My love of books started shortly after I was born and has been a huge factor in my career choices: librarian, writer and editor. My fascination with cookbooks started in junior high school. My parents had a small collection and my favorite was a Good Housekeeping cookbook with a bright blue cover. From that book I learned to make my own pie and pizza crusts from scratch. I still have several of my parents’ old cookbooks, like this great one by Julia Child, but do not have a clue what happened to the Good Housekeeping cookbook.
I have finally managed to weed my cookbook collection to a mere four shelves worth – not an easy feat. However, with so many recipes on the Internet and the need for more space on my shelves, I did find new homes for many of them over the past several years.
I love the convenience of finding recipes and meal ideas online as well as on some of the food apps on my cell phone (that’s a whole other post.) It comes in especially handy when I find something on sale at the store and am able to look up recipes on my phone to figure out what other ingredients I need to buy. Or, when I’m at work, I can just print a recipe from the Internet and take it shopping with me. However, browsing recipes online never will be able completely to replace leafing through an actual hard-copy cookbook, taking in the pictures and getting ideas for new dishes to make.
I have a number of cookbooks that I love, but the one that I have used the most over the years by far is Erma Rombauer’s “Joy of Cooking.” I have had this iconic classic since 1980 (it was a wedding present from my Mom) and to this day I still refer to it frequently. That husband’s long gone, but luckily I still have the book!
I have a number of cookbooks that are diet-based (low fat, diabetic, vegetarian, etc.) that I probably should use more often.
There are a few for specific appliances, such as my slow cooker and bread machine.
I love cookbooks for specific types of cuisines, such as Asian, Thai, German, Italian, etc.
“The Wine Lover’s Cookbook” by Sid Goldstein is a great book that helps me pair food and wine.
I’m just starting to collect books from celebrity chefs that I’ve had the pleasure of dining at one of their restaurants, such as this one from Bobby Flay (love Mesa Grill in Vegas!) I still have a lot of catching up to do in this category.
I have also started collecting regional cookbooks. Usually when I travel I pick up a Christmas ornament, especially if I’m in a new place. Now I’m going to start adding cookbooks to the mix.
Of course, I have stacks cooking magazines that I either subscribe to or pick up in bookstores. Luckily, these are easier for me to discard after a while.
What are your favorite cookbooks that you cannot live without? I’d love to hear your suggestions and might have to make additional room on my bookshelves for must-haves!
Eat, drink and be merry!
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