I’ve already given you a list of my favorite authors of all time, so let’s change gears a bit and talk about a single type of books: cookbooks. I’ve mentioned a couple of my favorites here, but I think cookbooks deserve their own post.
I love to cook, and while I don’t usually follow recipes to the T, I love cookbooks for the inspiration I can get from them, and because I can use them as references when I want to make something myself. Even if I don’t follow a recipe or measure out the ingredients, it’s really helpful to look up similar recipes to see the ingredients and proportions they use; this keeps my “holy-cow this is completely inedible” screw-ups to about 1 every few months; instead, if I’m off on something, the food is usually still ok/edible, just not great, and I can tweak it for next time. The recipes I post here on the blog are ones I’ve already tried out, so you, my lovely readers, should be good to go. 🙂
Now, I love my e-reader a lot, but when I’m stuck looking for new reading material, nothing beats just wandering around a bookstore reading all the back covers of the books that look interesting, and maybe reading the first few pages if I’m not sure about it. For that reason, I’ll post links to each cookbook on my favorites list, and the links will all be for Barnes & Noble, my favorite accessible brick-and-mortar bookstore. If you happen to be a resident of the D.C. metro area, I highly recommend that you check out Politics and Prose on Connecticut Ave. in the Van Ness area – their staff is super helpful, and in my opinion it’s the best local bookstore in D.C.* Of course, you can find these books just about anywhere.
The Everyday Food books by Martha Stewart Living – I’m not Martha Stewart’s biggest fan, I think her ideas can be pretty picky and over-the-top, but her magazine puts out a great cookbook. I have both Great Food Fast and Fresh Flavor Fast.
Food Network Kitchens Making it Easy – This book has a lot of great recipes. I picked up my first copy at Borders for about $3 on their bargain bookshelves, and when I lost that copy 2 years later, I went back to the bookstore and gladly paid full retail for a second copy. In particular, the mini-cheesecake recipe is one of my go-tos for dessert.
Food Network Magazine Great Easy Meals – If you like Food Network Magazine, this has some of their best recipes along with some I haven’t seen before. Like the Everyday Food cookbooks, these recipes are great for your standard weeknight dinner.
Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook – Whenever I need a basic recipe, this is where I start. This book has all the standard recipes for things like cakes, breads, breakfast foods, side dishes, and more. In fact, I just used a recipe from this book to make biscuits from scratch for biscuits and gravy before the hubs went on his military training. I think it earned me some brownie points 🙂
Next on my wishlist are two more of the Martha Stewart Living cookbooks:
*I have no relationship with either of these bookstores whatsoever (except that I shop and spend way too much money at both of them).