Food

9 Cookbooks That Earn Their Keep

9 Cookbooks That Earn Their Keep

There are two shelves in my kitchen that house approximately 50 cookbooks, and I am constantly adding new ones and giving away old ones to make sure the shelf — and my cooking — stays relevant. But if my house caught on fire, the nine books below are the ones I’d rescue first. Some are old, splattered, and battered, some have only recently hit the scene, but all of them are indispensable…

9 Cookbooks That Earn Their Keep

The Classic Italian Cookbook, by Marcella Hazan

Why I Love It: Because Hazan, credited with introducing America to real Italian cooking, is old-school authoritative in the best possible way. You’ll never catch her saying something like “feel free to omit the anchovies” or “swap out the zucchini for some eggplant.” No way. For Hazan, a scientist by training,  there’s a precise way to make the sauce, the pasta, the vegetable, the anything, and you do not stray. This book is one of the two that were combined to make her more popular volume, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. (Shown on the right is my original — now coverless — paperback; I bought it the day I got back from my first trip to Italy in 1993.)
When I Use It: Sunday dinner with the family or when I’m having people over and I want an uncomplicated, delicious main.
Favorite Recipes: Tagliatelle Bolognese, Pork Loin Braised in Milk, and her mega-famous Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter

9 Cookbooks That Earn Their Keep

Modern Jewish Cooking, by Leah Koenig

Why I Love It: Because it’s exactly what the title says it is. You’ll never catch me saying anything bad about Bubbe’s kugel, but Koenig gives fresh ways to round out tradition by infusing the classics with seasonality and simplicity. (Think Butternut Squash Kugel with Crispy Shallots.)
When I Use It: On Passover, Rosh Hashana and Hanukkah — but really I’m not sure why I don’t pull it out every other day of the year. Koenig’s recipes fall mostly under the Mediterranean umbrella (harissa, yogurt, tahini, za’atar, almonds show up often), which to me is some of the most appealing food on Earth.
Favorite Recipes: Fattoush; Roast Chicken with Fennel & Orange; Spinach-Matzoh Lasagna; Savory French Toast with Za’atar Butter; Fried Cauliflower with Creamy Cilantro Sauce

9 Cookbooks That Earn Their Keep

Dinner, by Melissa Clark

Why I Love It: Because the idea behind this book is “stop thinking of dinner as a protein, starch and veg” and I have been trying to break free from that tyranny for my whole adult life. In other words, roast eggplant with a scoop of ricotta can be a meal. Crostini can be a meal. A savory Dutch Baby can be a meal. Three sides, instead of one main and two sides? Totally a meal.
When I Use It: When don’t I use it? I’ve been a superfan of Clark for decades for one main reason: Her recipes work and work well every single time. Seriously! They’re also somehow simultaneously simple enough to make for your kids and interesting enough to make for guests.
Favorite Recipes: Tofu with Ginger and Spicy Greens, Parmesan Dutch Baby, Pizza with Broccoli Rabe, Halloumi and Brussels Sprouts, Tortilla Soup

9 Cookbooks That Earn Their Keep

Simple Cake, by Odette Williams

Why I Love It: Because it’s impossible to flip through this gorgeous book and not think What excuse do I have to make a cake right exactly now? Williams’s special little gem is the newest addition to my shelf — it just came out this spring — and is remarkable mostly in its curation: There are only ten cake recipes and fifteen glaze/frosting recipes, and we are encouraged to mix and match as we please. (I’m not a numbers girl, but put it this way: the possibilities for cake nirvana are plentiful.)
When I Use It: So far, twice: Once to celebrate my daughter’s birthday, and once because I didn’t want to show up to a casual dinner party empty-handed. Which tells you something, because there are very few books that can get me to spontaneously make a cake from scratch, instead of just, you know, swinging by the bakery on the way over.
Favorite Recipes: Almond Gato, “Bribery Cake,” Chocolatey Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Swiss Buttercream (I opted for the Silky Marshmallow Icing), Cinnamon Spiced Donut Cake (I haven’t made that yet, but it is so on deck)
BREAKING NEWS: Joanna will be interviewing Odette this Friday, April 12th, at Books are Magic in Brooklyn. See the details here!

9 Cookbooks That Earn Their Keep

Balaboosta, by Einat Admony

Why I Love It: I fell in love with Admony’s food after eating at New York’s Balaboosta restaurant for the first time. (The name means “perfect housewife” in Yiddish, an old-school moniker the busy chef is ironically embracing.) Then, I fell in love with it all over again when her official Balaboosta book was published back in 2013. Here was some of my favorite kind of food — a blend of flavors from Admony’s Israeli, Persian, and Yemenite background — written as though it was downloaded straight from my mom standing next to me at the stovetop.
When I Use It: When I want to cook something easy and fresh, but also a little surprising.
Favorite Recipes: A side dish called “Cauliflower Everyone Loves,” which is true to its name — fried florets tossed with a tangy vinaigrette, currants, and pine nuts; Hubby’s Hummus (just the right balance between lemon and tahini); Harissa and Honey Hot Wings

9 Cookbooks That Earn Their Keep

A Bird in Hand, by Diana Henry

Why I Love It: Because it gives the star treatment to everybody’s favorite protein! In addition to offering a robust number of classic fast-n-easy weeknight recipes, Henry — a longtime food columnist for Britain’s Sunday Telegraph — travels the world for poultry inspiration (think Portugese Chicken Piri Piri, Japanese Chicken Yakitori) delivering a roster of go-tos destined for the Forever Repertoire.
When I Use It: Sunday through Monday, January through December, including holidays.
Favorite Recipes: Chicken, Soft Scallions and Baby Potatoes; Chicken Asparagus, Fava Bean and Radish Salad with Dill and Mint Dressing; Baked Chicken with Dijon Mustard and Herbs; Chicken Rye Schnitzel with Mustard Sauce

9 Cookbooks That Earn Their Keep

Chez Panisse Vegetables, by Alice Waters

Why I Love It: Because Waters is the master, and because every single page reminds me of the most fundamental principle of good cooking, i.e. buy quality, keep it simple.
When I Use It: Mostly from April through October, the time of year when I pick up whatever is precious at the farmer’s market and I’m determined not to mess it up with too much intervention.
Favorite Recipes: White Corn Soup; Chilled Napa Cabbage with Cilantro and Shallots; Straw Potato; Leek Tart; Fennel Gratin; Grilled Leeks and Garlic on Toast

9 Cookbooks That Earn Their Keep

I Hate to Cook Book, by Peg Bracken

Why I Love It: Because it was written 50 years ago and it still holds up! And because of the first paragraph: “This book is for those of us who hate to, who have learned, through hard experience, that some activities become no less painful through repetition: childbearing, paying taxes, cooking. This book is for those of us who want to fold our big dishwater hands around a dry martini instead of a wet flounder, come the end of a long day.”
When I Use It: When I want to laugh. Think about the concept! A cookbook by someone who hates to cook! Only an amazing writer can get away with that. I pull it off the shelf when I want her voice in my head — usually at my laptop, not my stovetop.
Favorite Recipes: Literally zero, but my mother-in-law used to swear by the turkey tetrazzini and I could read the recipe titles all day long: Beef A La King, Painless Spinach, “Fast Balls” which call for ground beef, water and onion soup mix

9 Cookbooks That Earn Their Keep

Dinner: A Love Story, by me, Jenny Rosenstrach!

Why I Love It: Because it’s, um, mine, and yes, I refer to it all the time to remind myself how to make certain recipes. (P.S. The Pulitzer sticker is not real; a publishing friend had a ream of them in her office and gave me one as a joke.)
When I Use It: For quick family dinners; for casual entertaining; for those nights when I’m running late and I want my teenagers to start cooking dinner, and I just text them “turn to page 62 and get started on that salmon salad.” Ok, that’s a complete lie. But I do look forward to the day they move into their own places, ask me for a recipe, and all I have to do is hand them this book of family favorites.
Favorite Recipes: Salmon Salad, Playdate Cookies, Great Grandma Turano’s Meatballs, Turkey Chili, Pork Ragu, Tony’s Steak, Cold Sesame Noodles

What are the most dog-eared, post-it-note-stuffed cookbooks on your shelf?

P.S. An easy way to make new friends, and and “why I never feel alone when I cook.”

(Top photo by Nicole Franzen for Cup of Jo. Cookbook photos by Jenny Rosenstrach.)

  1. Rachel says...

    My favorite cookbook is the State Bird Provisions cookbook (of the famous SF restaurant). When I would go to fancy restaurants in the past, I’d always wonder if the food was so different/good because of fancy ingredients and knowing how to pair them. Reading a cookbook like this made me realize it’s not just ingredients – it’s the techniques and TIME it takes to prepare all the ingredients so that each individual component is elevated. The cookbook had recipes that took 3 days to prepare! Really made me appreciate what goes into special meals and just how talented chefs are.

  2. Amelia says...

    This comment thread is fascinating, but it’s got me wondering — are there any dudes here lurking who love to cook and/or are responsible for the daily meal prep for their families? Or are there any ladies who’re in the enviable position of having their partners cook for them every day? I ask because as far as I can tell almost all the commenters seem to be women, and while I’m aware ladies are the target demographic here, I was just wondering how much the old gender stereotypes still apply today. Curious to know!

    • Amelia, dude here, who cooks for his teenage kid, and girlfriend, 2-3x/week.
      More broadly useful, my (dude) business partner and I run a food writing aggregator: FoodEnlightenment.com and cover these sorts, and all manner, of food-related issues. This piece is a must!

    • Mandy says...

      My boyfriend cooks for me almost every night, which is awesome. Funnily enough though, I’m the one who’s super into cookbooks. He is one of those people who can make up recipes on the fly.

    • Sara J Glover says...

      I am one of the enviable women… My husband cooks dinner every day and they are amazing meals he just throws together.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      alex is the family cook for us! he makes simple things (quesadillas, fish sandwiches, pesto eggs, etc).

    • Sam says...

      I am a ‘dude’ which normally just lurks who is the primary cook at home. I think generally the stereo types are still present but more and more peeps are starting to not conform.

    • Alexandra says...

      My husband and I both love to cook and sitting down with coffee and a stack of cookbooks on Sunday to meal plan has become a ritual for us. Week to week the cooking is pretty equal, but there have absolutely been periods when he’s doing all the cooking, meal prep, grocery shopping, etc.

      Perhaps I’ve lived in the liberal bubble of Seattle too long, but in our social group it’s the men who are far more into cooking than the women, enough so that it’s hard for me to imagine that anyone holds antiquated views on the kitchen being solely women’s work.

  3. Mel says...

    If you asked an Australian (any Australian!) to compile their list, I guarantee they would all have The Australian Women’s Weekly Birthday Cake Book on their list. It is considered an Australian classic, and sparked a grand tradition that now spans generations – flicking through the pages to decide which cake you should request for your birthday (the piano or the rubber ducky? the train or the swimming pool?). Pre-Pinterest, old-fashioned cakes!

    • Louise says...

      I have this book and I live in the UK – I used to love picking out my birthday cake each year, so much so that my mum made me the princess castle cake for my 21st :D

    • Ana says...

      So many of my kids cakes came from AWW’s cake books. And I still use Cookery the Australian Way which was my home experience book in high school. It’s hilarious but the best place to find simple recipes

  4. Lorena says...

    Thank you! I love cookbooks and so enjoyed Jenny’s suggestions and pouring over the comments.

    Dinner A Love Story is one of my favourites. The recipes are fantastic, and Jenny’s writing is so warm and inviting.
    I also love Joy of Cooking, Smitten Kitchen Every Day, Gwyneth Paltrow’s My Father’s
    Daughter, and Eat St. which is a random collection of favourite food truck recipes which are out of this world.
    Happy cooking and eating, everyone!

  5. Kelsey says...

    Jenny, I LOVE DALS! I have a baby and a preschooler and DALS has made me interested and engaged in cooking again, rather than it being a dreary chore. In just a few months, I already have half a dozen or more go-tos from the book. Thank you! 🧡

  6. Jax says...

    I don’t cook very much now, but when I used to, I liked referencing the 1996 Dean and Deluca cookbook quite often. It was often a lifesaver for family event dinners — potatoes au gratin. It’s kind of encyclopedic.

    Williams Sonoma had a great magazine and cookbooks too.

    Mark Bittman is great and so is Jaques Pepin.

    • Jax says...

      The Canal House books and the Sunday Suppers book are fantastic too.

  7. Rachel says...

    I love “Sal, Fat, Acid, Heat.’
    “Our Syria”
    Mark Bittman’s “How To Cook Everything”
    and the classic “Joy of Coooking”

  8. Liz says...

    I also love cookbooks! This is a GREAT list. The ones I seem to return to the most are:
    1. anything/everything by Yottam Ottolenghi and/or Sami Tamimi
    2. Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat
    3. Love and Lemons by Jeanine Donofrio
    4. How to Be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson
    5. Now and Again by Julia Turshen
    6. Madhur Jaffrey’s Vegetarian India by Madhur Jaffrey
    7. Mexico: The Cookbook by Margarita Carrillo Arronte
    8. Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics by Ina Garten
    9. On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee

    • Abby says...

      I wholeheartedly agree on
      Jerusalem by Yottam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
      How to be a domestic goddess by Nigella Lawson !
      If my flat were burning, these two I’d safe! The other two are a German children’s cookbook (I refer back to it for Basics like carbonara sauce and mayonnaise) and an 80s Asia cookbook with all the basic recipes from pretty much all Asian cuisinies (Green Curry, Dal, Sushi, Nasi Goreng you name it).

  9. K says...

    I love Luke Nguyen’s recipes, and his passion for Vietnamese cuisine which rivals my own. His cookbook/travel memoir “Songs of Sapa” is just amazing. His series for SBS One are totally worth watching (but not on an empty stomach). Also, anything by Rick Stein, books or TV series. And Nigella is great for simple, good food. For francophones, Julie Andrieu’s TV programmes are fantastic to watch, especially those around France collecting local recipes. I recently got given Thai Street Food by David Thompson and the recipes are mouthwatering but I haven’t tried any out yet as it’s a bit tricky to get the ingredients where I live right now. Finally, I have a collection of the Periplus Mini series of cookbooks picked up while working/travelling in SE Asia and they’re great for authentic home cooking and street food recipes.

  10. Emi says...

    Tokyo Cult Recipes is the absolute best for Japanese recipes. The author’s instagram is a great source of inspiration too @maorimurota. Reminds me of food my mom used to cook for me for my bento lunch box.

  11. Lydia says...

    Does anyone have a favourite cookbook for quick dairy-free recipes? Our son is anaphylactic to dairy, but so many recipe staples seem to have cheese!

    • Stefanie says...

      Thug Kitchen cookbooks are great, usually quick recipes and vegan (which is really optimal if you’re dairy free. It’s easier than finding specific dairy free options nowadays). Very easy and delicious meals even for a non vegan

    • Eva says...

      Oh She Glows by Angela Liddon — entirely vegan. Check out her blog!

    • Abby says...

      I can definitely recommend the Deliciously Ella cookbook which is completely plant-based and has great introductory pages for the pulses and beans and grains.

  12. I just put several cookbooks on request from the library! 30 Day Vegan Challenge is fantastic even for non-vegans. For desserts and indulgences I love the first Joy the Baker Cookbook. I love many already mentioned here but have not seen Meatless by Martha Stewart mentioned. If anyone else is still mourning Everyday Food (whhhhyyyy?!) AND enjoys meatless cooking this is a great one. I also love a cookbook of sorts that I made for myself: a recipe binder with recipes torn from old Everyday Foods and recipes from food blogs printed out on paper. The binder is the smaller half size. I print the recipes in landscape (using a Word template), fold them in half, and put them in page protectors. I love having the actual recipes (as opposed to using my phone) and curating my own cookbook.

    • April says...

      Yes! Definitely morning Everyday Food. I’ve got all of my old copies saved but your version sounds much more convenient!

    • Abby says...

      Such a great idea with using a template for the recipe printing, Kelsey! My binder looks so messy with scribbled notes, torn out magazine pages, printed pages etc. Will make this my Sunday crafting project!

  13. Sara says...

    My most used and well loved cookbook is Dinner by Melissa Clark. Your description is spot on. Her recipes ALWAYS work. The braised chickpeas and chard is a family favorite; my soon to be 7 year old requested it for his birthday dinner!

    • Sara says...

      Also, Marcella Hazan’s onion and butter tomato sauce gives me life.

    • Lindsey says...

      Oh my goodness, you’re absolutely right! I decided to make it on a whim one night, not anticipating anything good tbh (a pile of sauteed greens kinda makes me gag a little bit), but was TOTALLY blown away! I could not believe so few ingredients could taste so good. I became a total chard convert that night!

  14. Caitlin says...

    Has no one asked this yet? What is that gorgeous blue paint color in the first photo??

    Thanks!
    Caitlin

    • Liz says...

      That was the first thing I wanted to know too! :D

  15. Heidi says...

    I love Joy of Cooking for basics and reference. I would be lost in the kitchen without it. Anything Melissa Clark but especially Dinner and In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite (chicken schnitzel, granola and dutch baby/german pancake are favs). Ina taught me so much about preparation, entertaining, and making good food easy. Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice changed the way I make bread and Ken Forkish’s The Elements of Pizza how I make pizza. The list could go on and on. Good thing most of my cookbook collection is next to the door in case of a fire.

  16. Mac says...

    Thank you for this! I’ve been feeling dinner exhaustion and I realized it isn’t the cooking that gets me feeling like just ordering take-out, but the thought of hunting around the internet for a recipe that might turn out. I miss recipe books! That’s what I miss! I’m fatigued by scrolling down an incredibly long blog post to get to the recipe and reviews. I want to hold a cook book in my hands and flip through to see what looks good.
    I checked out an Ina Garten cook book from the library when I was a college student and successfully made her lemon yogurt cake. It was delicious, I still make it all the time, but making it felt like proof that I was growing up and becoming…capable.

  17. Caitlin says...

    My partner just moved in, and his missing his mom’s Indian cooking. Does anyone have a recommendation for a good, easy Indian cookbook?

    Thanks :)

    • Elizabeth says...

      I’ve found some great recipes in Made in India: Recipes from an Indian Family Kitchen, by Meera Sodha.

    • K says...

      Rick Stein’s India. Amazing recipes from his culinary trip around erm…India.

    • Katie says...

      Raghavan Iyer’s 660 Curries is amazing. It has everything you could need for Indian cooking and the recipes come out great every time. Its on my top 10 list of all cookbooks. Also, it covers Indian cooking from all regions over India which is helpful since some Indian cookbooks only focus on one or two areas and the food can be really different!

    • Lindsey says...

      I absolutely LOVE Amandip Uppal’s book My Indian Kitchen. She walks you thru the most essential spices for cooking, how to make various kinds of breads, chutneys, yogurts, etc., plus a ton of phenomenal, easy recipes. I actually threw my friend and Indian food birthday party using all her recipes, and everyone loved it. Her food is absolutely easy and fantastic, and I learned a lot!

    • Anu says...

      Seconding Made in India! Such easy flavorful recipes!

    • Tricia M says...

      Hi Caitlin,
      Wishing you happiness with your partner. How about Madhur Jaffrey cookbooks?She is my “go to” for Indian food whether lentils, chicken or fish. My dearly beloved adores her Beef in Yoghurt recipe. Just adjust the quantity of oil and/or garlic as it seems a bit excessive at times.

  18. Kirstin says...

    Thug Kitchen. Makes me giggle and churn out some delicious, Mexican-inspired vegan food.

    • ellie says...

      Thug Kitchen is so problematic as a concept (even just the name of it makes me cringe).

  19. Anna says...

    Gweneth Paltrow It’s All Good. Seriously though

  20. Lauren says...

    A couple of favorites for everyday/weeknight cooking: 1) Weeknight Fast & Fresh (under the William & Sonoma line; specifically like anything by Kristine Kidd); 2) What’s Gaby Cooking, by Gaby Dalkin; 3) A compilation of recipes that my mom curated for me — a combination of easy recipes she thought I’d like, favorites from my childhood, etc. She hand-wrote ALL the recipes in a (now dog-eared) red book.

    Cookbooks I love for when I have more time, include: 1) Six Seasons — A new way with vegetables, by Joshua McFadden; 2) Donatella Cooks — by Donatella Arpaia; 3) Everything Rick Bayless!

    • Sara says...

      I just checked out Six Seasons from my library. It is beautiful and I want to make everything in it!

  21. Tricia M says...

    Have you read any of Nigel Slater’s books ( Tender, The Kitchen Diaries to name but a few)? His recipes are, of course, wonderful and relatively simple but it’s the way he writes about food that I especially love. You can just read the books to enjoy his writing style (The Kitchen Diaries is ideal) but do try the recipes too. One of my favourites is “A herb and barley broth to bring you back to health”- real comfort food. It’s a great mix of recipes, yummy cakes too.

    • Lena says...

      Nigel Slater is my culinary hero! I love his books…

  22. Marnie says...

    Hands down, Smitten Kitchen Everyday and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian!

  23. Robyn says...

    Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat is REQUIRED reading for anyone who enjoys preparing food!

    • Jami says...

      Absolutely! I got this for Christmas this year and have learned so much!

  24. Kristen says...

    For anyone who lives in Seattle — or is planning a visit — there is a great cookbook store in Fremont called Book Larder (next to Eyes on Fremont, the absolute best place for glasses). I love browsing there, and have found that my increasingly picky kids actually get excited about trying new meals when they can pick a cookbook off the shelf and look through the photos.

    • Lena says...

      Book Larder is amazing!

    • Claire says...

      “Square Meals” by Jane and Michael Stern (filled with old-school recipes, e.g. milk toast) and “Meatless” from Martha Stewart Living. The recipes are simple, straightforward, and delicious.

  25. Kerry says...

    Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is my desert island cookbook (yes I’m a vegetarian). I also love the other Deb from SK.

  26. Kelly says...

    so many old favorites and great suggestions here!!!

    like jenny i’m constantly cycling my cookbook collection – it has to be GOOD to be a keeper.

    My most recent purchase was Pie Squared – a cookbook of both sweet and savory slab pie recipes. It won’t be for everyone (recipes require making pie crust from scratch) – but if you have a large extended family like I do and are sick of traditional casseroles/lasagnas/stews to feed a crowd – there are some genius ideas in this one!

  27. Sasha L says...

    I used to have a zillion cookbooks. As someone whom my friends and family know loves cooking, a cookbook is an an easy gift. But I don’t have space or really enjoy having a lot, so I’ve just copied down recipes that I use and given the books away. I only have a few actual books. A quick Moosewood, that has the best tempeh, Caesar dressing, fragrant lime PB noodles, tortellini soup, and two Jeannine Lemlin veg books, had for 25 years, that are in tatters but just full of the easiest and best vegetarian recipes, corn and bean pancakes, muffins with every variation, ricotta and marinara pasta bake, puttanesca!!, tempeh fajitas, pasta with tomato cream sauce, corn chowder. I love these three because they are 100% vegetarian and have mostly simple basic ingredients and are quick.

    I keep a little blank notebook to write out internet recipes that are hits and use the Keep app on my phone to save internet recipes I’m wanting to try. I still love checking out now cookbooks from the library and just paging through. I LOVE that. Jenny, yours is one I’ve checked out more than once!!

    I also keep a running list of weekly menus on my Keep app. I just add a new list every week. When I’m making a menu I just scroll through to find ideas, it’s so helpful. Or if I’m really uninspired, I just grab a whole menu and use it again. This has freed up about 78% of my brain.

  28. Stef says...

    Small Victories by Julia Turshen (favorites are the lasagna, broiled fish with parsley butter and turkey & ricotta meatballs). The lasagna is the best lasagna recipe I have ever made. Otollenghi cookbook is another go-to. All are designed to be made in 30 minutes or less with 10 ingredients are less and the recipes are DELICIOUS.

    • Faye says...

      I also really like her lasagna recipe and I also like the chocolate cake recipe (the frosting is so easy to make!).

    • Patrice says...

      The chicken soup recipe in this book is amazing. If you make it I recommend increasing the amount of liquid to make more.

    • Rae says...

      Agreed. This cookbook is worth the shelf space for the lasagna alone but the chocolate cake is also a stand-out.

    • LaReesa Sandretsky says...

      Just got Ottolenghi’s Simple and I’m OBSESSED! Had a whole dinner party with recipes from the book – they were all recipes I hadn’t tried before (risky when you’re feeding others!) but they all turned out beautifully. Ottolenghi always knows.

    • Kate says...

      This. The lasagna in Small Victories is so so good. We also love the fish with cherry tomatoes and olives in my house . And the biscuit recipe is also so simple and perfect.

  29. OMG! I have the I Hate to Cook Book! The chocolate cake recipe is perfect – also since I’m mostly into it for the frosting!

  30. Alisa says...

    I use the Ottolenghi books all the time; I love, LOVE Jerusalem, but the rest get regular use as well.

  31. Lindsey says...

    Oh my goodness, Melissa Clark’s “Dinner” is absolutely one of my can’t-live-without cookbooks. I just pulled it out again this week! Our very favorite in our house is her Vietnamese Caramel Salmon. HOLY COW, it’s the best salmon I’ve ever had.
    Also on my list are Sara Forte’s “Sprouted Kitchen Bowl + Spoon”, Angela Liddon’s “Oh She Glows”, Gwyneth Paltrow’s “It’s All Easy”, and Amandip Uppal’s “My Indian Cookbook”. Also adore Alison Roman’s “Dining In”, Christine Moore’s “Little Flower Baking Book” , and Chrissy Tiegen’s “Cravings” just for the mac ‘n’ cheese alone!
    I could go on forever talking about my favorite cookbooks!

    • Lindsey says...

      Ok, I have to add more:

      -Yotam Ottolenghi’s “Simple” has not once failed me.
      -“American’s Test Kitchen Bread Illustrated” has taught me SO MUCH and taken away the fear of baking bread, allowing me to just “see how it goes”, and have curiosity (an even better gift than bread, if you ask me).
      -Sarah Kieffer’s “Vanilla Bean Baking Book” has wowed my friends with every single recipe I’ve made from it.
      -Zoe Nathan’s “Huckleberry”, for when I want breakfast/brunch to be a treat.
      -and finally, I learned more than I could have imagined from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s book “Food Lab”. He single handedly taught me more about cooking than almost anyone or anything. I love, love, love that book.

  32. Alexandra says...

    “Dinner” by Melissa Clark is a family favorite; I never cooked anything from the book that did not work out. Also, all the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks, especially the early ones, before she became famous. Many of my cooking staples come from there. I am also a fan of “salt, acid, fat, heat”, especially the background information and the info on what works well together is great and really useful. Have not tried any of the recipes in the book though. For me, a good cookbook has to have pictures …. very visual person here.

  33. Sarah says...

    Betty Crocker’s “The Cookie Book”, hands down. I learned how to make lemon bars and shortbread from that book when I was 10, and for me, cookbooks are all about nostalgia :)

  34. Christy says...

    My mom’s 40 year old junior league cookbook has awesome recipes and we still use it to this day. Some of the recipe names and hand-drawn scribbles are just devine, plus who doesn’t love a jello mold?! Bleck.

    Anything by Ina Garten, Julia Child, Joy from Joy the Baker, Smitten Kitchen. The Classically Kiawah cookbook which reminds me of trips to that beautiful place, The Enchanged Broccoli Forest and really anything by Mollie Katzen, The Silver Palate Cookbook and my own hodge podge of recipes stuffed in a folder. It contains everything from a great potluck dish from my company picnic 10 years ago to my grandmother’s newspaper cut out of Holiday Broccoli from 1962. It’s one of the few items I would grab in a fire.

    • Christy says...

      Enchanted Broccoli that is!

  35. Claire says...

    Wonderful list, and comments. I love reading these suggestions. My contribution: Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. My online recipe resource are Food 52, Smitten Kitchen and Alexandra Cooks.

  36. Elizabeth says...

    I totally grew up making the Wacky Cake from The I Hate to Cook Cookbook! Highly recommend, though perhaps pairs best with nostalgia!

  37. Kate says...

    I love Jenny, and DALS has been a staple since I learned to cook after college! I can make the Turkey Chili and White Bean + Sausage Stew by heart. Salmon Salad and the Summer Stew with chorizo and corn are also favorites. Those pages are well-loved, splattered, and falling out of my copy.

  38. Alexandra says...

    [1] Thug Kitchen (whose subtitle is “Eat Like You Give a F*ck” and whose language is not for the faint of heart) is full of simple, delicious, vegan recipes. We’re not vegan, but we are actively trying to eat less meat and this book has not once disappointed us. Also worth noting, despite owning a ton of cookbooks (many of which are mentioned here already), this one is my go-to gift for pretty much every type of cook.

    [2] Mighty Spice Express which is full of quick recipes with a variety of spice profiles from around the world. Again, simple, easy and so, so good. It also has a recipe for the the best basil dipping sauce EVER.

    Honorable mention goes to Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat which I don’t really consult for the recipes but consult for everything else along the way.

  39. Em says...

    Alison Roman’s “Dining In” is fantastic, particularly for those who don’t have a lot of time to cook after work and who have small NYC kitchens!

  40. Kendra says...

    I LOVE Jenny’s book Dinner a Love Story. I use it nearly every week and it is so well loved that the majority of the pages are no longer attached to the spine -not a complaint :). I even went through a spell where every wedding shower/house warming gift included a copy since it is perfect. My favorites: Spicy Oven Fries, Lazy Bolognese and Breaded Chicken cutlets (aka Grandma Jody’s Chicken)-or known in my house “how I tricked my husband into eating salad for dinner with some chicken cutlets”. Thank you a million times Jenny!

  41. K says...

    When I was first starting out, I remember making a word doc called Things I Can Cook. It was super basic and wildly silly. I’ve grown a lot since then and really enjoy cooking now. However, I’m not a precise person and I will not make an extra trip to the store for one item. I like a cookbook that allows for that—recipes that say “a glug of oil” vs “1 Tablespoon mild, good quality olive oil.” Julia Turshen is my favorite. Whenever I don’t know what to make, Small Victories has the answer (and lots of variations for whatever I have on hand). I also really, really love Good and Cheap by Leann Brown. The mission of this one is lovely—make good food on a WIC food allowance—it’s free online—and it is full of yummy recipes that are easy and inexpensive, plus a lot of smart advice about stretching your food budget and just lots of wonderfully simple ideas (like awesome popcorn recipes). Coming from a family that ate very traditional dinners (meatloaf, steak and potatoes) and overspent on food, this one really helped me think about not just what I wanted to eat, but the role I wanted food (and food waste) to have in my life.

    • Joy says...

      Yes, exactly. Thanks for the recommendations.

    • Gracemarie says...

      I love Good and Cheap! Her recipes are easy to follow and simple. A nice change of pace.

  42. Em says...

    I love reading cookbooks even more than cooking, so thanks for all the recommendations! But I have three faves that actually get used: America’s Test Kitchen’s vegetarian cookbook (every recipe has delivered, and it’s interesting to read why their version works), Andrew Schloss’s “Art of the Slow Cooker” (the Moroccan lentil stew, so good!), and the recipes from the Splendid Table website (the coriander orange lentil stew and the pasta with lentils are regulars in our rotation). (Apparently I have a thing for lentils . . .) But we open the orange Betty Crocker every week for French toast and pancakes.

    • Lindsey says...

      On a similar note, I received the America’s Test Kitchen Bread Book for Christmas as a random gift, and I have learned so much!! I’ve always been super intimidated by bread, but wanted to gain the skills and also know *why* I was doing everything I was doing (call it the Great British Bake Off syndrome). It has not failed me yet! If you at all are interested in bread making, I highly recommend it!

    • Yulia says...

      I read your comment yesterday, printed the pasta and lentils recipe from the Splendid Table website, and made it for dinner that night. What a great recipe! So good, and such an innovative combination (to me) of ingredients that I already had on hand. It’s simple but it’s so special. And did I mention–it was SO EASY AND SO GOOD?!

    • Em says...

      So glad you liked the recipe, Yulia! And I am looking up the bread book for my bread-baker husb., Lindsey–thanks for the tip!

  43. janine says...

    Jenny, I LOVE Dinner: A Love Story! I have used it so much that my copy is falling apart.

  44. Patrice says...

    As usual, the comments do not disappoint and I have several new cookbooks to add to my (large) collection.
    I would like to add “Once Upon a Chef’ by Jen Segal – every single recipe I have tried in the book and on her blog has turned out delicious. It is so frustrating to hunt and gather ingredients, spend time making it only to have it turn out so-so (and then the insult of mound of dishes to do). I hate to say it, but that’s how I felt about Dinner by Melissa Clark. I gave it away because the recipes I made just didn’t land.

  45. Bethany says...

    I actually brought a cookbook to work with me today (Thug Kitchen) so I can make my grocery list for next week. I’m just now getting into the kitchen library thing because the only cookbooks I remember in our house growing up were the spiral-bound church and community compilations. Did every town have those? They were mostly casserole instructions for potlucks and 100 different recipes for chocolate chip cookies.

    I have a degree in technical writing, and I wonder if I never took to cooking because the only literature I had on the subject growing up was poorly written and explained for someone who was already a subject matter expert.

  46. Anne says...

    I love Melissa Clark’s Dinner in an Instant. We use our instant pot at least once a week and this is our go-to. Favorite recipes: steel cut oats; chana masala; braised pork with polenta

    I’m also a big fan of Smitten Kitchen’s cookbooks. The pumpkin cheesecake tart from her first cookbook has become a thanksgiving staple. Controversial opinion perhaps, but I really don’t like pumpkin pie (it’s so boring!) Her version is genius and delicious :)

    Lately, I’ve been relying more on websites and blogs for recipes, so this post is inspiring me to turn back to my own cookbook shelf and try something new!

  47. Kate says...

    PRO TIP: I check out cookbooks from the library so I can give them a test run before committing! This is how I’ve decided to buy most of the cookbooks I own. I’ve definitely ended up not liking quite a few, so I was grateful I hadn’t spent money (or precious shelf space) on them!

    • Gina says...

      Was coming here to say this! Plus, it’s a great way to keep your weekly menus full of variety. Looking forward to checking out several of these recs via the library :)

    • Alisa says...

      I’ve got a second tab open, putting holds on so many of these recommendations!

  48. ks says...

    does anyone have a good cookbook recommendation for sauces? all the sauces? :)

  49. Aileen F Kline says...

    I received Gale Gand’s “Brunch!” as a graduation present when I was 22, had a new job in a city different from my friends and had serious “everyone is moving to NYC and having brunch without me” FOMO. Now, at 30, there isn’t a single brunch dish I can’t make. Any shower, holiday, or random Sunday, mine’s the breakfast table everyone wants to be sitting at.
    Thanks, Gale and thanks, Aunt Brenda!
    Love, 22 and 30-year-old me.
    https://www.amazon.com/Gale-Gands-Brunch-Fantastic-Weekends/dp/0307406989

    • Jennie says...

      Love this! Brunch is my favorite to make when I am entertaining too because you can take it in so many directions! I was gifted the same cookbook by a dear friend with whom I have enjoyed many brunches. I am currently ecstatically looking forward to hosting Easter brunch and when I was reviewing the menu with my six year old son he approved, but then asked very seriously, “but will there be cake?” To which I replied yes – like the cakes they put out in Europe for breakfast. He was relieved.

      Do you have a favorite from that book? Any favorite hosting tips? I am always looking to learn from others!

  50. Colleen says...

    I reference Sarah Waldman’s “Feeding a Family” at least once a week. All of the meals are healthy and simply delicious. I also love how she organized the book by season. The pictures are beautiful too!

  51. Alison says...

    The Moosewood Cookbooks by Mollie Katzen basically taught my college housemates and me how to cook. Twenty years later, the scribbles and notes in the margins of this book from nineteen-year-old-me are priceless. A favorite, after making a cauliflower curry, reads “Serve with something other than rice. Roommates did NOT appreciate ALL WHITE dinner.”

    I love reading blogs and finding recipes online, but having a few favorites in print that really speak to you are treasures. Thanks for the post!

    • Meri says...

      I love the Moosewood Cookbook and Enchanted Broccoli Forest! My mom got them when she was single and scribbled notes in the margins. When I was a kid I would flip through them because I loved the little illustrations. Now they’re my go-to cookbooks. I’ve actually broken the spines from both copies because of how often I use them. Every time I go by a used book store or library book sale I look for replacements; I love the original cookbooks, not the “New” ones that fell victim to the low-fat craze of the 1990s. Some of my favorite recipes are the Galician garbanzo bean soup, Brazilian black bean soup, split pea soup, gypsy soup, spinach borek, tabbouleh, eggplant-almond enchiladas (I buy tomatoes in the summer to make large batches of the sauce to freeze!), and of course the enchanted broccoli forest!

  52. San says...

    Middle Eastern and Mediterranean recipes ftw!

    I’d like to recommend Palestine on a Plate: Memories from My Mother’s Kitchen by Joudie Kalla and Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour

    • Raquel says...

      BIG Yes to Palestinian food!!!!

    • Ellen says...

      I second Joudie’s excellent book; Palestine on a Plate! I also LOVE the Palestinian Table by Reem Kassis and Bethlehem by Abdelfattah Abu Srour!

    • Mirna says...

      Absolutely recommended! She just released her second book, Baladi (My Homeland in Arabic), which is equally amazing.

  53. Allison says...

    One of my favorite’s is Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows cookbook (and Oh She Glows Everyday) – especially the dessert recipes, they are fantastic! I am not vegan, but have loved every single recipe I have tried (and the photos are gorgeous.) Now that my daughter has been diagnosed with celiac disease I am in the market for a great gluten free cookbook that doesn’t simply trade gluten free flour for regular.

    • try the sweet laurel cookbook! we’re not gluten free… or dairy free… or sugar free… but i try to bake healthier treats for my son and wanted to learn more about gluten free baking – the book is a hit! there’s even a section that walks you through different substitutes and how they work. highly recommend.

    • janee says...

      This one below, by Aran Goyoaga of Canelle et Vanille blog is really good. Also La Tartine Gourmande is largely if not entirely gluten free as well.

      https://amzn.to/2IadiZt

    • Morgan says...

      Second Oh She Glows! I’m newly vegan, my husband and 3 kids are not, and in six months I’ve nearly cooked my way through this book without a single disappointment. Her website is great, too.

  54. CARRIE says...

    My tried and true cookbooks are Marcella Hazan’s The Essentials of Italian Cooking, Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and Dianna Kennedy’s The Art of Mexican Cooking. All our holiday recipes seem to come from Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen (though half all the sugar and oils he calls for because I don’t want to die young). And more recently, I have loved adding Ottolenghi’s Simple to our weeknight rotation (it lives up to the name!) and Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat has made me a more thoughtful and intentional cook.

  55. Stephanie says...

    I also have a large collection of cookbooks that I cull occasionally (not often enough — I have a hoarding problem with them), but now I’m going to have to consider buying more, since I only own three of the nine you mention (including yours, you’ll be happy to know). They all sound so good, I don’t know which one to get first! Thanks for the suggestions and the inspiration.

  56. Katie C says...

    “Vegetable Literacy” by Deborah Madison, a wealth of information on how to prepare every type of veggie. Basically an encyclopedia of vegetables with recipes to make them each shine.

    “The Moosewood Restaurant Favorites”, by The Moosewood Collective. Iconic vegetarian restaurant in Ithaca NY. They have dozens of books but I keep reaching for this one. Uncomplicated, delicious, this restaurant was my gateway to eating and cooking more vegetarian.

    “Cravings” by Chrissy Teigan. This book is a serious WINNER. Chrissy is not kidding when she says “Its recipes for all the food you want to eat.” I love this book and I don’t care who knows it!!!! Judge me all you want, but this truly might be the best celebrity cook book of all time!!

    • Elissa says...

      The only thing I love more than Chrissy Teigan’s “Cravings” is her second book, “Cravings: Hungry for More”. It is filled with recipes that instantly became favorites, and is highly entertaining to read.

    • Anya says...

      It really is the best celebrity cookbook of all time, and the guy who is the new host of NPR’s Splendid Table (Francis Lam, I believe?) is also an editor and is the one who talked her into writing it. :)

  57. Awads says...

    All of Jenny’s books, plus The Silver Palate cookbook just for the Chicken Marballa recipe!

    • Laur says...

      Yes! The Silver Palate Chicken Marbella is the BEST! Such a classic. So glad another reader thinks so!

      Ottolenghi’s Simple, Ina Garten (all of them), of course Dinner: A Love Story…

    • CJ says...

      The Silver Palate is such a classic and my mom bought me a copy when I graduated from college 20 years ago!

  58. Anna says...

    Tamar Adler’s “An Everlasting Meal”; less about recipes, more about how to turn simple ingredients into satisfying meals.

    • Kate says...

      Yes, I love it too!

  59. Alexis says...

    Emeril’s Louisiana Real and Rustic (for ahhmazing and easy gumbo, jambalaya, banana bread, andouille stuffing)
    Silver Palate (it was my mom’s go-to)
    Cook’s Magazine Meat Cookbook (because I’m less confident cooking meat and they really teach you how!)

  60. CaraM says...

    I love to bake but I also live in high elevation (Denver, CO) which means a lot of treasured baking recipes fall flat (literally and figuratively). The one baking cookbook I CANNOT live without is “Pie in the Sky” by Susan G. Purdy. The thing I love about this cookbook is that she has recipe modifications for different altitudes, including sea level, 3,000 feet, 5,000 feet, 8,000 feet, etc. So I can go for a sky weekend in Breckenridge and still bake muffins for a crowd, but also use the same recipe when I visit my Mother in Michigan. Every recipe works with no effort. She also gives troubleshooting suggestions and explains the modificiations so I can fix sea-level family heirloom recipes that just didn’t work in Denver. Highly recommend. This cookbook features cakes, cookies, pies, tarts, breads, etc. My high altitude baking bible.

    • Katie says...

      This is fascinating. I hadn’t realised baking was so affected by altitude. I live in a seaside town on the south-coast of the UK and have to deal with things like salt erosion of car paint and damp in every corner of the house, but hadn’t even considered how elevation could cause havoc on cake-baking!

    • Beth says...

      So great to see “Pie in the Sky” by Susan Purdy in the comments. I moved away from Boulder, CO 11 years ago and this is still my favorite cookbook to bake from (3 states and 2 countries later). I can personally testify that it works at all altitudes! It also explains the science behind baking, which I find quite interesting.

  61. I have the Classic Italian Cookbook in hardback. I’ve made the green beans with tomatoes and peppers so many times, the book opens to that page. I’m going to try the Tagliatelle Bolognese for Sunday dinner. Thanks for the inspiration!

  62. Anu says...

    For all of you who love cookbooks, can I make a general suggestion? Get a membership to Eat Your Books. There is a free level, which allows you to add a limited number of cookbooks and a paid level which is very reasonably priced at $30 per year which allows you to add unlimited cookbooks. What they do is absolutely brilliant – they index the recipes in cookbooks by ingredient, so that you can search for the random bits and bobs you have in your fridge and find recipes in your chosen cookbooks (and websites) that use those up. It’s absolutely indispensable for meal planning and it means I use those cookbooks I love more than ever before, because I don’t need to try to remember which cookbook had that stellar meatball recipe or that amazing spring soup. Give it a try!

    • Kate says...

      This is truly genius! Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

    • raquel says...

      oh my goodness what a great idea-thank you! especially helpful when i’m at work and dont have my books in front of me but need to go to the store on the way home-thanks!

  63. Tammy says...

    I am a cookbook junkie and just bought Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings. Made the beef stew a couple nights ago. Teigen reminds me so much of Siri Daly and her Siriously Delicious cookbook.

    I have a couple of Giada De Laurentiis and Ina Garten cookbooks. Their recipes always are tremendous and pretty simple.

    Tony Mantuano, the chef behind Chicago’s Spiaggia, has a couple terrific cookbooks; I also have made some amazing dishes from the cookbooks of Dave Lieberman and the late Charlie Trotter.

    One of my most treasured cookbooks is from my aunt, who gave me a Sophia Lauren cookbook. The pictures and photos are so tremendous.

  64. Kelsey says...

    My workhorses are Alison Roman’s ‘Dining In’, both Julia Turshen’s books (I have her third book ‘Feed the Resistance’ too, but don’t use it for recipes as much), and Joy Wilson’s first book ‘Joy the Baker’. I usually make something from at least one of those every week!

    • Sara says...

      We must be cooking twins!

      But seriously – Turshen is the best. I am so in love with her first cookbook even several years later.

  65. Karen says...

    Ah Peg Bracken! My mom loved that cookbook! A little taste of childhood…

    • Kelly says...

      My grandmother had it (and I think there was a companion book – I Hate Housekeeping) – I found it hilarious and so subversive as a child! I was raised by generations of traditional housewives and it had never occurred to me that any of them had Thoughts and Feelings about all of their daily tasks.

  66. Sarah says...

    Such a fun read including the comments! I’m about to go drop like $400 on cookbooks.

    COJ team, I’d LOVE the baking version of this list!

  67. Elizabeth says...

    The Smitten Kitchen cookbooks are my favorite, as are the recipes from her blog. Lately I’ve been loving Alison Roman’s Dining In and Repertoire by Jessica Battilana. Molly Yeh’s recipes are always fun, too.

  68. Hilary says...

    Not a huge cookbook fan since I find pretty much everything I want (for free!) on food blogs, but I love-

    Sally’s Cookie Addiction- The SBA blog is great, but a whole cookbook devoted to my favorite dessert? Yes please!

    Minimalist Baker’s cookbook- I’m not vegan or vegetarian, but I love her recipes and they are super approachable.

  69. Maggie says...

    Ooooh I just love cookbooks! My parents both love to cook and have a lovely collection of cookbooks, and my mother-in-law is a chef! Here are a few of my recent favorites:

    1) Cook’s Illustrated Revolutionary Recipes: this one is a collection of some of the best CI recipes. My mother-in-law actually gave it to me, and she so rarely cooks from a recipe! If it has her stamp of approval it must be good. My brother-in-law who loves to cook also was gifted a copy, so it’s fun to see us make the same recipes (some faves are the fluffy buttermilk pancakes & the easy homemade pasta recipe – AMAZING)

    2) Simply Nourished by Sarah Britton: I loved her My New Roots blog back in the day, as well as her first cookbook, but find myself making more recipes from her second book. This one has less pretentious ingredients, fairly short ingredient lists, and gives recommendations on each recipe such as “use leftover sauce for ____ on page 152”. Helps me meal plan in the week & lots of veggie-forward recipes!

    3) Smitten Kitchen: ’nuff said in the comment section on this one. I actually find I prefer the blog recipes, but love the tangible cookbook as well.

  70. Suse says...

    Peg Bracken’s blender hollandaise sauce is my number-1 go-to. Delish.

  71. Morgan says...

    I’m such a collector and lover of cookbooks. My Mom and I each have big cookbook collections and always give each other a new addition for special occasions. My favourite thing is to plan a menu from a cookbook and spend an afternoon or evening cooking together when I’m home to visit.
    My go-tos are always anything Ottolenghi. Right now it’s his new book SIMPLE, but together we share all his books and they get so much use. For special occasions, I also turn to Dinner at the Long Table, or Renee Erickson’s A Boat, A Whale, & a Walrus.

  72. deanna says...

    I’m a cookbook junkie. Love reading them, keeping them on a shelf, cooking from them, using them for inspiration. Get me allll. the. cookbooks! My tried and true cookbooks are:
    [1] Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. I have yet to meet a recipe from Deb (I love how I refer to her like we meet for coffee once a week!) I didn’t like!
    [2] Jenny Rosenstrach’s Dinner A Love Story. Man does she just hit quick, easy, fresh cooking out of the park! And that Instant Dinner Party Pork Ragu is always a home run.
    [3] Yotam Ottolonghi’s Simple. This was a relatively recent addition and I find myself reaching for it all the time lately. (Also, I am forever drooooling over his Instagram posts!)
    [4] Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Matrix. I LOVE the concept of this cookbook. As someone who tends to use recipes more as a guide than gospel, I love the flexibility and creativity that this one encourages.
    [6] The Flavor Bible. Not a cookbook per se, but more an inspiration for when I have a bunch of random stuff in the fridge I want to get rid of and need to make it all work together.
    [6] And when I’m at the grocery store and dying for inspiration, I usually pop over to The Kitchn, Bon Appetit, Cooking Light(RIP)/Eating Well, or The Sprouted Kitchen.

    • deanna says...

      And I just realized Jenny wrote this post. Hi Jenny! It’s so fun reading your inspiration, too! :)

    • Mel says...

      YES Smitten Kitchen. One of the most oddly delightful months of my marriage was when my husband was laid off from his last job (we were thankfully not too worried about him getting a new job, and it happened fast) and he cooked through part of this cookbook. He already loves cooking but this was took it up a notch. So many great recipes that show really well.

    • Dani says...

      Yes to Marc Bittman! Marc Bittman’s How to Cook Everything is the best! It really does have everything.

    • CARRIE says...

      A second for the Flavor Bible. What a fun and helpful resource!

  73. Genevieve says...

    Hugh Fearnley Whittinstall’s “Veg Everyday” is one I like to flip through all the time for inspiration. A huge book of delicious vegetarian recipes and all easy enough to improvise.

  74. Elizabeth says...

    I’d add the 1950 Betty Crocker cookbook and the earlier editions of the Joy of Cooking to this list. Also, any of the America’s Test Kitchen cookbooks and anything by Maeda Heatter.

  75. Alice says...

    Smitten Kitchen (everything, everywhere, always), Nigella Lawson’s Feast for special occasions, Nigel Slater’s Appetite, and one called Japanese Soul Cooking for when I have the time for good but Japanese food.
    I save the Guardian’s Saturday edition food supplement and use those recipes fairly often, one is a River Cafe pull out from the 90’s that is extremely well used! And I use your website Jenny! So I think A Love Story is next on my list :)

    Loving all these comments, too many books to buy! Anyone know a great genuine mainland/Northern Chinese cookbook?

    • Alice says...

      *good but tricky Japanese food!!

    • Kaitlyn says...

      I also save the Guardian’s food supplement! My kitchen is FULL of them, sticking out between my cookbooks! I need to create a system of filing them other than using them to save pages in other cookbooks.

      You simply cannot beat getting an Ottolenghi recipe once a week!

  76. saida says...

    For an Italian like me it’s really funny to read about a “Classic Italian Cookbook” that calls for a recipe like “Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter” which nobody in Italy would ever eat (LOL) or describe as a typical Italian dish…Butter and tomato sauce togheter? Not in Italy :-)

    • Paula says...

      Unpopular opinion: I love the person behind smitten kitchen but I have never had a good recipe from her! ACK.
      My go to people for straight up cooking are Ina Gartner, Giada, and Martha Stewart-I legit have never ever had a bad recipe from them.
      I have a lot of Mexican and Eastern European cookbooks (my husband and I come from those places) and use Joy of Cooking (the old edition) for things like banana breads, learning about measurements, etc.

      Besides using a scale and calculators, anyone has good tricks of converting metric system into US system that is actually accurate enough for baking? Also, where in the US do you get the “real” butter for baking? If you know, you know, as the kids say.

    • Jody says...

      Marcella Hazan was Italian, and widely considered to be one of the world’s foremost authorities on authentic Italian cuisine and techniques.

    • ANDREA says...

      Paula:

      We are twinsies! I also love MS and Ina for fail-safe recipes and also find Smitten Kitchen recipes pretty unreliable (at least the baking ones)!

    • Mariangela says...

      I have Italian family, as in, in the country of Italy. A lot of butter and tomato sauces together! Italy is a big country, wielding all kinds of dishes to be, well, “Italian”. Your opinion seems limited to your area!

    • Angela says...

      Had to ditto because I feel like such an odd man out because I have had several SK flops!!

  77. Maree says...

    Ottolenghi’s new cookbook, “Simple” is amazing.
    I think I use it at least once or twice a week and everything has been a hit. His other books are gorgeous too, but this one is fabulous for easy recipes.

  78. Darina says...

    This post and the comments are so inspiring! I have a full shelf of cookbooks in my kitchen also, and have used (most) of them but not nearly as much since having my daughter 2.5yrs ago. But Jenny, your book is front and center on a beautiful handmade walnut book stand that my hubby made me. I also love anything from Nom Nom Paleo esp her Instant Pot recipes- they all turn out exactly as you hope and are so very easy. Smitten Kitchen also has many of my faves including her butternut squash fontina galette which got me making ALL kinds of galettes for all kinds of occasions- savory and sweet. My mom and I decided we want to embrace our Jewish heritage more especially for my little one so I’m definitely getting her the Modern Jewish book.

  79. Kirsten says...

    This is going to be an unpopular comment but I *hate* cooking. Like, all-caps HATE cooking. I can handle the shopping for ingredients part but the prep work — washing, slicing, dicing, cleaning out the gross parts from prawns/fish/chicken etc — physically and mentally exhausts me. I mean I know you can get prepacked stuff sent to you aka Blue Apron but after a long day at work the last thing I want to do is stand around a hot stove trying to cook something while hangry! Not to mention the cleanup afterwards. I’ve heard of all the shortcuts by now — prep food over the weekend for the week ahead, etc — but again, I don’t wanna waste my precious weekend R&R time doing grunt work! My mom also hated cooking so I inherited it from her. Not to mention the whole having the wife/mother whip up family meals every day, day in day out, just feels like an anachronistic throwback to less enlightened times when the woman’s place was in the kitchen. Of course now we women still have to do that (cook clean etc) on top of going to work and bringing home the bacon, so really it feels like the mental workload and housework never ends!!

    I guess the only solution for me is to strike it rich so that I can hire my own personal chef, ha! While we’re dreaming, also a housekeeper, Butler and phalanx of servants…

    • Meredith says...

      This, 100%.

    • Sid says...

      Kirsten, I get you. I actually find that cookbooks stress me out with too many ingredients, steps, etc. A few years back I discovered the idea of “minimalist” cooking (basically it’s exactly the idea slagged in one of the cookbooks above: “thinking of dinner as a protein, starch and veg”). For me it’s like having a uniform or capsule wardrobe – less options and complexity is less mental and physical work. A couple of sites I like to reference for ideas are: https://thestonesoup.com/blog/ and https://www.realfoodwholelife.com/recipes

    • Ann-Marie says...

      I hear you! I rarely am in the mood to do the endless washing, chopping, etc. that cooking requires. And I almost never do recipes, just chop up whatever’s in my fridge and heat it, ha.

      Check out Minimalist Baker. https://minimalistbaker.com/ Her idea: “simple recipes requiring 10 ingredients or less, 1 bowl, or 30 minutes or less to prepare”. She also does a lot of vegan/GF options and has a more healthy focus in general. Love her!

    • Sasha L says...

      Kirsten, since you don’t like cooking (fair enough! Your arguments are excellent imho), what do you eat for dinner? I always wonder this when someone says they hate cooking or don’t cook. Still have to eat, so how do you manage? Thanks for satisfying my curiosity ☺️

    • Kirsten says...

      Wow I wasn’t expecting so many replies! Thank you ladies for taking the trouble to offer suggestions, recs etc — i feel like I’ve found my people :)

      Meredith — high five, girl!
      Sid — thanks for your recs, I’ll check them out!
      Ann-Marie — it may seem contradictory but I do enjoy baking, because of my sweet tooth and the fact that baked goods just seem to engender more joy, if that makes sense. Maybe it has to do with expectations — people are always happy to receive anything you bake, whereas meals tend to be taken for granted.
      Sasha L — one word: takeout!! Lol. It doesn’t always result in the most healthy of meals I’ll admit but I give myself permission to eat whatever I feel like, within reason (& budget). Life’s too short to beat myself up over meal choices! If it’s just me for dinner i might just have PB&J or a cheese & ham sandwich. No stove required! Once in a blue moon if the mood strikes I might still make the occasional simple dish — I lovex3 Thai food so I learned to make a dead simple Tom yam soup noodle, using jarred Thai chili paste and a few ingredients I can pick up from the Asian market near my place. It’s one pot, no sautéing or excessive chopping required, and best of all it’s done within 15 mins! Hope that answers your question, lol.

  80. Mara says...

    My favorite cookbook is The Mom 100 Cookbook by Katie Workman. This is a great cookbook for families with picky eaters. It contains all the “classic” recipes with easy to follow directions. Everyone in my family (which is full of picky eaters) loves her dishes. Therefore, I find myself reaching for this cookbook time and time again.

    • Thank you so much!!!

  81. Hannah says...

    How has no one mentioned Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking and Super Natural Everyday?? These cookbooks along with Jerusalem largely informed my adult style after growing up working as a line cook. Honorable mention: My New Roots, The New Persian Kitchen, Molly on the Range, Smitten Kitchen Everyday. Can’t wait to get Dinner A Love Story and I sure loved this post!

    • Heidi Swanson’s cookbooks are definitely my faves!!

  82. Christine says...

    Ashley Rodriguez’s ‘Date Night In’. The whole concept is cooking for two – specifically with recipes and menus for little date nights at home – complete with cocktails, appetizers, a main, and a dessert. I’ve cooked nearly every recipe and buy it for everyone I know!

    • Brit says...

      Yes! I love both of her books. Her recipes are simple and foolproof. The baked risotto in Let’s Stay In is so fantastic.

    • Emily says...

      Completely agreed – probably my most used cookbook.

  83. Michal says...

    My most-used are Jerusalem by Ottolenghi & Tamimi (Usually for inspiration. Sorry, Ottolenghi, ain’t no one got time for weeknight Jerusalem dinners.)
    And Repertoire by Jessica Battilana. I have seriously cooked maybe half the recipes so far in the four months I have had it, and several multiple times. They almost always end up in the husband-approved category; he has requested her eggplant parm again and he doesn’t even like vegetables. I made her Tarte Tatin for Christmas Eve, the Vermicelli with Pork Meatballs last night for dinner, Red Chile-Braised Beef and White Beans & Greens, the Greenest Salad… it’s just so perfect for every night.

    • Maree says...

      Try Ottolenghi’s new book, “Simple”. Its fabulous .. he wrote it after his sister told him she doesn’t cook his recipes because they’re time consuming.

    • Thank you! I am so glad you dig the book.

  84. Kathleen says...

    An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler. Over and over and over again.

  85. Char says...

    Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden, 101 Easy Asian Recipes by Peter Meehan, and Made In India by Meera Sodha are my go-to books. We usually have at least one dinner from Six Seasons every week; literally every recipe I’ve tried has been amazing.
    I also rely heavily on the Smitten Kitchen website, along with Dinner A Lovestory, and Maangchi for inspiration and recipes that actually work, and have slowly been compiling binder of the recipes we use on repeat.

    • Anu says...

      Smitten Kitchen, Six Seasons and Made in India are in my list of my absolute favorites, so I’ll have to check out 101 Easy Asian Recipes!

  86. Loyla says...

    SMALL VICTORIES, HANDS DOWN :)

  87. Amy P says...

    The cookbook I actually *use* the most is Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home. Aside from the pistachio, everything has been a winner! Her ice cream is thick and almost chewy in the best way; I’ve never gone back to egg-based ice creams. I tend to cook almost everything else from my laptop which sits on my kitchen counter. I own 8-10 cookbooks total:

    -all three of Jenny’s (because her voice is excellent and affirming and I simply enjoy reading them; I have to admit I’ve probably tried only three recipes)
    -Deb’s Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen Cookbook (love that one and the blog but gave the SK Every Day one away as very little appealed to me)
    -Joy the Baker’s Over Easy (brunch) cookbook which is fantastic, and
    -The Looneyspoons Collection that my mom gave me and has impressed me with how good it is despite the kitsch.

    Best way to test out a cookbook? A cookbook club. Everyone brings the recipe of their choice from a cookbook the host chooses and you end up with a fantastic potluck!

    • jaime says...

      SO glad to see the Looneyspoons team getting a shout out! Super proud of these Ontarian ladies.

    • LOVE Jeni’s! Totally transformed dessert for us here and I’ve several of my friends on Jeni’s as well.

  88. I learned SO MUCH from reading Alice Waters’ and Yotam Ottolenghi’s books … they are some of the only ones on my counter and I reference them quite often. I also really love Heidi Swanson’s “Near and Far” and Karen Mordechai’s “Simple Food” series – both excellent takes on complex flavor profiles executed simply. And, Jenny, DALS is a forever favorite…I love sharing it with new moms and seeing them visibly shored up at your Venn diagram of feeding children! :)

  89. Johanna says...

    I bought Time for Dinner after I started life as a working mom and I needed something like The I Hate to Cook Book (which I didn’t know about until this moment!). It continues to hold up. It is also the reason I follow/listen to Mama Rosenstrach. Thank you for this post! I now know what my next purchases will be!

  90. Neda says...

    This one is relatively new, but I absolutely love Ottolenghi’s “Simple.” I haven’t had a dud meal from that book yet!

  91. Erin says...

    Ina’s “Parties.” She says it’s her favorite of her cookbooks, too, which makes me feel superior, LOL. I’ve cooked at least half of the recipes in it, and there are a few (shrimp salad, the salmon recipe, the chocolate cake, orzo with roasted veggies, tzatziki) that I’ve made over and over and over. They’re so reliable and good.

    I’m also quite fond of the various Ottolenghi cookbooks (I have “Ottolenghi,” “Jerusalem” and “Simple”) although their content is more mixed … some stuff that’s perfect and some things I would only make in a pretend, much fancier life than I have now.

  92. Annie says...

    My most referred to books are Smitten Kitchen Every Day (so many great ones there) and Melissa Clark’s Dinner in an Instant (because a really good pressure cooker book is hard to find!) (Jenny, Dinner a Love Story was the most reassuring book to me as a new mama, and I will be forever grateful for the pork ragu recipe.)

    • Rita says...

      I don’t have “Dinner a Love Story”, but I wanted to say “How to Celebrate Everything” had a similar effect on me. I don’t think I have cooked from it yet, except for a few of the recipes that were in the blog before, but it was a very happy read and changed my outlook on celebrations just when I had become a mother. And here I am now, building anticipation for Easter (my least prefered holiday as a child) and planing all sorts of dishes and activities and decorations, fully convinced that more celebrations make life more meaningful and slow time down.
      Thank you for that!

    • Mel says...

      Totally. Anything and everything Smitten Kitchen is a winner.

      Also love Run Fast, Eat Slow. It’s supposedly for runners but I love it for all the nutritious make-ahead breakfasts, salads and meal prep ideas. Basically it’s healthy but super filling.

  93. Greta says...

    My favorite cookbook is “The Boxcar Children Cookbook.” I selected it from one of the Scholastic book newspapers when I was in second grade, and it has some of the best recipes. How do I define “best” when it comes to recipes? It is about the all parts of the process: the joy of executing the recipe, the flavor of the food produced, and the nostalgia that sweeps over me when I remember my childhood alongside Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny.

    • Kim says...

      Funny, this was my first cookbook as well! I think I got it in early elementary school as well and remember asking my parents to let me bake the cornbread when we were on a family vacation.

    • Hilary says...

      Oh my gosh, I had The Boxcar Children cookbook, too! I give so much credit to this little book – and to my parents’ fearless encouragement of all kitchen mess-making – for why I love cooking to this day. Hoping to pass that same love of cooking (and reading!) down to my own daughter. Whose name is also Greta, incidentally :)

    • Jess says...

      Love this! We have the Laura Ingalls Wilder cookbook, and it brings nostalgia to me every time I go through it. Isn’t it amazing how childhood reading stays with you?!!

  94. Michelle says...

    Hahah I was going to completely disregard this list if DALS wasn’t on it!
    I’d add Run Fast, Cook Fast, Eat Slow. Got it a couple months ago and have been cooking consistently out of it and everything is so easy, a little different, and SO good.

    • Jenny Rosenstrach says...

      Ha! “Run Fast Eat Slow” (Shalane Flanagan) is awesome. We always make her “Superhero muffins.”

    • Michelle says...

      I liked the original too but with two littles, I prefer the cook fast version :p

  95. LaReesa says...

    All of these books sound great! I’ve added many to my to-buy list. One of my favorite cookbooks is 200 20-minute meals. My good friend bought it for me early on in our friendship so it always reminds me of her. The recipes are also just good! They are simple, nutritionally balanced, creative and YUMMY. it’s dog-eared and beat up with tons of notes and spills.

  96. witloof says...

    Home Cooking and More Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin. I have made just a handful of the recipes over the years, being the kind of cook who puts together dinner based on what looks good at the market, but her essays are so charming I read them over and over. Her Victoria sponge cake from the essay Four Easy Pieces is a total keeper – comes together in minutes, uses ingredients you already have, and is super delicious.

    • Oh, yes, yes, yes. Her roasted chicken, her black bean and yam fritters, but mainly, of course, her magnificent writing.

  97. Tina L. says...

    I use all the Ina Garten cookbooks quite regularly (especially for entertaining, but surprisingly for weekend night dinner too), I also use All About Braising by Molly Stevens ALL THE TIME. Other favorites I go to time and time again include the Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook, and Sheet Pan Suppers by Molly Gilbert. Also, I like Baked – New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Polifito (best peanut butter cookies of all time :))

  98. Alyse says...

    My grandmother gave me a copy of Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything several years ago when I was a newlywed. I always find something easy and trusty in there. It’s The Joy of Cooking for my generation.
    After that, Deb Perlman’s Smitten Kitchen books are always a fave.

  99. Hannah G says...

    Oh I love Dinner! I’m so amazed at how easy the recipes are and how kid-friendly a lot of them end up being. Sara Forte’s Sprouted Kitchen books hugely shaped how I cook, and Sarah Waldman’s Feeding a Family is one I cooked through literally recipe by recipe for an entire year. It was my saving grace in the kitchen as a mom of a 1-yr old who couldn’t stand crockpot food.

  100. Zoe says...

    For me it’s Deb. This sounds insane, but I just trust her. I trust that the time and energy and money I put into a recipe that she writes will WORK. I keep both smitten kitchen cookbooks on my counter and my computer browser is most always open to her site. Oh man I could weep at how much I love her and what she’s brought to my kitchen.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what a review!!!! going to send this to her, i’m sure she’ll be so touched. thank you, zoe.

    • Abby says...

      I love Deb too! My husband and I call her Smitten Kitchen Lady 😄. I cook at least one of her recipes each week but usually two or three.

    • Caitlin says...

      Same! There are so many times we just say “Oh, Deb” in our house as we enjoy our meal

    • Anna says...

      Me too, 100%. My dad thinks that she and I are friends (I wish!) since I send him her recipes so often. My parents are both wonderful cooks but at this point I think more credit for my own decent cooking goes to Deb.

    • Amy says...

      Same. Really do trust her and her recipes. Even my 70 year old mother has been converted. She calls her smitten kitten and it’s too cute to correct her 🤣

    • Cece says...

      I completely agree! She’s my go-to for anything cake, anything brunch, anything Jewish-inspired, and most quick veg-heavy dinners that we make. Her two cookbooks and the Italian Silver Spoon tome are the three most referenced books on our shelves by miles.

    • Katie Larissa says...

      My sisters and I talk about Deb like she’s the holy gospel when it comes to cooking. “So it’s a new recipe you’re trying?” “Yes, but it’s Smitten Kitchen, so I know it will be good.”

    • Anna says...

      I second and third this! Deb’s common sense and extremely helpful tips and tricks have turned me from a total novice to a moderately accomplished family baker! There’s something so approachable and friendly even about her recipes that you feel like even complete dummies in the kitchen can pick up a spatula/whisk/rolling pin and be assured of a delicious outcome. She’s the best!

    • Alice says...

      Ditto. I love her food, my kids love it, it’s fail safe. The cakes I make regularly are always hers (stout and chocolate, and the yogurt with blueberries/anything ones are perfection). She allows for flexibility with time and ingredients and mixes up what she makes. I have two good and experimental pre-schooler eaters largely down to her – I’m forever grateful. I have her cookbooks, but it’s the website I really love. A dose of Deb always sorts a day, and a dinner dilemma, out. When she was first on COJ I nearly fainted with delight.

    • Bonnie says...

      We may be soulmates!

      My friend and I feel the same way about Deb– we even (in secret) refer to her as our friend. We’ve contemplated getting WWDD bracelets. Every time we look to another site, we say that we should have just gone straight to SK!

    • Christy says...

      I am always looking at her website for inspiration or sharing it with others who are stumped on what to cook! She has some of everything on there. And I love her cookbook too!

    • Kristin says...

      When I make a new Deb recipe that is a hit, and I tell my husband it’s from one of the Smitten Kitchen books, he says, “Of course it is.” Deb even got him to like tofu.

    • Susan says...

      Smitten Kitchen is also my go to source. A couple of friends and I saw her in Seattle at a talk for her second cookbook. It was crazy how many people were there, standing room only for late comers :)

      I would love to see a ‘my outfits’ post from her. She has such a lovely writing style & I think she would have fun thoughts on clothing.

    • A says...

      Could not agree more. Deb is a goddess – every recipe in both her cookbooks has been such a hit, and her writing style is so warm, approachable, and hilarious. She is my go to for everything.

    • Janelle says...

      Most cookbooks tell you how to cook what you already want to eat. Deb tells you what you want to eat when you had no idea you wanted it.

      My roommate and I started devouring her blog in 2010 as bewildered first year teachers, and she was the reason we served chicken pot pie at dinner parties when everyone else was ordering pizza. Learning from Deb to find delight in food was the best possible bridge into adulthood.

  101. Mouse says...

    Melissa Clark’s Dinner: Changing the Game really did change my game–everything in it is delicious. I love Lynne Rosseto Kaspar’s How to Eat Supper and The Italian Country Table as well–the latter especially has great stories as well as recipes. Anything by Deborah Madison, and David Lebowitz and Alice Medrich Flavor Flours for dessert.
    For a culinary literary treat, read MFK Fisher.

  102. Katy says...

    Ina’s “Foolproof”. It got me from tentative to entertaining with meditate confidence. We used ina’s “cooking for Jeffrey” as the guest book at our wedding, so it is autographed all over!

    It’s a western Canadian thing, but for classics check out the Best of bridge series. It is a group of ladies who self published back in the 80s. The recipes are old school (I.e. incorporate canned goods frequently – but they work perfectly every single time).

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      these are all so much fun to read!!!

    • Katy says...

      “Moderate” confidence – oops.

      I also read a lot of cookbooks when on mat leave and my brain could hardly function. I found it very soothing to imagine future family dinners and entertaining I would do, once I had the use of two hands in the evening again of course! Deb at smitten kitchen is wonderful too.

    • Katie_B says...

      Fellow Western Canadian, Love Best of Bridge! My mom gave me “The Best of the Best” when I moved into my first place on my own – I don’t cook from it as much anymore, but still pull it out when I want cookies that taste like my mom’s.

    • Kate says...

      Shhh! As a western Canadian living in the USA the Best of Bridge dessert recipes are my best kept secret for entertaining! It is so fun to serve something my guests have not had before!

    • Alisa says...

      I mean, are you even a western canadian if you don’t have at least one Best of Bridge go to recipe?! (mine is the Wild West Salmon)
      When I was a kid, I used to sit on my Grandma’s kitchen floor and flip through her collection of Best of Bridge and Company’s Coming cookbooks… when my Grandma could no longer cook, I inherited all her copies and her cast iron pans.
      (This is a VERY SPECIFIC canadian comment, ha!)

    • Erin says...

      Yes to Best of Bridge! 80’s classics that make me feel so nostalgic. I make the George Bars (aka. Nanaimo bars) every Christmas.

      Another great Canadian cookbook is Vij’s. Delicious Indian food that will blow minds! Perfect for entertaining – not difficult but impressive!

    • Kay says...

      Love Best of Bridge and the corny little jokes in them. If you are Western Canadian then you have to have some “Company’s Coming” on your shelves too, right? We weren’t allowed pre-packaged sweets in my house so I must have made every recipe in the “150 Delicious Squares” book after school, many, many times.

  103. Anne says...

    Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings. She just nails it for me, a Midwestern girl raised on American comfort food, married to a man who grew up eating spicy Indian dishes, who has to cook fast, easy meals that a toddler will eat. How does she do all of that in one book? I mean, for real. My family loves every recipe we’ve tried. Who can’t get behind Yellow Cake Baked Oatmeal? Sesame noodles?? Not to mention that the prose is hilarious. It feels like you’re cooking with your best friend.

  104. Jenny says...

    Hilariously, I read the part about I Hate to Cook and immediately knew that must be the book my in-laws’ Beef Stroganoff recipe is from. I’ve never seen the book, but was given a photocopy of the stroganoff recipe when we got married. It’s actually pretty good (and totally not healthy) but the best part is the point in the recipe where it tells you to “light a cigarette and stare sullenly at the sink” as its cooking! I’m off to find myself a copy now.

    • Erin says...

      There’s a legendary story in my family about my aunt making something she called “Pork Chop Special” so frequently that her kids and husband eventually refused to eat it. Years after this happened, I came across my grandma’s old copy of I Hate to Cook and realized it was the original source of the recipe — which I think has a different name in the book. I was quite pleased with the discovery. The whole book is very, very funny.

  105. Anna says...

    All the Israeli/Mediterranean love makes me so happy! I’ve been to Israel twice and Jordan once, so middle eastern foods are special in my heart.

  106. Jemma says...

    Loved seeing the two Jewish/Israeli cookbooks that made the cut! My favorite one that I cook from all the time, is Joan Nathan’s, King Solomon’s Table. I’ve made multiple recipes from this cookbook, it’s a beautiful blend of Jewish traditions from around the world, and the recipes really hold up and are often super interesting and unique too. From the cardamom ginger cake I make for Passover to the Moroccan chickpea veggie soup that I cook massive batches of and freeze… I’ve found that Joan Nathan’s cookbook makes me feel like a pro in the kitchen and ties me to my roots. Between Joan Nathan and Ottolenghi, when I’m not sure what to cook, I always know who I can turn too. I legit fan-girl about them to people because their food is so good.

  107. Meredith says...

    I love cookbooks! There’s a newish Canadian one called Feast that combines a cross-country roadtrip with recipes gathered along the way – it’s an adventure! Also love: Sheet Pan Suppers, Half-Baked Harvest, Budget Bytes, Simply in Season, and the Betty Crocker cookbook for advice on lots of basic cooking skills 🙂

  108. I haven’t read all of those cookbooks, and now I want to!

    My most beloved cookbook is More With Less by Doris Janzen Longacre. I’m a Mennonite, what can I say!? It’s an oldie from the 70s that I grew up with and bought myself a copy when I moved out of the house. I probably use it every single week and I’ve got notes on most pages.

    • Kate says...

      That was one of my favorite cookbooks all through the 80s! And then, in the 90s, Extending the Table. So nice to remember those great cookbooks!

  109. Molly says...

    Yours (DALS), “Keepers”, and “Dinner: Changing th Game”. All my go tos.

  110. Bates B says...

    Six seasons and Bread Toast Crumbs are my go to’s – that peasant bread gets made multiple times a week in our house. My 7 year old had a sleepover last week, and his friend’s mother confessed that she wasn’t sure if her son wanted to sleep over to see my son, or to get access to the bread.

    • Hannah says...

      I love that story!

  111. Amy J says...

    Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution basically taught me how to cook everything from pasta, to simple dinner side dishes, stir fry, roast chicken meals and finally dessert.
    It taught me all the fundamentals while showing how to break the rules, make a delicious mess if a meal and not worry if things don’t look exactly perfect. I cooked my first roast chicken with vegetables upside down by accident and it still tasted great! I still refer to it for the stand by classics and when I need a challenge. It taught me that cooking is for everyone, you just have to get in there and try!

    • Ann-Marie says...

      I love Jamie’s cookbooks too — I’ll have to check that one out. I’ve bought a few and while I can’t make half of the recipes cause that man loves his dairy, I still love reading them and looking at the glorious photos. :)

  112. Meaghan says...

    Love this post! My favourites are Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys by Lucinda Scala Quinn, Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten, and a handmade cook book made by my grandma that includes family favourites. I love seeing what others recommend!

  113. Marianne says...

    Literally it’s your book! I used it all the time! Made the pork ragu for my in laws and just made the chicken pot pie for Sunday dinner.

  114. I’d love an update on the current CoJ team. Such great posts by Jenny lately!

  115. Rebecca says...

    Joy of Cooking, hands down. Everything one needs to know is between those two covers. It’s a reference book, and a cookbook. If I were only able to keep one cookbook, it would without a doubt be Joy of Cooking.

  116. Amanda says...

    Love this post! In this day of digital everything, I still love having physical cookbooks on hand and it’s the one thing I collect. Lately, my go-to books are fairly new. The first being MIssissippi Vegan by Timothy Pakron. I love, love his flavor profiles. His recipes make me feel like a much better cook than I am! The other is Bento Power by Sara Kiyo Popowa. I just picked it up, but her recipes are helping me get out of my lunch rut. So many beautiful, inspiring ideas.

  117. Katy says...

    Since you included Alice Waters’ “Chez Panisse Vegetables,” I had to share the funniest story. Alice and her daughter, Fanny, held a garage sale at Chez Panisse two weekends ago. (I kid you not.) The place was, as you may imagine, a mob scene, try as hard as the lovely Chez Panisse employees might to keep the slavering hordes at bay. All around us were scattered Alice’s old copper teapots, art prints from France, hats galore, amazing cast iron molds, and venerable culinary implements. All the while, Alice sat on the steps of the restaurant and signed books. When I reached Fanny to ask her for a price on an item, I commented on the size of the crowd. She looked at me wide-eyed and said, “We had no idea so many people would come!”

    • Hannah says...

      Amazing!

    • Jenny Rosenstrach says...

      That is amazing! Fanny will always be the little kid she wrote “Fanny at Chez Panisse” for…a zillion years ago. Hope you scored something at the sale?

  118. Lucy says...

    Keepers and The Dinner Plan by Caroline campion and Kathy Brennan. I cook from those two books every week. The tofu lettuce wraps in The Dinner Plan are amazing, and my kids love the crunchy pork cutlets :)

  119. Savannah says...

    DINNER A LOVE STORY – use it all the time.

  120. Jill says...

    The Silver Palate!

  121. Sharon says...

    Just listened to Joanna’s interview on Forever35 podcast, and it was unreal to actually HEAR her voice! I have read the blog and her words for years, always in my own head. It was so wonderful to actually hear her speak! She was as warm and compassionate as I imagined she would be. Cup of Jo is magical for so many reasons, but I always appreciate how consistently kind and open minded Joanna and her team try to be whenever addressing negative comments. Just wanted to share for other Cup of Jo fans. Check out the podcast. It’s more of the stuff we all love. Xoxo

  122. Louisa says...

    I have a million cookbooks, and “Run Fast. Eat Slow.” is the one I use all the time — and I don’t even run nor am I that into nutrition. It’s just good, filling food and every recipe works. (I heard Shalane Flanagan on NPR, and wanted to support her!)

  123. Rae says...

    I love Dinner: A Love Story! I want you to know what a treasure it is in my collection. When I’m feeling uninspired, I bust it out. So at least once a week! I have teenagers and we’re busy, but I can always find something in this book that I can whip together, but when it’s on the table it appears as if I really thought about it. We always have the cold sesame noodles, the chicken and orzo soup, shrimp with yogurt. Thank you Jenny!

    • Jenny Rosenstrach says...

      This makes me so happy, thank you Rae!

  124. Terry says...

    Hi Jenny
    My favorite recipe of all time is from one of your blog posts. It is that easy
    and oh so delicious goodie for Blueberry Galette! Thank you a thousand times for providing a treat that is easy and so so good!

  125. Agnes says...

    Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘It’s All Good’… she has the BEST dressing recipes!! So much that is simple yet still tasty and creative.

    • Emily says...

      Yes!! I just made a bunch of those sauces/condiments too.

  126. Terry says...

    MY NEW FAVORITE:

    LOMELINOS PIES

    Richly evocative photography and product styling.

    Yummy and doable pie recipes.

  127. Rachel says...

    The Joy of Cooking!

  128. Kathe says...

    Alison Roman’s Dining In for meats/poultry, vegetables, and salad dressing.
    Ottolenghi by Ottolenghi for meatballs.
    My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz for sardine dip (yes, really) and everyday cakes.

  129. Josephine says...

    For most of my adult life, I’ve found Nigella Lawson’s recipes simple, reliable and joyful. My most-used books are How to be a Domestic Goddess for birthday cakes, and Kitchen for all-purpose eating!
    I don’t refer to it as often, but Naturally Nourished by Sarah Britton gets pulled out when I’m wanting to be more creative with veggie-based meals – I feel it’ll get used more when my 8- and 6-year-old boys are more amenable to a wider variety of vegetables!

    • Elizabeth says...

      I agree about Nigella! I have four of her books and I always return to them. Her instructions are very straight-forward and the food is delicious.

  130. Definitely Julia Turshen’s Small Victories! And Moosewood Cookbook!

    I also love Cooking for Artists by Mina Stone. It doubles as a coffee table book because the photographs are so beautiful!

  131. erica says...

    Sunday Suppers at Lucque’s by Suzanne Goin

    I’ve made that lemon/olive relish and Jessica’s Tart a zillion times

  132. Ali says...

    I just received Love Real Food by Kathryne Taylor, from the Cookie and Kate blog, and I can’t believe how many pages I just dog eared! The on-line recipes I’ve tried so far have worked out well so I’m looking forward to cooking through the book. It’s all vegetarian, which I’m not, but trying to cook healthier. I agree, Dinner a Love Story and Simple Cake are great!

    • Whitney says...

      Yes! Kate is a girlfriend of mine from college and despite our differences in regards to meat, all her recipes are delicious!! Plus now she has an app!

      Cookie is adorable in real life too.

      Oh and Ina Garten, the Queen 👸🏻 Of dinner parties! Love her!

    • Elizabeth says...

      Love Real Food is one of my absolute favorites – beautiful photography and her dog is so cute. I have made most of the recipes and they have all been delicious. Her website is also great, especially the monthly guides for what is in season.

  133. Katie_B says...

    Dinner A Love Story! We have a DALS meal on the menu at least once a week and usually more. I gave it to my sister as a wedding present, along with a Le Creuset Dutch oven 😊

  134. Jeanne says...

    My absolute fave, most-used cookbook is the original Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. Also like Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian and I have about 10 Epicurious recipes that are my go-tos.

    • Great article, wonderful comments, and many new cookbooks to read. One of my all-time favorites is “In Pursuit of Flavor” by Edna Lewis. Her recipes are treasures, and so are her stories.

  135. Kristin says...

    Ahhhh, I love this post in like 20 different ways… the photos! the descriptions! the variety! I am 100% buying at least three of these immediately. Thank you, COJ, for getting me out of a recipe rut!

  136. Sara says...

    tony’s steak. Tony’s. Steak. TONY’s STEAK!!!!

    • Jenny Rosenstrach says...

      I screenshot this and sent to Tony and he said “Sara has great taste.” :)

  137. michaela says...

    I love these recommendations! I’ve been trying to get in the habit of cooking from books more than online recipes—not that there aren’t great recipes published online, but I like the reliability of knowing something was designed and tested specifically with my home-cook skills in mind, and the posterity of being able to (literally) turn to it over and over. Right now, my favorite is Small Victories by Julia Turshen. My most-cooked recipes from her book are, to be frank, the Turkey and Ricotta Meatballs that was published here on CoJ, and A Nice Lasagna. So, mostly tomato + carbs! But her sensibility has really influenced the way I think about what I can put together and call a (delicious, satisfying, simple) meal. I also love Sweeter Off the Vine by Yossy Arefi; that’s my go-to when I want to turn fruit into a dessert without losing its natural deliciousness.

    A recent addition to my shelf that I’m curious about is Alison Roman’s Dining In. I bought it because I’ve loved her viral NYT recipes, and it’ll be interesting to see how I end up using it. It seems like it has a great mix of easy weeknight dishes and elevated but not technically-demanding dishes for special occasions. I’m making the crispy chickpeas with ground lamb for dinner tonight and the vinegar-braised chicken and farro later this week, I’ll probably try the turmeric roasted lamb shoulder for a casual Easter dinner I’m having with my family, and my husband and I have earmarked the swordfish steaks for our next date night in!

    • michaela says...

      Oh, and I forgot to mention that my husband is getting fantastic use out of Rose Beranbaum-Levy’s Bread Bible. After a friend had to go gluten-free she gifted us this book, and it’s so precisely and clearly written that she may as well have just handed us a turnkey professional bakery. My husband is continuing to perfect his bread making technique, but seriously, from the very first loaf he turned out with the instructions in this book, it’s been the best homemade bread I’ve ever had. Highly recommend for anyone wanting to get into bread making, although I must advise as well that the techniques Beranbaum-Levy shares are *very* precise and this is definitely geared towards a hobbyist, rather than a casual, baker.

    • Christy says...

      Bread bible is a great book. Some of the recipes need to be read through before messing it up but haven’t had a bad one yet!

      Have you tried purple potato bread? Made that in culinary school (out of the bread bible!) and it has been my youngest daughters favorite bread since! Page 267 in the my copy.

  138. Elizabeth Velasquez says...

    Joann Chang’s Flour and Flour, too are my go to cookbooks. Best chicken soup recipe ever! Every single recipe is a winner

  139. Shannon says...

    Love this collection! I would personally add the Smitten Kitchen cookbooks, which have flavorful, easy dishes with no-fuss ingredients. The author also has a great writing personality :)

  140. Katie says...

    I love this post! Me, my mom and my Grandma all have a penchant for cookbooks. Besides our genes and no bullshit attitude, it’s the one likeness we truly share. The couple of cookbooks I use on a weekly basis are Love & Lemons the Cookbook and the Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook. I have so many more that I love to look at and read and use to inspire me, including one of Jenny’s.

    My dream one day is to write a cookbook using recipes from my Grandma, my mom, my aunts and my cousins combined with our stories. Our family is full of women, the Wolf Women, who have spent our entire lives gathering around the kitchen table. Even if this keepsake only stays within our family, I’d love to pay tribute to my Grandma, the original Wolf Woman, and the family she created.

    • Rikki says...

      My brother-in-law gifted the whole family a cookbook full of family recipes, written exactly how my mother-in-law would say things. It is a treasure! Mixed in are old family photos, stories, and of course all of the recipes she made while the kids were growing up – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Classic pasta sauce, manicotti, blueberry muffins, pancakes, instructions on how to make a gingerbread house in the “holiday” section, even some crap called “More-More” (I think it involves canned tomatoes, ground beef, and lots of cheese… 😳). I refer to this cookbook all the time! It truly is one of our most prized possessions.

  141. celeste says...

    Rachel Hollis Real Life Dinners. Perfection for moms rushing home and kid approved too!

  142. Amy G says...

    Love “Simple cake” so much. Have made that chocolate cake 3 times since you posted the recipe. Everyone raves about it.

    • Bates B says...

      Six seasons and Bread Toast Crumbs are my go to’s – that peasant bread gets made multiple times a week in our house. My 7 year old had a sleepover last week, and his friend’s mother confessed that she wasn’t sure if her son wanted to sleep over to see my son, or to get access to the bread.

  143. RP says...

    Meera Sodha’s ‘Fresh India’ for tasty but imaginative vegetarian Indian cooking for even those not familiar with the cuisines.
    When I use this to cook for guests they invariably take me to one side to say ‘you really shouldn’t have made such an effort!’ when little do they know how straight forward the recipes are in this book are. Tried probably 85% and not one dud, and I would happily make most of the savoury dishes even in a weekday night. Really just a tried and tested fantastic book. She also writes for the guardian so lots of her recipes can be found on their website. Love her.

    • Jess says...

      Yes! Love this book. And her other one, Made in India. If you at all embrace the instapot, you NEED Instapot Indian in your life. It is magic!

    • Ann-Marie says...

      That sounds amazing RP! I’m always on the lookout for Asian cuisine cookbooks (my flavor preference, plus they tend to use less dairy than European cuisine). I love Indian food but am just now realizing that I never cook it. So thank you!

    • RP says...

      Jess, I have got ‘Made in India’ on order now. Have been in school forever so it’s been more budget friendly to cook vegetarian but now keen to expand my non-veg skill set and repertoire.

    • clea says...

      Yes! This is the best book. The Vege Istoo is a perfect dish.

    • Jenny Rosenstrach says...

      Thank you for reminding me about this one, Meera Sodha is awesome!

  144. kash says...

    +1 to Dinner by Melissa Clark! It’s such an incredible cookbook. My husband and I have also become mostly vegetarian since getting this book and the veggie recipes (there’s an awesome legumes section) in here totally carry their weight (the meat ones are fabulous too ;) ).

  145. Amanda says...

    http://www.discoverbooks.com/Betty-Crockers-Cooky-Book-Betty-Crocker-Spiral-b-p/0764566377.htm?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIl-7E-4rE4QIVWrXACh0DaAYBEAQYAyABEgJ_2vD_BwE

    This book, without a doubt, is pulled off the shelf every Christmas season. My mother had a copy that I absolutely PORED over, regardless of the season, and turned into a tattered and falling apart mess. Hey, some kids like picture books – I preferred cookbooks!

    You can’t help but be charmed by the 2-page cookie house (although my well-meaning father once attempted it with my brother and I using generic and/or different cookies and it was most definitely not the same!) and all the other sweet retro photographs of cookie spreads.

    My absolute favorites are the Ethel’s sugar cookies, which I’ve made for decades as a basis for “paintbrush cookies” using colored egg yolk as decoration (seriously THE most beautiful cookies on any plate). Also, you must make sure it’s the COOKY book with the bright red cover, and not just the Betty Crocker Cookie book :)

  146. Aya says...

    I know it’s new but I have to add Samin Nosrat’s Salt Fat Acid Heat. I pull it out regularly and it’s already stained and worn.

    Also, Joy of Cooking.

    • Andrew says...

      Nosrat’s book is one of the two cookbooks I go to for recipes. As soon as I started reading it I immediately fell in love with cooking again. She makes everything simple and easy!

    • Bonnie says...

      I’m with you on this one – I’d slowly, painstakingly culled my cookbooks to only a couple, saving those more for the memories associated with them than actual recipes, and recently splurged and bought Salt Fat Acid Heat. Small house, smaller kitchen so space is tight and Samin’s book is earning its spot for recipes AND education.

    • Betsy says...

      I bought this about a month ago. Haven’t tried anything yet, but I am now more excited than ever to dig in. So glad to hear you love it.

  147. Sara says...

    Long time reader, first time commenting: as a mother that cooks most nights, I highly recommend Once Upon a Chef by Jennifer Segal. A culinary school graduate and mom she presents recipes that are absolutely incredible and incredibly accessible to the average home cook. I have followed her blog for years and am grateful to her for sharing her skills in this new cookbook. Five stars! https://www.onceuponachef.com/my-cookbook-is-now-available

    • Elizabeth says...

      I like Jennifer Segal’s cookbook and blog too! I recently tried her shepherds pie and hummus recipes and immediately threw out the old recipes I had been using for those two things. Hers were so much better!

  148. Stacy Campbell says...

    90’s edition of the New York Times Cookbook