My maternal grandma got a copy of The Old Fashioned Cookbook by Jan Carleton McBride for my father as a wedding present. It’s full of wonderful American recipes from appetizer to dessert. The cake section is especially amazing– I did not like cake at all before trying this book. When my mom went to a low-fat diet, I was able to obtain ownership for our copy.
Another favorite from my parents’ is The Victory Garden Cookbook by Marian Morash. This fantastic book goes in and out of print all the time and has gone through a few editions and updates (now with microwave technology!). My parents would not part with theirs so we bought our own copy. If you belong to a CSA or have a garden of your own, you must get a copy of this book. It answers the question of, “What on earth are we going to do with all this X?” from basic preparation to elaborate recipes. And the recipes are delicious.
The New Laurel’s Kitchen book is fantastic if you’re trying to eat healthily and/or vegetarian. The recipes in it are creative and tasty, even though they only contain healthy stuff. It’s a fun read too. But very hippy-dippy. What else would you expect from a cookbook coming out of a commune in the Berkeley area? Additionally, if you want to bake with only whole grains, their bread book is not to be missed. There are different techniques for baking with whole grain flour (which is “thirstier”) and The Laurel’s Bread Book covers them.
The Cake Bible. It is as advertised.
Baking with Julia. This cookbook encourages you to master a few basic recipes and use them with an array of different recipes. The weeks my partner spent mastering pie dough were wonderful indeed.
A new favorite that we’ve been going through, Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick and Easy Indian Cooking. It should be called, Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick, Easy, and Delicious Indian Cooking. Also: pretty sure it’s healthier than the stuff we get for take-out.
We have a few Best Recipe books, which are good go-to books when something isn’t in the Old-Fashioned Cookbook. Our favorite is the Best Recipe Make-Ahead cookbook. It is great for making food in advance whether for a party, for someone with a new baby, or for yourself in the future.
What are your favorite cookbooks?