Favorite Cookbooks

These are my top five favorite cookbooks. I know a lot of people don’t use cookbooks anymore because technology is great at quickly finding what you are looking. Google surpasses using a cookbook for a lot of people. I do this too, but I also love my cookbook collection. I know right? Who the hell uses paper anymore? Well, as my book nut friend always says, there is just something about holding an actual book in your hand. Turning the pages one by one as you take in the glory of the photos, smell the paper, feel the pages of the book in your hands as you dream of cooking the recipes. There is just something about an actual book.

So with that said, here are my top 5 favorite cookbooks. These are not necessarily reviews, I just want to share why I love them so much.

The Food Lab – Number 5

What do you do with an Amazon gift certificate for Christmas? Buy this cookbook of course.

I’ll start my list of favorite cookbooks one of the best cookbooks to talk about the science behind cooking. This guy Kenji, he can write, and he writes really well. The author not only is an accomplished chef but also has a degree from MIT. If that doesn’t impress you alone, his fun writing style and great explanations will. If you own just a handful of cookbooks in your life, make this one of them. In just reading the intro to this book, it quickly became a favorite.

The Culinary Camper: Adventures in Camp Cooking – Number 4

Well, since I wrote this one, it has to be a top favorite cookbook. How can I not shamelessly plug my own cookbook? I would be betraying myself. I spend about 4 years writing this cookbook, testing recipes, taking photos, changing things multiple times, hiring editors, firing editors and finally getting it done in 2014. I started this book as a challenge from my former partner when they said one morning after I had made breakfast over a campfire, “You write a cookbook”. Well, it is on my list because it was a labor of love. It has been well received on Amazon and is a fun book to read. I still refer to it from time to time when I haven’t made one of my recipes in a long time and can’t remember how I did it before.

The Flavor Bible – Number 3

Well, this really isn’t a cookbook, but it is about attaining great flavor. I love this book because I can sometimes be flavor-challenged. I often put way too much garlic in a dish and think it is just wonderful, while the people I feed are overwhelmed with garlic flavor. This book is helping me realize there is more to life than just garlic. When I make something I have never made before, I often wonder what spices I should use. This book helps to solve that problem by telling you what goes well with your main ingredient. It gives you a list of things you can put into it. Definitely, a great book.

Betty Crockers New Picture Cookbook 1961 Ring-bound – Number 2

Good luck trying to find this cookbook. You can find used versions of it on Amazon, but since this book is dubbed a classic and is out they don’t print this version anymore, they are very expensive and as time goes on, the price keeps increasing. You can find the updated versions of this book, but to me, they just are the same.

So why is this number 2? Simply because it is AWESOME.

This is the cookbook my mom had when I was growing up. It is a classic cookbook with timeless recipes that we went back to over and over again. I made my first chocolate chip cookies from this cookbook. I studied its pages and spent hours looking at the photos. Sure they are old photos, with a Betty House Bitch, all wrapped up in her apron. But it sings of a time of simplicity and simple cooking. And hey, there is nothing wrong with being a Betty House Bitch. Total respect there!

There are great memories associated with this cookbook and since mom passed away back in 2005, it is a reminder of learning to cook with her as a kid. Before she died, she gave me her copy of this cookbook after I bought my first house. Sadly, when I downsized my life, I gave the book to my brother. Now I regret that and wish I still had those old crusted pages to dwindle upon again. I’ll probably purchase one of these used versions, but it won’t be moms. At least it is still in the family.

Professional Cooking – Number 1 Favorite Cookbook

Last but certainly not least, my all-time favorite cookbook is Professional Cooking by Wayne Gisslen. Why, because this book has taught me more about good cooking than any other resource out there. Sure, maybe I watch The Food Network a lot, and I learn much from watching, but this book is so much more in-depth than any TV show. I first picked this book up about 7 years ago when I was browsing through a Half Priced Books store. I was intrigued when I read that it was the textbook for Le Cordon Bleu cooking schools. Since it was used, it only cost me about five bucks, so I snapped it up. Brand new these books are around $60 to $80. If you find this book used, get it. If you can’t find it used, save some pennies, buy it and read it. It will improve your cooking by teaching you the basics around cooking, the science behind it, and how to do many professional tasks.

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