I am a cookbook collector. I started collecting in my early 20s when living in my first apartment after graduate school. At the time, there weren’t as many recipes available online. However, even today I still love my cookbooks and keep adding to my collection.
After sharing my pantry organization project on social media so many of you spotted my cookbook collection and told me that you also love cookbooks. One reason we selected our floorplan was for the huge pantry. I knew that would be a perfect spot for my cookbooks. In my previous home, I have a bookcase in my reading loft for my collection.
I recently went through my collection and got rid of cookbooks that no longer fit with my cooking style. Over time my tastes, family’s needs, and lifestyle have changed. I had also acquired a lot of baking and decorating books when I owned my cake business. I got rid of about 100 but that still leaves about 150.
Why not just print recipes off the internet?
It’s just not the same experience. I read them like novels. There’s usually a pile on my nightstand. I love to read when they have education sections talking about techniques or culture. I love looking at the food photography. Also when I find a recipe that I love, it’s so great to have a whole book of more recipes by the same person. More recipes in a similar style, taste, etc.
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My Top 10 Favorite Cookbooks
I cook from a lot of my cookbooks. I’m always giving a new recipe a try. But these are my tried and true. I feel confident that when trying a new recipe from the book, it will be a success.
• Joy of Cooking – A classic. My go-to when I have a basic question about how to cook traditional dishes and sides. Basic bread stuffing and Cucumber salad are staples in our home.
• Yan kit’s Classic Chinese Cookbook – We love Asian food and this book is full of relatively simple yet authentic Chinese recipes. Our favorites – Kung Pao Chicken, a regular in our household for years
• The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl, Ree Drummond – Been a fan for years and love all of her cookbooks but this is the one I cook from the most. The Creamy Rosemary Potatoes are so indulgent.
• The Cuisine of California, Diane Rossen Worthington – Simpler dishes with an emphasis on using fresh produce and herbs. The Lemon Herb Chicken is a favorite – simple and so full of flavor.
• Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen – Classic Lousiana cooking and definitely not light of the calories but oh so good. Poorman’s Jambalaya is our favorite classic.
• Everyday Italian, Giada De Laurentis – Simple modern Italian. I’m a fan of all of her books, but this is the one I use most often. We’ve been making the Shrimp Fra Diavolo for years.
• Against All Grain, Meals Made Simple, Danielle Walker – Probably my most used the last few years as lean (loosely) towards a Paleo diet. I own almost all of her books and while they’re Paleo, they’ve always been a win with non-Paleo family members. Two of our favorites are the Slow Cooker Beef Chunk Chili and Slow Cooker Pot Roast.
• Barefoot Contessa Parties!, Ina Garten – A fan of all of her books and shows for years, this is my favorite. The Sour Cream Coffee Cake is a staple when I entertain for brunch.
• The Complete Meat Cookbook, Bruce Aidells and Danis Kelly. My go-to resource when cooking cuts of beef or pork. Also fabulous for pan sauces. The Sauteed Pork Chops with Vermouth and Mustard Sauce is scrumptious.
• Linda’s Kitchen, Linda McCartney – Delicious vegetarian recipes. For years I cooked the Cheese and Broccoli Quiche, so tasty.
Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to meet many of my favorite cookbook authors and Food Network Celebrity chefs at book signings, cake conferences, blogging conferences and food festivals.
2009: Ree Drummond and a few of family members stayed until after midnight at the book signing at Changing Hands as they took the time to chat and pose with everyone at the book signing.
I’ve some of these books for years and it’s easy to find favorites by just flipping through and see which pages fall open. The pages of favorites are covered with splatters from the years of use
Do you own any of these cookbooks? We’d love to hear your favorite recipes.