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Thread: Your Top 5 Cookbooks

  1. #16
    Elite Member Trixie's Avatar
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    Well, after growing up on Betty Crocker (I swear the only spices my mom had when I was growing up were salt and pepper, and the pepper was used sparingly) I discovered The Silver Palate cookbooks, and they still contain many of my go-to dishes, especially The New Basics. My copy is is now in 3 pieces, it fell apart long ago.

    I have many other cookbooks acquired over the years, but I admit I don't have many recent ones. I get a ton of foodie magazines every month thanks to my bestie who is a fanatic for anything about cooking and gifts me all the subscriptions. And I admit that nowadays if I want to try something new, I google. I have a huge folder of printed out recipes that I've tried.
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  2. #17
    A*O
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    Google is fantastic for finding specific dishes, eg, Hungarian goulash or Victoria sponge. It saves flipping through lots of different books looking for something that may not even be there unless it's one of those cooks companion How To books. I also Google a list of ingredients I need to use up, eg, chicken, spinach, mushroom, and something interesting usually pops up. But nothing beats a real book.
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    Elite Member BITTER's Avatar
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    In all actuality, I stopped buying cookbooks - most recipes I get, I get off the Web.
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    Elite Member missbazilb's Avatar
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    I love the Joy of Cooking. My copy is completely falling apart. It's an older edition so it has sections on how to dress small game and things like that, which I assume the new versions do not have.

    When I was on mat leave I splurged an paid for a membership to America's Test Kitchen, and downloaded an absolute shit ton of recipes. They're quite labour intensive but I don't think I've had a bad recipe yet.

    I have a spiral notebook that I put my "successes" in so I don't have to search my other cookbooks.

    I feel I'm a pretty good cook and baker. I'm good at creating my own recipes, including things like cakes and icing and they seem to go over well. I wanted to make a really light chocolate cake for my BIL's birthday. He wanted chocolate cake with mocha icing, and the entire family is not big on overly sweet, so I did some research with different recipes that had good components but didn't suit my needs completely. Made a fantastic chocolate cake with a really not-sweet mocha icing. It was so good, if I do say so myself.

  5. #20
    A*O
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    I love the really old fashioned Edwardian cookbooks like Mrs Beatons with all those arcane recipes for things like blancmange, jellied eels, sweetbreads and special invalid food or "exotic" fruits like banana mousse. They also discuss how to lay the table, napkin etiquette, what wine to serve in which glass, etc and also household tips on cleaning crystal chandeliers and hiring staff. A bygone age when life's routines did seem to revolve around mealtimes and a woman's place was firmly in the home.
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  6. #21
    Elite Member Moongirl's Avatar
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    I love looking at cookbooks (I only have a couple big ones, though), but rarely if ever do I use any of the recipes. A lot of times, they tend to have ingredients that I don't readily have on hand, and I don't see the point in buying them for a one time use. Like others have said, I tend to google for recipes that use ingredients I already have.
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  7. #22
    Elite Member Chalet's Avatar
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    When I was watching Downton Abbey I found a site that listed the recipes that Mrs. Patmore might have cooked. Really fun reading. Rich food you say? Oh brother.

    Take a look - fun to read.

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/arielknutson...ey#.qi2M6gron5

    I haven't bought a cookbook in ages but my coveted books are Julia Child's The Art of French Cooking, Maida Heatter's Book of Desserts. I think I've made about 90% of her recipes. I used to make her truffles which sit on top of her Queen Mother's Cake. I brought them to a party and saw a guy pocketing a few for later.........creamy truffles! I have an old Jacques Pepin (my hero) and a Moroccan recipes book.

    I'm going to look at those Indian cook books. I cook a lot of vegetables and I love the spices. We have an Indian market a few minutes outside of NYC that has the best for less.

    I cook with curry, Cardamom, mustard seeds, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek seeds - how do I say this - I don't use much but it seems to come out of my pores now and then. Showering has nothing to do with it, it took one week to get the scent out of my underarms. Was I delicate enough?

  8. #23
    A*O
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    Ha ha, I find fenugreek "lingers" too. Indian vegetarian food is fantastic (most of the population don't eat meat for religious reasons) so if you want veggie/vegan food that's far from bland and boring, go Indian!
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  9. #24
    Elite Member KrisNine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A*O View Post
    It's funny, I almost never bake so any books covering cakes, cookies, desserts, etc just gather dust in this house at least. I'm a total failure as a competent wife and mother.
    It's funny, because I'm not a good cook at all, but I can bake like you can't believe. I think it's because it's very precise and I can't really screw it up. Plus, everyone loves a good cookie or pie However, I would rather be a good cook, like it sounds like you are.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trixie View Post
    Well, after growing up on Betty Crocker (I swear the only spices my mom had when I was growing up were salt and pepper, and the pepper was used sparingly) I discovered The Silver Palate cookbooks, and they still contain many of my go-to dishes, especially The New Basics. My copy is is now in 3 pieces, it fell apart long ago.

    I have many other cookbooks acquired over the years, but I admit I don't have many recent ones. I get a ton of foodie magazines every month thanks to my bestie who is a fanatic for anything about cooking and gifts me all the subscriptions. And I admit that nowadays if I want to try something new, I google. I have a huge folder of printed out recipes that I've tried.
    i love the old Betty Crocker cookbook. It's got so many simple, basic recipes. Good food and really tasty. I also like the Joy of Cooking. Another good, simple recipe kind of book. I have a great William Sonoma book, but it's packed up and I can't remember the title. Great foods and a lot of impressive recipes that will make people think you can really cook which is what I need.

  10. #25
    A*O
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    Aw shucks Kris, I wouldn't say I'm a good cook, maybe competent. Years of practice mostly. Deffo NOT a chef and don't presume to be.
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  11. #26
    Elite Member KrisNine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A*O View Post
    Aw shucks Kris, I wouldn't say I'm a good cook, maybe competent. Years of practice mostly. Deffo NOT a chef and don't presume to be.
    I guess I've come up with enough recipes that my kid thinks I'm a good cook I can make really easy things and I've honed in on a few recipes that I've managed to perfect. Lots of chicken, I'm terrible at cooking beef with the exception of ground beef. I can make a great meatloaf and meatballs. A couple of fish recipes, crab cakes, pasta sauce, and a couple of really yummy veggie dishes. My mom and mother in law are great cooks. Amazing. I love it when they visit.

  12. #27
    A*O
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    I'm just heartened that people still cook at home and use recipe books. So much instant, processed, fast food junk gets treated as a "normal" diet these days.
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  13. #28
    Super Moderator NoDayButToday's Avatar
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    I LOVE Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything". It's always the first I go to for anything, and it's where I got my brownie recipe that has become nearly famous in our social circle and that my husband has said more than once had not an insignificant influence on his decision to marry me.

    I like the Joy of Cooking, mine is one of the really old editions with game and butchering instructions too. It isn't always my go-to, but it's also never failed me.

    I have a few great America's Test Kitchen books, the ones that are for cooking for 2. Everything from there has been great.

    I love going to thrift stores and used book stores and buying the community cookbooks, like the neighborhood or family cookbooks that people compile and someone always ends up donating. Some of the recipes are just so bad. One of my favorites is an old synagogue cookbook from maybe the 70s or early 80s that has a few great traditional Jewish recipes and a LOT of canned soup and convenience type recipes that sound so atrocious I can't bear to make them, but they are so good for a laugh (think velveeta fudge).
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    My grandmother (b.1897) grew up in the Edwardian era in a solid middle class home with a cook, a couple of house maids, a gardener and a chauffeur. Sounds like Downton Abbey but in those days it was nothing unusual. She learned all the standard rules and etiquette including the importance of set meal times. She was also an excellent cook and could create the most amazing dishes from, seemingly, almost nothing. She learned those skills when she was a newlywed in the Great Depression and money was very tight.

    A visit to granny was always a bit of an eating marathon. Ma normal day went like this:

    7am. Tea in bed made by grandpa.
    8am. Breakfast - cereal (sometimes oatmeal/porridge), full fried bacon, egg, tomato, mushrooms and sometimes baked beans. Toast, home made marmalade. Lots of tea.
    11am. Milky instant coffee and home made shortbread and assorted baked treats. Lemonade for the kids.
    12.45pm sharp. Lunch. Soup, meat and 2 veg, home made stodgy dessert.
    3.30pm. Afternoon tea. Sandwiches, cake.
    OR
    5.00pm. High Tea. Sandwiches, something savoury like sardines on toast, cakes, ice cream or rice pudding.
    8.00pm. Supper. Cheese and biscuits, fruit, maybe - maybe a small glass of sherry as a nightcap. My grandparents were strictly chapel so alcohol was a rare treat.
    9.00pm. Cocoa and more biscuits.

    Phew. Is it any wonder my mother grew up obsessed with her weight.
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  15. #30
    Elite Member KrisNine's Avatar
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    ^^that sounds so amazing, but yeah, that's a lot of food.

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