People always ask me what are my favorite cookbooks? It is a good question but it is something that always stops me as I don’t know. I love my cookbooks and my dream would be to have a cookbook library and reference for all of us who love to cook. I would love to search the world for the first cookbook and all kinds of books about food.
I couldn’t sleep the other night and began to think of my collection of cookbooks and which ones I really love and the ones I feel are needed but I may not use them all the time but they are a good book to have in my arsenal. Some of my books are from favorite places, some are favorite chefs and some appeal to me because of the subject or/and cuisine.
If I had to pick a few that I feel are important to a cookbook collection because not only are the recipes exceptional, but you learn something as well. These are the ones I would suggest:
- The Complete Meat Cookbook By Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly
2. The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone By Deborah Madison
3. The Joy of Cooking By Rombauer, Becker, and Becker
4. The Perfect Scoop By David Lebovitz
5. The Cookies and Cups Cookbook By Shelly Jaronsky
6. Ottolenghi Simple and Sweet By Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh
7. Barefoot Contessa and Ina Garten, all 12 are great
9. Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home By Julia Child and Jacques Pepin
10. Cookbooks put out by the publishers: Rizolli and Phaidon are always beautiful, detailed and ones to put on display. I have a few of these books. I have two on Italian cooking: La Cucina: Regional Cooking of Italy and The Silver Spoon: breaks down every ingredient with recipes. I have a Greek cookbook that has delicious recipes, Vefa’s Kitchen. These books are huge but filled with amazing recipes from the old country and the most beautiful pictures.
Rizolli has a cookbook that I love but don’t use a lot called, “101 Classic Cookbooks: 501 classic recipe.” I love these books as there is so much to learn even if they just inspire.
Another favorite that I use more seasonally is The Jimtown Store Cookbook. I tend to use it more in the summer and winter. Jimtown Store was a favorite place to meet friends for delicious breakfasts and lunches. It was the place you always brought guests from out of town. I had my bridal lunch there over 18 years ago. Carrie Brown was the proprietor and has the best style and taste. She sold candy, cards, antiques, old school toys, cookbooks, tablecloths, local nonperishable items but everything was whimsical. We miss it dearly. Carrie Brown is someone I look up to and admire.
I get a lot of inspiration from these books also there are recipes which I revisit often. I have so many cookbooks on all topics: Baking, obviously as I love to bake, but I love Indian cooking, Middle Eastern Cooking, Tagine Cooking, Asian Cooking, Mediterranean cooking and learning new techniques.
Most of the time cookbooks are my bedtime reading. I love finding recipes to make for friends and family. I am blessed with a family of good eaters and they really eat everything. I do get the occasional kickback but I feel it is important to expose them to all these delicious flavors, spices, herbs and textures.
I grew up eating well but not exposed to different kinds of food. My family weren’t fish eaters and I love fish and we eat it at least twice a week. We ate a lot of Chinese and Italian food but that was it. When I was 14, I went to England and Scotland with a youth group and I was exposed to Indian food which I fell in love with. Later in college I spent a year studying in London and fell in love with cuisines from all over the world. When I wasn’t in school I spent most weekends visiting countries all over Europe. I love to cook using spices from all over the world to jazz up a dish. A little goes along way but it is all in the simplicity of cooking. When roasting vegetables, like cauliflower, I toss it in olive oil with a little Zatar. Zatar is a Middle Eastern herb that is a blend of Sumac, thyme, Sesame and salt. It is delicious roasted on vegetables, chicken pork and fish.