Cookbooks

I have a large (and growing) cookbook collection. Some I cook from often, others I just enjoy looking at and and getting ideas from. I love flipping through cookbooks - I really enjoy reading about food and cookbooks give me so much inspiration. When I get a new cookbook, I usually read it cover to cover, and I've been known to take cookbooks to bed to read before I fall asleep. What can I say? I really love food! Anyway, I wanted to compile a list of my favorites here.

General
The Gourmet Cookbook
Gourmet Today
These two books are by far the most used in my kitchen. When I'm looking for recipe ideas, these are the books I turn to first, and they are so comprehensive that I usually find what I'm looking for. The recipes are always good and often outstanding. I can't praise these books enough - they are really fantastic.

The New Best Recipe
The Best 30-Minute Recipe
These are two of the cookbooks from the editor's of Cook's Illustrated. The recipes are exhaustively tested, and there are detailed descriptions of the testing, explaining the reasons behind the chosen ingredients and cooking methods. As a total food nerd, I love this. The New Best Recipe is a huge collection of traditional, classic recipes, optimized to give the best possible result. I turn to this book often when I want stellar versions of standard dishes. The Best 30-Minute Recipe has great ideas for quick weeknight dinners, and includes some more unique and creative recipes.

The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters
A book focusing on how to make the most of good ingredients. Lots of ideas for simple but flavorful meals, with lots of tips on cooking methods and techniques. A really good book to have if you like to eat and shop seasonally.

In the Kitchen With a Good Appetite by Melissa Clark
This is a cookbook that I really loved reading, so much so that I took it with me to read on my bus commute. Clark prefaces each recipe with the story of how the dish evolved, and the recipes are creative but still accessible.

Healthy/Vegetarian
Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi
The Ottolenghi restaurants in London are famous for vegetable and grain preparations, and Yotam Ottolenghi writes the New Vegetarian column for The Guardian. This beautiful cookbook is filled with creative, unique, and satisfying vegetarian dishes. Interestingly, Ottolenghi is not a vegetarian himself, and because of this (in my opinion), his recipes are dishes that will appeal to both vegetarians and meat eaters. The book is organized by main ingredient rather than by type of meal, which is great if you like to cook seasonally. This is a must-have book if you cook vegetarian  meals often and are looking for some new inspiration.

Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson
Heidi Swanson is the author of the very popular blog 101 Cookbooks. Her recipes focus on using whole and natural ingredients, and are all vegetarian. Super Natural Cooking is a big source of inspiration for me when I am looking for creative vegetarian dishes and ways to use my farmers' market produce.

Local Flavors by Deborah Madison
This book is all about cooking from farmers' markets, with primarily (but not exclusively) vegetarian recipes. I use it mainly as a source of ideas rather than following specific recipes. Some of the ingredients Madison uses, especially herbs, are a bit esoteric and I haven't been able to easily find them at the markets where I live. But this book is a great place to look for interesting ways to use vegetables, and to educate yourself about the incredible variety of produce that grows in this country. There are also lots of beautiful photos of vegetables, which I enjoy =).

Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way by Lorna Sass
A great primer on how to use a large variety of whole grains. The first part of the book is devoted to cooking instructions for each of the grains, and this is the part that I use the most often. It is the first place I turn when I'm not sure whether to soak a grain before cooking, how much water to use, how long the cooking will take, etc. The second part of the book has recipes using the grains, but I haven't found them to be that great and I don't use them much.

Regional
Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan
A nice collection of Dorie Greenspan's personal versions of classic French dishes. Many of the recipes are quite simple and very suitable for a home kitchen. The photography is beautiful as well. 

Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck
A classic. Nothing much I need to say about this one.

Couscous and Other Good Foods from Morocco by Paula Wolfert
Authentic, traditional Moroccan recipes. Many of the recipes are quite complicated and time-consuming, but the results are worth it. My only complaint is the lack of photos. There are definitely more modern Moroccan cookbooks out there but this is one of the best.

The Silver Spoon
A gigantic collection of Italian recipes. This cookbook is very comprehensive, with many recipes for fresh pasta and gnocchi, as well as hundreds of pages of meat, seafood, vegetable dishes, and more. This book is very popular in Italy, which speaks to the authenticity of the recipes.

Betty Crocker's Indian Home Cooking
You might not think to turn to Betty Crocker for Indian recipes, but this book is a real gem. The recipes are by Raghavan Iyer, who is a well known Indian chef. Because this book is written for American audiences, it includes substitutions for hard to find ingredients and has many tips and useful bits of information. Almost every single recipe I have tried has been delicious, and they taste very authentic. This book includes recipes from all over India, which really gives you a sense of the diversity of Indian food.

Baking/Desserts 
Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Bakery + Cafe by Joanne Chang
Flour is a local bakery with incredible baked goods and sandwiches. The cookbook is filled with their top recipes, including breakfast and dessert pastries as well as some bread. This is one of those rare cookbooks that makes me actually want to try every single recipe.

Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
A cookbook from the very well known bakery Baked, located in Brooklyn. Lots of creative recipes for baked goods going well beyond standard chocolate and vanilla flavors. The book also includes recipes for candies, ice cream, and sweet drinks.

The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart
A beautiful and informative book on the art of baking bread. It is full of recipes for all kinds of delicious breads, and includes a detailed introductory section that explains everything you need to know about bread-making ingredients and techniques. Reinhart's passion for bread really comes across in the text, and this book is a must-have if you enjoy baking bread.

Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce
This is the go-to book for baking with whole grain flours. I love it - most cookbooks use all-purpose white flour almost exclusively and it can be really difficult to find recipes for whole grain baked goods that actually work. These recipes are fantastic - well tested and delicious. Quite a variety of whole grain flours are explored in this book, and this really expands the flavor profiles of the final products. One note: many of the recipes use a combination of whole grain flour with all-purpose flour, so if you are looking for something that uses 100% whole grain flours, this isn't the book for you.

Specialty
Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann
Great collection of slow cooker recipes including both traditional comfort foods as well as more unique recipes. Unlike many other slow cooker recipes, the ones in this book generally focus on using fresh ingredients rather than canned goods.

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving by Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine
If you are interested in making your own preserves, this is a wonderful book to have. The recipe collection is large and comprehensive, covering jams, jellies, salsas, sauces, chutneys, relishes, pickles, fruit in syrup, condiments, and more. Recipes range from basic preserves to more creative ones with international flavors. There are detailed instructions if you are new to preserving.

Whoopie Pies by Sarah Billingsly and Amy Treadwell
A cute little cookbook with dozens of recipes for whoopie pies. You can make the classic chocolate cakes with marshmallow cream, or go more unique with flavors such as tiramisu, green tea, pumpkin, and much more.

Ebelskivers by Kevin Crafts
A fun cookbook for making the puffy Danish filled pancakes called ebelskivers, with many recipes ranging from sweet to savory.

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