I thought it’d be fun to do a small post about my modest collection of cookbooks! The past summer, I really started collecting them. Then, in the fall, my parents shipped this collection from California to Chicago. The package never came. USPS lost all of them.
Since then, I’ve been rebuilding. Some new, some old. New ventures and replacements.
The saddest part was losing my dad’s original copy of The Moosewood Cookbook from the 70s. That one I’m still looking for; I want to find a 70s copy at a used bookstore to replace it.
I spend most of my recipe-hunting time online, through blogs, Pinterest and Tastespotting. The variety available online is astounding. You can literally type in any combination of ingredients and find something, somewhere. Most of my ideas come from inside my own head, and then I search to see how other people have executed that idea. But that doesn’t guarantee the recipe has been tested, or will even taste good! I’ve had several cooking fails from recipes online (usually from larger publications, rather than personal blogs), due to poorly written or poorly tested information.
Cookbooks, though? You can put a litte more stock in them. They’ve got a reputation to uphold. Their authors have (hopefully) had time and money to test them, and have only included the best of the best. Not everything will turn out great, but there’s certainly a much higher success rate with cookbooks than recipes online, in my opinion!
Below are three of my most commonly used cookbooks! In the another post at a later date, I will dive into the more obscure cookbooks I have.
This cookbook is my favorite for international recipes. They’re all vegetarian recipes, but meat-eaters would hardly even notice. I didn’t for a long time. It’s divided up by country, with wonderful explanations about culture and food. It’s great for planning a party menu (I composed an entire 3-course meal from the Italy chapter), or your average weeknight dinner. There’s a range of skill levels, but for the most part, they’re not very complex. I haven’t made a single bad thing from it yet, and I don’t think it’s possible!
The only book I’ve ever pre-ordered! I’ve been following Deb’s blog for a couple years now. She was one of my major inspirations as I began cooking (along with Joy and Heidi). I couldn’t wait for the book to come out because her recipes are meticulously tested, and she only uses complicated techniques or rare ingredients when they really make a difference in the end result. Everything has tasted amazing, from the Wild Rice Gratin, to the Popcorn Cookies. Yes, popcorn in cookies. The photos are beautiful, and her stories are witty and entertaining, per usual.
The perfect cookbook for a single girl with a sweet tooth! On both her blog and in her cookbook, Joy draws you in and makes you feel like you’re old friends. Her recipes are unabashedly sweet and delicious, but without the fuss. Her first chapter begins, “From a sometimes messy, sometimes understocked, mostly delicious kitchen.” Doesn’t that sound like yours, too? Not to mention she has an entire chapter called, “I think I just ate chocolate for dinner.” I’ve loved all the recipes I’ve tried because they’re fun and sweet, yet practical.