10 Essential Cookbooks

by Anne Bennett on July 9, 2012

Amanda and Merrill, the gals at food 52.com, recently asked readers to send in a list of their 10 favorite cookbooks. An ultimate “10 essential cookbooks” list was compiled from all the contributions and artist Jane Mount created the print shown above.

I own all ten of these books. Some I’ve had for many years (I got my first copy of “The Joy of Cooking” in 1972, and I bought “The Silver Palate Cookbook” at an upscale department store in Kansas City a decade later in 1982). Some are new, like Dorie Greenspan’s lovely “Around My French Table,” and my current favorite,  “Plenty,” a delightful vegetable cookbook written by popular London restauranteur, Yotam Ottolenghi.

There’s something for everyone here. If you’re a beginner cook, Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything” is a good choice. It’s written in Bittman’s conversational style, which I think makes it seem more acccessible than the classic “The Joy of Cooking.”

You don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy Deborah Madison’s “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.” Each recipe I’ve made from her award-winning book has worked, which, as far as cookbooks go, is the acid-test for me.

Take a look at this compendium and let me know which books you own and love.  If you’d like to know more about any of the cookbooks on the list, let me know. I’d be happy to share my own impressions with you. You can also go over to food52.com and learn more there.

Tomorrow I’m going to post a recipe from “Plenty” that I made for a 4th of July celebration dinner. It’s for ratatouille, and although I posted another ratatouille recipe last year, this one is different. It includes butternut squash, which I found to be an inspired addition to the traditional combination of eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper and tomatoes.

Heat wave is over. My basil plant is perking up, finally.

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