Never discount a good cookbook. And despite some of the comments made by chefs I’ve known, I would have not eaten well as a child had it not been for the original Better Homes and Garden cookbook. Now, if you’re like me, you have a ton of cookbooks. I have specialty ones, general ones, and ones you’ve probably not seen before. Below is the “shelf” that they are kept on for the most part. I say shelf, but really it’s the top of the cabinet that is above my refrigerator. (If you look carefully, there’s even a ‘unofficial’ Harry Potter one too.)
Don’t be intimidated by a recipe in a cookbook! Sometimes the directions seem daunting, but once you do it, it’ll be easier the next time or for the next recipe. Have confidence in yourself! As the great ‘chef’ Gusteau says – ‘Anyone can cook!’
The cookbooks I always come back to time and time again are these three:
The Joy of Cooking
There are no pictures to refer to at all, but there are good descriptions and plenty of definitions you can refer to in the beginning of the book if you are unsure of something. There are several dog-earred pages in mine, as I go back to those recipes a LOT.
Better Homes and Gardens
Absolutely great recipes in here that are for the most part easy to do. Start here if you are new to cooking. My recipe for snickerdoodles comes from here and they are super good!
Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking
This is the woman who I watched as a kid (I’m old) on PBS, who showed me what a love of cooking looks like. She laughed a lot and taught me that drinking while cooking is okay too! LOL I liked that she was 6′ 2″, about an inch taller than myself.
These recipes are from a time where healthy was defined … differently, but they are simply delectable! You can’t beat her Coq Au Vin recipe and you CAN’T make it in a fucking “instant pot” have it taste as good.
I’ve never gone through and made every recipe from a cookbook, mainly because there’s lots of things I won’t eat, but it’s an interesting notion that I may take on when I don’t have a job. If you’ve seen the movie Julie & Julia, this cookbook was part of the premise.
While I would never advocate writing in a book – WRITE IN YOUR COOKBOOK! Notes on recipes like things you’ve changed, ones you found you didn’t like, etc., is an excellent idea. I recently found an old cookbook from somewhere, with notes throughout it. Next to one recipe (cantaloup pickles?) all it said was “lousy”. Noted. 🙂