage and Tolner when she was there. Zuni Cafe? I had never really heard of. Where have I been? I'm scrolling through the comments with a pen and pad to take notes.
Thanks fellow Food Picklers.

Birthday_2012
luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

added almost 3 years ago

Edna Lewis The Taste of Country Cooking
just bought my daughter her first copy

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added about 3 years ago

'THE DEAN & DELUCA COOKBOOK.
MY KIDS GOT ME THIS MANY YEARS AGO. IT'S PRETTY WORN---BUT LOVED

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Dorie Greenspans' Around My French Table has become my new can't-live-without cookbook. Since I just bought it this summer, I'm so excited to cook through the other seasons with it. Dorie's margin note bonus ideas make it feel like you get double the recipes.

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added about 3 years ago

I'll keep "The new professional chef" By the culinary institut of America and that's it.

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Khat
added about 3 years ago

Joy of Cooking

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added about 3 years ago

I learned so much from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking that I have to vote it my favorite (and I have a signed copy too).

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added about 3 years ago

Love Love Mark Bittman but for last minute assistance, it's Joy of Cooking

Une_boulangere
added about 3 years ago

james beard's "american cookery"...it never fails to amaze me how much he fit into that volume.

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added about 3 years ago

I would have to say the old tried and true "Joy of Cooking" However, I can't stick with just one and my other favorite is "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" by Julia Child and Simone Beck. Geeze like picking a favorite child sometimes!!

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Nhi
added about 3 years ago

One can never fail with Julia Child's The Way to Cook and Judy Rodger's Zuni Cafe.

Blackbottoms_2
added about 3 years ago

The Art of Simple Cooking by Alice Waters. With this book in your kitchen as inspiration, the possibilities are limitless.

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added about 3 years ago

Stir by Barbara Lynch. I love this cookbook, and everything I've made from it. I could live off of it! :)

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added about 3 years ago

The Spice Merchants Daughter by Christina Krokiasamy is one of the best cookbooks I have every used. The core of every recipe is utilizing wonderful and fragrant spices and herbs that produce the most amazing meals.

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added about 3 years ago

Cooking At Home With a Four Star Chef by Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Cooked through the book "way" before bloggers wrote about such, let alone a movie being made.

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I am yet to try an Ina Garten recipe that my husband and I don't love! With simple techniques, beautiful illustrations, nice stories, and consistent success, the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks are my favorites.

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added about 3 years ago

James Beard's "American Cookery." Always one of my favorites.

http://6degreesofprep.blogspot...

Zester_003
pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added about 3 years ago

I'm not recommending this for home use but a few years back I actually got to meet Ferran Adria, thanks to my friends from the now defunct Cooks Library in LA. It's not every day that you get to meet the most famous chef in the world. The book he signed for me was "A Day at El Bulli". You probably won't cook from it but it's inspirational to see what he does. I have another El Bulli volume that cost me over $200.

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added about 3 years ago

My official vote would have to go to Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, because Madison has long been my culinary guru--no matter what exotic grain or vegetable I bring home from the market, she has a flavorful recipe for it. And long before quinoa was a household word!
I am also a big fan of many of the others mentioned here--Bittman, Hazan, etc.--but because I haven't seen it in the list yet, I want to cite the Beautiful Cookbooks. I initially dismissed them as just pretty coffee table books, but I use the Mediterranean and Thai editions every week, always with delicious results. The recipes are well adapted for home cooks wanting to expand their repertoires. And all the lush photos actually come in handy, especially for unfamiliar dishes.

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added about 3 years ago

The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

http://www.amazon.com/Americas...

1200 fully tested recipes. They explain why they are doing things.

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Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast: 250 Easy, Delicious Recipes for Any Time of Day is perfect for spur of the moment, weeknight recipes. Every recipe is quick to prepare and doesn't require a slew of ingredients!

Birthday_2012
luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

added almost 3 years ago

"Good Things" by Jane Grigson is my all time favorite and it provides reading and cooking pleasure all in one. I saw "The Fruit Book" above but like this book even better-- has savory recipes and more quirky and personal. Lemon Souffle recipe is delicious.
For every day reference I use Bittman's How to Cook Everything. In fact, it's falling apart and I need a new copy.
Also love the facsimile 1950s Betty Crocker. Nostalgia and good recipes.

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added almost 3 years ago

I'd cook from At Home With Madhur Jaffrey (Curry Easy in the UK), as it has so many doable recipes with so much authenticity and flavour. The ingredients are readily available and there are many different flavour combinations. Another great one is Nigella Express. For someone with just one cookbook, it would give them a chance to begin cooking in an approachable way. For a seasoned cook I agree with the Essential New York Times cookbook. Everything I've made out of it has been amazing!

Birthday_2012
luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

added almost 3 years ago

For your brother, The Martha Stewart Quick Cook cookbooks are great starters. The recipes are super easy and they're already in menus.

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added almost 3 years ago

I love Melissa Clark's In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite. Everything I've made from it is completely delicious, and it has sections to satisfy every possible craving!

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added almost 3 years ago

The Silver Spoon. It's the Italian cookbook bible.

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added almost 3 years ago

There is a book called Master Recipes by Stephen Schmidt that instilled the basics in me. I have the first edition which was published in the eighties and I don't like the newer version. I keep a copy in all of our houses because it provides the best information for the basics. I find copies on eBay as I need more.

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added almost 3 years ago

Otay. I have to distinguish between a cookbook and a cooking book. A cookbook contains mainly recipes to follow, and there are many very good ones out there. My recommendation is to get a "cooking book" first. Learn some reasons and processes behind the recipes and then buy a cookbook. It will make you much better in the kitchen. Two I recommend are of course Julia Child's "The Way to Cook", and Alton Browns " I'm just here for the food". It is informative, witty and funny.

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added almost 3 years ago

Family Cookbook by America's Test Kitchen is my go-to resource for all the basics. It's very well organized, with how-to pictures, etc. I'm just learning, by the way.

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added almost 3 years ago

Right now I would have to say Ad Hoc by Thomas Keller. Although Larousse Gastronomique would have to be my overall choice.

Cooking
added almost 3 years ago

Bistro Laurent Tourondel: New American Bistro Cooking.

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added almost 3 years ago

The new Cooks Illustrated cookbook....their recipes ALWAYS work and they tell you why so you can use that knowledge for other situations!

Harvest-moon-ball
added almost 3 years ago

Hi All,
I just joined this site, after stumbling on the Rib Roast Recipe. I live in the South (KY). I have lived on both ends of the state. Now, let me just say, that if you like Southern Cooking (Appalachain), it is here.... Please let me make a couple of referrals on Cookbooks that I have. Oh, BTW... I would encourage you all (ya'll) to check out this Website Southern Food Alliance (SFA). I guarantee you will like what you see....
Ok, That being said, Here are my choices, just to name a few........ Added are a few Links
Please Add me as a friend and let me know what you think about my list, and don't forget the SFA. Just
Thanks... Jim from KY

(1) Mark Sohn.. From Pikeville, KY.-- Take you're pick of his books.
http://www.marksohn.com/

(2) Ronni Lundy.. From Louisville, Ky.-- Two books of hers are a must have.
~Butter Beans to Blackberries: Recipes from the Southern Garden~
~ Shuck Beans, Stack Cakes, and Honest Fried Chicken:
The HeartHeart and Soul of Southern Country Kitchens~
Ronni is also on the BOD with SFA.
Don't forget to check out "Cornbread Nation" also..... 5 Editions to Date. Great Reading, by Awesome Writers
http://southernfoodways...

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added almost 3 years ago

The ina garten cookbooks are great!

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added almost 3 years ago

Mark Bitman's How to Cook Everything is one of my main go to books. It's got so many of the basics like the Joy of Cooking as well as many not in it.

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added almost 3 years ago

When choosing for someone looking for a general reference and possessing a need to feed themselves, rather than a real desire to become a professional chef or at home aficionado- I recommend the New Best Cook Book from Americas Test Kitchen. A wide variety of staple recipes, technical explanation of why their version works as well as why other recipes may not produce the best results. Best fried chicken recipe and an excellent section on choosing olive oil and other ingredients with ubiquitous and indistinguishable brands.

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added almost 3 years ago

The Best Recipe by the editors of Cook's Illustrated is my go to cookbook. It is more than just a bunch of recipes, the editors also explain the various ingredients used and why the final "best recipe" was worked the best. Every year there is a new edition making it a great gift!

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added almost 3 years ago

The America's Test Kitchen full cookbook is amazing. They have all kinds of foods from the basics to baking and then what kinds of things that you should use as detailed as brands. It is my go to cookbook.

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added almost 3 years ago

How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. Bonus: it comes as an iPhone app.

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added almost 3 years ago

I recently got Lidia Bastianich s books. They are absolutely right on target. Also got Ann Burrell s cook book. Very simple and delicious recipes thy are out of mainstream yet excellent.

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added almost 3 years ago

Great Food Fast by Everyday Food!! The magazine is fantastic, too. Fresh Flavor Fast is also great!

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added over 2 years ago

Better Homes New Cook Book! This has every recipe from A to Z.

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added over 2 years ago

The Joy of Cooking is a great reference must- have, but unless you want recipes that tell you how to pluck the chicken feathers before cutting it up, you might want something more basic. I have hundreds of cookbooks from easy to professional level. My favorite all- around & most accessible is "Bon Appetit, Fast, Easy,Fresh" - excellent recipes that dont take all day to prepare. It's a large book, covering just about anything you would need. Bittman's book is OK, but I don't find myself using it much. Martha Stewart's first book is also nice, but limited (what's there is good but it's not comprehensive).

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added over 2 years ago

The "Everyday Food" series by Martha Stewart. There are three books and a magazine subscription. Easy, delicious, and inexpensive recipes!!

Peapod
added over 2 years ago

I am an avid cook and the book I regularly turn to is America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. There's loads of recipes, from simple to more complex. Everything is well explained and there's lots of photos.

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added over 2 years ago

Any book by Elizabeth David

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added over 2 years ago

Best Recipe (cooks illustrated). It's my go to book.

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added over 2 years ago

Best Recipe from cooks illustrated. Great resource.

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added over 2 years ago

The Splendid Tables "How to Eat Supper" by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift. Great week night meals that are unique and new. I love this cookbook. Very informative about the ingredients they ask you to use.

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added over 2 years ago

Most anything Cook's Illustrated, but especially their International Recipe edition.

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added over 2 years ago

One? Only one?? Tough choice, but for inspiring someone new to cooking I'd choose Alice Waters' The Art of Simple Food, full of fundamentals, fresh ingredients and delicious everyday recipes.

BUT, if I had two choices, Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything is indispensable -- his casual tone makes it feel like you're learning from an old friend.

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added over 2 years ago

I swear by the common sense cookbook.

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added over 2 years ago

I "learned" to cook many things from Cooking A to Z. It has good info on equipment and gadgets and covers a lot of basics as well as covers more difficult recipes. I think it provided the best/easiest to follow instruction for makin puff pastry as well. I honestly don't refer to it often at all anymore and find almost al recipes online now (except I rely on Carole Walter's Great Cakes), but it offers so much useful information and recipes (good basics) that if it were the ONLY cookbook you had, you could expand on it with your own experiments and preferences. It's a petty old book - I have no idea if it's still available or updated with modern info.

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added over 2 years ago

Can't pick just one, but everyone should read How To Cook a Wolf by MFK Fisher.

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added over 2 years ago

I love to cook. I especially like cookbooks with pictures and every recipe has a picture. I have over 100 of them and I always go back to Martha Stewart "Everyday Food: Great Food Fast". The backround is blue and it is a picture of a bowl of spaghetti. Everything I've made is very easy and fast. It's great for all levels. What's great about the cookbook is its seasonal. I really enjoy the recipes. A+
http://amzn.com/0307354164...

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added over 2 years ago

The modernist cuisine. Hands down. No competition.

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added over 2 years ago

Healthy Cooking for Two by Frances Price

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added over 2 years ago

Larousse gastronomique

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added almost 2 years ago

I would choose The Joy of Cooking because of the variety of recipes, the ease of preparation and the clarity of the directions.

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added almost 2 years ago

I love The Silver Spoon. It's a really large & wonderful italian cookbook. http://www.amazon.com/gp...

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added almost 2 years ago

Vietnamese Home Cooking by Charles Phan

Why: healthy and DELICIOUS

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added almost 2 years ago

Vietnamese Home Cooking by Charles Phan

Why: healthy and DELICIOUS