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Looking for recommendations for our first cookbook club?

We are having our first cookbook club meeting in August. I would like to offer up 4-5 titles to be voted on for the first meeting. I'd like to choose books that are accessible for any level cook and would appeal to a wide variety of home cooks. At the initial meeting we will generate a list for future selections but for this first meeting I want to keep it simple. Do you have any recommendations?

asked by Rachelwrites 6 months ago
19 answers 813 views
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Ali Slagle

Books Editor and Stylist at Food52.

added 6 months ago

Oh this is so fun!! I am obviously biased, but all of our books appeal to every level of cook: https://food52.com/shop...

This year's Piglet contenders might also be a fun place to find titles (and commentary about them): https://food52.com/shop...

Let me know if you need more recs—I've got plenty...

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added 6 months ago

Thanks! I was actually thinking about the Piglet.

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added 6 months ago

Side note: We meet at the library so I will most likely be placing the title on reserve so noting too "trendy" that the library wouldn't have or be able to get from a sister library.

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added 6 months ago

One of my daughter's first cookbook club offerings was How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. It's her favorite 3 years later. I recently saw it at my library.

Also, for a classic, Joy of Cooking. There's a revised edition that should be at the library.

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luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

added 6 months ago

I love Eluzabeth David's books, also Jane Grigson's. Another older cookbook is a recent subject of a Food52 article "Cooking for Poor Poets". Love Honey and Co from Piglwt Community Picks.

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pierino

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

added 6 months ago

Elizabeth David's books are classics.
Right now I'm reading Eric Ripert's 33 Yolks which is really more food memoir. I think books with a narrative structure are best for book groups . Along that line Ruth Reichert books combine narrative and recipez.

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BerryBaby

BerryBaby is trusted source on General Cooking

added 6 months ago

There are many, many, great cookbooks and it would be hard to select just one. For starters, though, I'd go with the classic Betty Crocker. My book is from the early 70's and to this day I refer to it for many recipes. It gives you all the basics.

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pierino

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

added 6 months ago

That should be 32 Yolks not 34. Sorry.

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ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added 6 months ago

Seems to me that you would want to choose books you know will be of interest to you and the other members. There's such a wide range of choices out there, without knowing your interests, I'd find it daunting to make a reco. Any of the Piglet lists would provide variety and good eating...

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added 6 months ago

My friends and I have recently started with the cookbook theme. Many of our first books were created by bloggers. That way, if you can't or don't have time to get your hands on the book, there are recipe options available online. (Smitten Kitchen, Pioneer Woman, etc.) Also, I agree that the ubiquitous The Joy of Cooking is so readily available that it's a good, easy option.

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added 6 months ago

I bought Donald Link's Real Cajun after eating at his restaurant Cochon in New Orleans, I really like his book.

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added 6 months ago

My cookbook club started with Ottolenghi's Plenty and it was a hit. Good for vegetarians and omnivores and lots of bright beautiful flavors. Since then we have done classics (Paula Woolfort's Couscous was particularly wonderful) as well blogs/websites devoted to a particular theme. It is of course easier to distribute recipes when they are online, but I started the group because I love cookbooks themselves so I always vote for an actual book. I find that my club tends to want to cook a particular cuisine rather than from a particular book-- for example we are having a Thai meal tomorrow night with no specific book (I am cooking from David Thompson's Thai Food). That is fun too-- and it can be fun to compare sources for similar dishes across multiple books. Anyway, have fun with your club!! I have fun with mine. Looking through the Piglet archives is a great idea-- you could compare your reactions with the reactions of the reviewer.

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added 6 months ago

*Wolfert

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PHIL

PHIL is a trusted home cook.

added 6 months ago

I like Giada Delaurentis' everyday Italian. All of the recipes are easy and everything I have made from the bookh as been liked. Maybe she is a little trendy but the book has been around for a while so your library should have it.,

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added 6 months ago

I think either Nigella Lawson's How to Eat or Meera Sodha's Made in India (from this year's Piglet) would be a good choice. Nigella's recipes are really good, and her writing is excellent - a great book to keep on the nightstand. You will return again and again to the recipes. My copy is dog-eared. Made in India has easy, colorful, mouthwatering recipes. Her basic basmati rice - fragrant and fluffy - is now my standard recipe for rice - even when I'm make my favorite shrimp creole recipe.

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added 6 months ago

How about starting with each member's favorite cookbook? It might be a good way to learn something about each member, and get a vibe as to what interests them. I think the Piglet selections are a good guide--start with previous Piglets because the current book selections may be unavailable thru the library due to demand.
You could review the old classics--what makes a good go-to cookbook? I'd also play "Around the World": pick countries at random, or based on member's heritage, or future travels. Think if you want to include baking books, or if that's a different group. You can also be guided by the calendar, with fall months focused on holiday cooking, winter on soups and stews, etc.
This time of year, I'd be interested in farm markets, grilling, and hot-weather foods that keep the kitchen cool.
Sounds like fun! I'd like to move to your neighborhood !

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added 6 months ago

These are great ideas! I am planning on asking for suggestions/favorites but I know first meetings can be awkward initially so I want to have a few books on hand just in case.

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added 6 months ago

I love the books by Ina Garten - her recipes are so relateable!

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added about 2 months ago

We got so many great suggestions. I compiled a list and choose some books from the local library. Last month, we choose Pioneer Month Dinnertime and ate Moroccan Stew, Italian Cream Cake, Fig and Prosscuito Pizza, Peanut Butter Brownies and Roasted Cauliflower. This month's book will be Holly Herrrick's Farmer's Market Cookbook. On the menu so far we have: Cherry Rice Pudding, Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes, Beef Cucumber Boats, Baked Apple Crisps, Hearty Sausage and Northern Bean Soup with Kale and Honey Glazed Carrots.