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52

Definitely the Joy of Cooking. It's not a convenience cookbook for people with busy schedules or low patience - the majority of recipes in there are geared toward flavour and not specialty diets or quick prep times - but at least 9 out of 10 recipes I try in there have near-perfect flavour and texture. IMO, this should be in every cook's kitchen, even the ...


29

Alton Brown's I'm Just Here for the Food If I'm going to be using a technique I'm not 100% familiar with.


27

Bittman's "How to Cook Everything." It's really great - simple and easy - plus you can get the whole thing as an iphone app for $4.99.


23

I love working with dough and baking my own bread and pastry. So my bible is Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice. I use this book so often that I don't even bother to return it to my bookshelf anymore.


21

Not a book, but Google is the one I use by far the most. I typically have a rough idea what to cook, do a google search to find recipes for inspiration and then make something with bits and pieces from various sources.


18

The New Best Recipe from Cook's Illustrated. Just the right balance between recipes and discussion of technique. I always consult this book before cooking a new cut of meat for the first time.


16

The best resource for this kind of questions is On Food and Cooking: The Science And Lore Of The Kitchen, by Harold McGee. It's best described as 'a cookbook without recipes', even though there are a couple of them in there. It has several sections and describes in detail what various foodstuffs contain and how they are affected by different cooking ...


15

I know it is a long list, but we cannot forget Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Full of techniques.


14

References I use: Harold McGee "On Food and Cooking" Michael Ruhlman "Ratio" - Using these ratios, one can make all sorts of things without a recipe Michael Ruhlman "The Elements of Cooking" Cookbooks I'm fond of: Marion Cunningham "Learning to Cook" - Got me started 11 years ago. Lynn Rossetto Kasper "How to Eat Supper" - Also her NPR show, "The ...


14

IMO, this really would have greater lasting value with a single detailed answer instead of a poll. Here's an annotated list of all the recommendations so far: On Food And Cooking (Harold McGee) is all science at a very detailed level, combining food chemistry and biology and explaining the interactions between ingredients and the mechanisms behind various ...


13

I'd recommend Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian", I use it all the time. It's certainly what I would call comprehensive; besides containing tons of recipes for everything from entrees to breads to soups, the sections are prefaced with tips on how to improvise or switch up the recipes as desired, including vegan alternatives.


12

Madhur Jaffrey's "Indian Cookery" (a newer edition of this) and a Danish book called "Mad" (eng: Food) from 1939. I also frequently use "Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Cookery" for all those techniques and methods that I only need once in a while, but when I need them, I need them desperately.


12

Learning through repertoire is a good way to build standard skills in nearly every discipline. If what you want is to be able to create a variety of good meals then cooking out of books will serve you well. That isn't to say that the book you choose doesn't matter, of course it does! A book full of accurate facts and procedures does not a good teacher make. ...


12

The cookingforengineers site has a nice ingredient plus method layout. I use a similar format for my personal recipes


11

"On Food and Cooking" by Harold McGee


11

One of the problems with using regular cookbooks to cook for yourself is after doing it for long enough, it's hard to get motivated to cook anything too complicated; no one else is going to know if you have a peanut butter sandwich for dinner. I contributed a few of my lazy ideas to Neurotic Physiology's "Grad Student Cooking in Style", but a large part of ...


10

Two words: Alton Brown. There are molecular gastronomists that are more technical, but he's the best for meshing the two in a format that others can understand.


9

I would say that Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian, with 650+ recipes, has been a source of great inspiration for me. It's comprehensive and boasts a great number of different styles and ingredients. Additionally it's informative, offering a lot of history about the foods, the places they have come from and the people who developed them. It strengthens the ...


8

I usually recommend the more traditional Joy of Cooking. It was pretty much the american cookbook for about 50 years. It's decent, and it's got a recipe for pretty much everything. A more modern choice would be Bittman's How to Cook Everything. Same principle, but a more modern take on it. Both books have huge amounts of text dedicated to first principles. ...


8

"How to Cook Everything" by Mark Bittman is a good basic cookbook. There are not a lot of pictures but he gives clear instructions and covers the basics as well as some fancier dishes. Also I think the tone of this cookbook is very comforting.


7

Diet for a Small Planet I disagree with a lot of their activism, but their dietary facts are spot on. If you want to know how to eat healthy as a vegetarian, start here. (We're not vegetarians, but some of our friends are and we like to entertain with full meals.) When my spouse was young, their family couldn't afford meat very often. This and Joy of ...


7

I recently purchased The Professional Chef (Culinary Institute of America) as both a cookbook and a reference guide. Despite what the title suggests, it is filled with basic information about: identifying different vegetables, herbs, and fruits; explaining the cuts of meat, their purpose and origin; chapters on different basic cooking techniques such as ...


7

I really enjoy anything by Isa Chandra Moskowitz (Vegan With a Vengeance, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, Veganomicon, etc.) (website, with lots of awesome recipes: http://www.theppk.com/). I also second the Moosewood suggestion; while lots of the things in there are lacto-ovo, most things are easy to veganize, and all really good. Lastly, while it's ...


7

What Americans call cookies, other people (e.g. Britain, Australia, India) call biscuits. Christmas cookies are cookies in the American sense. The cookbook is American; if it were British I assume it'd be called Christmas Biscuits. "Small flat or slightly raised cake" is a bit of a bad dictionary definition; though they are small and flat, cookies can be ...


7

The Moosewood Cookbook, by Mollie Katzen, is often regarded as a sort of bible of vegetarian cooking. It's one of the best-selling cookbooks ever, not just among vegetarian cookbooks, and helped show Americans that they didn't always need meat to make good food. The original is from 1977 and may be harder to find, but there's a revised version, The New ...


6

Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health and Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers by the Moosewood Collective


6

Books can get you a long way, but they can never become a teacher. Cooking is not just something you need to know about, it's a craft that you have to practice. A teacher can Spot flaws in techniques. Judge the result based on years of experience. Give you the tips and trick that you need. So while you can learn from a book, getting to a high lever will ...


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6

I largely taught myself to cook out of Joy of Cooking, lo, these many years ago. The various "About..." chapters have a lot of good infromation, and the recipe instructions are clear. Nowadays, I'd seriously consider Alton Brown's I'm Only Here for the Food. That doesn't rise to an actual recommendation, as I've only browsed through it rather than diving in ...



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