Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Friday Food and Drink Post: Before There Was AllRecipes, There Were Cookbooks!

 

And I’m a sucker for cookbooks. My favorites are the ones with personal touches, personal stories, and family recipes. In all of those veins, some of my “go-to” volumes are Nigella, Jennifer Brennan, Jamie Oliver, M.F.K Fisher, and Julia Child. In addition, when I’m visiting foreign climes, and if at all possible, I like to bring a local cookbook home with me. Here’s my rack. (Men of Ricochet, those of you whose minds live in the gutter, rise above!) Click to embiggen if you would like to read the spines. It’s the result of over half-a-century of collecting, and of occasional heartrending refinement, because I only have so much room:

Do you have favorite chefs? Favorite cookbook authors? Favorite sorts of cookbooks? Favorite food themes? Please share. (Room, schmoom. Convince me, and I’ll find a spot for it.)

P.S. Um, yes, @phcheese, that is an actual Isaly’s skyscraper ice cream scoop up top there on the left.

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  1. Scott Wilmot Member

    My favorite cookbook is Thrill of the Grill – it taught me all I needed to get into the world of grilling and smoking meat and other food.

    • #1
    • April 3, 2020, at 12:14 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  2. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    My favorite cookbook is Thrill of the Grill – it taught me all I needed to get into the world of grilling and smoking meat and other food.

    I will check it out. Thanks!

    • #2
    • April 3, 2020, at 12:17 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  3. RightAngles Member

    My mom entertained a lot, and she had all kinds of cookbooks and party books, including:

    And this one, which didn’t age well (how many of us are still alive who remember when “gay”meant “happy and fun”?):

    • #3
    • April 3, 2020, at 12:34 PM PDT
    • 12 likes
  4. Old Buckeye Member

    I don’t cook a lot but I love to read beautiful cookbooks. I bought Fonda San Miguel because I spent two weeks in San Miguel when I was a child and decided then that I’d live in Mexico when I grew up. 

    I was strictly following a gluten-free diet for several years and bought Flourless for some tasty dessert recipes. 

    • #4
    • April 3, 2020, at 12:37 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  5. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    @rightangles, I have a more modern copy of that BH&G cookbook with the red-and-white cover… my 14 yo son is baking banana bread from it right now! P. 56… easy to find because there’s some old dried batter on the corner of the page…

     

    • #5
    • April 3, 2020, at 12:43 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  6. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    @she, your rack is both real and spectacular.

    I rely on the BH&G, the Joy of Cooking, and a handwritten recipe book I have with things like my grandmother’s handwritten soda bread recipe and my mother-in-law’s brisket…

    • #6
    • April 3, 2020, at 12:46 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  7. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):
    real and spectacular

    • #7
    • April 3, 2020, at 12:54 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  8. Ralphie Member

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    @she, your rack is both real and spectacular.

    I rely on the BH&G, the Joy of Cooking, and a handwritten recipe book I have with things like my grandmother’s handwritten soda bread recipe and my mother-in-law’s brisket…

    Best Coconut Cream pie recipe is in BH&G.

    • #8
    • April 3, 2020, at 12:55 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  9. Ralphie Member

    I use a lot of online, find some great ones, but still can’t part with my ragtag collection of books, magazine clippings, handwritten recipes.

    • #9
    • April 3, 2020, at 12:56 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  10. RightAngles Member

    I can’t find it right now because the only thing I make for dinner now is reservations, but somewhere I have a Julia Child cookbook. My favorite thing to make from it was Suprêmes de Volaille aux Champignons (Chicken Breasts with Mushrooms and Cream). I made it all the time back then, but sometimes her recipes are a little conversational and long-winded. I just want Step 1, Step 2, etc. in a list. But with Julia, you get things like “This puts me in mind of the small farm in the Midi where I used to roam looking for inspiration, and what could be more inspiring than petits champignons in a lovely white cream sauce? So without further ado, let us first saute the mushrooms …”

    -edit typo dammit

    • #10
    • April 3, 2020, at 1:03 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  11. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    @rightangles, I have a more modern copy of that BH&G cookbook with the red-and-white cover… my 14 yo son is baking banana bread from it right now! P. 56… easy to find because there’s some old dried batter on the corner of the page…

     

    Yes, the pages with bits of food stuck on the corners are great, as are the pages that have stuck together, and are hard to get apart without wrecking both sides . . . 

    • #11
    • April 3, 2020, at 1:07 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  12. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    with Julia, you get things like “This puts me in mind of the small farm in the Midi where I used to roam looking for inspiration, and what could be more inspiring than petits champignons in a lovely white cream sauce? So without further ado, et us first saute the mushrooms …”

    The scenic route is always more fun.

    • #12
    • April 3, 2020, at 1:08 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  13. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    I can’t find it right now because the only thing I make for dinner now is reservations, but somewhere I have a Julia Child cookbook. My favorite thing to make from it was Suprêmes de Volaille aux Champignons (Chicken Breasts with Mushrooms and Cream). I made it all the time back then, but sometimes her recipes are a little conversational and long-winded. I just want Step 1, Ste 2, etc. in a list. But with Julia, you get things like “This puts me in mind of the small farm in the Midi where I used to roam looking for inspiration, and what could be more inspiring than petits champignons in a lovely white cream sauce? So without further ado, et us first saute the mushrooms …”

    LOL. So true. But I like that about her. It is, however, one of the reasons that Dan Akroyd’s impersonation was so spot on . . . 

    • #13
    • April 3, 2020, at 1:10 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  14. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    So, dear She, what are you making tonight? Is it a recipe from one of these teeming shelves? 

    (We’re having black bean burritos. I make guac from avocados, garlic, and lime juice. I think it must be time for a beer…. is anyone else finding herself drinking earlier in the day? I have nowhere to drive to in the afternoon…)

    • #14
    • April 3, 2020, at 1:16 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  15. RightAngles Member

    When we were in our 20s, my mom gave each of us a little wooden box which had “RECIPES” carved into the front, and inside were all her recipes from our childhood including some from her mother, and the cornbread dressing one from my dad’s mother, which we’d had every Christmas and Thanksgiving growing up. And it had all her Christmas cookie recipes too. It was one of the best presents I’ve ever had. Well except for the recipe for LIVER. EW

    • #15
    • April 3, 2020, at 1:19 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  16. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    P. 56… easy to find because there’s some old dried batter on the corner of the page…

    The “pancake” page from my Pillsbury Cookbook. It serves the same purpose for me as the BH&G and perhaps “The Joy of Cooking” does for others. A great basic cookbook, nothing fancy, but always reliable. I have a pretty old edition (probably 40+ years) which, at one point was so beat up that I bought a new one and put the old one aside. Thankfully, before I pitched it completely, I discovered that my favorite lemon squares recipe from the old one, wasn’t in the new one! At that point, I donated the new one to Goodwill, retrieved the old one from Purdah, and restored it to my “rack.”

    • #16
    • April 3, 2020, at 1:24 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  17. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    my mom gave each of is a little wooden box which had “RECIPES” carved into the front

    That’s beautiful. 

    Mine is a gold notebook-style book that my sister-in-law gave me as a wedding present, with lots of good recipes already, that I have been filling out with more for the last nearly 24 years with things like my mother-in-law’s brisket etc.

    And my mother-in-law has shared with me all her and her mother’s holiday recipes, which has been such a blessing over many Seders and the like.

    • #17
    • April 3, 2020, at 1:25 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  18. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    So, dear She, what are you making tonight? Is it a recipe from one of these teeming shelves?

    (We’re having black bean burritos. I make guac from avocados, garlic, and lime juice. I think it must be time for a beer…. is anyone else finding herself drinking earlier in the day? I have nowhere to drive to in the afternoon…)

    Um yes. Because, after all, it’s five o’clock somewhere, right? I like Sweetwater IPA, which is what I’m enjoying at the moment. Tonight? I think fish sandwiches. Beer batter. (Not sure why beer seems to be such a theme at the moment, but OK.) Unfortunately, frozen rather than fresh buns (I suppose they were fresh at some point . . . ). Not sure I can cope with french fries, but the sandwiches, and maybe coleslaw. Afterwards, raspberries! And possibly vanilla ice cream.

    • #18
    • April 3, 2020, at 1:28 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  19. EB Thatcher
    EB

    Pictured below are most of my cookbooks. There are a few others scattered about.

    With the exception of the following list, I find that most of my many cookbooks only have one or two recipes that I have added to my repertoire. The books below, I use on a regular basis.

    Marcella Hazan’s: The Classic Italian Cookbook and Essentials of Italian Cooking

    Nigella Lawson’s: Nigellisima and her holiday meals book

    All of the Atlanta Junior League cookbooks

    The Vegetarian Epicure – This is an old book (1972). I’m not a vegetarian, but it has great side dishes and desserts.

    Ina Garten’s – Barefoot Contessa books

    Savannah Seasons – wonderful recipes by the original owner of Elizabeth’s on 37th Street in Savannah. (Sadly, the food and service of the new owners is woeful.)

    • #19
    • April 3, 2020, at 1:33 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  20. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    When we were in our 20s, my mom gave each of is a little wooden box which had “RECIPES” carved into the front, and inside were all her recipes from our childhood including some from her mother, and the cornbread dressing one from my dad’s mother, which we’d had every Christmas and Thanksgiving growing up. And it had all her Christmas cookie recipes too. It was one of the best presents I’ve ever had. Well except for the recipe for LIVER. EW

    A great treasure. (My mother made delicious liver and onions. With bacon. It was her (only) party piece. She didn’t particularly like cooking, and it showed. My Dad was the cook in the family.)

    I have two boxes from my mother-in-law which are filled with 3×5 index cards. Some of them have recipes from the newspaper taped on them, and others of them are hand-written. And quite a few of them are her Cchristmas cookie recipes as well. I love to make them, so we can talk about “Grandma,” and what a great cook (nothing fancy, but good “stick-to-your-ribs” stuff) she was.

    • #20
    • April 3, 2020, at 1:42 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  21. EB Thatcher
    EB

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):
    And my mother-in-law has shared with me all her and her mother’s holiday recipes,

    When my cousin’s grandmother died, he swooped into her house and put all her recipes in a Publix bag. And then he held onto them for almost 20 years without doing anything with them. A couple of years ago, I pried the bag out of his hands and made a family cookbook.

    I picked her favorites – deduced by the handwritten comments on recipes clipped from magazines and newspapers, written down in a spiral notebook, etc. I compiled them into categories and included her own notes with each recipe. The resulting pdf was everyone’s Christmas present that year. 

    • #21
    • April 3, 2020, at 1:44 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  22. Full Size Tabby Member

    Mrs. Tabby likes cookbooks assembled by churches, historical societies, social clubs, and other community groups because the recipes therein are for dishes that have stood the tests of time, are generally easy to make, and tend to be popular with many people. 

    We also still make some dishes from a red and white Betty Crocker for children cookbook I have had since I was about 8 years old, again because they tend to be easy to make and don’t involve a lot of exotic ingredients. 

    • #22
    • April 3, 2020, at 2:04 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  23. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I looked at the spines. I didn’t get any further than Vegetarian Recipes. Fie on that. Fie, I say!

    This is a vegetarian.

    A great big juicy vegetarian.

    • #23
    • April 3, 2020, at 2:04 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  24. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    A few cookbook memories:

    White Dog Cafe Cookbook–Bought this one in Philadelphia one year, at the Rittenhouse Square Farmers Market, on a work trip to test the IT disaster recovery strategy for the hospital. Never been to the White Dog Cafe, but I think it’s still in business.

    Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cooking School Cookbook–my sister sent me this, after she’d attended one of Darina’s classes. There are many ingredients I can’t get here, but it’s fun to read.

    Pike Place Market Cookbook–bought this one in 1996 (I think) at Seattle’s Pike Place market, on a business trip.

    Traditional Jewish Venetian Recipes–found this in the Jewish quarter in Venice in 2003. At the time, I didn’t realize it was in Italian. Nevertheless, I persist, and have made several recipes from this book.

    Italian Feast–I bought this one as a memento, after my sister, her friend and I had a delicious meal at Antonio Carluccio’s signature restaurant in London.

    The Balti Cookbook–this one’s not particularly special (although the recipes are good), which I bought to commemorate a meal (one of the last times I ate out with my Dad) when we went to a Balti restaurant in Birmingham in the UK.

    A Blanc Christmas–Ahh. The most expensive meal I’ve ever eaten. Most of my British family was there for a luncheon. At Le Manoir Aux Quatre Saisons, and run by famous European chef Raymond Blanc. It was lovely in all respects, but insanely expensive. A very special memory.

    King Edward’s Cookery Book–My grandmother’s cookbook from her school years. Some killer cake recipes in this one. A lot of boiled vegetables. And other stuff. Most of which I ignore.

    • #24
    • April 3, 2020, at 2:07 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  25. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    She (View Comment):

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

     

     

    Um yes. Because, after all, it’s five o’clock somewhere, right? I like Sweetwater IPA, which is what I’m enjoying at the moment. Tonight? I think fish sandwiches. Beer batter. (Not sure why beer seems to be such a theme at the moment, but OK.) Unfortunately, frozen rather than fresh buns (I suppose they were fresh at some point . . . ). Not sure I can cope with french fries, but the sandwiches, and maybe coleslaw. Afterwards, raspberries! And possibly vanilla ice cream.

    Yum. I’m having a Founders All Day IPA. 

    Now my house smells deliciously of banana bread…

     

    • #25
    • April 3, 2020, at 2:07 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  26. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    I looked at the spines. I didn’t get any further than Vegetarian Recipes. Fie on that. Fie, I say!

    This is a vegetarian.

    A great big juicy vegetarian.

    Indeed.

    Still, there are some very nice vegetarian recipes. And many of my cookbooks are most assuredly not vegetarian. I do have a couple of members of the family who are, and I try to accommodate them.

    • #26
    • April 3, 2020, at 2:11 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  27. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member