Cookbook love

Which books should you buy?

December 18, 2009

At holiday time, what cook doesn’t love peeling back the gift wrap to discover a new cookbook?

Newcomers to cooking can’t wait to try everything, but even seasoned cooks — who don’t really need more recipes — welcome the inspiration of a new cookbook.

We polled a few Culinate contributors and friends to learn which, out of all the cookbook gifts they’ve been given as gifts, they appreciate the most, and here’s what we learned. Maybe there’s an idea in here for you.

A well-thumbed favorite.

Deborah Madison, cookbook-author extraordinaire and our Local Flavors columnist, writes:
“I often give cookbooks as gifts, but very few people have given me cookbooks. I wish that weren’t the case, because it’s always a delight to be surprised by what someone chooses for you. I love it when an author who is a (possibly new) friend gives me a copy of a book she has written. One of my favorites is called Quick Cuisine by Ann Clark, from a cook whose food I love. I was so surprised that she gave me her book, and I treasure it. Lindsey Shere gave me a copy of her Chez Panisse Desserts, a book I both use and treasure. And my husband surprised — and moved — me most when he gave me The Oxford Companion to Food for Christmas one year, because food and cookbooks aren’t his realm, yet he took a chance with a book that, as it turned out, I was delighted to have!”

Like many people, longtime Culinate writer Twilight Greenaway has an old favorite: “I’m not sure if this counts, because it’s not a recent book, but a friend gave me a copy of The Night Before Cookbook and I’ve used a few of the recipes, but mainly I just love the cover. It encapsulates something really great about cooking for me, and suggests we can be glamorous and domestic all at once. This blogger agrees, and nicely scanned the cover too.”

David Leite, whose new book The New Portuguese Table was recently excerpted on Culinate, said that he’s given his own book to many friends, but another book he likes to give is Michael Ruhlman’s Ratio — a gift he gave to himself. “It’s so utterly essential in the kitchen and can be used everyday,” says Leite, “no matter what you’re making or book you’re cooking from.”

Hm. Sounds a little like our columnist, Hank Sawtelle — although he’s referencing a different book — or two. “Lately I’ve been reaching for How to Cook Everything (Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition) by Mark Bittman and The Flavor Bible by Dornenburg and Page (not a cookbook per se but an “inspiration book”) several times a week. With these two books together there is very little you can’t do. Certainly any ingredient you have lying around or that you bring home from the market can be worked into a coherent dish. So if I can change the question to ‘If I could only have (or give) two cookbooks, what would they be?’ these are the ones.”

How to Cook Everything ad

Kim O’Donnel, our steadfast chat leader every week on Table Talk (and soon-to-be-author herself) goes to The Mindful Cook every time she wants help out of a kitchen funk. “It’s a gem of a book about the mindset of cooking,” she says.

Kelly Myers, who writes the Front Burner column, received The Zuni Café Cookbook from her mom: “It’s a uniquely in-depth teaching cookbook. Not many cooks pay such close attention as Judy Rogers, and she carefully articulates her observations.” Adds Kelly: “Really, though, I am the only one who gives myself cookbooks (hint, hint). The most memorable have been those that expand my world view, not just my cooking. I’m thinking of anything by the husband-and-wife traveling-and-cookbook-writing team Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid.

“The great majority of books I use I bought for myself,” says contributor Giovanna Zivny, echoing a theme. “But one jumps out. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without volume 2 of The Gourmet Cookbook. My father gave it to me for Christmas the first year I was married. Each Christmas season gets started, and helped generously along, with a batch of Gourmet’s eggnog. Though we have adjusted the recipe over the years — the ratio of 2/3 cup liquor per egg was a little much for us. We make it with a restrained 1/5 cup per egg, which seems to do just fine in keeping the party rolling. And by the time Christmas Day arrives, we are all ready for a true feast of prime rib and especially the glorious Yorkshire Pudding (also in the book) that must accompany it.”

Matthew Amster-Burton, who writes the Unexplained Bacon column on Culinate and penned the recent memoir Hungry Monkey, cut to the chase: Cucina Simpatica, Killeen and Germon.” (That’s Johanne Killeen and George Germon, restaurateurs in Providence, Rhode Island.) Adds Matthew, “From my mom.”

Friend o’ Culinate and member Katherine Deumling also has an Italian food favorite: Cooking From an Italian Garden, by Paola Scaravelli and Jon Cohen. “I was given this by my distant cousin and her Italian husband at the end of a year in Italy in 1992. The book’s authors are friends of theirs and Francesco (my cousin’s husband) is referenced in several of the recipes. It’s a vegetarian book and has some absolutely wonderful recipes and menus.”

Marissa Lippert, our Health + Food columnist, loves a book of Greek recipes that she only recently received: Vefa’s Kitchen is an incredible anthology of Greek cuisine with a very chicly designed cover.” Opa!

“I have several favorites when it comes to cookbooks — favorite dessert, most likely to read in bed, best reference, etc.” writes our founding food editor Carrie Floyd, a cookbook collector par excellence. “But the book that stands out as the dearest gift is Hallelujah! The Welcome Table, by Maya Angelou. This book was given to me by my mother on the last Christmas we shared, the year before she died. Though I have yet to cook from its pages, I pull this book from the shelf when I am missing her, and as I leaf through it reading Angelou’s stories, I am filled with my own fond memories: the evening we went to hear Maya Angelou speak, scores of books exchanged between my mother and myself, and the many meals and stories we shared over the years.”

Similarly, contributor Miriam Wolf is fond of one book in particular: “Before she passed away, my mother gave me her 1962 edition of the Joy of Cooking. It sits on the shelf next to my own 1995 edition and copies of the 1943 and 1951 printings.”

Contributor Joan Menefee also received a food book from her mother that’s become a favorite reference: On Food and Cooking. “Nine times out of 10, this book answers my random questions about food. McGee has enlightened me about the origins of rhubarb, the differences between ales and porters, and the biochemistry of freezing.”

Culinate member Trista Cornelius treasures a vegan cookbook: “My true favorite that I use all the time is Dreena Burton’s Vive le Vegan: I love the artsy-craftsy cover of her and her daughter making cookies wearing what look like handmade hats. I love the sincerity for health and wellness of Dreena’s writings and recipes. I absolutely love that every single recipe I’ve made from that book has been, without fail, delicious. Seriously. Not one has flopped, not one has been bland, not one has disappointed. Finally, even though I don’t have kids, I like the back section about raising children on a vegan diet and the careful research she offers.”

“Am I too late?” asked Terry Walters, author of Clean Food. (She was not.) “I don’t use many cookbooks, but I do like Peter Berley’s The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen and Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and bought both of them as gifts to myself! Of course, my own book feels like the book that I had always wished someone had given to me years ago when I first started bringing greater consciousness to my food choices, my cooking and the way I nourished myself, and now my family.”

Lastly, longtime contributor, friend, supporter, and energetic local-food enthusiast (whew!) Sarah Gilbert had two favorites, which she reveals over on her Culinate blog. Check it out; you may find yourself needing her gifting strategy one of these holidays.

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1. by Anne DeMelle on Dec 18, 2009 at 11:56 AM PST

The Joy of Cooking!

2. by Sam Culwell on Dec 18, 2009 at 12:38 PM PST

My best cookbook related gift was a blank book from my honey to write about my favorite foods...but a close second was Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking.

3. by Heather Christensen on Dec 18, 2009 at 1:12 PM PST

The New Basics Cookbook, by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins. Mostly for the chocolate chip cookies recipe--it makes a small batch of chewy, delicious cookies. Yum!

4. by Aimee Petras on Dec 18, 2009 at 1:14 PM PST

I like to give Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and Vegetarian Suppers.

5. by meganjoy on Dec 18, 2009 at 1:23 PM PST

My little sister got me With Love & Butter from Holly B’s Bakery on Lopez Island. We had been using their fruit strudel recipe ever since stopping through on a family bike trip, and I was thrilled to discover that there was an entire cookbook of their baked goodies!

6. by Marc on Dec 18, 2009 at 1:27 PM PST

The best cookbook I’ve received as a gift was “Fields of Greens,” by Annie Somerville. A sequel of sorts to the Greens cookbook, it provides a broad array of recipes from the legendary Greens restaurant in S.F. Many require a lot of work, but offer high payback in flavor.

The best book I’ve GIVEN recently is “Pure Dessert” by Alice Medrich, which has exciting flavors and textures, with recipes that are highly readable and well-tested.

7. by chris jess on Dec 18, 2009 at 1:34 PM PST

Larousse Gastronomique. It’s hefty and detailed!

8. by Kaye Lyssy on Dec 18, 2009 at 1:36 PM PST

My best cookbook gift was The Zuni Kitchen. Love it and have made many things from it...lots of good food gift ideas in there too!

9. by @shrimp13 on Dec 18, 2009 at 2:09 PM PST

@ruhlman’s Ratio. It is a keeper!

10. by Hannah Sobel on Dec 18, 2009 at 3:15 PM PST

Moosewood Restaurant’s Daily Special cookbook! So many amazing soup recipes that have come in handy this winter especially.

11. by anonymous on Dec 18, 2009 at 3:40 PM PST

One of the best I’ve given was The Silver Spoon - it’s like the Italian version of The Joy of Cooking. Very comprehensive and you’ll definitely learn all the nuances of Italian cooking.

12. by Flora Reed on Dec 18, 2009 at 5:22 PM PST

All About Braising by Molly Stevens. The zinfandel pot roast is amazing!

13. by jesswil28 on Dec 18, 2009 at 5:59 PM PST

Actually, the favorite cookbook I’ve received as a gift isn’t exactly a cookbook. I had a huge collection of recipes that I had cut out of magazines/newspapers or printed from websites and my husband organized them all, 3-hole punched them, and made a cookbook for me. Something I would never get around to doing myself and so very sweet and appreciated. I use it all the time!

14. by Angela Peck on Dec 18, 2009 at 6:01 PM PST

Nourishing Traditions! Everything is made so that it’s easy to digest and assimilate, plus everything tastes incredible!
And this is not a cookbook, but has been an invaluable reference - The Flavor Bible - has really helped me to create my own recipes!

15. by sj.breeze on Dec 18, 2009 at 6:01 PM PST

The Bread Baker’s Apprentice!

16. by Lisa Kavanagh on Dec 18, 2009 at 6:01 PM PST

The Splendid Table by Lynne Rosetto Kasper - My husband bought it for me on a Christmas when we didn’t have much to exchange gifts with. He put all his love into one gift, and I do the same with every meal I make from it. I smuggled home tortellini from Bologna when I went on business to make the tortellini pie with cinnamon custard.

17. by Lissa on Dec 18, 2009 at 6:02 PM PST

My absolute favorite is The Tex-Mex Cookbook: A History in Recipes and Photos by Robb Walsh. Everything I’ve made from it is so good, and I love the history and photos of Tex-Mex food as well.

18. by Brittany Kirkendall on Dec 18, 2009 at 6:02 PM PST

The Art of Mexican Cooking, by Diana Kennedy

19. by nicdonn on Dec 18, 2009 at 6:06 PM PST

One of my dearest friends recently gave me the Silver Spoon cookbook. It is a fabulous book from a fabulous person!

20. by Dree on Dec 18, 2009 at 6:14 PM PST

My mom gave me the Weight Watchers Simply the Best Italian. It had some good recipes in it.

21. by Susan@MyLifesJoys on Dec 18, 2009 at 6:21 PM PST

The best cookbook I every received was Biba’s Italian Kitchen by Biba Caggiano-

22. by ginafleschner on Dec 18, 2009 at 6:25 PM PST

Carol Field’s Italian Baker. It was a gift from the owners of the restaurant I had just started working at.... very inspiring!

23. by Peter Dowd on Dec 18, 2009 at 6:30 PM PST

Ivy Manning’s Farm to Table cookbook is my favorite amongst the books I’ve been given.

24. by reneej100 on Dec 18, 2009 at 6:31 PM PST

My favorite cookbook given as a gift is Parisian Home cooking by Michael Roberts. I’ve had it on my shelf for years, but upon returning from Paris in September I found it had all the French recipes I could want. My favorite is a belgian ebdive salad with beets. Magnifique!
I also love Japanese foods that heal, which was also given me.

25. by Ruby Garrett on Dec 18, 2009 at 6:34 PM PST

I gave myself the gift of “The Art of Simple Food” by Alice Waters and it is the best cookbook I have ever received as a gift. :>

26. by Charles Thompson on Dec 18, 2009 at 6:41 PM PST

My sister gave me The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook for my 50th birthday - she likes the roast chicken recipe.

27. by Linda Bradley on Dec 18, 2009 at 7:27 PM PST

The best cookbook that I have received as a gift is “The Art of Simple Food” by Alice Waters. So many wonderfully healthy and tasty recipes based on seasonal, local and sustainably produced foods. I love this book! Second would be “The Art of the Slow Cooker”, which is filled with amazing, gourmet quality recipes that you can make in a crock pot. What could be better??

28. by Slashchef on Dec 18, 2009 at 7:33 PM PST

One of my favorite cookbook gifts has been “Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home.” its got some amazing recipes, hilarious banter between the two chefs and plus its Julia Child, you can’t go wrong.

29. by orchidlady01 on Dec 18, 2009 at 7:42 PM PST

My mother has given me quite a few cookbooks; Sunset Favorite Recipes (along with a series from Sunset), The New York Times Cookbook, Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book and a long time favorite, Good Housekeeping’s Cooking with Susan published in 1967. It has lots of old fashioned recipes like ones my mom used to make in the 60s when I was growing up.

30. by jujubee39 on Dec 18, 2009 at 7:50 PM PST

My favorite gift cookbook is Vegetarian Suppers from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen.

31. by Steve Taylor on Dec 18, 2009 at 7:54 PM PST

A gift to myself: Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Bread Bible

32. by nekobasu on Dec 18, 2009 at 9:36 PM PST

Best gift cookbook: Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home. Was a gift from my future husband, and he had the authors sign it for me (we were at Cornell, near the Moosewood Restaurant).

33. by Sarah Melamed on Dec 18, 2009 at 9:49 PM PST

This is a hard question but the best cookbook I was recently given was Culinaria Greece edited by Marianthi Milona (H.F.Ullmann publishers) which is part of a series of international foods. It has incredible pictures and detailed history of the food culture throughout Greece. Another book which I bought for myself is Paula Wolfert’s Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean which is has unique recipes of a little known region.

34. by Britta Nelson on Dec 18, 2009 at 10:11 PM PST

It’s a tie. Both were given to me by my mom. The first was Deborah Madison’s The Greens Cook Book after we had a vacation in San Francisco when I was in high school. One day we literally made a “trek” to Green’s on foot from Union Square to Fort Mason. It was both an unforgettable walk and an amazing meal at the end! The other is, The French Chef by Julia Child. My mom took me to see Julia when she was giving a talk in Seattle in the 90’s. That day as we shopped Capital Hill, she bought a used copy of The French Chef, saying she had lost hers. After the talk, we lined up to get the book signed and when we met Julia (she was amazing!), my mom had her sign it to me.

35. by vanillatea on Dec 18, 2009 at 10:27 PM PST

The Art of Simple Food --Alice Waters
It has the best recipes that everyone loves for everyday use. Enough said.

36. by Jacki Willard on Dec 18, 2009 at 10:45 PM PST

My favorite cookbook The Sewanee Cook Book : a collection of Autographed Recipes from Southern Homes and Plantations was a gift from my mother-in-law. I haven’t found a publication date but think it was published after 1926 but before 1929. My mother-in-law’s mother was a cook at one of those southern mansions and many of the recipes in the book are credited to the mistress of the mansion where she worked therefore we assume many of these recipes are actually my husband’s grandmother’s recipes. I haven’t actually cooked any of the recipes yet but I enjoy the glimpses of kitchen and culinary life from a bygone era I get from reading this cookbook.

37. by tori velez on Dec 18, 2009 at 11:36 PM PST

Years ago, my father in law gave me The Frugal Gourmet, and the recipe for maple pie is always requested by my kids.

38. by mamachef on Dec 19, 2009 at 2:32 AM PST

My husband gave me Artisan bread in Five minutes a Day by Hertzberg/Francois. The Olive oil pizza dough is amazing along with many others.

39. by CentreofNowhere on Dec 19, 2009 at 3:36 AM PST

My mom gave me “The Joy of Cooking” when I had my first apartment during college. I wish that I’d kept her copy, with the stains and the dog-eared pages. So many of the tastes from my growing up are in the pages of that book, and I’m slowing rediscovering a few of them. Case in point: last year’s Thanksgiving was at my SIL’s home. The dressing tasted exactly like what my mom used to make and I discovered that it was a “Joy” recipe. Now, the dressing recipe is used in my home! Love it!

40. by Meg on Dec 19, 2009 at 4:54 AM PST

I live on Alice Medrich’s /Pure Sugar/, it has proven to be the best resource for both inspirational reading and successful recipes. It is slim, elegant, and always on point.

41. by Laura on Dec 19, 2009 at 5:32 AM PST

The book I most enjoy is The Flavor Bible, not a traditional cookbook but a treasure for those of us who like to create and experiment instead of painting by the numbers of a recipe. The author takes a given spice/flavor and lists synergistic spices and flavors. Truly wonderful.

42. by Nancy on Dec 19, 2009 at 6:01 AM PST

The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook ~ my absolute favorite and most often used.

43. by CJMcD on Dec 19, 2009 at 6:07 AM PST

I received a copy of Fresh Market Wisconsin several years ago. Many of the recipes have been contributed by the farmers that sell their produce at the now infamous Dane County Farmer’s Market. It is one of my go-to books for mouth watering recipes and recipe ideas featuring seasonal produce and regional ingredients.

44. by slanders on Dec 19, 2009 at 6:41 AM PST

Moosewood’s Daily Specials. When my mother gave it to me, she wrote on the inside that these are the recipes I grew up on, and she hoped I would continue to cook them for years. And I have.

(I could also mention several other Moosewood cookbooks, Joy of Cooking, Beard on Bread, and New Best Recipes from Cooks Illustrated.)

45. by charlynn rick on Dec 19, 2009 at 8:24 AM PST

Deborah Madison’s Greens Cookbook. Now I always give out her Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

46. by Jennifer Thorson on Dec 19, 2009 at 9:03 AM PST

The Enchanted Broccoli Forest, which was more a hand-me-down than a gift, but I appreciate it all the same.

47. by Tim Van Meter on Dec 19, 2009 at 9:37 AM PST

river Road Recipes vol 1 - from a friend with hand written instructions in the margins to improve the gumbo, etouffee and jambalaya

48. by J. Matthews on Dec 19, 2009 at 9:54 AM PST

The Joy of Cooking.

49. by Scott on Dec 19, 2009 at 10:04 AM PST

Starting with Ingredients-Eliza Green

50. by David F on Dec 19, 2009 at 10:08 AM PST

Although I love Deborah Madison’s and Alice Waters’s books, the best gift was Molly Katzen’s Sunlight Cafe, a book of breakfast foods. Breakfast is my favorite meal, but much more important: my wife gave it to me, and I have been making great breakfasts for her ever since.

51. by Nicholas on Dec 19, 2009 at 11:45 AM PST

I got charcuterie as a gift once. Not really a broad range of recipes, but it has some really useful recipes that I don’t have anywhere else.

52. by Eliza Bennett on Dec 19, 2009 at 11:54 AM PST

Best cookbook gift ever was Bread Machine Baking by Lora Brody. Got it with my bread machine Christmas 1997, and have made almost all the recipes in it!

53. by Michelle Molis on Dec 19, 2009 at 1:25 PM PST

The only cookbook I’ve ever received as a gift, but one I refer to often, is Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

54. by Carter @ The Kitchenette on Dec 19, 2009 at 1:43 PM PST

I received the Bread Bible as a gift... I’ve been slowly working my way through one recipe at a time. It’s a beautiful book to have on your shelf.

55. by Melisa Crosby on Dec 19, 2009 at 3:06 PM PST

The Moosewood Cookbook--a gift from my parents for my 16th birthday and one that really got me interested in cooking.

56. by Kim Gratz on Dec 19, 2009 at 4:10 PM PST

I love the gift of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. It’s been my favorite book for 5+ years. (Thanks, Meg!)

57. by baltimoregon on Dec 19, 2009 at 5:14 PM PST

Let’s see: How to Cook Everything Vegetarian (still need the first version) by Bittman, The Joy of Cooking and the Moosewood mini soups and salads cookbooks. But the best cookbook I’ve ever given is The Flavor Bible. That’s one I still want!

58. by vesperlight on Dec 19, 2009 at 5:39 PM PST

The Greens Cookbook by Deborah Madison. This was a gift from my sister, who was one of proofreaders for the typesetters who helped produce it. I like the black bean chili, the Basque pumpkin soup, and the directions for producing a great stock.

59. by Maria Hodkins on Dec 19, 2009 at 9:13 PM PST

When I received Larousse’s Gastronomique as a gift 15 years ago, I thought I had died and gone to Heaven. With all of its detailed information and food history, I have never gotten all the way through it, but I still read it for research and entertainment. The recipes are historical and reliable, and the photos are beautiful.

60. by Jana Fredericks on Dec 20, 2009 at 4:06 AM PST

My favorite gifted cookbook is The Joy of Cooking. It has been my bedside reading for a year now.

61. by Anna Maria Snyder on Dec 20, 2009 at 4:09 AM PST

I absolutely adore the cookbook How to Cook Without a Book. My mom gave it to me several years ago. It’s one of my favorites.

62. by Jackie Munyer on Dec 20, 2009 at 4:35 AM PST

It would be hard to choose just one book so here are a few of my favorites. The Inn at Litle Washington Cookbook A Consuming Passion by Patrick O’Connell is one of my favorites. The recipes are delicious in addition to being stunning. Mark Peel’s New Classic Family Dinners...great instructions, beautiful photos and delicious recipes. I love to try new recipes and enjoy making each a visual delight.

63. by Cooking_V on Dec 20, 2009 at 5:39 AM PST

The Flavor Bible is my brand new book, it is so helpful!

64. by Bavaria on Dec 20, 2009 at 8:38 AM PST

James Peterson’s COOKING has been the gift I reach for over and over. It has it all...600 recipes, 1,500 photographs of step by step instructions. It never disappoints.

65. by ks_didi on Dec 20, 2009 at 9:42 AM PST

Two of my most used cookbooks are of local origin, Sunflower Sampler by the Junior League of Wichita and Essence of Kansas by the 4-H Foundation in Kansas. Many of the recipes have become family favorites.

66. by Mary Lynn Allen on Dec 20, 2009 at 10:10 AM PST

Three years ago, my mother compiled her own cookbook and gave my brother, sister, and I a copy for Christmas. She included many family favorites from her repetoire, as well as from my grandmother, father, aunts, siblings, etc. It is wonderful to have all of these recipes in one place as we all get older.

67. by lisaray on Dec 20, 2009 at 12:09 PM PST

My parents gave me a copy of “Barbie’s Easy as Pie Cookbook” for Christmas in 1965. I was 8 years old, and it was my first cookbook. I used it often. I still have it, and treasure it.

68. by Marilyn Noble on Dec 20, 2009 at 2:21 PM PST

My sister gave me a copy of Rosalea Murphy’s In The Pink many years ago. I still use it once in a while, and the Lobster Salad Fabulosa is always a big hit for picnics and potlucks. It’s a little book commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Pink Adobe restaurant in Santa Fe and contains many of Murphy’s paintings as well as menus and recipes. You can’t go wrong with art and food.

69. by Lee Wilmeth on Dec 20, 2009 at 2:34 PM PST

My favorite gift cookbook is the Emeril Lagasse Lousiana Real and Rustic. I’ve cooked so many of these recipes and truly enjoyed using it to expand my cooking skills.

70. by Aisling on Dec 21, 2009 at 3:58 AM PST

When I first married (a long time ago), my grandmother gave me a Betty Crocker Cookbook that I still use fairly regularly, especially when I need basic information.

71. by Susan Sanderson on Dec 21, 2009 at 6:29 AM PST

Last year I received “660 Curries”--loved it so much (and cooked from it more than any other book I have) that I’m giving it as gifts this year to my favorite people!

72. by anonymous on Dec 21, 2009 at 8:52 AM PST

I adore Paul Bertolli’s Cooking by Hand. Everything about this book, from the recipes to the text to the photographs are aesthetically congruent. Best of all is the love and humility with which Bertolli writes about food and cooking. I have learned so much from Cooking by Hand; it is such a gem..

73. by Emily McLeod on Dec 21, 2009 at 10:11 AM PST

I don’t get very many cookbooks as gifts, but last year friends bought me Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and it got me back into bread making, which was great.

74. by Terry on Dec 21, 2009 at 11:44 AM PST

Three of the folks that posted above mentioned their copy of the Joy of Cooking cook book. One year my wife and I were given the New Basics Cook Book and it quickly replaced the Joy of Cooking as it has more modern and still deliciously home style recipes. Over the years our soft cover copy has literally fallen apart from use because we love the recipes in it. Our youngest son Ben and I have gone in on a new hardcover copy for my wife (and I) for Christmas. So it will be a gift again. I was amazed at how in expensive it is even in the hard cover version. It was only twelve dollars at Powell’s for a large size book of excellent recipes.

75. by Gretchen B. on Dec 21, 2009 at 3:11 PM PST

I’ve received many a lovely cookbook, but I would say my favorite of those is Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson.

76. by Hilary Jirasek on Dec 21, 2009 at 6:28 PM PST

Growing up my Mom used to take basic cake pan shapes and turn them into elephants, people, giraffes, etc. It was magical to see her bake a cake in a rectangular pan - and turn it into a butterfly, etc.! For Christmas a couple of years ago - Mom gave all three of us kids a small binder - it has copies of what she could find that remained of her old “Bakers Coconut Cut Up Cakes” book! That is a special cookbook!

77. by Jenna on Dec 21, 2009 at 8:04 PM PST

The Moosewood Cookbook and Joy of Cooking--the first from my best friend and second from my mom.

78. by seema kapoor on Dec 21, 2009 at 9:15 PM PST

: ( Nobody ever gifted my any cookbook, so on our 20th WA I decided to gift myself Dorie Greenpan’s Banking From My Home to Yours to bake something to celebrate the occuassion. I love this book and it has been my bedside reading since then. My son often laughs and says I have never seen anybody reading a cookbook and going to bed. I wish …..

79. by lisamarie on Dec 21, 2009 at 9:23 PM PST

America’s Test Kitchen: Family Baking Book. every recipe turns out to be a new favorite!

80. by oleiram on Dec 22, 2009 at 1:28 AM PST

The Moosewood Restaurant Low-fat cookbook from my mom!

81. by AsTheNight on Dec 22, 2009 at 5:27 AM PST

American Country’s “Country Cooking.” I bought it at a used book store and every recipe I’ve tried (and I’ve tried quite a few) has been a gem.

82. by sara woodin on Dec 22, 2009 at 9:36 AM PST

James Beard’s American Cookery

83. by Katherine on Dec 22, 2009 at 10:49 AM PST

It’s hard to choose, but The Vegetable Ingredients Cookbook has been a great book for figuring out what to do with unusual CSA veggies.

84. by pat kutzbach on Dec 22, 2009 at 11:55 AM PST

My favorite gift cookbook is “Chocolate Snowball”

85. by Jana Pickard-Richardson on Dec 22, 2009 at 4:11 PM PST

Best cookbook gift from someone else: The Vegetarian Table North Africa. Filled with great soups, salads, mains, easy, well written and delicious. Best gift from myself: Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. Beats the pants off the Moosewood.

86. by Kathryn H on Dec 22, 2009 at 7:07 PM PST

The best cookbooks I have ever received are Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, because it is so complete and Simply in Season by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert. The latter is a great resource for anyone who gardens, belongs to a CSA or shops at farmers markets. Because it has so many fruit and vegetable recipes,from basic to more complex, all arranged by season, it has also become a favorite book to give others.

87. by dddiva on Dec 22, 2009 at 7:17 PM PST

My mom gave me my late grandmother’s copy of Betty Crocker- way before there were so many boxes and mixes. Some of my best recipes are from that book- along with my fondest memories

88. by Kathryn H on Dec 23, 2009 at 5:42 AM PST

I have the Betty Crocker cookbook my mother received at a wedding shower in 1955, and it brings back fond memories every time I look at it--the end pages are full of handwritten recipes from my great-grandmother, grandmother and several aunts, as well as my mom. It conjures up wonderful family gatherings!

89. by Kathy on Dec 23, 2009 at 11:15 AM PST

The best cookbook I was ever given was Simple to Spectacular, by Mark Bittman and Jean-Georges Vongerichten. At the time, I barely knew who these two were, but I love how in each section they take a basic technique and then do several versions from simple guessed it...spectacular.

90. by Amber Lindsey on Dec 23, 2009 at 11:48 AM PST

Rustic Fruit Desserts! A gift from my mother-in-law who knows that I love to bake.

91. by Richard Yarnell on Dec 23, 2009 at 11:57 AM PST


My early edition of Joy of Cooking simply because it was helpful when Mom wasn’t around to instruct. Of later gifts, “Simple Foods” by Waters.

But then there’s....

92. by FracturedFairy on Dec 23, 2009 at 11:58 AM PST

“The Joy of Cooking” would have to be my all time favorite. I got a copy in 1969 as a wedding gift. Though I have bought later editions, I still find that I use the older version more. It’s falling apart and has lived in four countries and been through a war (literally!!)...but it’s still holding me!

93. by Debby Berlyne on Dec 23, 2009 at 11:58 AM PST

I received Mollie Katzen’s The Vegetable Dishes I Can’t Live Without in April, for my birthday. The timing was perfect because I started receiving my weekly CSA shares just a few weeks later. Whenever I didn’t know what to do with a vegetable, I found something good in my new cookbook.

94. by Caroline Ford on Dec 23, 2009 at 11:58 AM PST

The best cookbook as a gift was The Perfect Scoop, by David Lebovitz, from a friend who I got frozen custard with every week when we were roommates. We’re across the country from each other now, but I can still make ice cream with her in mind.

95. by jeanne_marie on Dec 23, 2009 at 11:59 AM PST

Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison was given to me long ago as a Bday present. It is my cooking bible and even 10 years later, I still look to Deborah for guidance and inspiration. A masterpiece of a book!

96. by Doug Hiza on Dec 23, 2009 at 11:59 AM PST

My favorite gift cookbook was Fat; An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes by Jennifer McLargan.

97. by bwolfson on Dec 23, 2009 at 12:05 PM PST

Rustic Fruit Desserts by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson. I cooked several items from it this past summer, and I made Lemon Blueberry Crisp seven or eight times!

98. by Brenda Parrish on Dec 23, 2009 at 12:07 PM PST

Easily “The New Best Recipe” (Cook’s Illustrated). Until then I was amassing one after another of small cookbooks with large, gorgeous images. This book made me appreciate the words of cooking. It’s truly a staple in our kitchen.

99. by Sandra on Dec 23, 2009 at 12:10 PM PST

Baking with Julia

100. by Candice Odell on Dec 23, 2009 at 12:12 PM PST

Maida Heatter’s “Book of Great Chocolate Desserts”

101. by iamsammie27 on Dec 23, 2009 at 12:12 PM PST

My favorite cook book that I received as agift was The Maine Sporting Camp Cookbook... I worked at on the lodges for 5 summers and it was a great parting gift!

102. by Thomas Janes on Dec 23, 2009 at 12:30 PM PST

A vintage copy of “The Joy of Cooking” from the 50’s I believe. Really interesting.

103. by Stella Louise on Dec 23, 2009 at 12:31 PM PST

“The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines.” My husband gave it to me years ago one Christmas & I treasure it.

104. by Cynthia Manchester on Dec 23, 2009 at 12:51 PM PST

My step-father gifted me with a copy of “What’s Cooking at Moody’s Diner.” I treasure the little book which contains photos of my grandparents, many aunts and uncles and recipes for treats I grew up dreaming about all year ‘round (like Aunt Dot’s Whoopie Pies and grandma’s Thick Molasses Cookies). We spent summer holiday in Waldoboro, Maine, where the Diner still reigns as the best place for pie or chowder for miles around. I still remember the train engineers stopping on the rail across the road to come by Moody’s for lunch :-)

105. by agrarian on Dec 23, 2009 at 12:51 PM PST

The Grassfed Gourmet by Shannon Hayes. It’s the perfect companion to grassfed meats -- lots of handling tips, and the recipes for rubs are excellent.

106. by llondon on Dec 23, 2009 at 1:01 PM PST

I love Emily Luchetti’s A Passion for Desserts that was a gift to me from a friend. The cranberry pumpkin upside down cake was, once again, a huge hit this Thanksgiving.

107. by Deborah Howard on Dec 23, 2009 at 1:07 PM PST

My favorite cookbook that I received as a gift is Joy of Cooking. My friends got together and gave it to me in 1971. I’ve used it across the years, even when I became interested in whole foods (not called that then) in the 70’s and I substituted whole wheat for white flour, etc.

108. by hansenai on Dec 23, 2009 at 1:23 PM PST

The Silver Spoon, English translation from Italian.

109. by Bethesda Mom on Dec 23, 2009 at 1:26 PM PST

My favorite cookbook gift was my mother’s gift of “The Classic Cuisine of the Italian Jews” which is now out of print I believe. It is a wonderful look not only at a great cuisine (and great for someone who doesn’t eat pork or mix milk and meat but loves Italian cooking), but also at a vanished way of life. It made such an impact on me that when I visited Italy, I made a special pilgrimage to the hill town of Pittaglio where the author lived as a girl.

110. by Shannon Lundin on Dec 23, 2009 at 1:33 PM PST

My Uncle just gave me his copy of Simply Organic by Jesse Cool. I live in Palo Alto, California which is where the author is based so the seasonal dishes are relevant to what I can get at the local farmers market.

111. by Suzy Kaplan on Dec 23, 2009 at 1:38 PM PST

366 Delicious Ways to Cook Rice, Beans, and Grains. It was the perfect gift for when I was in the Peace Corps in Nicaragua.

112. by Rich Ambuske on Dec 23, 2009 at 1:41 PM PST

Hands down, the very first cook book I received when I was fresh out of college and starting life away from home. Some friends gave me a little gift box as a going a way gift: a coffee mug, some dish towels, coffee and the cook book, Meals for One or Two from Better Homes and Gardens. It was 1979 and it started me cooking and starting me amassing cook books. I know I cooked at least everything in the book once. Not as ambitious as Julie Powell, but back then I was satisfied.

113. by Emily Murnen on Dec 23, 2009 at 1:54 PM PST

My grandmother gave me a recipe book that includes various recipes from her, her friends and other family members. I love it.

The best “real” cookbook that I was given is The Improvisational Chef by Sally Schneider, which was given to me by my husband.

114. by Laura Parisi on Dec 23, 2009 at 2:36 PM PST

The only cookbook I’ve ever been given as a gift was a fancy chocolate cookbook. It’s a tad on the pushy side. It doesn’t just call for butter -- it specifies the exact butterfat content. But everything I’ve made from it as been delicious!

Also -- a neighbor gave me his Moosewood Cooks at Home when he moved. It was falling apart and covered in cooking oil (I suspect an entire bottle knocked over next to it). But the recipes are fast, easy and delish -- a good score for sure.

115. by Jill Singer on Dec 23, 2009 at 2:10 PM PST

my favorite cook gift was “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone” by deborah madison. that was 9 years ago, when I had just become a vegetarian and I asked for vegetarian cookbooks for my birthday. That cookbook wasn’t on my radar, but I tried it and still use it today! The challah recipe in it is fantastic, as is the potato bread recipe- I made that last week.

116. by Diane Brush on Dec 23, 2009 at 2:18 PM PST

The best cookbook I’ve ever received is the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.

117. by Kay Morgan on Dec 23, 2009 at 2:24 PM PST

My daughter, knowing how much I love Italian cooking, gave me Joyce Goldstein’s Italian Slow and Savory for Christmas 2007. It’s been well used. It’s dog-eared and spotted with sauce stains.

118. by eliza on Dec 23, 2009 at 2:33 PM PST

for me it’s Deborah Madison’s cookbook Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. it was a gift I bought for myself a few years back since Ms Madison came to Portland, Oregon area for a talk and I asked for her signature for the book. it’s a book I cherish my whole life because the recipes prove to be invaluable and comprehensive.

119. by mary primorac on Dec 23, 2009 at 2:38 PM PST

I received The Settlement Cookbook for my bridal shower, 43 years ago. I still use that cookbook today.

120. by leeway49 on Dec 23, 2009 at 2:46 PM PST

My favorite cookbook is and probably always will be Baking with Julia. I love that my son gave it to me years ago, and I love this website.

121. by kyenne on Dec 23, 2009 at 2:51 PM PST

My favorite gift is “From Asparagus to Zucchini:
A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh, Seasonal Produce” from the Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition. Fabulous, simple and quick ways to prepare all that produce from a great organization. Yummy!

122. by aubreylane on Dec 23, 2009 at 2:51 PM PST

The best cookbook I have ever received as a gift is the “Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook” which I got as a birthday present from my lovely boyfriend. GHIC is the cookbook I grew up with, almost every recipe that I cherished as a child came right out of GHIC. My mother’s copy is from the early eighties and today is crusted with flour from the recipe for homemade noodles and dotted with beef stew splatter. Years later nearly everytime I am home with my mother we break out the spineless book and create amazing homemade meals. As such a valuable resource and important memento from my youth, I was delighted when my boyfriend was able to find an equally as ancient copy at a flee market. Now I can crack it open whenever I am nostalgic for a taste of home and look forward to sharing the recipes with my own daughter one day.

123. by bjking512 on Dec 23, 2009 at 2:51 PM PST

As a new bride nearly 25 years ago, the classic “Joy of Cooking” was a great wedding present. I now consider myself an accomplished cook, but I still will pull that out if I have a question.

124. by luckyme on Dec 23, 2009 at 2:52 PM PST

My favorite cookbook is Lady & Sons by Paula Deane.
It is my favorite because I visited Savannah, Georgia and at there. It is also signed. It was a gift from my brother and I enjoy it immensely.

125. by Julie Lowman on Dec 23, 2009 at 3:01 PM PST

My favorite cookbook is ‘Baking By Flavor’ by Lisa Yockleson. I appreciate her meticulous approach to baking and through description of ingredients and techniques. Her ‘Essence of Chocolate Squares’ are a huge hit whenever I share them. Thanks, Lisa!

126. by healthgal on Dec 23, 2009 at 3:07 PM PST

My favorite cookbook is ‘Baking From My Home To Yours’, by Dorie Greenspan. This is my baking bible and I go to this book for not only recipes, which are spectactular but also for How To information. I’m a baker mostly and find everything I need in this book.

127. by Janet on Dec 23, 2009 at 3:26 PM PST

My favorite is Demolition Desserts by Elizabeth Faulkner. It has tasty desserts and a great design.

128. by candrese on Dec 23, 2009 at 3:57 PM PST

My favorite cookbook was a handmade set of recipes my mom made me and put in those photo flip books. It was a great way to get all of the wonderful and not so wonderful recipes of my childhood all in one place. I love looking at it even if I’m not thinking to make all of its treasures.

Of real cookbooks, I love “Simply in Season.” It’s the gift cookbook I use the most!

129. by That's nuts! on Dec 23, 2009 at 4:00 PM PST

I would have to say “Super Natural Cooking” by Heidi Swanson. I’d been coveting this book for a while but was living in Japan at the time so it seemed silly to have it shipped to me. My first Christmas back I put it on my list (inspiring an aunt to do the same) and was so pleased to finally get it.

130. by saturdaynightfever on Dec 23, 2009 at 4:46 PM PST

The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook!

131. by liannenc on Dec 23, 2009 at 5:27 PM PST

My favorite gift cookbook is Alton Brown’s “I’m Just Here for the Food” which my husband gave me for Christmas a few years ago. He somehow wrangled a signed copy which was a wonderful surprise!

132. by anonymous on Dec 23, 2009 at 5:37 PM PST

When we lived in Finland for a year, a friend sent me the Chinaberry Cookbook (from the Chinaberry Book Co.) has many of my favorite recipes and I’m still making them years later. Not fancy but great for a family cook.

133. by piranha on Dec 23, 2009 at 6:02 PM PST

Hands down, “The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking” by Yamuna Devi, is my favorite book that I’ve received as a gift. I got the book from my wife for a birthday around twenty years ago, and we jokingly call the book, “The Bible.”

134. by anonymous on Dec 23, 2009 at 6:34 PM PST

From Asparagus to Zucchini: A guide to farm-fresh, seasonal produce by the Madison Area community supported Agricutlure Coalition!

135. by Emily Swantner on Dec 23, 2009 at 7:02 PM PST

Claudia Roden’s “Arabesque” was given to me when I departed Saudi Arabia for the States. It continues to be my go-to book when I want to be transported back to the Middle East.

136. by pickledseeds on Dec 23, 2009 at 7:41 PM PST

For Christmas a couple of years ago my mother-in-law gave me the Passionate Vegetarian by Crescent Dragonwagon. I love it!

137. by Nancy Alton on Dec 23, 2009 at 9:24 PM PST

Feeding the Whole Family, by Cynthia Lair, given to me by Jen

138. by jloomis on Dec 23, 2009 at 10:14 PM PST

Like everyone else my own and my moms Joy of Cooking--hers a WWII version. My mom always gave me cookbooks for Christmas and birthdays. I hinted for cookbooks from the countries we visited together so she gave me Quick and Easy Thai and then Quick and Easy Vietnamese both by Nancy McDermott (Peace Corps vol in Thailand). I normally shun both quick and easy, but these books are great.

139. by L Roberts on Dec 23, 2009 at 11:37 PM PST

Many years ago, in 1967, my dear friend Karen and I were teaching French in two small town high schools in New Jersey. Karen was sick one day, and asked me to substitute for her and teach her lessons. I taught that day in her school. To thank me, Karen gave me a copy of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French
Cooking...I still have that copy, pages food stained and wrinkled, well used, well loved....and I thank Karen every day for her generosity...

140. by Tori Hanssen on Dec 23, 2009 at 11:51 PM PST

My favorite is my Betty Crocker Cookbook.

141. by camibones on Dec 24, 2009 at 4:12 AM PST

My Gramma gave me a copy of Moosewood’s Simple Suppers. I honestly don’t reference it much any more - I have our favorites memorized! This reminds me that I need to go back and see what “new” treasures I can unearth :)

142. by momsib on Dec 24, 2009 at 4:54 AM PST

Cross Creek Cookery, by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. I’m almost afraid to touch it because it’s a first edition, but I do anyway, and just love all the history behind the recipes. To me, a cookbook without some background to the recipes is just another list of formulas. I need to know what made the recipe special enough to be written down.

143. by Happi Shopr on Dec 24, 2009 at 5:40 AM PST

Our Lady’s Table from our church which my hubby got me for mother’s day two years ago is my fave cookbook.

144. by anonymous on Dec 24, 2009 at 6:45 AM PST

Fields of Greens by Annie Somerville! I am a fan of the Greens Cookbook by D. Madison and E.E. Brown and Fields of Greens is more great stuff!!

145. by Christine on Dec 24, 2009 at 7:13 AM PST

I have quite a collection of cookbooks, but one of my favorites is the first cookbook I ever received as a gift: Lori Longbotham’s Luscious Chocolate Desserts. I received this book from my best friend as a birthday gift. This book has not failed me yet when looking for a new decadent treat to bake. Yum! Happy Holidays everyone :)

146. by Amanda Ryan on Dec 24, 2009 at 7:17 AM PST

My favorite cookbook that was given to me as a gift, would have to be Well-Preserved by Eugenia Bone. I had been eying it when I saw it on here and then a few days ago my boss gave it to me for Christmas. I haven’t gone through the whole thing but I am looking forward to it with great anticipation...or should I say my pantry is looking forward to it.

147. by roseh2o19 on Dec 24, 2009 at 7:25 AM PST

my fav cookbook is The Hope Lutheran Church of Portage Lakes, Ohio Women’s Guild 1969

148. by Lori on Dec 24, 2009 at 7:39 AM PST

Bistro Cooking, by Patricia Wells. The recipes are simple, delicious, and evocative of good & simple French bistro cooking. My mother-in-law, who taught me how to cook, gave it to me.

149. by annieqst on Dec 24, 2009 at 7:42 AM PST

“Fields of Greens” Annie Somerville

150. by Tom Morris on Dec 24, 2009 at 7:51 AM PST

Second most favorite: Jamie Oliver’s Jamie at Home

151. by Tom Morris on Dec 24, 2009 at 7:52 AM PST

Favorite received as a gift: 1000 Italian Recipes by Michele Scicolone

152. by anonymous on Dec 24, 2009 at 8:24 AM PST

The Best Soups in the World by Clifford A. Wright (Wiley, 2010)

153. by Greg Frye on Dec 24, 2009 at 10:27 AM PST

There are too many to count, so thanks for helping narrow the contenders a bit. I have to list The Ethnic Vegetarian Kitchen by Shanta Nimbark Sacharoff as the favorite gifted to me.

154. by Lauren on Dec 24, 2009 at 11:08 AM PST

When I was first starting out in the kitchen I received a copy of the America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. It gave me the confidence to try many new recipes--and I still refer to it often today.

155. by jayfr on Dec 24, 2009 at 1:08 PM PST

My favorite was my first, the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook that my Mom gave me prior to going to my first apartment at college. I tried a lot of things from that book.

156. by blueviolet on Dec 24, 2009 at 4:21 PM PST

My favorite cookbook is the Betty Crocker cookbook my mom gave me when I got married. It doesn’t have a cover anymore but I love it and won’t give it up!

157. by Alex Koch on Dec 24, 2009 at 5:39 PM PST

The first cookbooks I got were gifts when I moved into my own apartment, and the best was ‘how to cook everything’ - used it quite a bit.

158. by wendy wallach on Dec 24, 2009 at 6:30 PM PST

Would have to be " The Joy of Cooking”

159. by Eva Daniell on Dec 24, 2009 at 6:54 PM PST

My favorite cookbook is the Betty Crocker book my mom bought me when I married it helped teach me basics with a little harder recipes thrown in. It was a big help when I first married

160. by Atreau on Dec 24, 2009 at 9:41 PM PST

My favorite is Easy Family Recipes from a Chinese-American Childhood by Ken Hom.

161. by AgustinFLopez on Dec 24, 2009 at 9:44 PM PST

Hands down, The Joy of Cooking.

162. by HelenWLopez on Dec 24, 2009 at 9:47 PM PST

I still have my very first copy of the Betty Crocker Cookbook.

163. by Lisa Vance on Dec 24, 2009 at 10:10 PM PST

My favorite was a copy of teh Betty Crocker Cookbook - a newer edition, but still the same as the one I used of hers to learn to cook with, which I received from my mother when I was moving into my first place on my own and I still have it!

164. by nesta67 on Dec 24, 2009 at 10:14 PM PST

A church cookbook from my aunt’s church was my favorite cookbook gift ever!

165. by garrettsambo on Dec 25, 2009 at 4:45 AM PST

The Betty Crocker cookbook I was given was my favorite.

166. by lilyk on Dec 25, 2009 at 8:40 AM PST

My favorite cookbook that was a gift is the Fannie Farmer cookbook.

167. by klp1965 on Dec 25, 2009 at 9:04 AM PST

i love my top chef the quickfire cookbook :)

168. by dusksunset on Dec 25, 2009 at 9:30 AM PST

From my mother I inherited, among others, The Settlement House cookbook. This copy was printed in the 40s and I think its lack of pictures was due to wartime economies. What makes it special is that my mother made notes on all the recipes she prepared, a tradition I have carried through in all of my cookbooks.

169. by karen on Dec 25, 2009 at 9:43 AM PST

My favorite cookbook I got as a gift was called Vegetarian Cooking of the Mediterranean.

170. by anonymous on Dec 25, 2009 at 10:38 AM PST

My favorite cookbook that was a gift was Joy of Cooking, with all of my grandmother’s comments scribbled in it. Thank you for having this giveaway.
litefoot873 (@)

171. by MissEmma on Dec 25, 2009 at 7:39 PM PST

My favorite cookbook that I received as a gift is the classic Better Homes & Garden New Cook Book that I received as a college graduation gift from my mother.

172. by rilabby on Dec 25, 2009 at 8:29 PM PST

The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook - the best ever!

173. by kimberlynyc120 on Dec 26, 2009 at 12:55 PM PST

my favorite cook book given to me as a gift would have to be Rosie’s Bakery All-Butter, Fresh Cream, Sugar-Packed, No-Holds-Barred Baking Book given to me from my mom. I don’t use it that often as I like to eat healthy but I remember so many yummy childhood goodies that my mom used to make us from this book and I love the chocolate smudges on the pages from her use of it.

174. by Andrea Kay on Dec 26, 2009 at 1:19 PM PST

When we first moved to Oregon from New York, my husband gave me Janie Hibler’s “Dungeness Crabs & Blackberry Cobblers” for Christmas. He knew that I love cookbooks with some stories to accompany the recipes, and this book is filled with them. The “Blueberry-Yogurt Coffecake” is to die for. I have received many, many cookbooks as gifts (and bought myself three last week), and some are used more than this, but this one is always a standout.

175. by Eva on Dec 26, 2009 at 1:46 PM PST

River Road Recipes, the textbook of Louisiana cuisine!

honeybushtea AT

176. by foodgeek on Dec 26, 2009 at 2:25 PM PST

My favorite cookbook of all time (Moosewood Restaurant New Classics) was a gift, and I actually got a second copy as a gift just as the first one was starting to really fall apart. (I still have both, though.)

177. by sjhaymer on Dec 26, 2009 at 3:59 PM PST

My absolutely favorite cookbook is The Vegetarian Epicure. Every recipe I try works perfectly. I made the pumpkin flan for dessert for Thanksgiving and a Christmas eve party and the guests all raved. The chili is amazing. I make the lentil soup often. I love how the book is organized by seasons, so everything is fresh, sustainable, less expensive and fabulous in flavor. It also presents each dish in a menu format, so great for dinner parties.

178. by Jill on Dec 26, 2009 at 4:44 PM PST

When I first left for college, my Mom gave me Betty Crocker’s Best of Baking cookbook. It’s a pretty simple book with easy recipes but I’ve made most every recipe in there over the years. Even now as a professional pastry chef, I still refer to that book once in awhile for ideas--and I have so many great memories from using it. :)

179. by stachad on Dec 26, 2009 at 5:24 PM PST

My favorite cookbook was compiled for me by my husband and given to me on my birthday a few years ago. We are both chefs and have many cookbooks but this was a huge volume of all his recipes from various hotels and sports venues he has been a chef at over the last 25 years.

180. by hughen23 on Dec 26, 2009 at 7:55 PM PST

My first cookbook given to me as a gift was the Vincent and Mary Price Cookbook, and it is still a favorite, even though the pictures are faded and the recipes outdated... it was my first inspiration into the fun of cooking and entertaining~ which led me to many years as a professional cook/writer!

181. by Jeffrey Miller on Dec 27, 2009 at 7:24 AM PST

Oh, so many choices here, but of things that are still in print - “How to Bake” by Nick Malgieri. Out-of-print - without question, “Mastering the Art of French Pastry” by Healy and Bugat. (Any publisher reading this - please reprint this classic!)

182. by Joyce Harrell on Dec 27, 2009 at 8:32 AM PST

The Joy of Cooking from my sister years and years ago when I was a new bride is still one of my favorite sources for cooking information.

183. by Johanna Greenberg on Dec 27, 2009 at 9:42 AM PST

“Cocina de la Familia” by Marilyn Tausend is a cookbook that I received several years ago as a holiday gift. The book is a collection of recipes from Mexican-American home kitchens. I’m yet to cook anything out of this book that isn’t delicious.

184. by anonymous on Dec 27, 2009 at 11:01 AM PST

My first and favorite useful cookbook: learning to cook with Marian Cunningham.

185. by anonymous on Dec 27, 2009 at 11:02 AM PST

I am above (anonymous saying learning to cook with Marian Cunningham).
lavendarlittle at gmail dot com

186. by dabbiebaby on Dec 27, 2009 at 11:03 AM PST

Betty Crocker for Kids, from my Mom with the suggestion we would make things together, I was 6. I studied the girl made out of a drained pear half with carrot stick arms, I would be a cook and an artist! She later gave me Mastering the Art of French Cooking, I was 18. I would be a chef and an artist!

187. by sheila on Dec 27, 2009 at 11:55 AM PST

My favorite cookbook is one that my mother-in-law gave me that belonged to my husband’s great aunt. She has started typing up her own recipes and most were from the 1930s!

188. by pintolinda on Dec 27, 2009 at 11:59 AM PST

My favorite cookbook that I received as a gift is The Comfort table by Katie Lee Joel. The recipes that I have tried have been delicious.

189. by Elise on Dec 27, 2009 at 6:01 PM PST

Project Foodie. I know it’s not a cookbook, per se, but the number of recipes from various magazines and the search capabilities is one great gift to me! THANKS! Too many hardcovers gifted and purchased to count - and I use them all along with the wonderful world of Culinate, Project Foodie and other such foodie sites!

190. by Sharon Clark on Dec 27, 2009 at 9:54 PM PST

On 6/28/80 I received The Joy of Cooking! It’s still the first cookbook I reach for time and time again!

191. by Cheryl Lynne on Dec 27, 2009 at 10:35 PM PST

The Joy of Cooking is the best gift cookbook I have received.

192. by choochoo on Dec 28, 2009 at 1:24 AM PST

Received Soups by Le Cordon Bleu Chefs and I just love it. It’s soup weather, and some of those really hit the spot.

193. by BarracudaRon on Dec 28, 2009 at 1:51 AM PST

Dinner & a Movie Cookbook, yup, from the Tv show

194. by Kathryn Zimmerman on Dec 28, 2009 at 5:40 AM PST

Eula Mae’s Cajun Kitchen

195. by Theresa Singleton on Dec 28, 2009 at 7:47 AM PST

My favorite gift cook book came from my boyfriend’s mother when I first met her (now she’s my mother-in-law!): Local Flavors Deborah Madison. It was thoughtful and perfect for our Farmer’s Market meals and allowed us to try new foods!

196. by Rebecca Liebes on Dec 28, 2009 at 7:54 AM PST

Zuni Cafe Cookbook

197. by Jane Finch-Howell on Dec 28, 2009 at 8:30 AM PST

It sounds a bit hackneyed in the current Julia/Julie frenzy, but the best cookbook I ever received was Mastering the Art of French Cooking (soft cover Penguin edition) from a dear aunt in England many years ago. It’s a bit tricky to use due to the difference in measurements but I’ve made some wonderful meals from it, most recently Cassoulet. I treasure it in memory of my aunt and it’s my go-to source for French anything!

198. by anonymous on Dec 28, 2009 at 8:47 AM PST

I have bought most of my cookbooks myself, but I was gifted what looks like a great cookbook this Christmas. Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home. It’s a beauty and I can’t wait to cook from it.

My go-to cookbooks are How to Cook Everything and Joy of Cooking. I usually have them open side be side when I am looking for ideas or techniques.

199. by Judith on Dec 28, 2009 at 9:42 AM PST

The best cookbook I’ve received as a gift was “Fields of Greens,” by Annie Somerville from my brother-in-law. What a great guy.

Ditto comment by Marc. After many years of dying to make the Winter Vegetable Stew and avoiding it because of the many steps I finally made it for our Thanksgiving meal this year. It is just as good as I always thought it would be and now can’t make it enough. In fact, I have leftovers from last night. Is it time for lunch?

200. by Jenny on Dec 28, 2009 at 6:46 PM PST

My favorite cookbook this year has been “Rustic Fruit Desserts.” However, I was just recently gifted with “Baked,” Waters’ “The Art of Simple Food,” and “The Flavor Bible.” The last snuggled with me in bed a few nights before Christmas.

201. by Jennifer on Dec 28, 2009 at 8:44 PM PST

Gourmet’s new cookbook was a recent gift from my mother-in-law - it’s excellent!

202. by aaa on Dec 28, 2009 at 10:20 PM PST

My mom has always given me the best cookbooks. My most favorite has to be the one that started it all, her childhood copy of the “Better Homes and Garden Junior Cookbook”. These days, she picks up cookbooks from everywhere she travels throughout the year and wraps them up for Christmas and my birthday. It connects her passion for travel to my passion for cooking.

203. by JeanE23 on Dec 29, 2009 at 10:30 AM PST

“Joy of Cooking,” which my parents gave us as an engagement gift, always ranks high. But prior to that, in college a good friend gave me “American Food: The Gastronomic Story” by Evan Jones (husband to Judith Jones) before I had much interest in cooking. I loved the cover art (the famous “Thanksgiving” painting by Doris Lee) and the fact that it told the history of food in our country. As I’ve referred to the recipes over the years, it’s become a true favorite.

204. by SaraBClever on Dec 29, 2009 at 12:20 PM PST

Like #96, My favorite gift cookbook was Fat; An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes by Jennifer McLagan. It’s just so unique. Looking at these posts, I really have to take a look at Rustic Fruit Desserts.

Oh, and actually, I have to add, Mastering the Art which I got as a wedding gift. How could I leave out Julia?

205. by Carol W. on Dec 29, 2009 at 2:42 PM PST

My favorite cookbook that I received as a gift is the Pink Adobe Cookbook. Not only does it bring back memories of a wonderful meal at the restaurant, but also it has allowed me to recreate some of that exceptional southwest cuisine.

206. by AP269 on Dec 29, 2009 at 3:02 PM PST

The bread baker’s apprentice by Peter Reinhart. I got it for my birthday because I wanted to participate in the BBA Challenge where we attempt every single recipe in the book.

207. by weth on Dec 29, 2009 at 3:32 PM PST

My favorite cookbook that was a gift was Thomas Keller’s French Laundry Cookbook. His recipes are daunting in their complexity, but inspiring enough to try; it’s also inspirational to read of his joy of food and passionate pursuit of the best, most flavorful ingredients.

208. by DarcyO on Dec 29, 2009 at 6:58 PM PST

My favorite cookbook was given to me by my mother-in-law. It’s her church’s cookbook, Faith Lutheran Church Centennial Cookbook. I’ve found that church cookbooks have some terrific recipes, but pictures would be nice.

209. by cyntaur on Dec 29, 2009 at 8:09 PM PST

I have complete faith in David Tanis’s A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes. Everything I have cooked from it has given me a reputation amongst friends as a good cook. It was a present from my friend Kaia.

210. by Alex Davis on Dec 29, 2009 at 9:53 PM PST

My friend Kristy Weyhrich once gave me “The Best Recipe” cookbook from the editors of Cooks Illustrated. Nothing flashy, but I consider it to be the final word when I’m making chocolate chip cookies or looking to try a new technique for an old favorite.

211. by Angela W on Dec 30, 2009 at 11:11 AM PST

Two weeks ago I received Mother’s Best Comfort Food That Takes You Home Again by Lisa Schroeder from my good friend and I am completely in LOVE with this book!!!! Not only does the author share incredibly delicious recipes but she adds tons of LOVE NOTES that explain WHY do to things! Beautiful!

212. by rm on Dec 30, 2009 at 11:13 AM PST

The Joy of Cooking and Jasper White’s Seafood Cook books are wonderful. I’d love to win.

213. by Nita Birnbaum on Dec 30, 2009 at 11:44 AM PST

I received Tangy Tart Hot & Sweetby Padma Laksmi and love he recipes!

214. by Marion Gimbel on Dec 30, 2009 at 12:16 PM PST

“The name of your favorite cookbook that you’ve received as a gift” -- For me it is still “The Joy of Cooking” by Rombauer and others. My copy is about 25 years old - I use it about once a month at the very least to seek out measurement conversions, etc. and how-to tips. It was a gift by someone that is no longer in my life - It would be nice to have both, the person that gave me the book and a new edition of the book in my life again.

215. by Celeste Brady on Dec 30, 2009 at 1:36 PM PST

My mother gave all five kids, “Better Homes & Garden’s New Cook Book.” At first glance I proudly thought I was beyond all the basics in this cookbook. I’ve since proved myself wrong again and again. The stained pages for standards--pancakes and cornbread!--attest to it’s value for me. I’ve learned so much from this cookbook. Thanks, mom!

216. by kate brandel on Dec 30, 2009 at 1:37 PM PST

i’d have to say either deborah madison’s local flavors or heidi swanson’s super natural cooking. both were christmas gifts last year and i adore them.

217. by jo_jo_ba on Dec 30, 2009 at 2:17 PM PST

When my mom gave me a copy of “The Cook’s Companion” by Stephanie Alexander I thought I had died and gone to heaven, but she’s promised me her old beaten copy of “Apples, Peaches and Pears” by Elizabeth Baird so that will always be treasured.

218. by Lisa Herndon on Dec 30, 2009 at 6:55 PM PST

Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon - changed my life!

219. by Victoria Bell on Dec 30, 2009 at 7:07 PM PST

The New Best Recipe. great background info with every recipe.

220. by Allison Lane on Dec 30, 2009 at 8:23 PM PST

One of my co-workers, who knows that I am a foodie, gave my a copy of The Gourmet Cookbook. I was very excited for it, since the magazine is ending. It also includes a DVD for various cooking techniques. I can’t wait to make something from the book.

221. by Richard Yarnell on Dec 30, 2009 at 8:45 PM PST

In response to #214: be careful what you wish for. I don’t know about the person you’d like back in your life, but you should wish for the old Joy you used to have. IMO, the newer versions just aren’t up to the comparison. Whole sections axed. The trend seems to be toward quick and easy instead of good and thorough. If you have to replace your Joy, start searching for a copy of an edition no later than the mid-70’s. (On that note I’ll retire to the kitchen where I can assume the warmth is from the stove and not the flames I’ll probably have to endure.


222. by Amy Halloran on Dec 31, 2009 at 7:27 AM PST

Baking with Julia is one of the best baking books I own. I got it for Christmas one year, and I made the mistake of loaning it out last month. I should have kept track of how often I reached for it! The scones, pita breads and almond cakes are my favorites -- so many great bakers working with Julia Child. Dorie Greenspan wrote the book, which is really an encyclopedia of experts.

223. by anonymous on Dec 31, 2009 at 8:24 AM PST

My fav is my Jamie Oliver’s American Roadtrip cookbook as it was the first present my 8 year old ever wanted to buy me as he knows I like cooking!

224. by rtysons on Dec 31, 2009 at 3:35 PM PST

My favorite is the Star Trek cookbook that my husband gave me. We were actually able to find a recipe for octopus in there when none of my other cookbooks had one!

225. by OpusOne on Dec 31, 2009 at 4:13 PM PST

Congrats to Kathy who was the posted the comment (#136) that was randomly drawn for the Grand Prize of all 12 cookbooks.

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