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Your top ten list

a1wang's picture

Your top ten list (post #62704)

I don't know if this has been asked before, but given the number of people with sizeable and ever-growing cookbook collections, what would be on your "top ten" list? doesn't have to be that many, top three or four or five would be fine. I realize that there are many reasons to value a book--so if you can throw in a couple of words or lines about "why" that would be fabulous!

transona5's picture

(post #62704, reply #1 of 23)

Hmm, don't know if I can come up with ten, as i'm not home and can't go look. In no particular order:

1 and 2.

Cookwise by Shirley Corriher, and Culinary Artistry by those two people whose names I can't remember. Shirley's for the hows and whys of food science, and the other one as a nice cross reference for when you're stumped for meat/veg//herb/spice combinations. And the chicken with wild mushrooms recipe from Cookwise that utilises White Burgundy wine is great. Comfort food at its finest.

3. Baking With Julia

Fantastic recipes from a great group of bakers - and not a stinker recipe in the bunch (the potato bread, challah, white sandwich bread, naan, and pita are all fantastic!).

4. Complete Meat by Bruce Aidalls - The title says it all

5. The American Woman's Cookbook and the Joy of Cooking - my primers.

6. Cocolat by Alice Medrich

7. Essentials of Italian Cooking - Marcella Hazan

I told you i'd run out of titles! I need to look and see what i've forgotten!



Wolvie's picture

(post #62704, reply #2 of 23)

in no particular order: {this is acutally pretty hard, now that I look at my initial list - I may be back for inserts /changes ;-) }

Simply Ming /any Ming Tsai books - versatile recipes, sauces that can be used with anything, some spectacular over the top presentations for those special occasions

Anything by Patricia Wells ( I have a few, hard to chose between)

Any of the America's Best recipe series of books - culls all the papers, mags, books, etc, and provides tested recipes from all the above - great resource

Baking With Julia

Fields of Greens - great veggie book

Hot Sour Salty Sweet

Mustard's Grill

The Bread Baker's Apprentice

Paula Wolfert - anything by her

Simple to Spectacular or Jean Georges (bothl by Jean Georges Vongerichten) in a tie with the Rick Bayless's first 2 cookbooks.

So  many more....



 No mans error becomes his own Law; nor obliges him to persist in it

THOMAS HOBBES, Leviathan, part 2, p. 237 (1950).

Edited 4/18/2006 8:00 am ET by Wolvie


SallyBR1's picture

(post #62704, reply #3 of 23)

I would like to inform you that I will be avoiding this thread like a plague

(there, I feel better)



"The beauty of a Sally is how neatly she can be divided"
(CookiMonster, Dec 2005)

Marcia's picture

(post #62704, reply #6 of 23)

You're not doing very well so far. :)

SallyBR1's picture

(post #62704, reply #12 of 23)

OH, well... I do my best




"The beauty of a Sally is how neatly she can be divided"
(CookiMonster, Dec 2005)

Marcia's picture

(post #62704, reply #13 of 23)

I understand completely since I also suffer from cookbook lust. I'm better than I used to be, but perhaps it's just that I have soooo many. That doesn't even cover all the other books. Our son's first word was book, so you get the idea.

SallyBR1's picture

(post #62704, reply #14 of 23)

I need help

Just ordered "THe Essentials of Italian COoking" by Marcella Hazan. To get free shipping I included "My Life in France"


(le sigh)



"The beauty of a Sally is how neatly she can be divided"
(CookiMonster, Dec 2005)

Marcia's picture

(post #62704, reply #15 of 23)

You will never regret having "Essentials". Try the roast chicken with lemon. It's so simple you won't believe how delicious it is.

"My Life in France" is still in the box with a few paperpack mysteries I wanted to get free shipping. I am so not the person you need to discourage you from buying cookbooks.

I would be a member of The Good Cook but for the sad fact that I'm unable to choose five books. I simply cannot make the choice. Talk about le sigh.

SallyBR1's picture

(post #62704, reply #16 of 23)

Ok, let's assume that we are hopeless cases.

I still need some kind of an act to put up as I open the package in front of hubby, and reveal yet ANOTHER cookbook that needs to find a cozy spot in the house.

(le sigh indeed)



"The beauty of a Sally is how neatly she can be divided"
(CookiMonster, Dec 2005)

Marcia's picture

(post #62704, reply #17 of 23)

My dear, wait until you've been collecting for over thirty years. Some things one just has to live with. (Triple le sigh.)

You know what? I just wouldn't worry about it. You use those books and make wonderful new dishes all the time. I'm at the point that I almost never use a recipe but get ideas from new books and go back to very old ones for good reading and inspiration.

BTW, we are NOT hopeless cases...we are creative cooks and avid readers. Can that be bad? Still, it might be wise to open the packages out of Phil's presence. :)

Risottogirl's picture

(post #62704, reply #19 of 23)

I just keep stuff in the trunk of my car until he is not around and then sneak it in and get rid of the bags, packaging, etc. Then IF he notices and IF he asks, I just shrug and say "This? Gosh, I have had this for a while...hmm I think you were with me when I bought it" or " don't you remember, you picked up the box at UPS when it came ages ago".

It has never failed. If it is clothing or shoes, I just say I bought it in France.


Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor

Bobby Flay

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

transona5's picture

(post #62704, reply #20 of 23)

LOL!!!! I used to throw record albums in their bags on the roof and climb out my bedroom window to get them! Mama would have had a fit if she saw that I payed $11 for an import LP back in '82. At least the cassettes were easier to get in the house!



transona5's picture

(post #62704, reply #22 of 23)

I just remembered another.

The Cake Bible - Rose Levy Beranbaum

No spell boy today.


Edited 4/19/2006 1:35 pm ET by transona5


MadMom's picture

(post #62704, reply #21 of 23)

My mom used to bring in new clothes with the cleaning.  If Dad noticed, her reply would always be "This old thing?  I just picked it up from the cleaners, surely you remember it."  I'm not sure it fooled him, but it worked for them.

Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!

a1wang's picture

(post #62704, reply #10 of 23)

whoa! This is cool. when trying to come up with my own list, I realized that there are the old standbys (Essentials of Italian cooking, Weekend Baker, Trattoria by P Wells, Vegetarian Cooking by D Madison. the Way to Cook, The Chinese Kitchen by Deh-Ta Hsiung) But also books that I just love--either to look at and/or read, (Zuni Cafe, Hot Sour Salty Sweet) even though I don't actually cook from them that often.

It is neat to see other books by favorite authors and I am so intrigued by some of the others. I read about jamie oliver all the time, but have never actually cooked anything by him. Same with Rick Bayless.

interesting also to see who has not come up yet. I have never been successful with anything by Nick Malgieri.

MadMom's picture

(post #62704, reply #11 of 23)

Nick Malgieri is an a$$.  I have two of his cookbooks, but never cook from either of them.  I have to say that my very favorite cookbook, simply because of the challenge it provides, is Wild Sweets.  Making the desserts from that cookbook is such a labor of love, especially for the two of us, and the flavor combinations are outstanding.  I think it may be out of print, but I do love it.  If I ever get settled again, I might celebrate by doing something from that book.  It's not one of those "must have" books like Joy of Cooking or Baking With Julia, but it has to be my favorite.  I do also enjoy How to Cook Without a Book, by Pam Anderson...really a good way to encourage experimentation and madmomming recipes, which, of course, I love to do.  So many cookbooks, so little time.

Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!

beebuzzled's picture

(post #62704, reply #4 of 23)

In no particular order:

Classic Home Desserts - Richard Sax

Baking With Julia

The Naked Chef Takes Off - Jamie Oliver

Happy Days With the Naked Chef - Jamie Oliver

Jamie's Dinners - Jamie Oliver

Trattoria Cooking - Biba Caggiano

The Bread Book - Linda Collister

The Baking Book - Linda Collister

La Varenne Pratique - Anne Willan

Foolproof Indian Cooking - Madhur Jaffrey

I'm trying very hard to resist adding to this list.

Why is the rum always gone?  Captain Jack Sparrow
whatscooking's picture

(post #62704, reply #5 of 23)

In no particular order, at this moment in time, I could not live without:


Rick Bayless':  Authentic Mex, Mexican Kitchen, One Plate at a Time

Bruce Aidells:  Complete Meat

Bruce Cost:  Big Bowl

Nina Simonds:  Spoonful of Ginger and Spices of Life

Joy of Cooking (for the biscuits, mac and cheese, beef stew)

Deborah Madison:  Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone


Chicago-style deep-dish:  "Pizza for people who just aren't fat enough"
Anthony Bourdain

Magic Chef's picture

(post #62704, reply #7 of 23)

It depends on what you need and your skill level. Here are my favorites for everyday basics:

Joy of Cooking new edition is very comprehensive.

The New Best Recipes from the authors of Cooks Illustrated and the folks on America's Test kitchen. Detailed explanations of recipes tested in many different ways. If you are analytical you will love this.

Jacques Pepin's Complete Techniques-- gives you the basics of everything from making soup stock to knife skills.  I'ts almost like taking a cooking course.

Cooking School Secrets for Real World Cooks, Carrucci -- Lots of intriguing culinary information and some good recipes

Julia Child the Way To Cook -- Classic master recipes with extended variations. I have never had one of these recipes fail.

Julia and Jacques Cooking at home-- Master recipes prepared from different perspectives.

Other favorites:

Greens Cookbook, Deborah Madison-- Vegetarian recipes--I especially like the soups

Bistro Cooking, Patricia Wells--This has some of the best potato gratin and beef stew recipes on the planet.

And, believe it or not, Martha Stewart's Hors D'Oeuvres Handbook-- A comprehensive resource with wonderful illustrations.


pamilyn's picture

(post #62704, reply #8 of 23)

Julia, The Way to Cook because it's signed  by Julia and because it was expensive, I couldn't afford it and my dear sweet Dad bought it for me for christmas even though $25.00 was the limit and my dear dad isn't here anymore.   And it's a cool book.

Many others, but my heart would be broken if I lost that one......Pamilyn

edit to add, I love and use all the Best of Books Wolvie mentioned

The purpose of Art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls

Edited 4/18/2006 3:46 pm ET by pamilyn

The purpose of Art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls

Iguana's picture

(post #62704, reply #9 of 23)

Good question-- I've enjoyed others' answers.

1. The complete meat cookbook, Bruce Adeills
This book is a great resource for cooking any type of meat, choosing cuts, and getting the most for your money. The brined pork chops are excellent. It tickles M. that this book does not consider poultry to be meat.

2. Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, Deborah Madison
Okay, a bit contradictory with the first choice, but great inspiration for farmers market season.

3. The Weekend Baker, Abby Dodge
I love love love this book. Every recipe I've tried has turned out great. The banana-nut muffins, the emergency blender cupcakes, and so on. The recipes are beautifully streamlined and appealing. More, please Abby!

4. Baking with Julia
For when I want to get fancier. I have had great luck with both the simple and artisinal breads and long to try the danish recipes. Someday.

Okay, I can't think of any more right now; maybe later.

butterscotch's picture

(post #62704, reply #18 of 23)

I want to suggest a few more obscure favorites of my own.  The authors are well known food writers who haven't become household words like Julia, Jacques, Marcella, and Ina.

Cucina Simpatica by George Germon and Johanne Killeen--A great book of trattoria-style recipes, Italian in inspiration with new American components.  Great recipes for bean soups; a variety of very interesting baked pastas, ideal for feeding crowds; and a very original dessert chapter featuring fruit gratins and crostatas.

Country Baking by Ken Haedrich--This covers a lot of territory. Scrumptious and unusual quiches, pizzas, savory strudels, breads, cookies, cakes and pies, all done in kind of a down home American style--and using at least some whole grain flours.

Ann Clark's Fabulous Fish--This is my personal favorite collection of fish recipes. Highly practical for ease of preparation yet creative. Fish baked in a Moroccan lemon-spice marinade, hot a crunch stir-fried shrimp with sesame seeds, grilled swordfish with sun-dried tomato butter. Yum, yum.

a1wang's picture

(post #62704, reply #23 of 23)

Butterscotch has thrown out a tempting twist on the question--what are your favorite most underrated, unheard-of, unpublicized books?