There are few greater joys than reading a good cookbook. Here’s ten selections we think are essential editions to anyone’s kitchen library. Please use the comment section below to include cookbook selections you may treasure. We’d love to hear from you.
1. Encyclopedia of Pasta (California Studies in Food and Culture) by Oretta Zanini
Spaghetti, gnocchi, tagliatellea, ravioli, vincisgrassi, strascinati–pasta in its myriad forms has been a staple of the Mediterranean diet longer than bread. This beautiful volume is the first book to provide a complete history of pasta in Italy, telling its long story via the extravagant variety of shapes it takes and the even greater abundance of names by which it is known. Food scholar Oretta Zanini De Vita traveled to every corner of her native Italy, recording oral histories, delving into long-forgotten family cookbooks, and searching obscure archives to produce this rich and uniquely personal compendium of historical and geographical information.
For each entry she includes the primary ingredients, preparation techniques, variant names for the same pasta, and the locality where it is made and eaten. Along the way, Zanini De Vita debunks such culinary myths as Marco Polo’s supposed role in pasta’s story even as she serves up a feast of new information. Encyclopedia of Pasta, illustrated throughout with original drawings by Luciana Marini, will be the standard reference on one of the world’s favorite foods for many years to come, engaging and delighting both general readers and food professionals. Get It Here
2. Mastering The Art of French Cooking, Volume One (1) (Vol 1) by Julia Child
“Has it really been 40 years since Julia Child rescued Americans from dreary casseroles? This reissue, clad in a handsome red jacket, is what a cookbook should be: packed with sumptuous recipes, detailed instructions, and precise line drawings. Some of the instructions look daunting, but as Child herself says in the introduction, ‘If you can read, you can cook.'” – Entertainment Weekly — Review
This is a must have cook book for the aspiring chef in all of us. Get It Here
Make It Fast, Cook It Slow is the first cookbook from Stephanie O’Dea, the extremely popular slow cooking blogger: affordable, delicious, nutritious, and gluten-free recipes to delight the entire family. The book itself contains over 300 fabulous, easy-to-make, family-pleasing recipes, including:
* Breakfast Risotto
* Tomatoes and Goat Cheese with Balsamic Cranberry Syrup
The inspiration for Stephanie was a New Year’s resolution: she’d use her slow cooker every single day for an entire year, and write about it on her very popular blog. Get It Here
4. Gourmet Today: More than 1000 All-New Recipes for the Contemporary Kitchen by Ruth Reichl
In no other period of our country’s history has the food scene changed so rapidly. Exciting new ingredients are available everywhere, expanding our culinary horizons. Even casual meals have globe-trotting flavors. We want memorable dishes, and we want them to be healthy for our families and our planet. And with our busy schedules, we want them on the table faster than ever. A new culinary world calls for a new cookbook. Gourmet Today responds to our changing foodscape with more vegetarian recipes, more recipes for popular dishes from every corner of the world, more recipes for stunning meals ready in 30 minutes or less, more simple ways to prepare all the vegetables in the farmers’ market, advice on choosing sustainable fish, chicken, and beef, tips on throwing an easy cocktail party, more recipes for flavorful techniques like grilling, and more recipes for the new ingredients flooding our market. Get It Here
5. The Pleasures of Cooking for One
Judith Jones is truly “having a moment,” which is a wonderful thing. This new book is sort of an offshoot of her earlier memoir, which had a short but terrific recipe section. It is a sublime book–thoughtfully designed, detailed but not pedantic, practical, accessible, utterly personal, and completely charming. I’m not sure there is another book out there like this one, which takes us shopping and then into the kitchen to make the most of both common items and ingredients or dishes it might never have occurred to us to try.
Her innovative cooking stay and easily accessible recipes give the book a great uniqueness among the picks. Get It Here
6. I Know How to Cook by Ginette Mathiot
The bible of traditional French home cooking, I Know How to Cook is to France what The Silver Spoon is to Italy. A best-seller since its first publication in 1932, it is now available in English for the first time. I Know How to Cook reveals all the secrets of good, simple French cooking and the foundations of modern cuisine. Containing more than 1,400 authentic, simple and easy-to-follow recipes, this classic text is fully updated for modern kitchens by experts in classic French cooking. French bistro food has grown hugely in popularity, and I Know How to Cook demonstrates how easy and accessible classic dishes like boeuf bourguignon and tarte tatin can be. Get It Here
7. Good Eats: The Early Years by Alton Brown
Alton Brown is a foodie phenomenon: a great cook, a very funny guy, and—underneath it all—a science geek who’s as interested in the chemistry of cooking as he is in eating. (Well, almost.) Here, finally, are the books that Brown’s legion of fans have been salivating for—two volumes that together will provide an unexpurgated record of his long-running, award-winning Food Network TV series, Good Eats. Get It Here
From “Pork Fiction” (on baby back ribs), to “Citizen Cane” (on caramel sauce), to “Oat Cuisine” (on oatmeal), every hilarious episode is represented. Each book—the second will be published in fall 2010—is illustrated with behind-the-scenes photos taken on the Good Eats set. Each contains more than 140 recipes and more than 1,000 photographs and illustrations, along with explanations of techniques, lots of food-science information (of course!), and more food puns, food jokes, and food trivia than you can shake a wooden spoon at.
8. Joy of Cooking: 75th Anniversary Edition – 2006 by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer
The much anticipated 75th anniversary edition of Irma Rombauer’s kitchen classic Joy of Cooking promises to be as indispensable as past editions of this generational favorite. In addition to hundreds of brand-new recipes, this Joy is filled with many recipes from all previous editions, retested and reinvented for today’s tastes.
This is a must have for cooks of all level. Get It Here
9, The Professional Chef by The Culinary Institute of America
This eighth edition of the standard textbook for professional chefs in the U.S. expands previous editions’ coverage of both the science and the art of cooking. The nation’s most prestigious training school for food careerists concentrates the essence of its course work within a comprehensive volume that competent students must master. Every aspect of the restaurant business is addressed, from nutrition and portion sizing to fiscal and human resource management. Sections on equipment, from major appliances to handheld tools, show the bond between chef and technology. Chapters on world cooking identify the most typical cooking processes and give examples of commonly appearing ingredients in each style. Recipes record classic preparations that form the foundation for myriad elaborations and personalization to move cooking from mere technique to high art. Although beyond the need of most home cooks, this massive tome is a necessary reference-collection purchase for any library whose community includes food-service-training programs. Get It Here
10. The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America’s Most Imaginative Chefs
Creative, self-motivated cooks who don’t demand recipes’ precise prescriptions will cheer the publication of this guide to the kingdom of taste. Addressing the nature of flavor and its role in cooking, the authors have gathered creativity and wisdom from dozens of the world’s best chefs. Page and Dornenburg define the aesthetic of flavor as a combination of taste, mouthfeel, aroma, and a mysterious factor perceived by the other senses and by the diner’s emotions. They then break down in hundreds of tables how ingredients’ flavors relate to one another. For example, the table for apples notes their affinity for cinnamon, pork, rum, and nuts. They also list the most common ingredients of national cuisines. In some cases, they note clashes, such as oysters and tarragon. This is a valuable reference for all aspiring chefs and sets down in print what has often been believed inexpressible. Get It Here