2. The New Pillsbury Family Cookbook, 1975 edition - this one was my grandmother's, which makes it all the more special now that she's gone. It's ancient and battered and completely outdated (recipes say things like "use 1 can of mushrooms (ok to substitute fresh)", but for the basics it can't be beat. Whether it's finding out how long to roast a stuffed turkey or finding the classic chocolate chip cookie recipe, this one gets the job done. As long as you only use it for the standards it serves just fine, just don't look here for anything more exotic than a salad, unless you want it covered in aspic LOL!
3. Molly Katzen's Moosewood Cookbook - The bible for healthier vegetarian cooking, but not just for vegetarians. After more than 15 years with this book I still find new discoveries. You can tell my favorites by the number of stains on the page. Be forewarned though, vegetarian food is not necessarily diet food!
4. New York Cookbook, Molly O'Neill - a taste of home on every page, in all it's multicultural glory.
5. Gloria Bey Miller's The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook - the absolute must-have handbook for anyone who wants to learn to cook Chinese food. I don't refer to it that much anymore, but it's served me long and well and still retains pride of place as a reference book.
7. Marcella Hazan, The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking (the one that got my husband started making homemade pastas and pizzas!). Marcella NEVER takes shortcuts. She can be an incredible pain in the ass, but she knows her stuff. The gold standard for classic Italian cooking.
8. A Taste of the Caribbean, by Angela Spenceley - a vacation in a book! This one even has cocktail recipes. Every time I cook something from this book I imagine myself sailing the turquoise waters of the Caribbean again.
9. Gap's Cooking School Thai cookbook - poorly printed and chock full of MAJOR mistakes, but a great souvenir from a fun day in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It's even a good
cookbook guideline if you remember to use common sense when the recipe says something ridiculous (like an entire CUP of chili paste! My god, that would singe your eyebrows off!).
10. Mevashlim, Haim Cohen - an Israeli cookbook (in Hebrew) by one of Israel's favorite chefs. What makes this one unique is that it's arranged by ingredient, rather than by course, so if you go to the greengrocers and find that the asparagus, or cherries, or broad beans look great you can snap them up and then come home and easily find inspiration for what to do with them.
11. My birthday cake books. I'll lump all these together. I have four or five books just on decorating birthday cakes. My kids pore over them for weeks before their birthdays, heck months even, trying to decide which cakes they want that year. And since each birthday needs at least 3 different cakes (friends party, afternoon program, and family party) that means I've generally got my work cut out for me.
12. The Northwest Best Places Cookbook. Another vacation souvenir, from an earlier trip. It's got amazing, albeit fairly complex and time-consuming recipes.
13. Pasta e Verdura, Jack Bishop. An entire book of vegetable-based pasta sauces. Always something fun in there.
Whew. That was tough. So many great cookbooks to choose from... So, what are some of YOUR favorites?
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