Cookbooks can be divided into categories. There are all purpose cookbooks that contain recipes for just about everything and books that specialize in one type of cuisines. The baking cookbooks can be general or focused on just one topic like breads or pastries. The food porn books are the ones that you may rarely cook out of, but they just look too damn good to pass up. Occasionally, there are cookbooks on a niche subject such as ice cream or charcuterie. Finally, the resource books may not contain recipes but they are a great reference for proper cooking technique and food science. These categories are not always mutually exclusive but they are a good starting point in sorting the sheer number of cookbooks out there.
When I first started this blog, I owned just three cookbooks.
Butter Sugar Flour Eggs by Gale Gand
When I was younger I loved watching Gale Gand's show, Sweet Dreams, on the Food Network. I asked Steven to buy me this book for Christmas all the way back in 2004, and it was my very first cookbook.
The New Best Recipes by Cook's Illustrated
This was my first official cookbook that was not a baking book. This giant 1000 page tome is my go-to cookbook. The way Cook's Illustrated scientifically test recipes, products, and equipment appeals to my nerdy inner scientist. You know you can trust these recipes since they have all been tested. Overall, this is a great all purpose cookbook.
Martha's Baking Handbook by Martha Stewart
I just couldn't resist all the beautiful photos in this book. There's a wonderful variety of recipes but I have not used it as often as Dorie's Baking.
Now see how my collection has grown.
Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan
This is the compilation of her two incredibly popular books, The Classic Italian Cookbook and More Classic Italian Cooking. This is the best resource of pure, authentic Italian cooking.
Mastering The Art of French Cooking Vol 1 by Julia Child
Julia Child went to great lengths to make French cooking accessible for the home cook and this is possibly the best book about French cooking out there.
Baking by Dorie Greenspan
This is the unofficial cookbook of the Daring Bakers. All of Dorie's recipes are always easy to follow and turn out spectacular. She makes everything accessible for the home baker, from the simple muffins and biscuits to elegant custards and tarts. One of the very best baking books out there.
On Food and Cooking by Harold Mcgee
This is THE book on food and cooking science and it's a resource everyone should have. It's a book that will always answer your questions and is packed with more information about food than you will ever need to know, this is undoubtedly the textbook for food science. The book is a combination of food and cooking history, biology, and organic chemistry and for the first time it made organic chemistry (one of my most hated subjects in college) interesting !
The Complete Keller: The French Laundry Cookbook & Bouchon
The French Laundry by Thomas Keller
Back when Steven and I were first dating, I remember he showed me the copy of The French Laundry cookbook he had borrowed from the library. At the time I wasn't really interested in what he called food porn but eventually he would pass the love of gorgeous food to me. He got me The Complete Keller set for my 20th birthday.
Bouchon by Thomas Keller
The French Laundry cookbook is absolutely beautiful to look at but the recipes in Bouchon are a little more accessible for the home cook.
The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
The best book for all things frozen.
Return to Top
Books for the Foodies
These aren't cookbooks but they're food related books that I've enjoyed reading.
Food and Foodie History
The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
Where does our food really come from? The real story about our produce, poultry, and beef. Review
The United States of Arugula by David Kamp
The story of how food and eating changed in America. How did we become the Food Network watching, organic produce buying, baby salad green eating, balsamic drizzling country that we did?
The Food Snob's Dictionary by David Kamp
Do you know the difference between romesco and romanesco?
My Life in France by Julia Child
Julia Child's memoirs about her time in France, from her first meal of sole meuniere, her first classes at Le Cordon Bleu, to the years she spent writing Mastering.
Heat by Bill Buford
The story of how an ordinary home cook becomes a kitchen slave, line cook, and then pasta maker for Mario Batali, and eventually a butcher's apprentice in Italy. Review
Kitchen Confidental by Anthony Bourdain
Never order fish on a Monday. Find out what it's really like in a restaurant kitchen.
A Cook's Tour by Anthony Bourdain
Traveling + Food: what the rest of the world eats.
The Nasty Bits by Anthony Bourdain
A collection of short stories from his travels.
The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn
One woman's journey as a student at the world's most famous cooking school, Le Cordon Bleu.
Service Included by Phoebe Damrosch
What is it like being a waitress in a 4 star Thomas Keller Restaurant in NYC?
My Last Supper
If you had one last meal on Earth, what would it be? Find out what 50 chefs chose as their final meal.
Return to Top