I was gifted my first cookbook at the age of 10. I still have it, too: The Pillsbury Book of Baking. Every now and then I take it down from the shelf, usually during the holidays when I’m making something a little outrageous and a lot sweet. It may not be on heavy rotation these days, but that first book taught me to love recipes and baking.
Sure, there are millions of recipes available all over the internet, but I’ve always been drawn to cookbooks – for awhile I was even collecting regional cookbooks when I traveled. Flipping through the pages, each chapter is full of possibility and love, recipes carefully crafted by their author or authors to fit the theme of each book. Maybe this is a strange ritual, but I love sitting down in the morning and paging through a cookbook while I drink my coffee. Weird? Maybe.
Lately I’ve been meaning to diversify my admittedly sparse repertoire of go-to meals, so I asked a few people around the office for their favorite cookbook recommendations. I’m sharing my own as well. It’s almost the weekend, and what better time to hit up the book store and the farmer’s market, dust off the stove, and get cooking?
Naomi, PR Specialist:
The Moosewood Cookbook: “A year into college, I became a vegetarian and my family was shocked. Their little prosciutto-eating Italian was no more. On one of my visits home, my mom gifted me this book as a gateway to my new veggie-eating adventure. Little did I know she had owned and loved it for many years. I’ve since done the same, and this book has taught me so much about vegetarian cooking.”
Superfood Cuisine: “I remember receiving this book, and having no idea what a “superfood” even was. It really inspired me to start thinking about what ingredients I could substitute with healthier options in my cooking. I got more creative with healthy, nutrient packed cuisine, and now superfoods are a part of my regular diet each and every day. ”
“The Vegetarian Epicure — a classic in vegetarian cooking — and Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker have long been favorites for me. Food & Wine Magazine’s 2001 Cookbook is a fave for dinner parties, and the book I’m most eager to use is Great Chefs Cook Vegan.”
As for me? Like Naomi — and many others it seems — The Moosewood Cookbook has been a stand by, both in my home growing up, and my own kitchen now. A classic for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike, the book offers unique and easy to follow recipes, all presented in a friendly, non-intimidating way. Great for new cooks. I’ve always been drawn to the sweet illustrations that accompany each recipe, like you’re peeking into the recipe box of a family member.
Another favorite of mine is The Joy of Cooking. This book is a compendium of cooking knowledge. It’s full of fantastic recipes, but more than that, it houses answers to the most basic of cooking questions. It’s easy to take to the internet when you’re trying to, for example, figure out how long you need to cook eggs to make them hard-boiled, but sometimes you just want one definitive and simple answer. This book has it.
And lastly, my most treasured cookbook can’t be bought. This journal was given to me by my mother, partially filled with family recipes and old favorites that I grew up on, with blank pages interspersed. These blank pages serve as inspiration for me to put down the books every now and then to attempt to create something of my own.
And you? Do you have a go-to cookbook to recommend? Maybe a new book that you’re just dying to crack open? I’d love to know! Be sure to share in the comments.