Most used cookbook? And how?
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My workhorse is American Wholefoods Cuisine. My wife finally replaced my first copy as she couldn't stand to see it laying around the kitchen (it was a mess).
If I'm headed out shopping I'll read through a few recipes that match the season and what ever I'm hungry for. Then I'll look for produce that may fit in with the recipes I read through. If I have a fridge full of food I go through the cookbook mixing and matching to use up food that needs to be cooked.
If we're entertaining I'll go for other cookbooks but still have a hard time sticking to the recipe.
I still reach for the Silver Palate after all these years, and classics like "Clementine in the Kitchen" and anything by Elizabeth David.
I do not have The Joy of Cooking, hence I cannot voice an opinion on its merits or demerits.
Speaking of killing the chicken, Katylit, have you ever seen the old and opinionated George Leonard Herter books, Bull Cook and Authentic Historical Recipes and Practices (Vol I & II) which could send a city slicker like me straight to Safeway! He includes instructions for dispensing and dressing squirrel, snapping turtles, vs. deer along with making whiskey. I haven't cooked many of his recipes but his helpful hints are invaluable (how to quit smoking, use apples as tranquilizers, eat red pepper for nervous stomachs and survive a hydrogen bomb).
I must align myself with the Joy of Cooking haters, though my copy of The Joy of Cooking Christmas Cookies has seen a lot of use.
Very unfortunately I have to keep a serious eye on saturated fat and cholesterol because of macular degeneration (there is, apparently, a link). "If I eat that, I'll go blind" is an effective deterrent! I suspect my go-to list of cookbooks will change dramatically as I experiment with healthier alternatives (i.e. not traditional American cooking).
I recently received Cook with Jamie by Jamie Oliver. Normally I could take or leave his books, but this one is brilliant. Excellent recipies - most of which I woudl gladly cook. His cheesy peas is a work of art in simplicity.....
I also refer to Stephanie Alexander's The Cook's Companion. It covers pretty much everything you need to know about food. She's a legend here in Australia.
My parents have a classic Mrs beeton's work, which they still use a s a reference from time to time. I've been keeping an eye out at second hand stalls ever since.
I could probably list a dozen cookbooks of theirs off the top of my head that I absolutely wish I had (although now that I have More With Less and Joy of Cooking, the list is a bit shorter). They cook. They cook all the time. And they have three...four? And a half? Or something? Shelves full of cookbooks to help them.
That sounds like a fascinating book. I've often wanted to learn why things do what, instead of just following recipes, because I often don't have exactly the ingrediants needed for any given one...nor would I necessarily like it made that way. But if I knew why ingredient x or y was used, I might be able to figure out a substitute from my understocked kitchen that will satisfy my picky tastebuds.
Those are the marks of a well-used cookbook! My parents' copies of some cookbooks can be opened directly to some of the favorite recipes, because the pages are a different color, they've sat open there so much over the years in the heat and humidity (and spillage ;).
Hi Linda, what do you hate about The Joy of Cooking? I never considered that there would be "haters" for this book.
I also get a lot of work out of Seductions of Rice, the Sunset International Vegetarian Cook Book, and Madhur Jaffrey Indian Cooking. (For all of which the touchstones are refusing to load, GRRR!)
BTW .. our family are long time Joy of Cooking, Fannie Farmer and Culinary Institute of America fans ... guess there's always room for one more if it's really good!
Sorry, I have just had an antipathy to it the few times I have used it; I'm not saying it's a reasonable reaction, just a prejudice I've held for a long time. I have rediscovered Julia's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" this year, and am spending most of my time with that, these days.
I don't have good reasons for most of my strong dislikes; my distaste for the actress Andie McDowell is famous at our house and among our friends.
Both Brad Pitt and Tyra Banks should forced to stay in a cave until they get some talent!
there is a book by someone named Julia whose last name I don't remember, who cooked every recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, vol. 1 at the rate of one recipe per day for a year. she had a small kitchen but a great time, and got an adorable book out of it besides the wonderful meals. sorry i don't remember her last name. the book is something like Julia cooks Julia Child also Julia's my life in france is charming.
My most-used reference isn't A book but the series Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery. It lets me see pictures of little-known vegetables, for example, and learn origins, storage tips, and methods of preparation, as well as recipes. I use it to find ethnic recipes for our annual missions dinner, as well as regional American recipes.
Note to bluesalamanders: I recommend Cooking Without Recipes by Helen Worth to show patterns for various foods--like cake or meatloaf or quick breads. It really doesn't eliminate recipes, but it does help you know why certain ingredients are necessary and when you can substitute or eliminate.
I'm so glad I 'm not the only one who does that! the trick is not to get too engrossed in the plot. An uncomfortable chair/no chair at all sometimes helps.
I've only got one Slater book Real Good food and find it virtually useless, as well as littered with annoying non-recipes all of which still get an index entry. grrr.
Last night we cooked Seafood coconut curry with lime (around pg. 504.). The recipe needs a bit of tweeking or maybe a better cook but we agreed that the tropical meal helped combat the snow and ice that was falling outside.
It never occurred to me that there would be JOC haters - what is at issue here?
And I'm now wondering where my copy of Real Good Food went. I haven't seen it recently but I'm sure no one else would want it. Several of the pages are glued together following rather messy cooking sessions...
Also, My Kafka's Soup cookbook came today!!!!!! It's incredible! It's one of those books you read and the whole time you're thinking "I wish I'd thought of that!"
My favourite cookbooks for browsing & enjoying the pictures (more than actually using) are Tessa Kiros's Falling Cloudberries and Apples for Jam; some of Ainsley Harriott's books and Donna Hay magazines.
I have other books I love, but I have to say that the three Donna Hay books I have - Off the Shelf, Modern Classics 1 and 10 Minute Meals - get a regular beating at my house! The Modern Classics one especially has recipes for things that are so simple no-one ever teaches you how (gravy! white sauce!) They're great for meals you can get home from work and whip up - and usually be good for you!
East Meets West by Barbara Jayson and Jenny de Montfort - fusion food by all the top celebrity chefs - the banana Tarte Tatin is fabulous :)
The City of London Cook Book by Peter Gladwin - great British recipes plus loads of quirky facts etc about the City of London
Linda, I have to agree with you on The Joy of Cooking. I also dislike it; I've made a few things from it and none of them had any zing. However, I have found it a good source of inspiration for making holiday cookies.
Re: Joy, I have my mother's copy, and my first copy (wedding present 1974) and yesterday I broke the spine on the "new" Joy (2000 or so). It is still the "go to" cookbook.
"Do such and such." "How?" "Look it up...."
Everyday Italian : 125 simple and delicious recipes by Giada De Laurentiis because everthing seems to come out wonderful.
For cakes, I use . For pies, I often use Ken Haedrich's . For certain Asian dishes, I use by Jacki Passamore (couldn't live without that one). I often use and . I use Maida Heatter's cookie book a lot, and Ceri Hadda's is one I turn to often, also. I also love and use frequently Maryana Vollstedt's .
Ones I use less frequently, but turn to repeatedly for certain things are: Beatrice Ojakangas's and , Sheryl and Mel London's , Elizabeth Riely's , Nick Malgieri's ,Martha Stewart's and , and Mollie Katzen's Moosewood cookbooks as well as her .
It's fun to think about this. Usually I'm just grabbing a book that I know will have a recipe that will use up the ingredients I have on hand and don't give it too much thought that it's this one or that one over and over.
Sometimes I grab a book off the shelf and see if there's something in there that I've forgotten about and make something new that way.
Joy of Cooking
The Cake Bible (Beranbaum)
The Encyclopedia of Asian Food and Cooking (Passamore)
The Big Book of Casseroles (Vollstedt)
Great Scandinavian Baking Book (Ojakangas)
Chocolate Lover's Cookies & Brownies (Ojakangas)
Versatile Grain and Elegant Bean (London)
A Feast of Fruits (Riely)
How to Bake (Malgieri)
Hors D'Oeuvres Handbook (Stewart)
Martha Stewart Living Cookbook
Still Life with Menu (Katzen)
*edited to say: O.K., the brackets don't show up and they are puzzling as to what book I meant by enclosing nothing, so I'll just do one and see if that works. Anyway, it is the straight brackets not the wiggly ones. I have never been at peace with proper terms. ;)
But I would say the cookbook that I use the most often is The Cake Bible. It is good for any occassion--not just for the recipes but for the techniques and information. (Does it count as a cookbook if I use it for information and not recipes? Or is it a cooking encyclopedia?)
Like many of you, I love to read cookery books, but usually only to get an idea of what I want to do. I haven't really started adding to my list from that shelf yet...
But this one gives so many great ideas that are manageable too! I've only got it 3 weeks, but I've already made quite a few recipes out of it, and they are just wonderful.
Agree completely. Gastronomy, reference, entertainment, and battered covers with stained pages!
It changes over time. When i started out in 1977 it was the PWMU (Presbyterian Women's Union) Cookbook, the little spiral-bound volume with basic advice and recipes which has been updated a few times since. I soon acquired A Taste For All Seasons by Beverley Sutherland Smith. I still cook from it, in fact had to get another copy when the original fell apart. The recipes pre-date EVO, food processors and microwaves, but I have adapted them as appropriate.
Nowadays my first choice go-to cookbook is Stephanie Alexander's The Cook's Companion. I also cook a lot from various books by Jill Dupleix, David Herbert and my great favourite Nigel Slater.
I also have a wonderful app, My Recipe Book. It is the electronic equivalent of clipping recipes out of printed publications. So far I have 507 recipes, many from The Guardian and The Observer, and I cook from it frequently.
Nowadays, though, I rely a lot on recipes collected from the web or typed from family card-recipe collection, titling them with major ingredients and other searchable terms (e.g., frittata) and YUM if they've become go-to favourites. I save them to folders--appetizers, condiments & sauces, soups, entrees, etc. Back-up, of course!
I'm fond of church-lady cookbooks because they reflect home cooking with easily accessible ingredients and techniques that don't require special equipment. I don't have the budget for a lot of fancy stuff.
I've also got a three-ring notebook with handwritten recipes, clippings, and magazines that I use an awful lot. I offered to make up a recipe book for my nieces and nephew with all the old family recipes, but bless their hearts, one is vegan, one is vegetarian, and the last one (the nephew) was only marginally interested. So I decided it was too much work.
>93 TLCrawford: I've used that one a lot, too.
I still love Nigel Slater, although his Eat is probably the one I use most now. Other cookbooks that I use very regularly:
The flavor thesaurus when I have a particular ingredient I want to make the best of.
The river cottage meat book and the river cottage fish book when those ingredients are meat or fish.
I think the complete meze table is very underrated, great easy recipes with good use of spices.
I heartily recommend Slater's latest, The Kitchen Diaries III. It's actually more like Eat in style than the previous Kitchen Diaries.
Madhur Jaffrey's World of the East Vegetarian Cooking
Claudia Roden's Book of Middle Eastern Food
Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
Diane Kennedy's Mexican Regional Cooking
The Seasonal Palate by the Bloodroot Collective
The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Bernard Clayton's complete Book of Soups and Stews (which also has my go-to french loaf recipe)
and an old book called The Beachcomber's Book of Seafood Cookery that was produced locally and is de rigeur for coastal living.
Not that I don't have a ton of other favorites, but these are the books that are usually found cracked open on my kitchen counter at some point, or that have recipes I've done so often I don't even need to look at the book anymore. In fact, the last time I did look at how Bernard Clayton made a "rustic country loaf" of bread, I was a little surprised to see how much my version had evolved.
And all of these books tend to look a little worse for wear. I've replaced all of them at one point or another, and sometimes more than once.
I too have reached the point where I rarely follow a recipe, but use them for inspiration. I find that reading a whole cookbook (or at least the kind of cookbooks I like) will give me insight into cooking techniques and seasonings which stick with me more than specific recipes. My mother is frequently amazed at the food I create on a whim, but I give credit to all of the cookbooks I have read and absorbed over the years.
Oh yes. I make chili differently every time because it is one of my "use up what's in the fridge" recipes. But I always stir in a paste made of dried guajillo chili peppers that have been soaked in hot water, seeds and stems removed, and mashed into a pulp. No matter what's in the pot, that gives the chili a nice deep smoky-hot flavor. I think that was a Diane Kennedy trick. I've collected a ton of little things like that I now do almost without thinking about it.
It's the same with me. After just on 40 years I have a repertoire of things I make on automatic pilot, including a dish we refer to as "automatic pilot chicken", which is actually an adaptation of a Jill Dupleix recipe. Over time I have done quite a bit of adapting! Of course you have to closely follow recipes when baking, but I've never been much of a baker - for years Mum kept me supplied with cakes and biscuits, these days I worry about our waistlines.
I also have a small collection of cookbooks, stained and bristling post-it-notes, which I use on a regular basis. They are in a way a reflection of my culinary history, not to mention everyone else's. Just when you think you've got the hang of it along comes some new kit (microwave, food processor) or ingredients (quinoa, freekeh, goat's cheese) and you need instruction and inspiration.
I started out with Beverley Sutherland Smith, who I still rely on for unfussy family food; my second copy of A Taste For All Seasons is starting to get a bit tattered. I moved on through Jane Grigson, Maggie Bear and of course the divine Stephanie Alexander, whose Cook's Companion is what you would choose if you were allowed only one cookbook. Only a few years ago I discovered David Herbert, whose Complete Perfect Recipes is not as encyclopaedic as Stephanie, but a much more convenient size!
Developing a taste for Middle Eastern food led me to Claudia Roden and Greg Malouf. Nowadays creeping physical disability has me looking for speed and simplicity and I have become a devotee of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and particularly Nigel Slater, whose (non-baking) recipes assume a certain level of experience - a handful of this, a glug of that.
These days my new books are usually books about food or food history, generally with recipes attached to inform the narrative. Jennifer McLagan's wonderful books like The Odd Bits are a good case in point.
One thing I have learned is to have a well-stocked pantry, which is a great assistance with short notice or "bottom of the fridge" cooking.
It's a massive book with recipes from a huge range of places, cultures, ethnicities, cuisines and styles. So it's inevitable that there are going to be recipes for things you won't want or like. But on the whole there are going to be more that you do. And while the recipes all come with personal stories and bits of history, (which I love), what's impressive from a practical standpoint is how reliable they all seem to be. These are the recipes that hundreds of other cooks just make "automatically." One of my favorites is "Dominic's Italian-American Nicoise Salad" which I've adopted as my own.
And the chapter on pies is a thing of beauty.
Because the book is so thick, the binding has not stood up to the hard use I've given it, so I actually purchased a "back up" copy.
Author 1 is Masao Miyaji, who opened a vegan restaurant (Masao's Kitchen) in Massachusetts in 1993. Author 2 is Evelyne Miyaji, who has been a macrobiotic cooking teacher and counselor for 30 years.
The recipes are not only tasty and beautiful, but also profoundly health-supporting. With a few adjustments, they can be made compatible with dietary guidelines of Caldwell Esselstyn, MD, John McDougall, MD, Neal Barnard, MB, and Dean Ornish, MD.