My Favorite Cookbooks

Posted on November 10, 2014
Hi Everyone! I wanted to do something a little different, and share some of my favorite cookbooks with you today! I love cookbooks. In fact, every time I go to a bookstore, the cookbook isle is the first one I go to. And I don’t think there’s been a single Christmas or birthday in the past couple of years for which I haven’t received a cookbook! I have collected lots of cookbooks over the years, some new, some old, and wanted to tell you a little bit about my most favorite ones! As I started writing this post and sharing a little bit about each cookbook with you, I realized that there was a story and lots of memories tied to every one of them, which really is my favorite thing about cooking; the memories it brings back. Fun childhood memories of baking with my grandparents or learning how to cook as a newlywed; it’s funny how it only takes a few ingredients to turn back time and be transported to those precious memories!
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Here are just a few of my favorites…
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 Cookbook: Nigella Lawson’s Nigella Kitchen. Favorite Recipe: Apple Cinnamon Muffins
So, there is a little bit of a back story to the reason for why this cookbook is one of my favorites! A couple of years ago, my friend and I got VIP tickets to go to the Martha Stewart show in New York City, and Nigella Lawson happened to be the guest on the show that day! We got to sit in the front row, and it was such a fun experience! At the end of the show, we all got Nigella’s cookbook and that was when I was really introduced to her cooking. I think that Nigella is really the queen of flavor. Every single one of her recipes that I have tried has always been excellent, and the flavors have always been so complex. And also, she looked even more beautiful in person than she does on TV if that’s even possible! As for my favorite recipe from the cookbook, I have SO many, and cook several of them pretty frequently, but one of my favorites have to be these Apple Cinnamon Muffins. So simple, but so delicious, like most of Nigella’s recipes!
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Cookbook: The Williams-Sonoma Baking Book. Favorite Recipe: Black Forest Cake.
This is one of the best basic baking books I’ve read! I got this cookbook for Christmas one year, and I remember I dragged it to Europe with me for the holidays because I was so excited to read through it, and it’s a pretty heavy book! But that’s how good it is! It has a great selection of classic baking recipes, ranging from cookies and cakes to breads and muffins. It’s a great guide for beginning bakers, but also just for anyone who loves to bake! I have made so many recipes from this book, but one of my all time favorites is this Black Forest Cake. I made it for Valentine’s Day one year, and it disappeared pretty quickly!
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Cookbook: The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The Original Classics. Favorite Recipe: Chicken Pot Pie.
As you can tell by all the sticky note page markers in this book, it is clearly a favorite! I got this cookbook the first year I was married, and have been working my way through it ever since! I have always been a big Martha Stewart fan and have several of her cookbooks, but this is one of my favorites simply because it has pretty much every basic recipe you would ever want and need (and more)! My absolute favorite recipe from this book is the Chicken Pot Pie. I remember making it one fall in our teeny-tiny little kitchen in Haddonfield, New Jersey, where I had pretty much zero counter space and very little kitchen equipment, but being an excited newlywed making dinner for my husband, it was the best thing in the world! Every time I make this recipe, it takes me back to that little kitchen and brings back so many wonderful (and delicious!) memories, which really, I think is the best thing about cooking!
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Cookbook: The Pioneer Woman Cookbook: Food from my Frontier. Favorite Recipe: Beef Stew.
This cookbook is also pretty high up on my list! I just love the Pioneer Woman! And her kitchen. And her ranch. And her lodge. And her cooking, especially! My husband got me this cookbook for my birthday one year, and I kept trying to ask him what presents he got me for my birthday (as I do every year, because I am oh so impatient). He wouldn’t tell me (as he never does), but he said he got me a present at Bass Pro Shops (for those of you who don’t know this store, which is his favorite store by the way, it’s a store with all things outdoorsy, and not one where I ever shop!) I didn’t know whether he was kidding or whether I should be afraid, but when I unwrapped that particular present, it was this Pioneer Woman cookbook! I have so many favorite Pioneer Woman recipes, but her Beef Stew is definitely one of my favorites!
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Cookbook: Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Favorite Recipe: Chocolate Mousse.
This cookbook is a classic of course, and one that belongs in every cookbook collector’s collection! These recipes are not “30 minute meals” by any means, and most require several hours, extensive preparation and pretty much every single dish, tool and piece of equipment in your kitchen! But oh my goodness, is it worth it! If you love to cook and enjoy spending time in your kitchen, then this is the book for you! One of my favorites is Julia’s chocolate mousse. She said it was sinful, and it most definitely is. It is one of the richest, most indulgent desserts I’ve ever made!
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These two books are not cookbooks, but if you enjoy food writing, you may enjoy these two! The one of the left is Julia Child’s My Life in France, which recounts her life and stories in France. It’s a very easy read, with so many stories and cooking memories. The book on the right is one that I just picked up recently, The New Yorker’s Secret Ingredients, which is a collection of short stories from famous writers and chefs, all based around food. I’m still reading this book, but there have been several great stories in it so far!
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And of course, some of my most loved recipes are ones that can’t be found in any cookbook, but have been passed down and tweaked from generation to generation. I’ve loved sharing some of my favorite family recipes with you here (like THESE Linzer Cookies that I make every Christmas, or THESE Traditional Czech Gingerbread Cookies) and always look forward to recreating those old familiar recipes in my kitchen! If you want to read a little more about some old family recipes, I wrote a whole post about them HERE (“From My Grandmother’s Recipe Files…”)
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What are your favorite cookbooks? And favorite recipes? I would love to hear what your favorites are! Thanks for stopping by today, I hope you all have a great rest of your week!

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4 Comments

  • Reply Ordinary J November 11, 2014 at 2:42 am

    I also have lots of cookbooks. I have so many I actually have a storage rental to keep them. This is so pathetic since I don’t use any of them…

    • Reply Maria November 11, 2014 at 8:16 am

      Wow! You must have more than me! 😉 I definitely understand the love of cookbook collecting!

  • Reply Ginnie November 11, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    I love cookbooks! When I moved to NYC I had to narrow down my collection quite a bit, and it was so hard:)

    • Reply Maria November 11, 2014 at 3:11 pm

      Oh I know what you mean, Ginnie! With all the times we’ve moved, I always try to think… do I really need this new cookbook? (And usually I end up getting it anyway…!) There’s just something about cookbooks 🙂

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