Tell me yours

I just re-organized my cookbooks, and it reminds me how much I love them! I have always loved to read, but the story grip which once was my friend has become a bit of an enemy. It just isn’t a good idea to stay up until three in the morning toiling over a Russian novel anymore! So this is what I read now – and knitting books. This is my little collection, and I definitely am only beginning, so don’t make any cold remarks about how pitiful it looks! But I want to hear what your favorite cookbooks are, and why. I’ll start:

1. The New Best Recipe from the editors of Cook’s Illustrated.  This book is a great resource, one I would hate to cook without. Like a little cooking school class before every recipe to make you understand a bit more about everything. This book brought us oven fries recently – delicious, and cute too!

2. All the Barefoot Contessa books. Great food, wonderfully simpe flavors, always good to look at too!

3. Best Bread Ever – Charles Van Over. A must have, but I have said this before (sorry!). Revolutionized my relationship to homemade breads. It could yours too, if you only let it!

4. Fannie Farmer – because there is no reason to get too fancy. My most recent find : the easiest roast chicken ever. Basic, beautiful, a huge success with the children.

Now share yours so we can all make our Christmas lists – just tell your husband that it truly is the gift that keeps giving!

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62 thoughts on “Tell me yours

  1. OOh, here is my list:

    Harrod’s Cookery Book – I don’t actually remember anything I’ve made from it, but I love the feel of old-fashioned British cookery.

    Kitchen of Light – nouveau Norwegian cooking. The asparagus recipe I make from this book is a pot luck request

    Williams-Sonoma Secrets of Healthful Cooking – good for you and tastes good as well.


  2. I think your collection looks just lovely.

    My favorite cookbook is The More With Less Cookbook. It is teaching me to make and cook all the basics — for cheap. Can’t beat that. Lots of fun to read too.

    I also like The Lady and Sons and The Lady and Sons, Too because the food takes me back home to Savannah.

    I’d like to check out the Cooks Illustrated Cookbook you mentioned. Do you subscribe to the magazine? I have been thinking of asking for a subscription for Christmas.

  3. Sacramental Magic in a Small-Town Cafe, by Br. PeterReinhart.

    A great little cookbook, that is fun to read. Has the best Coleslaw recipe I have ever had. I actually don’t like coleslaw except for this one, but you have to have it with the barbeque sauce, it will make you sing. I highly recommend it.

    San Juan Classics II by Dawn Ashbach and Janice Veal

    Every recipe has been a winner. I think a couple of them ended up in Hot Providence. I go to this one often. It also uses a lot of ingredients that you can find in the northwest.

    I have to say you are right on about the Cooks Illustrated cookbook. No kitchen should be without it.

  4. I must say, I love cookbooks and read them like novels, but my absolute favorite, the one find myself using daily and give to every single bride I know, is America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. Every recipe in there is dynamite!

  5. I’m a cookbook-a-holic, also. I fought it for awhile, but I’m hooked now.

    I have several seasonal cookbooks from Gooseberry Patch catalog, and I use them a lot to add some seasonal flair to the everyday staples.

    I’m also a Southern gal, so I love Southern cookbooks, like Natalie Dupree’s books, or Jan Karon’s Mitford Cookbook.

    My favorite cookbooks, however, are always cookie books. The classic is Better Homes and Gardens’ “The Cookie Book.” πŸ™‚ It’s magic. I have one rule, though: the cookie recipes need PICTURES!! And lots of ’em.

  6. I say “hear, hear” to the CI cookbook and to Ina Garten. Since you have those, if I were you I’d get a copy of Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking: From My Home to Yours.” You’ll need a big pot of tea or coffee to read that one! Fabulous stuff. I have a ton of cookbooks, and those rise to the top.

  7. The Cake Mix Doctor and Chocolate from the Cake Mix Doctor. Also known as “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” πŸ˜‰ I haven’t yet heard a complaint that I don’t bake entirely from scratch!

    I also like The Dinner Doctor quite a bit.

    Electric Bread is my favorite bread machine resource.

    My edition of Fannie Farmer was my mother’s before she was married. I still use it for basics.

    I went on a cookbook shopping spree last year, but I confess I’ve made very little from any of them. Someday, though, when I have more time or have a better handle on managing the time I have, I’ll be prepared!

  8. What a nice topic. Mine are:

    Joy of Cooking, as a broad, all-purpose tool. You can always find out about whatever cut of beef you’re considering cooking, and most basic recipes are in here, and are solid and reliable.

    No Need to Knead. The subtitle says it all: Handmade Italian breads in 90 minutes.

    The Supper Book–a quirky little old book, and oddly enough, I like it not so much for its recipes as for its philosophy: that a “supper” is a meal that comforts and restores. It can be simple, but thoughtful extras such as condiments do matter.

    On Food and Cooking. Not a cookbook, but all about food.

    Online resources with ratings:,

  9. I have found that Junior League cookbooks are a real treasure. I have two of the Spokane Junior League cookbooks and use them often. They have a decent selection of dinner menus and I have found that the recipes are easy and are often Sabbath worthy. And another perk to the Junior League is they use local ingredients. You can purchase Junior League cookbooks at Barnes and Noble. One of my faithfuls is the No-Fuss chicken- soy sauce, Dijon mustard, green onions, mushrooms, butter, all poured on a boneless skinless chicken breast and wrapped in foil, either baked or BBQ to tender perfection. Serve with rice and sit back and enjoy the pleasure that this meal bestows upon the partakers.

    And a note on Cook’s Illustrated: Costco carries this magazine and discounts all of their magazines 30% off the cover price. It is one of my favorites to read as well!!

  10. Oooh! I have to jump in here! My sister & I were married just a year apart, and started a tradition of giving each other cookbooks for Christmas — used are best πŸ™‚
    I have to agree with Claire – my all time favorite is The Joy of Cooking. This book literally taught me how to cook. (Mom taught my sister, I set the table – something about OCD.) Not only is every recipe phenomenal, but the directions are super-easy to follow, and it has everything I could ever want to know about everything food. My other favorite is Cuisine at Home magazine. It has no ads what so ever, and every recipe is fully illustrated and explained in detail. Not always the most healthy or economical recipes, but always impressive so great for those special occasions or Sabbath family dinners.

  11. Erin-
    Amen to the Junior league tip! A family wide favorite is Creme de Colorado by the Denver Junior League. Everything we ever made out of that was fabulous!

  12. A few years ago I bought Bekah a cook book called Thanksgiving 101 at a Williams Sonoma store. She was preparing Thanksgiving by herself that year, and it did the trick. After she used it one year, I borrowed it from her, and I’m pretty sure it is still on my shelf. I pull it out every Thanksgiving and use many of the recipes. It is fabulous and contains every possible Thanksgiving favorite that exists. It went out of print, but I hear (from Rachel) that it is back in again. So grab one. It is so helpful when you’re cooking that big bird and all the trimmings. My gravy has been spectacular ever since I used their directions!

  13. I have to go with Erin on the Junior League cookbook tip. Seattle’s Simply Classic is great. Everything I’ve made or had is wonderful. Really great minestrone. And good appetizers.

  14. Thanksgiving 101 is great. Christmas 101 is good, too. And if you need help Rick Rodgers has been a real sport in answering questions even during holiday rush.

    I’m an Ina gal myself, but Jamie Oliver is rising in the ranks. Jamie Oliver At Home is now with my fingers’-reach set of Barefoot Contessas on the counter. And some of his other ones look even better.

  15. I’ll raise you one on the Junior League cookbooks: SOUTHERN Junior League Cookbooks! I received *Traditions,* from the JL of Little Rock, Arkansas, for a wedding gift 22 years ago, and it is a treasure: Best Carrot Cake Ever, Venison Chili (I just use beef), and amazing party menus. A friend gave me the collected *Junior League Centennial Cookbook* last year, but I haven’t had a chance to do a lot with it.

    *Joy of Cooking* is my first choice when I need to research something, but an old *Doubleday Cookbook* in two volumes is of similar comprehensive quality, and *The Betty Crocker Cookbook* is a standby for newlyweds and children learning to cook.

    *Gracious Goodness: The Taste of Memphis,* Memphis Symphony League–love the photos!
    *The Moosewood Cookbook,* sane vegetarian
    *More With Less,* frugality embodied

    Fun thread–thanks!

  16. I also love “The Joy of Cooking.” It’s a wealth of information.

    I recently discovered “The Improvisational Cook” by Sally Schneider. The food is amazing, and she teaches the science and principles so you can riff on recipes to create unique dishes. I mostly just follow hers, though–every one has been good.

    I also love “Gluten Free 101” and “The Gluten Free Gourmet,” but I imagine they are only of interest to me and my blood relatives!

  17. Thanks for all the good tips ladies – and just in time for Christmas! I agree that the CI publication, “New Best Recipes”, is fabulous. I love that they give the science behind the cooking. Another favorite is “Babe’s Country Cookbook”. Remember the movie about the sheep pig? These are recipes purported to be from Hogget Farm. And finally, “The Italian Soup Cookbook”. I make something from that one at least once a week. Big hit with my husband and kids, and the leftovers make for a tasty lunch.

  18. My favorite is the New Best Recipes, by Cook’s Illustrated. I also love their magazine, Cook’s Country. I have found it is almost always bursting with new recipes that we “have” to try. Most of our family favorites come from one of these two sources.

    Ps. To anyone thinking about subscribing to one of CI’s magazines, I would recommend Cook’s Country over Cook’s Illustrated – it is larger yes, but it has more recipes and is printed in color, which makes it more interesting to read.

  19. I love to cook but I actually don’t use cookbooks that much. I have 3 years of Every Day Food Magazines that I use as well as,, and others. If I had to pick my two most used cookbooks, they would be Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Italian Cooking. The first I use all the time to make my own no-knead bread and the second has simple and amazing Italian dishes. No pictures, though. But lots of text that teaches you something for those cookbook readers out there.

  20. The Jackson (Mississippi) Junior League cookbook “Southern Sideboards” never fails me. It is my go-to and the blueberry poundcake is a family favorite and seems to make its way into every special (and even not-so-special) occasion. Also, “Square Tables” out of Oxford, Mississippi is fantastic. Many great classic Southern dishes from locals and from Oxford’s restaurants. And the artwork is amazing! It is also full of fun stories and memories.

  21. I’ll just go out on a limb and say that although I do like cookbooks, I love the internet more. (Shocking. I know.) However, if was ever translated into a cookbook I’d definitely lay down some hard cash for that. You should have seen me two weeks ago…no phone or internet for a week. I barely squeaked by, and the pumpkin cookies I made from Betty Crocker were no match for the ones I had found on At least I had some of the icing left over. :^)

    Also, I’d like to own Hot Providence. The recipes seem interesting, and I’ve heard good things about the stories in there.

    Another consideration is that my kitchen is extra teensy, so where would I keep a boat load of cookbooks? Of course, I do subscribe to bon appetit, and manage to find a home for that. Maybe I’m just trying to cover up my oddity with excuses.

  22. You’re not odd. I’m the same way. I like to look up multiple recipes for the same item online and then compare the ingredients and tweak them to get the best synthesis I can. I too have a teensy kitchen (and teensy house!) and just don’t have room for cookbooks…and I’m NOT giving up any of my “real” books to make space! Can’t imagine asking Augustine to move over…even for Hot Providence…

  23. The Pastry Bible changed the way I cook. Like the New Best Recipes book, it tells you the whys and wherefores of every recipe. It’s like going to a French pastry school without leaving home – I love it!

    I also recently acquired a little known book called America’s Best Lost Recipes. It had a bunch of stuff in their our grandmothers cooked – lots of good old fashioned, practical, economical depression era recipes. Yum! It even had the Wacky Cake recipe my Grandma used to make for every birthday when I was growing up.

    Of course, I never would’ve become friends with my kitchen without my trusty, older edition, garage sale Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. You’ve got to have the plain basics from somewhere! I like the editions that are 20 or more years older because they use real ingredients instead of telling you to add 3 things to a box of cake batter.

  24. I enjoy the Taste of Home cookbooks — very “down to earth” and “down home” recipes! I found my all-time favorite whole wheat bread and french bread recipes in one of their cookbooks!!

  25. My stand by happens to be better homes and gardens new cookcook. But for fun I go to how to be a domestic goddess that I recieved from my hubby the day before out wedding.

  26. I too love to read cookbooks and people think I’m crazy. To be honest, one of my absolute favorites that I read all the time is Hot Providence. I stumbled upon it when a friend recommended it and it is my most used cookbook. Is it out of print? I’ve wanted to buy one for a few friends! I also really love anything Williams Sonoma, my old church cookbook (aren’t those the best!) and The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. Dining on a Dime is great too. Many others are broken out as well on various occasions including a fabulous Greek cookbook you can buy at Costco called Culinaria Greece. My family is Greek and that cookbook is really a great collection of tried and true Greek recipes.

  27. I love your cookbook display!

    My favorite cookbooks are:

    – More With Less
    – Nourishing Traditions
    – And another book I can’t find at the moment and can’t remember the name of. It’s by a woman who traveled the world and collected recipes and wrote stories of the dishes and people who prepared it and their traditions. It’s a great read with hundreds of exotic recipes in it.

    The Taste of Home collections are great too because they’re real recipes submitted by real people, if you KWIM.

  28. Rachel,

    My sister was over yesterday, and we were making your lemon chicken with peanut sauce. She told me that her favorite cookbook was Hot Providence, and that sometimes she just pulls it out for a good afternoon read.

  29. When some of the respondents said Joy of Cooking was the go to for how to, I have to agree. Not that I have ever had the need, but there are directions with pictures on how to skin a rabbit and squirrel, with recipes for opossum, porcupine, raccoon, muskrat, woodchuck, beaver, beaver tail, and armadillo. It then moves on to Large Game. One tip, “gray squirrels are preferred to red squirrels, which are quite gamey in flavor.” Not sure where the Joy in that is, but there you have it. I use it for pie dough recipes.

    Rachel and Bekah’s first round at a cookbook was a compilation of Christmas recipes from friends and family. They may have been in jr. high and high school at the time. Every year I make the wassail in it for the Christmas Carol party we have.

    When I am searching for an idea, Hot Providence has been very easy and full of good ideas. That is when we have run out of woodchuck.

  30. Well…another vote for the Junior League: Come On In! Recipes from the Junior League of Jackson, Mississippi. Being from MS, I realize I’m probably (no extremely πŸ™‚ partial, but I think this is one of the most elegant cookbooks I’ve seen. It also contains several of my favorite, now “signature” recipes, such as the best from-scratch chocolate cake I’ve ever had. The icing is a silky, velvety fudge and, I think, must be served refrigerated for the perfect texture and flavor (p 197 skip the cream filling and double the chocolate cream frosting; use leftover icing to make graham cracker sandwiches and store in the freezer). I also love the Peaches and Cream Shortcake, and couldn’t live without the Crunchy Romaine Toss–the Sweet and Sour Dressing is a family staple. I use it with all manner of salad variations. I will warn you that this is not a family-meal cookbook, in general. It is definitely a fancy, sort-of High South cookbook, if you know what I mean. πŸ™‚

  31. I second Rachael’s suggestion. “Come on In” is a beautiful cookbook! I haven’t tried the chocolate cake, but definitely will be making it soon!

  32. This displaced southern girl loves her Southern Living cookbooks. I probably have a dozen of them, but my favorite is the one simply titled “The Southern Living Cookbook”. I’ve had it for years, and every recipe I’ve ever tried from it has been delicious. The triple-layer chocolate cheesecake is out of this world!

    I also love my Everyday Italian cookbook. Yum!

    The Junior League cookbook from Thomasville, GA, “Good Food, Good Company” is also excellent.

  33. What a fun post! I am starting a list of cookbooks to check out from my library. I’m sure I’ll be adding a few to my Christmas wish list.

    My current favorite is: “The Bon Appetit Cookbook”. It’s great for when you want to add a special touch to a meal. The recipes are not complicated like the magazine recipes sometimes are. I’m excited about their new cookbook that just came out called “The Bon Appetit Cookbook: Fast, Easy, Fresh”. The recipes in there are 5 – 6 ingredients or less and look more like what I would make during the week for dinner.

    I have had “The Best 5 Star Recipes” – Southern Living for years and cook out of it all the time. Every recipe is great. Another stand by that never fails is “The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook”.

    Finally, when I want to spend a day in the kitchen making the most fabulous cake (must include chocolate) you’ve ever tasted, I turn to “Desserts to Die For” – Marcel Desaulniers. The chocolate caramel hazelnut damnation cake and the Gooey chocolate peanut butter brownie cake are simply the best cakes I’ve ever eaten hand down. One of his other cookbooks -“Death by Chocolate Cakes”- contains another favorite- Excessively Expressive Espresso Ecstasy Cake.

  34. It is good to see so many cook book junkies out there.
    The most necessary cookbook on my shelves is:

    The “More With Less” cookbook. I often give this as a wedding shower gift. And if you are in a Mennonite community, you can often find used copies at the thrift shop.

    ” The Joy of Cooking” is my second favorite. I use this as a writer uses his dictionary. It is a wonderful reference book.

    The Junior League is too rich for our blood, but I really like local Extension Agency cookbooks.

    The Frugal Gourmet’s “Keeping the Feast” is also an often used book. It has a lot of Middle Eastern recipes based on foods that were around during Christs time.

    Thanks for the tips on the online recipe sites. Does any one else have favorite cooking websites they could share?

  35. I’m so glad to hear that I am not the only person out there who reads cookbooks just for the sheer pleasure of reading them. Narrowing it down to a list of favorites is difficult for me because I love all cookbooks.

    My favorites:

    Hot Providence

    Company is Coming (I think these are only available in Canada but they are wonderful if you can get your hands on them).

    Taste of Home Annual Recipes

    I also love my free Kraft food and family magazines. These are not fancy, Sabbath worthy recipes but fun and simple recipes for everyday with great special occasion ideas (i.e. birthday cakes, Christmas goodies,etc).

    I am a big fan of online recipe hunting too. is by far my favorite.

  36. okay, well my all time favorite is joy of cooking. but a close second would be any of my yearly southern living cookbooks. then julia child’s mastering the art of french cooking which has the BEST (and i never use caps) scalloped potatoes you have ever eaten. i have never served them and not had people blown away by their richness and depth of flavor.

    also, i subscribe to gourmet, bon appetit, cooks illustrated, and a couple of others i am blanking on at present. i am a bit of a foodie. and i enjoyed the hollah for nourishing traditions, also a good one.

    can’t wait to cook up a storm for thanksgiving!

  37. My favorite activity in the kitchen is baking, so of course my favorite book to pull off the shelf is a book solely dedicated to that activity. It is called Baking Illustrated and is part of the aforementioned Best Recipe Collection. I love it for two reasons: first, the cover is a very cheery orange, much like the borders on this page, and second, because it has a recipe for the most delectable sugar cookies in the world! Buy it and whip up a batch of the sugar cookies on page 428. (When you have the page number memorized, you know it’s a good recipe!)

  38. The Not Strictly Vegetarian Cookbook. I think you’d have to get it used. I’m not sure it’s being printed anymore, but it’s my absolute favorite! The recipes are healthy but not to weirdly healthy, if you know what I mean.

  39. The New Best Recipes is the first one I go to. I don’t think anyone has mentioned the All New Good Housekeeping Cookbook. Some young women in our church turned out so many good dishes from that book, that I had to get my own copy.

    Jr. League. Sigh. I have several fabulous recipes given to me by friends and I am always on the lookout for Jr. League cookbooks (particularly Seattle’s Simply Classic) at thrift stores. It appears no one is eager to get rid of theirs. I love my Taste of Oregon.

    I have The Greens Cookbook, a vegetarian cookbook, for its salad recipes. We’re unashamed omnivores, btw.

    Lastly a wee little book called Pizza by James McNair gives us great ideas for our Saturday night pizza. Last Saturday we had caramelized onions and gorgonzola pizza. Yum!

    (If you click on my name, scroll down the post and you can see one side of my cookbook cart.)

  40. If I buy The Joy of Cooking, will I really find cooking to be a joy? Let’s see… I love my crockpot cookbooks b/c I don’t have to actually cook–just throw stuff in. I like church published cookbooks, because they’re usually easy and yummy things that busy people find time to make. I like my BHG cookbook, because it was the first I got when I got married and has the best banana bread recipe ever. I like LLL’s Whole Foods for the Whole Family because they have bread recipes that work. My favorite is probably a little paper thing I got in language school just because of the memories and a couple favorite salads in there. I also have this old Time/Life set of regional cookbooks that my mom got from e-bay. The recipes are too much work, to be honest, but the stories and cultural notes are fascinating! The one I use the most, though, is a binder full of collected favorites. Any recipes I’m given that I love, or family tradition type things are in there.

  41. My favorite are the Food & Wine magazine cookbooks, I have both the Italian food and Chicken ones. They are the best for these reasons:

    1. Delicious food
    2. Economical ingredients
    3. Simple recipes
    4. Wine pairings

    For reading cookbooks I’ve discovered that woman Julia Child really knew what she was doing. Her recipe combinations are somewhat dated, but her descriptions on how to prepare and use ingredients are really educational!

  42. You know, I’ve tried to do cookbooks, but apparently my personality doesn’t mesh well with something bound and pretty in the kitchen.

    Instead, I’ve found that online recipe resources work perfectly for me. I have an annual membership with Cooks’ Illustrated/America’s Test Kitchen. It gives me full access to all recipes ever created from them. I can store the recipes I like and print whatever interests me. (the bonus is that you also have access to all the reviews of food taste tests, product testings and new cooking/baking methods).

    My other two most frequented online recipe sources include Epicurious and Taste of Home (free!).

    I print out my recipes, slip them in a plastic cover and stuff them into a giant three ring binder. The plastic protects them from my messes in the kitchen. And the 3-ring-binder gives me freedom to add and take out depending on our change of tastes!

  43. I must say that any cookbook with beautiful pictures does the trick for me. I love just looking at them and being inspired to greatness in the kitchen. For some reason, though my cooking seldom look like the pictures! πŸ™‚

  44. I also think The Greens Cookbook is wonderful – even for people who like meat. If you eat any vegetables at all, try Deborah’s stuff out!
    I LOVE Ms. Dragonwagon’s Soup & Bread book.
    I do generally cook from my magazines & from the internet. But, the cookbook & I probably used the most is
    Country Breakfasts by Ken Haedrich. It is great! Excellent baking recipes, good egg advice & tons of tasty ideas.

  45. I’m for the Joy of Cooking too – it taught me to cook, because, unfortunately, my mom did not.

    Mexico: One Plate at a Time (Rick Bayless) – the authority on Mexican cuisine. His instructions are lengthy, but once you get the dish down you find ways to cut corners. I never would’ve been able to cook for folks down here without it.

  46. My favorite cookbook is “Cook, My Darling Daughter.” It’s by Mildred Knopf who also wrote “The Perfect Hostess.” It’s out of print now, but you can find it online at used book sellers.

    I also love “The Art of Simple Food” which is a wealth of knowledge about cooking healthy and delicious meals. It taught me how to make my own mayo! I think everyone should own this one.

  47. If my house were on fire and I could toss only three cookbooks out the kitchen window on my way out, they would be:

    ~Joy of Cooking
    ~whichever Julia Child volume I grabbed first (which is a cheeky way of not choosing between Mastering the Art of French Cooking and The Way to Cook)
    ~Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

    No, I’m not a vegetarian, but Deborah Madison knows how to make vegetables sing Italian opera and 18th century hymns. That is rare talent. I have all her books. I want to be her neighbor.

    Oh dear, I just realized that would leave me without a good Italian cookbook. So I’ll just have to run back into the blazing house to fetch the Marcella Hazan book now. Or use some of the insurance money to buy Anna Del Conte’s. Hmm. Decisions.

    Nigella Lawson is my newest obsession. I adore her agile, lyrical prose and her uncommonly delightful vocabulary. And I find her recipes inspire me to improvise even when I don’t cook by them (which I also do). Nigella is also notable for being the first woman in history to make me want dark brown hair and buxom hips.

    Next on my check-it-out list: Jane Grigson. Because Nigella raves about her recipes and her literary food writing and her historical depth. I’m intrigued.

    This is fun.

  48. More With Less — Not the one to grab if your looking for gourmet, special event stuff, but definitely practical for everyday cooking. Teaches nutrition and economy, pretty vital for these days! It’s the one that shaped my approach to cooking for a large family!

  49. Southern Living’s “Our Best EASY WEEKNIGHT FAVORITES” is the best cookbook I’ve found for a busy mommy. Everything I’ve made from this is a huge hit and takes very little time to prepare.

  50. Lynn
    I’m glad you brought up Nigella! If you are going to go into reading cookbooks, Nigella is great. So much fun, and I love the things I have made of hers, although I tend to read her more than cook her recipes!
    Ans, since you mention Italian, I have to say Rao’s cookbook and Mario Batali. I make Mario’s homemade pasta with Rao’s Hot Sausage Sauce. Fab!

  51. That photo of your hot pink cookbook case is just pestering the dawg out of me now, because I want to click and enlarge it so I can read the spines but it won’t let me. I know this for sure because I’ve tried about six times. And I’ll probably try again. As you can see, I’m having a hard time accepting my limitations.


    Ain’t there nuthin’ you can do about it???

  52. Wow – I will take the liberty of assuming that was sarcasm when you said “This is my little collection, and I definitely am only beginning, so donÒ€ℒt make any cold remarks about how pitiful it looks!” If that’s a LITTLE collection, what would you call my 6 to 7 odd cookbooks, binders and folders from 8th grade home ec. classes? *giggle* πŸ™‚ Perhaps I need to add some of these fabulous cook-book suggestions to my Christmas list this year, eh? Oh, and has anyone tried that cook-book by Mrs. Sienfeld called the “Sneaky Chef”? I’ve heard good things about it, and am wondering if it’s worth putting on the list…

    On another note, I love the bright, cheery colors in your home, and I love your style of decorating! I will now go home and paint the kitchen lime green and pink. Maybe some magenta or high-lighter yellow accents…

    Kidding. My husband would have me arrested. But I am seriously considering, like you, how I can get bright, cheery colors into my house, and I do love to paint.

    Thanks for a fun post, and for always inspiring the beautifying of our homes! πŸ™‚

  53. Oh goodness. Just realized a couple things. First, I have gotten you and your lovely sister Bekah mixed up, and for whatever strange reason, seemed to think you were the same person…at least in regards to some of your recent posts. Then I also realized that I might have sounded as if I were mocking you about having bright colors in your home. I was actually trying to compliment you, but realize that it might look otherwise… oops!

    So, to the BOTH of you: from what I have seen in your recent posts, you both have a very fun, decorative flair, and I enjoy seeing the bright colors used tastefully to beautify your homes!

    And thank you to ALL the blogger-ladies at Femina, I enjoy reading all of your posts!

  54. The Joy is the all-time favorite of my husband and I (he cooks as much as I do). We fly by the seat of our pants and it’s perfect for us as a reference.

    Come On In has one of the best cakes ever: Mrs. Chris’ Fifteen Layer Lemon Cake–It sings of spring.

    Robert St. John is a local MS chef who writes fabulous prose and recipes. He’s paired up with a local watercolorist for a series of cookbooks that are perfect for a good afternoon read and cooking.
    If you feel the need to use bacon, cream, butter, garlic, onions (sometimes all in one recipe!) He’s your man!

  55. -Couldn’t live without JOY
    -Love Nigella’s FOOD, I mean really, who else could go on and on for a whole page about the joys of feeding your kids mashed potatoes?! Certainly fun for Mom’s whose “reading time” is now cookbooks ’cause she’s very wordy.

  56. Jamie Oliver, all the way. His theology of food is brilliant (though i believe he’s one of those “blind squirrels” who has found a nut), he’s british (can’t go wrong there!), and every recipe we’ve made has been delicious. It’s also so refreshing to see (he has cooking shows) a masculine guy in the kitchen kneading dough on a well-loved wood countertop, or out in his large cottage garden, sitting on a wood crate whipping up a fresh dressing made from herbs he just picked, or foraging through the woods for mushrooms for his omelet! I must say Joe has been greatly inspired by this bloke, and his no-nonsense, rustic way of cooking. πŸ™‚ I’ve seen my husband in the kitchen a lot more since we’ve discovered Jamie.

    I LOVE your home, Rachel!! Your cookbook hutch is so adorable (and your book collection is quite mature, I’d say, considering you’ve still got a lot of years to live yet!). Everything is cheerful and jolly, entirely inviting. Thanks for sharing all your crafty and culinary thoughts – you’re truly inspiring! Merry holidays to you and your sweet fam.

  57. Beautiful colours, Rachel! Your decorating style is very similar too mine. We have an old Arts & Crafts home, so I stuck to the more traditional deeper hues of red, green, goldenrod, etc. but I love the brighter shades too.

    I also love to read cookbooks, not just cook from them. Since we’ve been married, my husband has also developed (when we discovered during my pregnancy that most of his repertoire made me heave), an interest in cooking. He especially loves to bake & prepare breakfast.

    On to the cookbooks….I tend to read cookbooks from cover to cover then I wing it when I actually get to the kitchen. I internalize ingredient combinations and go from there. Baking though requires a good recipe.

    ~ We have recently discovered Marion Cunningham. Her Breakfast Book has been the source of great breakfasts, such as, Custard Filled Cornbread, Cream Biscuits and Ginger Pancakes with Green Mango Fool. Must read!

    ~ Joy of Cooking is my go-to book when I bring home something that I’m not too sure how to cook.

    ~ Nigella Lawson has a dry sense of humor which I love. I have quite a few of her books.

    ~ Paula Deen – great Southern cooking. She’s not afraid of cream or butter. πŸ™‚

    ~ Fix-It and Forget-It Recipes for Entertaining – I use recipes from here all of the time. They are for the slow-cooker but turn out guest friendly results. I often put something in Saturday night to take for our fellowship meal on Sunday.

    ~ James Beard – another classic cookbook author.

    ~ Oh, and musn’t forget Hot Providence. Every recipe I’ve tried has been received enthusiastically! This is a gem.

    I’m also a big fan of online recipe sites. Especially when they feature a search for recipes by ingredient. That helps to clear out the fridge. πŸ™‚

    ~ – I frequent this site weekly

    ~ – Taste-alike recipes from notable restaurants.

    Moriah Barach

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