I love to cook. The only caveat is the clean up required afterwards. This is why my favorite time to cook in on Wednesdays, my day off, at my mom’s house, where she cleans up after me. On these days, we try new recipes or play with fun kitchen accessories, like our new Kitchenaid pasta maker attachments. But most of my go-to and most favorite recipes come from these three cookbooks.
This was by far the best wedding gift Mister BS and I received, and it has been much loved. Not only is it comprehensive, the instructions are clear and easy to follow and it teaches you techniques instead of just listing them. I love those fancy photo spreads of delectable looking meals, but this book is much more practical and useful even if it doesn’t have pretty pictures. It is a great jumping off point to begin variations on your own recipes. For instance, I’ve developed my favorite versions of many different types of scones, but I always start with the base I learned from Joy. This classic is a must for any serious cook.
The Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, New York revolutionized American dining with its focus on healthy meals made with local ingredients. I received this as a gift, and I’ve made more recipes out of it than any other cookbook I’ve ever owned. It’s full of healthy, wholesome, and mostly vegetarian recipes. Like The Joy of Cooking, it provides a lot of basic recipes that are the building blocks of dishes. The sauces and dressings are wonderful! Trust me, you’ll never buy processed, bottled dressings again after seeing how much easier and tastier these versions are. The soups are fantastic. Most recipes also over a few variations or suggestions for substitutions on ingredients. It’s also hand written with little doodles, giving it a fun, whimsical feel. I own several other cookbooks by Mollie Katzen, but this on is my favorite.
I know, it seems weird for a vegetarian who enjoys cuisine with global influences to name this is a favorite, but this is what I grew up on. Though I won’t eat any of the meat dishes, the salads, sides, and especially the baking recipes are my standards. My mom recently found a copy in the downtown antique store (and an old granny square afghan!) so now I have a copy of the cookbook she’s owned since the 70s. This copy even has the banana cake recipe that was my dad’s favorite, the page that mysteriously disappeared out of my mom’s version. It also has the recipe for carrot cookies, a favorite among all Wettas that I’ve never seen any other family make (I’ve even adapted a gluten free version for my Celiac cousins). Of course, since this one was owned by another family, you can tell that they had different favorite recipes that were staples in their family, judging by the splattered papers and broken bindings that open to certain pages automatically. Cookbooks are strangely revealing artifacts, aren’t they? I own a couple other Betty Crocker cookbooks, but this one is the classic version that reads like a scrapbook from my childhood family dinners.
I love to cook and experiment with different recipes (my best friend and I keep a recipe journal here) and my Pinterest boards are full of recipes to try from various food blogs, but these are the three cookbooks that get the most use in my kitchen.
What’s your favorite cookbook?