Before the internet, shelves were lined with cookbooks. Books filled with recipes passed down from generation to generation, cut out from newspapers, magazines, or the church recipe swap. Books that you knew were loved because their pages were filled with scribbles, oil splatters, and batter drops. These are books I believe still belong on your shelf today. I’ve complied a list of cookbooks that I own, have looked through, or heard about, all of which could be on your shelf and you would probably use. I’m not against recipes from the internet, but I would suggest keeping a recipe book handy where you can write down the ones you like. I have two books like that among my cookbook collection.
Half Baked Harvest: Tieghan is that person I wish I could be. She started cooking at the age of 15 and it seemed to come easily to her. She created a blog, converted an old barn into an amazing test kitchen, and now has a second cookbook coming out. She makes simple recipes look fabulous with slight twists and great flavor. Her first cookbook is full of stunning pictures for every recipe and simple dishes that anyone could make. You could even add your own twist to them. She has a new cookbook coming out in October and I expect good things from it. I have never had a bad recipe from her.
Farmhouse Rules: Born and raised on a farm, Nancy Fuller’s cooking is straightforward and comfortable. Her book is divided into the four seasons with breakfast, appetizer, main dish, sides, and dessert recipes for each section. There are a few recipes in this book that I wouldn’t cook, mainly because I don’t like seafood. But what I have made so far has been delicious and easy. She raised six children and thirteen grandchildren so her meals needed to be easy and simple.
Tacolicious: If you love all things Mexican food, this book is for you. Written by the owners of a popular Mexican restaurant in the San Francisco area, this book contains salsas, sauces, snack, tacos, cocktails and aqua fresca. You may have to go to a carniceria to get some of your ingredients, but most can be found at any grocery store. Packed full of flavor, this book will bring a new dimension to your taco nights.
Bravetart: This book is a must! Stella Parks has put so much of herself into this book and you can tell. This book is a combination of history and recipes. Stella shares the history of American classics as she gives you the best recipe for it. From cookies and cakes to homemade oreos, nutter butters, and McDonald’s Apple Turnovers, everyone should own this book. Plus, it won a James Beard Award, which is a big deal. Make sure to follow her recipes on Serious Eats because she is always developing new ones. She recently developed a recipe for homemade Klondike bars.
The Fearless Baker: I heard of Erin McDowell through my roommate who got to work with her for a month or two. I used several of Erin’s recipes before her book came out, so naturally I had to buy it. Erin’s book is written for the home baker who wants to bake like a pro. Full of pro tips and basic baking knowledge, all of her recipes have been tried and tested since that’s what she does. She is a recipe tester. Her book is full of cookies, cakes, pies, ice cream and so much more. Her recipes are a great starting place to play with flavors and push yourself. Make sure to follow her on Instagram too; she is always coming out with new recipes and is currently working on a pie cookbook (need!).
Ice Cream & Friends: I just got this book, but looking through it I know I’ll love it. Written by the people at Food52, this book is all things ice cream. Ranging from classic to herbal and savory in flavor, it gives you recipes for ice cream, sorbet, popsicles, gelato, sandwiches, and more. Some of them are even no-churn recipes, so no ice cream maker required. With the weather we have had this summer, everyone needs an ice cream book.
Dorie’s Cookies: If cookie monster is your spirit animal, this cookbook is for you. Filled with everything from brownies to biscotti, both sweet and savory, this is a THICK book. It would be a fun book to bake with through in a year. Dorie Greenspan is a pillar in the culinary world, cookie lover, and was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America. In addition to her cookie book, she has several others from her time in Paris that are filled with recipes from French home cooks.
These are only a sampling of great recipe books. There are so many more I could tell you about; you just need to ask. I’ve discovered that McKay’s has some amazing deals on cookbooks and the Chattanooga Public Library recently received a grant and has purchased a ton of new books, especially cookbooks. (Tip: make sure to read the little notes in the front of the books. The ones that talk about the ingredients and equipment needed. Don’t skip that section).