So people keep mentioning their favorite cookbooks under the cooking gear thread, so I figured why not just start a new one where everyone can tell about all those wonderful recipe collections we just have to own:
Pei Mei's Chinese Cookbook Volume 1: The single best Chinese cookbook I've ever found; incredibly authentic and amazingly tasty. Most of the recipes are even fairly fast/easy, though you'll probably need some new ingredients.
The Border Cookbook by Cheryl and Bill Jamison: a wonderful collection of border food recipes which are all fantastic. My burrito recipe that I posted started life as one of their recipes before being mutated beyond recognition. They also have excellent cookbooks on both grilling and smoking, though I don't have the names off the top of my head.
The Indian Menu Planner, Roli and Janssen BV 2002: The cookbook that really got me started on Indian food. Just another good authentic cookbook.
The African and Middle Eastern cookbook, Josephine Bacon and Jenni Fleetwood: This actually isn't where I've gotten most of my middle eastern recipes, but it has a lot of interesting food that I largely hadn't been exposed to before. This is one I actually need to get back to, because I haven't done enough with it.
The Cuisine of the Rose, Mireille Johnston: A great cookbook for classical French cooking, mostly from Burgundy and Lyonnais (she has at least one other for another region of France).
The Foods & Wines of Spain, Penelope Casas: Everything in this cookbook is to die for, and from what I've seen of her other works Penelope Casas is pretty much the authority on Spanish food.

fairnymph's picture


The Joy of Cooking
The Pie & Pastry Bible

MeiLin's picture

Most High

I don't have any of those!

Washoku--Japanese homestyle cooking, complete with the philosophy (washoku) behind Japanese cooking. Beautiful book, too. A recent acquisition and already a favorite.

The Joy of Cooking--The older the version, the better. Their baking recipes are unsurpassed.

How to Cook Everything--Mr Bittman's classic that "teaches a man to fish" rather than teaches him how to cook it. Once you've read through it, you really can cook just about anything, without recipes.

Anything about food by MFK Fisher--A major influence on my life and my writing. Not so much cookbooks as meditations on food and life.

Good, Cheap Food--Harder to find, and worth it.

Laurel's Kitchen--Earnest, often leaden '70s vegetarian health food with a life-changing forward and the occasional great recipe.

Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone--Deborah Madison is a goddess, and I say that as a non-vegetarian. If you like fancy-schmancy company food, her The Greens Cookbook is amazing, too, but it's not everyday food.

Paisleigh's picture


-The Joy of Cooking, 75th Anniversary
-The Chinese and Asian Kitchen Bible
-The Pasta Bible (these two were in a set for under ten bucks! Of course I bought them :D)
-The Complete Book of Indian Cooking
-The Pillsbury Cookbook
-Better Homes and Gardens 1986 Best Recipes Yearbook (a gift from my ex's mother)
-Food Network Favorites
-Sharp Carousel Microwave Cookbook (a gift from a manager at my current place of employment)
-Practical Chocolate
-Brady Lake Women's Club Cookbook (gift from one of my neighbors. . .yeah)
-The George Forman yada yada Machine Cookbook (found at a thrift store for a couple of bucks)
Then there are the recipe sights I used to go to:
Yup. . . I have a lot of cookbooks. Unfortunately, due to my living arrangements I don't get to do a whole heck of a lot of major cooking (I'm resigned to mac and cheese, quesadillas and prepackaged fish. Although I can get a bit creative. It just takes time. . . .which I don't have a lot of right now Sad ) Yup.

amiciaN's picture


You have hit upon one of my (many) weaknesses; I collect cookbooks. Here are a few of my favorites:

Joy of Cooking-- I already mentioned this one in the cooking gear thread, but for the sake of our beloved Most High, I have the 1975 edition. Wink

Wise Encyclopedia of Cooking-- the 1977 edition

The Betty Crocker Cookbook-- The red one. I got my copy in 1978. It was my first cookbook and the poor thing looks like it's been through hell... oh wait, it has been. Blum 3

The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook-- From sometime in the 60's; it's missing the first 9 pages. It's in a 3-ring binder and has a red-and-white checked cover.

The Betty Crocker New Picture Cookbook-- Again from the 60's, again missing the first few pages and also a 3-ring binder style book.

What Einstein Told His Cook-- As much for the pleasure of reading it as for the recipes.

Je sais cuisiner by Ginette Mathiot-- This one is a treasured gift from my Master. A French basic cookbook--in French >.

On my wish list-- A 60's era copy of The Betty Crocker Cookie Book. If you like cookies, this one's a gem. My stepmother had a copy and I think I tried about 75% of them between the ages of 8 and 15.

The rest of the 140+ cookbooks and cookbook-lets that fill 4 shelves and the 4 recipes boxes stuffed with hand copied recipes, and magazine/newspaper clippings. I'll hush now.....

MeiLin's picture

Most High

My mama had that one! I loved just LOOKING at it when I was little! OOH! They have a facsimile edition: Betty Crocker's Cooky Book I'm getting teary and nostalgic just looking at it, especially since I can't have any of the cookies any more.

My first cookbook was the Betty Crocker Cookbook for Boys and Girls. It was yellow, I think, or possibly blue, with a proud boy holding a chocolate batter-covered wooden spoon and his two adoring sisters looking on, if creaky memory serves. They didn't have my edition in facsimile, just the original '57 version. Mine was from the mid-60s; I can't find it anywhere. Sad I made baking powder biscuits from it with my best friend, except we couldn't find baking powder so we used baking soda. Yeah.

Tolovana's picture


First, it was yellow. . .mostly . .

And you have a few options for obtaining it.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

that's it! Smile

kawaiikune's picture


the Joy of Cooking. That book really taught me the basics of cooking, since I never cooked anything until I grew up and moved away. I had to learn everything from the ground up. My latest find in there was a wonderful chocolate mousse recipe, and it's so long that I can always find something new to try.
I also have a Fanny Farmer and a Betty Crocker, but I don't even think I've ever opened either of them.
My favorite cookbook, though, is the collection of recipes on index cards I have in an old photo album. Everyone knows I'm always looking for a new recipe, and those are some of my favorites. Some even came from my grandmother or great grandmother.

The Which's picture


Here's my cookbook

I go to the fridge/cupboard and pick two or three ingredients I have on hand, type them into google, and see what I get. The resulting dinner is usually a result of two or three combined recipes. That is how I ended up eating a vegetarian "shepard's pie" with pink mashed potatoes on top. (the pink was from beets. Also, I took pictures that I will eventually post with a recipe, because it is the coolest/grossest food you've ever seen.)

Also I own dozens of cookbooks but I primarily use these for reading during commercial breaks (while watching the food network Wink )

ETA: using this method to pull together dinner is really helpful for not wasting food.

Tolovana's picture


It's hard to narrow it down. .
The Joy of Cooking (two versions, one of them a 'wedding' white leather edition, complete with a perfectly burned electric burner pattern on the cover. (ooops!)
What to cook when you think there's nothing in the house to eat - Arthur Schwartz
Cooking for American HomeMakers (I Love the menu section.)
Good Recipes for Hard Times - Louise Newton
More with Less
French Cooking in 10 minutes
All About Home Baking - 1933 I learned to bake from this book. It's totally scientific, down to the long sleeved button front nurses dresses the headless bodies doing the cooking wore. :O

So many cookbooks, so many evenings with no time to cook.

V's picture


Somehow the electric burner pattern would almost add to the value for me. I mean...ok...nice, durable book...and clearly getting some good use Smile

kawaiikune's picture


pick out my favorite recipes by which ones are splattered in sauce, or have burn marks, or have been otherwise marred by their frequency of use. That's how I remember which ones are good.

Davik's picture


See, that's a good indicator, but in general I stick my cookbooks behind a plastic cookbook holder. That said, I don't ever really cook anything according to the recipe, so most of my favorites in the cook books are either marked in my mind, or have pencil marks in the margin.

fairnymph's picture


I know exactly what you mean. But the food splatters are the best. I have a few versions of the Joy of Cooking, and it's interesting to see which editions I use for which recipes and how often...

I also keep a binder of recipes I've printed out and my own recipes, and those too show their frequency of use.

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