My favourite cookbooks

Friday is a day when I think a lot about food (well, everyday I think a lot about food!) as I’m preparing for the weekend. So here is a little list of my favourite cookbooks.

How to be a Domestic GoddessNigella Lawson

A book about baking but not really a baking book – that’s how Lawson describes it. This is my go to book for things like sugar cookies, chocolate, bread, interesting cakes, and simple preserves. At least once I’ve found a recipe to use up something I had in the cupboard that we had gotten as a gift but had no idea how to use (walnut oil). The photos are drool-worthy and Lawson’s conversational style makes it a pleasure to look at and read.

NB I mentioned the sugar cookies with pictures here and here.

Eat, Shrink and Be Merry & Crazy PlatesJanet & Greta Podleski

These ladies created quite a stir with their first book, Looneyspoons, in the era of low-fat cooking and eating. Using current research about good fats and bad fats, Crazy Plates and, most recently, Eat, Shrink and Be Merry offer delicious and healthy recipes for any part of your day from breakfast to dinner to snacks to dessert. The books are hilarious to read even if you don’t cook them and include tips to “return to slender” and how to find specialized ingredients. That said, one of the things I love about these books is that most of the ingredients can be found in any grocery store and the books use the same things in many recipes so if you buy in bulk, you won’t waste it.

Ricardo: Meals for Every Occasion – Ricardo Larrivée

This is a recent addition to my cookbook arsenal, as I received it as a Christmas gift this year. I’ve already made a number of the recipes and they are awesome. The book is beautiful to behold and could be used to simply adorn your coffee table. I think the picture to recipe ration is something like 2:1. Broken up into chapters with quirky headings like “Guys Don’t Read Recipes”, the offerings are meant to be shared with company but can easily serve a family of four with leftovers. As with Domestic Goddess, I found at least one recipe in here when I had a few things in the fridge that needed to be used up (fish, buttermilk, and limes). The rib recipe in the guys section was an especially big hit – my brother-in-law exclaimed that they were the best ribs he had ever had (and his mom makes pretty good ribs).

The Joy of CookingIrma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, Ethan Becker

My go to cookbook for EVERYTHING. This book is an encyclopedia of food with recipes for every ingredient you can think of. It includes a bit of food science, a “Know Your Ingredients” section with descriptions of all kinds of things you night not know about, and a glossary of terms. The book has instructions on how to scale fish, cut whole animals, tie up roasts, prevent soufflés from falling, decorate cakes, and more. TJOC is a classic for any kitchen – the first edition was published in 1931 and the most recent revision is from 2006. I remember my mom cooking from it when I was a child and the classic “One Egg Cake” was my sister’s and my favourite recipe to make.

Cooking for the SeasonsJean Paré

I think this book was a wedding gift and so one of the first books I used during our early married days. The book is divided into the four seasons and includes special occasion menus in each. The recipes are simple and delicious with my favourites being for crepes and chorizo chili.

French Women Don’t Get Fat & French Women for All Seasons Mireille Gulliano

Although not exclusively cookbooks, Gulliano offers dozens of easy French recipes which use simple, fresh, and seasonal ingredients. Offerings include recipes for baguettes and croissants (my weaknesses), chocolate rice pudding, several kinds of fish, plenty of vegetables, and breakfasts. Gulliano also has a website dedicated to “eating and moving like a French woman”. I first encountered FWDGF as an audio book and liked it so much I bought a paperback copy.

Happy cooking, baking, and eating!

What are your favourite cookbooks? Leave a comment and let us know!

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