Cookbooks are one thing I have a hard time resisting. Something about the beautifully designed pictures and gorgeous colors that sucks me in every time. I bet you too, right?
I started collecting cookbooks in college, and one of the first recipes I ever made from scratch was a to-die-for chocolate cake for my roommate’s birthday that came straight out of the green, retro looking McCalls Cookbook you see on the shelf. Yes, I still have it, and as you can see from the picture below, it’s been a well used cookbook all these years. Many of the pages have separated from the binder and like me, it’s definitely showing it’s age (copyright 1973; the cookbook, not me), but the chocolate cake is memorable, and the Tamale Casserole, my stepson’s favorite, has been made more times than I can count. I can’t believe this cookbook is still available on Amazon!
’Quick Thrifty Cooking’ is another all time favorite, and it’s still available at a bargain price on Amazon so click on over. When we first moved into our house back in 1987, every year in December the local firehouse would cruise the neighborhood in a fire truck and collect toys for children and if my memory serves me correctly one year they were selling books and we snatched this one up for just a few dollars.
I apologize for subjecting you to these gross pictures. I’m just keeping it real. I guess you could say I’m not the world’s neatest cook ;). I don’t find the recipes in this cookbook to be any more thrifty or quick than most, but they’re ARE easy with simple to find ingredients, and almost every year I make their turkey croquettes with leftover turkey or chicken, and the pork chops with spicy tomato sauce is super tasty and easy.
Laura Groveman’s Kitchen is on the other end of the spectrum when it comes to easy or thrifty. This is the cookbook I turn to when I want the best of the best. There are no shortcuts here. Only the finest ingredients are used (and lots of them), but whatever you make is no doubt going to be a family favorite. I picked this book up at a holiday fare I co-chaired back in ’95 for the Junior League and as you can see, she personally signed it. This is the book to turn to when you have the time and the inclination to make something awesome like Osso Buco (give yourself two days for that one), meatloaf (the best you’ll ever taste), honey mustard roast rack of lamb, or a simple, perfectly roasted chicken. And don’t get me started on the desserts! How about coconut raspberry cloud cake, mile-high lemon-orange meringue pie or orange-scented coconut flan? Yup, they’re as good as they sound.
I love the name of this cookbook, which I picked up for .25 cents at a book sale. My favorite recipe is the blueberry buttermilk pancakes, which, get this, uses NO EGGS! Recently I was watching a cooking show, I think it may have been ‘Cutthroat Kitchen’ and they had to make pancakes but one contestant had no eggs. She said ‘I can’t make pancakes without eggs!’. I wanted to jump into the TV screen and say ‘Yes you can, and they’ll be awesome!’. If you ask nicely, maybe I’ll make them and share the recipe with you all.
Speaking of awesome, these are the best biscotti on the planet. I got this recipe from William Sonoma’s Gifts From The Kitchen which I shared here. Now do yourself a favor and stop reading and go make these.
There are a few other cookbooks I use from time to time, but mostly these days I just hop on over to Pinterest when I’m interested in trying something new. The binder that you may have noticed holds some of my favorite recipes like my marinated shrimp (PERFECT for a Spring/Summer lunch), lasagna and Italian Wedding Soup. Speaking of soup, did you vote for mine yet? Do your good deed for the day and go here and click on #186. There’s no prize other than bragging rights, but that’s good enough for me :).
I really only use a fraction of the 100+ cookbooks I own, and the rest just gather dust. We’re moving soon, so all that’s going to change. I’m definitely purging all the cookbooks that I haven’t used in over a year, or I’ll be copying my favorite recipes and putting them in a binder and getting rid of the rest.
I thought I told you to stop reading a couple of paragraphs ago? So now you have to answer this question..what are YOUR favorite cookbooks?