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The cookbooks that made you the cook you are

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Oh My....the Time Life Books! I also was gifted a set a LONG time ago....and somehow it found it's way out of the collection....I was thinking about those the other day.

My top three cookbooks are...

1. My grandmother 1957 copy of the Betty Crocker Cookbook - gingham covered and ful of notes in the margins, recipes written on the back of envelopes tucked between the pages - it's a treasure.

2. Jacques Pépin's Cooking Techniques - I was out of work and unable to finance culinary school - so I worked front to back with this one and taught myself. (I read the Tom Colicchio had done this as well and thought "if it's good enough for him, it's good enough for me"

3. Culinary Artistry - this book opened my eys to combinations of flavor and methods that I had not concidered before - this book and it's more recent release The Flavor Bible are ones I give to all my foodie friends for gifts.

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I guess I show my age! The Top 5 List:


One would have to be the Galloping Gourmet Cookbook only because it is the first cookbook I remember reading. I'd pretend I was sick, stay home with my Mom and we'd cook from it-and watch the TV show.

Julia Child the Art of Mastering French Cooking vol 1&2 ('nuff said)

On Cooking by Sarah Labensky. My cooking school textbook.

Ratios by Michael Ruhlman-absolutely fatastic

The French Laundry Cookbook by Michael Ruhlman and Thomas Keller. A tome to consistently challenge me to elevate my game.


-Doc

"Everything I eat has been proved by some doctor or other to be a deadly poison, and everything I don't eat has been proved to be indispensable for life. But I go marching on." ~George Bernard Shaw

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I guess I show my age! The Top 5 List:


One would have to be the Galloping Gourmet Cookbook only because it is the first cookbook I remember reading. I'd pretend I was sick, stay home with my Mom and we'd cook from it-and watch the TV show.

Julia Child the Art of Mastering French Cooking vol 1&2 ('nuff said)

On Cooking by Sarah Labensky. My cooking school textbook.

Ratios by Michael Ruhlman-absolutely fatastic

The French Laundry Cookbook by Michael Ruhlman and Thomas Keller. A tome to consistently challenge me to elevate my game.

I have been trying so hard to remember which cook book started me on my way and now I know - The Galloping Gourmet and I even remember it was for a pork roast stuffed with prunes! His TV show was so entertaining that even hubby would watch it. Mind you, I bet I'd be entertaining if I was as well lubricated as Graham used to be. Thank you.


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Great topic...my earliest influences were:

1. Craig Claiborne's NY Times Cookbook is still a go-to reference that I refer to constantly.

2. Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking taught me about real Italian food.

3. Charmaine Solomon's The Complete Asian Cookbook. My husband brought this one into the marriage and we both still use it all the time. Worth getting hitched to get a copy.

4. Bill Neal's Biscuits, Spoonbread and Sweet Potato Pie is the Southern baking bible that taught this Southern girl to make biscuits.

5. Some of the first books that I ever cooked out of when I was a child were a collection of those spiral bound cookbooks that were put out by the Junior League or to raise money for a church or school. You know the ones. They had easy, accessible recipes that a 10-year-old child could manage. Yes, lots of cans of soup, but some really good home cooking too. I still refer fairly regularly to the River Road Cookbook, Talk About Good, and Charleston Receipts.


Edited by Sugar Apple (log)

Abigail Blake

Sugar Apple: Posts from the Caribbean

http://www.abigailblake.com/sugarapple

"Sometimes spaghetti likes to be alone." Big Night

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Pictures! This topic needs pictures!

I'm also a student of the Frog-Commissary school, for all the reasons previously cited. As you can see, it was my standby during a kitchen renovation:

frog-commissary.jpg

. . . and a Franey disciple, through (almost literally) both 60-Minute Gourmet books:

60-minute.jpg

I'd say that at least half of my day-to-day cooking still references Pierre's work.

Here's a shot of the limbered spines of those two, along with a third influence, James Beard's Theory & Practice:

three-cookbooks.jpg

When, through a series of coincidences, I found myself cooking on a restaurant line, my chef lent me his copy of T&P so that I could fill in some of my knowledge gaps; eventually I got this copy of my own.

Then there's the first cookbook I ever cracked, somewhere around 1965 (surprisingly, it's in the best shape of all), the 1946 edition of Joy:

joy.jpg

It was the only cookbook I had (technically, it's my Mom's; she got it from her mother-in-law as a wedding present) for probably six or seven years, until my parents gave me the New York Times Cookbook.

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Dave Scantland
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Eat more chicken skin.

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My pleasure Anna,

I feel an homage to Graham so I try to keep the imbibing tradition alive!


-Doc

"Everything I eat has been proved by some doctor or other to be a deadly poison, and everything I don't eat has been proved to be indispensable for life. But I go marching on." ~George Bernard Shaw

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GREAT to see the mention of Pierre Franey's 60-Minute Gourmet, Chris and DtC... I used those a LOT and learned a LOT... for me they were companions to the Craig Claiborne collected columns I mentioned, where Franey's chefly hand was clearly visible.

I pick up copies whenever I run across them to give to new cooks of all ages. You really can't do better. I mean, truly.

This makes me want to run and make that chicken liver mousse w/fresh tomato sauce. Volume 1 or 2 I wonder.

Edited to make clearer Franey's contributions.


Edited by Priscilla (log)

Priscilla

Writer, cook, & c. ● #TacoFriday observant ●  Twitter    Instagram

 

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Boy, all these take me back some time. I remember the first cookbook I ever had. It came from a garage sale and it was a Sunset Cooking School Chinese Cooking. To this day I have a fetish for chinese food cookbooks, and cooking chinese food. The very first expensive cookbook I ever owned was Hazeltons "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking" I swear, I thought I lost it when I moved last and was crying when I could not find it. My husband didn't understand the attachment. Next I would have to say "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" for the knowlege.


"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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Boy, all these take me back some time. I remember the first cookbook I ever had. It came from a garage sale and it was a Sunset Cooking School Chinese Cooking.

I still have a Sunset Chinese Cook Book in my collection, 1979. :smile: And a Sunset Oriental Cook Book, 1970.


Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

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.....And a Sunset Oriental Cook Book, 1970......

Darienne, in my I'd say 10 or 15-strong collection of Sunset cookbooks, I have the 5th printing of the Oriental book, © 1991 ! I just made pork tonkatsu out of it a couple of weeks ago.

Sunset was a great series of beginners books, and a good introduction to "non-American" (at least non-1950's midwest American) cuisine. I learned a lot from them, and although I have mostly moved beyond them now, there are about 5 or 10 recipes from them I still use on a regular basis.

And let me add to the shout-outs for Graham Kerr and Pierre Franey's "60-Minute Gourmet" books. I don't have any of Graham's, but I do have the first Franey, and it's also still a gem. Learned a lot watching Graham with my mom, though.

I also have to give some props to The Frugal Gourmet. Although his issues certainly tainted his personal life, and his professional one, he was a solid cook, with solid techniques, and good cookbooks. I have I think 4 or 5 of them, and again, though I no longer cook much from them, I learned a ton from them at the time, and there are still a few go-to recipes of his that I use over and over.


--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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1. Encyclopedia of Fish Cookery. It was my first fish cookery book when I was beginning to be passionate about cooking. I worked in a fish cutting warehouse at the time.

2. Larousse Gastronomique. The bible.

3. On Food and Cooking (initiated by The Cookbook Detective). I love knowing why. Always. It's a passion.

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Beard's Theory and Practice of Cooking

Claiborn's NYT cookbook

Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook

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Boy, all these take me back some time. I remember the first cookbook I ever had. It came from a garage sale and it was a Sunset Cooking School Chinese Cooking.

I still have a Sunset Chinese Cook Book in my collection, 1979. :smile: And a Sunset Oriental Cook Book, 1970.

Ok, I must be mistaken about the name of the book. I just know that after I got a life long love affair with chinese cooking ensued. :smile: I was 16 at the time and spent that whole summer cooking from it. :wub:


"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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I have just spent 2 hours looking for the title of the cook book I checked out over, and over, and over, as a child. I havent found it yet but the book was pink and had a recipe for candle stick salad....

In my search I found this site which I will now torture you all with, you may thank or hunt me down to kill me later LOL

http://search.rubylane.com/search?page=1&ss=cookbook

tracey


The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

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I also own Frog/Commissary. I must confess that I bought it solely for the Eden Burgers recipe, although I've made a few other recipes from time to time, all good.

Here are my major influences (I know--some aren't cookbooks per se):

Early on: Fannie Farmer, The NY Times International Cookbook

A bit later: The Joy of Cooking, Joyce Chen Cook Book

Early middle: Maida Heatter's Book of Great Chocolate Desserts, The Jewish Holiday Cookbook

Late middle: Cook's Illustrated collection, On Food and Cooking, The Best of the Midwest

More recently: What To Drink With What You Eat, The Instant Bean/The Brilliant Bean


Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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I have just spent 2 hours looking for the title of the cook book I checked out over, and over, and over, as a child. I havent found it yet but the book was pink and had a recipe for candle stick salad....

tracey

Just goes to show that curiosity can lead you places you never wanted to be. I looked up Candlestick Salad. Supposedly it had its origins in the depression, although it smacks of post-war "creativity" to me. The height of something, but I'm not sure what. Definitely the thing for retro 50's party and a perfect accompaniment to pigs-in-a-blanket. Options make it the most versatile of side-dishes: dripping with whipped cream it's a dessert, dripping with mayo it's considered more of...a salad.

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1. "The Joy of Cooking" - I still return to it for basic recipes and it still holds up against years of experimentation and newer cookbooks.

2. "The Vegetarian Epicure" vol. 1 & 2 by Anna Thomas - The first cookbook that I cooked from regularly and it was groundbreaking in its day. I was inspired to expand my repertoire and explore because of her recipes.

3. "The Good Cook" Time Life Series - My mother passed these on to me when I moved into my first apartment and the detailed illustrations and photos were perfect for a young cook.

4. "Bernard Clayton's Complete Book of Breads" - This was one of the first cookbooks that I bought. I was impressed by the quality of writing. His detailed and well researched recipes were excellent, moreover, the stories behind the recipes were inspiring.

5. "The New Home Cook" by Florence Fabricant - My first dinner parties would not have been the same without this book.

6. "Fields of Greens" by Annie Somerville - A long-time favourite that celebrates fresh produce and quality ingredients. It also inspired me to explore some ingredients that weren't readily available in Canada at the time.

7. "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone" by Deborah Madison - This book has become my newest favourite. It is a compendium of simple and lovely recipes where the key ingredients truly shine through and old classics are renewed.

Do I love cookbooks? Yes, I do.

I should note that I am not a vegetarian, but for some reason many of my favourite cookbooks have a vegetarian theme. They are simply great cookbooks that stand out on their own merit.

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The two that I guess influenced me thoe most when I was growing up were The Better Homes and Gardens cookbook that was always sitting on my grandmother's kitchen counter (between the coffee maker and the sugar) and the original Joy of Cooking that my other grandmother recieved as a wedding (or was it anniversary) gift. There was a handwritten date on the inside cover that said '62 I think? it was always kept in the bottom drawer of the kitchen, with the rolling pin.

Whenever I was at either of their houses, I would look through them, and ask to start cooking things. My mom wasn't much on cooking, so I got most of my cooking experience (not to mention the freedom to make a mess) at their houses.


"...which usually means underflavored, undersalted modern French cooking hidden under edible flowers and Mexican fruits."

- Jeffrey Steingarten, in reference to "California Cuisine".

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Marcella Hazan's Classic Italian Cookbook, which my Mom gave me after I saw Big Night for the first time and couldn't get Italian cooking out of my head.

Culinary Artistry by Dorenburg and Page helped "elevate" my cooking into a more experimental vein. Can't wait to get Flavor Bible.

A bit of a cheat here, but it does answer the "Made me the cook I am" question . . . having access to the Food Network in the late 90s and first year or two of this decade. Sara Moulton and the great Cooking Live was still on, Ming Tsai was still on, Batali's first version of Molto Mario, Emeril wasn't yet rampant, and Rachel Ray was still doing cooking demos in a department store somehwere. Wide exposure to basic techniques, cuisines, regionality, seasonality . . . there were days were I literally just had it on all day long.

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i just re-structured and re-evaluated my cookbook shelves, with an eye towards this very question and here's where i come out --

1 -- Hancock (GA) County Historical Foundation Heritage Cookbook circa 1969 -- my grandmother's book. meals at her home were always comfortable, satisfying and really great food. looking through this worn, yellowed book definitely takes me back there, as does the food.

2 -- The Gift of Southern Cooking -- i have found that peacock and lewis capture completely what it's like to cook and eat in the south.

3 -- The Silver Palate -- my first "real" cookbook, given to me for my 20th birthday. i don't love everything i make from it, but i do love looking through it for basic ideas and inspiration. probably the aesthetics of this cookbook -- the drawn illustrations and the side notes -- are another reason i am pulled to it.

4 -- Maida Heatters Book of Great Desserts -- while perusing the library at Cornell's Hospitality School (i was in law school...), i came across this book and kept it checked out for most of my 3 years there. the desserts are perfect -- not too frou-frouey, but neither are they ordinary. i found my own copy in a used book store, thank god.

5 -- finally -- Julia Child and More Company AND The French Menu by Richard Olney -- because it was the combination of these two books that led me to create my first truly amazing meal -- cassolet. combining Julia's confit and basic cassolet recipe with olney's lamb stew was like having the stars align.

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abigail --

i have all three of those junior league-type cookbooks as well. within arms reach of my kitchen. another great one is necessities and temptations (from austin).

--melissa

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I think of this in two parts. First, the cookbooks that made me love cookbooks and reading about food. There are three:

As a child: My mother's set of Women's Day Encyclopedia of Food, circa 1974. It was full of essays about particular types of food (Petits fours), or regional cooking. Gorgeous pictures, too.

at 19 when I got my first apartment: The Art of Eating by MFK Fisher - a present from a friend who knew me better than I knew myself. I literally wore the covers off this book and had to buy another copy.

at 22: I was in an antique shop and ran across two books from the 40's: The Women's Home Companion Household Book and Cookbook. They were $10 each, an large sum for this college student in the 80's. But I went home and obsessed and ate more beans and they were mine. That was the start of my vintage cookbook collection.

The cookbooks that made me the COOK I am are a bit different. It might depend on the day but here's what I think today:

The Joy of Cooking, 70's edition. The bible of my house growing up, we depended on Joy to know how long to cook a potato or roast a chicken. At age 8 I made my first batch of ginger snaps from it. It taught me that you can cook if you can read. (Which is, coincidentally, the name of one of the vintage cookboks I own!)

The Frugal Gourmet. I got rid of all of his books after the scandal broke, but when I was first dating my husband we loved his show, and the first Christmas present my future In Laws ever got me was one of his cookbooks. He made me more adventurous, more willing to play and take risks with cooking. One of the only great failures of my culinary career was his peanut butter soup!

Growing up on the Chocolate Diary by Lora Brody - this is the cookbook that made me try more elaborate baking techniques, and gave me results that made me very popular!

Nadya

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We had no cookbooks growing up.

 

I bought the "Betty Crocker's Cookbook" 1976 edition. It's a great cookbook for beginners. Thoroughly tested, and recipes are streamlined as much as possible. White bread America, mostly yes, but it has recipes like egg foo yong, sweet and sour pork, lasagne, sauerbraten, krumcake, fatigmands bakkelser, kugelhupf, and pannetone, if one wants to branch out. None of these are probably authentic to their roots, but they are accessible with available ingredients, and practically idiot proof. It was pretty adventurous for the young American cook in the 1970's.

 

I also have the 1973 edition of "The Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook". I never liked this one as much as Betty's, but I to this day make some recipes from it. I love their "Garden Stuffed Peppers". I melt cheddar on top of the tomato/succatosh stuffing for a vegetarian entree. They are better at breads than Betty, and many of the recipes I still use are from the bread chapter. KILLER cornbread!

 

Both the above are ring-bound loose leaf style with laminated fabric covers, and have held up really well over the years.

 

Later, I bought "The Joy of Cooking," 1997 edition used in real good condition then, and it's now my most battered. The hard cover spine is completely split between pages 170 and 173, with page 171/172 lovingly preserved between them. I know there's not a lot of love on this forum for JOC lately, but I adore mine.

 

That said, I'm very glad it was not my first. I'm kind of baffled by a previous poster's recomendation of this book for beginners. It frequently assumes that one knows more than beginners would, and does stuff like telling you to have ingredients for Yorkies/ popovers at room temp without telling you how to do that efficiently. Later, I figured out on my own to put the eggs in hot tap water and nuke the milk a little. The results are poofier that way for sure, but the first time I tried it, when I had time to kill, I just wanted to see if there was anything behind their suggestion. Once I found out that it really worked, I set my mind to doing it in a time-saving manner.

 

I have many more cookbooks since then, but these are my workhorses, and the basis for my preliminary education in all things culinary.


> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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Great nostalgic thread, the first 5 of mine would be

 

The Vegetarian Epicure vol. 1 & 2 by Anna Thomas (counts as I)

The Silver Palate (all three also counts as 1) - Rosso & Lukins

Aquavit by Marcus Samuelsson

Mario Batali - probably Simple Italian Food

The Arrows Cookbook by Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier

 

but things are changing with The Art of Cooking with Vegetables - Alain Passard

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