Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ask the Internet: Most Useful Cookbook?

Note: Hey everybody! I messed up yesterday, and included the wrong link for the Minnesota Heart Institute Foundation poll. This is the correct poll. If you don’t mind clicking, all you gots to do in answer a few questions (no personal information). It’s a good cause!

Today’s question comes straight outta Brooklyn:

Q: Being folks who like food, eating, chopping, and such, we probably all have a small collection of cookbooks. I have about 15 or 20 myself, but only use a few with any frequency.

Cook’s Illustrated Best 30-Minute Recipe sees the most traffic in my home, though Ina Gartens’s first cookbook isn’t far behind. If I owned Moosewood’s Simple Suppers (which I checked out from the library once and adored), it would probably be right up there, as well.

So, of all the cookbooks in YOUR kitchen, which one gets the greatest amount of play?

A: Sweet readers! This one’s all you! What single cookbook (not blog, not periodical) do you use most often?

Want to ask the interweb a question? Post one in the comment section, or write to Cheaphealthygood@gmail.com. Then, tune in next Tuesday for an answer/several answers from the good people of the World Wide Net.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

45 comments:

debbie koenig said...

Bittman, How to Cook Everything. I don't necessarily cook from it directly, but I consult it practically every day.

Annie Jones said...

When I was a young beginning cook, I always turned to the orange cover Betty Crocker Cookbook.

Now I rarely use a cookbook (I usually use internet, magazines or no recipe at all), but when I do grab a book, it's the Not Just Beans cookbook. I think it's now being published as Dining On A Dime Cookbook. It has all those very basic recipes I never bothered to memorize, like pancakes, biscuits, pie crust, etc.

Myrnie said...

For emergencies like "I have 6 wilting kinds of veggies in my fridge, what do I do?" I turn to the internet...but for basics like canning, breads, breakfast, "base" recipes like frosting and whipped cream and eggs...it's always Better Homes and Gardens, the "anniversary" edition.

Diane said...

I probably have hundreds, but the ones I use most often are:
1. Raghavan Iyer's "660 Curries" - I cook Indian food almost every day, sometimes 3x a day and this has never yet let me down. And it's very fun to read as well.

2. Nigella Lawson's "How To Eat," - while rather meat-centric (and I am not) I find this my "go to" book for good recipes that I really enjoy. I can't tell you how many times I have made her chickpea/pasta soup or her spiced plums, or her orange/almond cake, or...or...or...

Leslie said...

Vegan With a Vengeance- Being vegetarian and formerly vegan I love this book. Lots of delicious recipes, especially the tofu scramble.

Jennifer said...

My most useful cookbook - The Joy of Cooking. In fact, it is the only one I own. I borrow Betty Crocker's Big Book of Baking (approximate title) from the library a lot. So those two definitely top my list.

MS said...

I'm sure I won't be the only one to say it, but Bittman's How to Cook Everything makes so many appearances that I might as well just leave it out. I mostly don't follow the recipes, but I use it for reference with the weird vegetables that show up in my CSA box and the weird cuts of meat we get from a rancher Texas.

For recipe-following, I too am a huge fan of the Cook's Illustrated Best 30-Minute Recipes. Which I discovered through your site, so THANK YOU! (The skillet lasagna alone is worth the price of admission.)

MS said...

Oops. Editorial error. I meant "Texas rancher" not "rancher Texas". Heh.

MS said...

Oh, and completely unrelated, I just remembered you're an FNL fan too, and I wanted to point you to my friend's blog post about attending the FNL wrap party: http://poshdeluxe.com/2010/07/27/the-fnl-wrap-party-aka-the-time-i-touched-tim-riggins-arm/

shris said...

I have a "The Complete Family Cookbook" copyright MCMLXX that I use for some stuff. Mostly desserts.

Also have a Good Housekeeping cookbook from the 70s I pick up from time to time. I use that one for preparation tips for vegetables I've never tried before, cooking times for obscure grains, conversion charts, and methods.

But the cooking resource I use daily is AllRecipes.com. If there's not a recipe there that at least 100 people like, I'm surprised.

Paul said...

The giant blue binder of printed-out recipes is actually #1, but The Joy of Cooking gets the most traffic of all of the published cookbooks on my shelf.

And #2 is currently The Tassajara Bread Book, but who's to say if that'll still be the case next month?

Kris said...

Wow. It's Bittman by a landslide so far. Though Betty and Better Homes will make many more appearances, I'm sure.

@MS: That is AWESOME. It's so weird hearing Connie Britton with no accent. And what I wouldn't give to touch Tim Riggins' arm.

Ali said...

Another vote for Bittman. I also use "The Clueless Vegetarian" (Evelyn Raab) extremely useful - everything in that one is based on affordable, easy-to-find ingredients and has turned out a winner.

Anonymous said...

Desperation Dinners by Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross. Love that it uses stuff I have around anyway, and doesn't require a lot of processed stuff (like many in-a-hurry cooksbooks).

I also uses the old Moosewood cookbooks when I have more time to cook.

Anonymous said...

America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook and Family Baking Book.
There is some overlap in the recipes but I don't mind. I'm using the baking book now to make ciabatta for dinner.
These books have everything I need:tips, techniques(with pictures of same)product testing results and recommendations. All of it helps me no matter what I'm doing in the kitchen. I'll have to check out the Cooks Illustrated-30 Minute Recipes. Im looking forward to checking out others picks.
Love the blog! Peggy in VA

Suzanne said...

Cooks Illustrated Family Cookbook is a big winner in my house; all the american standards (in fact, I rarely cooked American food until I found this book.) CI never lets me down.

Real Thai by Nancy McDermott. Mine is all torn and stained and the binding is long broken. LOVE!

Susan said...

Jamie's Food Revolution (Jamie Oliver). So basic, so good, so do-able on an everyday basis. Most recipes are fairly healthy--just reduce oil!

Kristin said...

Up until this point, my go-to cookbook has been "Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone" by Deborah Madison. It has great general info on how to cook every possible vegetable or grain, but many of her recipes use uncommon, gourmet ingredients.

I just started reading Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian", and I think this may be my new alpha cookbook.

Kim said...

Cooking Light's Essential Dinner Tonight cookbook. I love everything Cooking Light does, but this one, which is a compilation of their "Dinner Tonight" magazine segments, really has taught me how to plan meals and cook WHOLE MEALS. It's given me ideas that I've never had before about how to pair things up and what can be used as a side dish. I guess I grew up in the traditional Meat, starch, vegetable type of dinner environment, and some of the stuff that Cooking Light shows me how to do is WAY different. And in a good way!

drphibes said...

Better Homes and Gardens in the 3 ring binder. We got this as a wedding gift 22 years ago and still use it regularly. It's become our go-to wedding gift as our childrens' friends begin to marry. I was in a bookstore once and a Czech couple approached me and asked what would be a good source of American recipes. Without hesitation I pulled down a copy of BH&G.

Marcia said...

Prob Vegan with a Vengeance, Betty Crocker, and Lorna Sass Complete VEgetarian Kitchen are all about equal.

Mostly because these days, I just make stuff up.

Anonymous said...

There's a few great ones I use regularly, but the one I most often turn to Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. Her instructions are so clear and well-written, and everything I've made from it has been great (even her basic salad dressing recipes are amazing!).

Denise said...

I love The Moosewood Cookbook. I still go back to it over and over again...Also, Moosewood Cooks at Home. I still have my 20 year old copy of The Joy of Cooking which I still refer to. I also get a lot of use out of The MediterrAsian Way by Ric Watson and Trudy Thelander.
... and I use the Internet everyday :)

Charlie said...

The Moosewoods! I have the original, plus New Classics, Cooks at Home and Low Fat Feasts. I think I probably use Cooks at Home the most but they are all great.

K. Tree said...

When I need information about anything, I go with my Joy of Cooking. I still have my very first cookbook which is the 1976 version of the Betty Crocker's Cookbook and I use that pretty frequently. My other favorite is my Great American Favorite Brand Name Cookbook. I have over 100 cookbooks. Most of the time I just use them for entertainment value. If I find a recipe I like, I'll flag the page so I can find it easily the next time I want to make it. Mostly, I just like to read them.

James Cummings said...

Fannie Farmer from about 1975 is my go to cookbook to get back to basics. I have a bunch of Farm Journal cookbooks inherited from my mother-in-law that I delve into with some frequency. I'm quite fond of old traditional recipes.

Eyebrows McGee said...

the More with Less and Extending the Table cookbooks (by Doris Janzen Longacre, published by the Mennonites, I believe). Simple, hearty, everyday recipes -- More with Less is typical American cuisine, Extending the Table is everyday recipes from around the world. The mystery of cooking, for me, was how to make NORMAL food that was healthy and tasty.

Bittman also gets a lot of use, as does Better Homes.

Anna N said...

Another vote for Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone! Everything in it is good, including baked goods (apple upside down cake, I love you), and it's great for "what do I do with this vegetable?" emergencies.

That said, I have fierce love for all the Moosewood cookbooks, especially Sundays at Moosewood, Moosewood Cooks at Home, and New Recipes from Moosewood. I just wish they all had a common index so I didn't have to look in 3 indexes to find things!

Diane said...

Well, I only put down two - but I also agree with Deborah Madison's "vegetarian cooking for everyone" - it's awesome. I needed to make a cobbler last week, and wanted to remind myself of how to do it - and the instructions were perfect - so, SO good. It's got everything, and I've never made a dud recipe from it - ever.

hillary said...

I use Moosewood Cooks at Home the most, followed closely by Joy of Cooking (mostly used for baking recipes).

wosnes said...

I use my own binder of recipes the most, followed by Pam Anderson's How to Cook Without a Book and Bittman's How to Cook Everything. I'm downsizing and have eliminated a ton of cookbooks, but those will most definitely stay.

Emily @ Relishments said...

Ditto on Bittman, "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian", in my case.

Also, when faced with unfamiliar vegetables from the CSA "The Victory Garden Cookbook" by Marian Morash gets a fair amount of play.

c.r.a. said...

I use the internet the most, but the one print cookbook I would never live without is definitely the Joy of Cooking. It's got a good recipe for most anything you might want to cook (and good general instructions on how to store various vegetables and fruits that I refer to quite a bit).

Harper said...

Jnae Brody's Good Food Book - I believe it is out of print but the recipes are healthy and tasty.

Kris said...

Thanks, everybody, for all your responses! When all is said and done, Imma gonna count the votes so far, and post these guys on Thursday.

Incidentally, I think Joy of Cooking may be moving ahead here.

Blaise said...

The Silver Palate Cookbook (the first one, the others aren't as good)

May not be the most versatile / Useful, but it's the one I turn to whenever I need a new recipe: The Silver Palate.

I've yet to hit a recipe I didn't like, their pot roast, chilli and braised ribs recipes are instant crow pleasers

Maria Sol said...

Wow, my Amazon wishlist has about tripled after reading all these comments! My favorite source for recipes is this food blog search: http://www.foodblogsearch.com/

My mom in law also let me have "1,000 Vegetarian Recipes" by Carol Gelles. It's okay. I don't normally like recipe books that have excessive amounts of recipes. I'd say about 50% of the recipes we've tried have been good.

I'm also a big fan of green smoothies and have two of Victoria Boutenko's books. It's a great way to use up those CSA greens.

Anonymous said...

Better Homes and Gardens is my favorite, I call it "the plaid one" most of the time though. The three ring binder set up is great, and all the ingredient info and substitution suggestions make it handy even when I'm winging it... Which is most of the time.

Second favorite is "Clueless in the Kitchen". Nice simple recipes for old favorites. When you want something simple and satisfying this is the way to go.

Katie Schaefer said...

Jamie Oliver's. Cook with Jamie : My Guide to Making You a Better Cook. Simple super delicious fresh recipes as well as great sections teaching you kitchen and food basics. I probably cook from it at least once a week and it is always my favorite meal from that week. I don't think I've used any of my other cookbooks.

Milehimama said...

I actually have my cookbooks on 2 different shelves. One shelf to keep my frequent fliers handy (BHG, Joy of Cooking, America's Test Kitchen) and one for all the other speciality/inherited/used once a year ones.

My JOC is an older edition that doesn't have any recipes calling for cream of cr*p soup as an ingredient and I use it all the time. My son has food allergies so I have to make everything from scratch. And I LOVE all the food information in it. But sometimes the recipes are just too fussy, and I like BHG because they are simple, straightforward, and easy recipes.

Leigh said...

Another vote for Bittman's HTCE. I have the cookbook and then I got the $5 app for my iPhone which is the ENTIRE BOOK. ON MY iPHONE. It has repeatedly saved dinner.

I also love anythng by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. VWAV, Vegan Brunch, etc....helps my creativity.

Heidi said...

I don't work from recipes too often. Joy, BHG, Julia Child... all good, all used now and then. But when I really want something spectacular I head for Nigella Lawson's "Feast". I have made approximately half the recipes and not one has failed me. The brined turkey and old-fashioned chocolate cake recipes alone make the book worth purchasing.

Anonymous said...

Joy of Cooking - just so comprehensive, reassuring and with good instructions. 1960s version, best $5 purchase at the Salvation Army ever. Never warmed up to Bittman's HTCE in the same way as with Joy. From what I've tried, Nigella's recipes can be very hit-or-miss. Of course, what I usually head for is my card index file box with recipes on 8" x 5" cards that I've gleaned from websites, magazines and friends.
mikeinkasnascity

Michelle said...

Joy of Cooking.
World of the East Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffrey.

emil said...

Bittman, how to cook everything. Thing is like a freakin' bible.