- The Way to Cook, by Julia Child
This core book gets dragged out for its pizza recipe. It was my first to try, and I’ve used it ever since. It’s also my reference for quiche and for various cooking techniques like Julia’s hard boiled eggs and artichoke cooking times.
- The Good Housekeeping Cookbook
This book came with me from home to my first apartment. It’s from 1963 so it has some fun time warp moments, but I mainly use it for waffles.
- Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook (aka the Red Plaid Cookbook)
This cookbook was a bible of sorts when I was growing up. We’ve gone through several versions, which disappointingly change between each printing. The pancake page is traditionally obliterated, and the spatzle is much loved, with the all important adendum of adding nutmeg and pan frying. We updated a version to send with my Dad when he took it with him for a one year station in Korea. He typed up and laminated Mom’s Potato Salad and Fried Rice as assessories to his new culinary terrain.
- Hot Sour Salty Sweet, by Jeffrey Alford
I admit, I was attracted to this book because I saw Jeffrey Alford on Martha Stewart. However, this cookbook’s beautiful cover and photos sealed the deal. My absolute favorite recipe is the spicy sweet Quick Khmer Pork with Green Beans.
- Cocktails for Wimps, by Salvatore Calabrese
This is a cute basic cocktail book, with lots of pictures of the author’s friends shaking up drinks. It’s not a bible, but a good basis for inspiration in the realm of fruity sweet drinks.
- The Essential Kitchen Sushi, by Ryuichi Yoshii
Ahh, my first sushi book. I keep coming back to this book for its sushi rice dressing recipe, and its very good teriyaki sauce entry. Another favorite is the secrets to making your own tamago, the sweet egg omlette sushi that I used to order all the time. That is until a sushi chef teased me for ordering kids sushi!
- Gourmet Meals in Minutes, CIA
- Cooking at Home, CIA
Both of these CIA cookbooks are full of beautiful inspiring photos. I haven’t quite had the time to develop a relationship with these two cookbooks yet, but they are nice eye candy. Having recently finished the book, The Soul of a Chef: the Journey Toward Perfection, I’ve been cast under the CIA’s spell of perfection of technique. I really need to go through these pages and bookdark recipes.
- On Food and Cooking, by Harold McGee
Having taken enough Chemistry to get a minor in Organic, I now understand that some quests of knowledge can’t be fulfilled by simply attending the lectures (or doing the homework, or attending office hours, or being tutored…). My hope is that McGee will make me fall in love with Organic Chemistry through my interest in food. The sections on cooking beans and high protein – osteoporosis links have made this book worthy of its purchase already.
- The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen, by Paula Wolfert
Being the proud owner of a new pressure cooker has made me a bit guilty regarding the joys of slow cooking. I feel like I’m cheating. This cookbook pulled me in during the cold winter with promises of recipes that a pressure cooker can’t fake. I’m looking forward to making the dolmadas with preserved lemons, and the oven roasted eggs have already given me a new egg recipe I had never before considered. Recipes awaiting me: Potato Gratin with Dried Plums, White Gazpacho with Pine Nuts and Currants, an Algerian-Jewish recipe of Artichoke and Orange Compote, and an eggs on toast stunner.
- Sushi American Style, by Tracy Griffith
I love this cookbook for reminding me to shake up my sushi boundaries. When I thought I had tasted the sushi pinacle, this book came along and told me to put roasted onion jam with horseradish cream and fried chicken in a sushi roll!
- Techniques of Healthy Cooking, CIA
I am the eternal student. This cookbook strikes me as a classroom essential, and is full of great tips for making healthy versions of classic recipes. All the recipes have complete nutritional breakdowns, and there are several interesting chapters in the first half of the book on basic nutrition science. This book taught me to make salad dressing with stock instead of oil, and reminded me of the joys of roasting.
- I’m Just Here for the Food, by Alton Brown
- I’m Just Here for More Food, by Alton Brown
I’m a disciple of Alton, I admit it. Though I do often squint my eyes at his dramatics (uncanny resemblance to a self professed drama geek high school/college friend…) , Alton has a knack for helping us with the science metaphor visuals and is good at giving one solid rules of engagement to follow with one’s food making. Plus he introduced me to one of my cooking fairy godmothers Shirley O. Corriher. I don’t intimately know Alton’s baking book yet, though it has a novel design for grouping recipes by technique. His first book is a good way to augment his cooking show, Good Eats, and has an amazing technique to setting up a bbq using ice cubes to measure the heat work.
- Local Flavors, by Deborah Madison
- The Best American Recipes, 1999
- Moosewood Restaurant, Low Fat Favorites
- The Artful Vegan, by Eric Tucker
- Happy Days with the Naked Chef, by Jamie Oliver
- Mexico One Plate at a Time, by Rick Bayless
- The Best American Recipes, 2003-2004
- How it All Vegan, by Tanya Barnard
- Moosewood Restaurant, New Classics
- Capriel’s Bistro-Style Cuisine, by Caprial Pence
- Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook, by Alice Waters
- Taste, by Sybil Kapoor
- Easy Sushi, by Emi Kazuko
- Lipsmackin’ Backbackin’, by Tim Conners
- The Good Carb Cookbook, by Sandra Woodruff
- Tyler Florence’s Real Kitchen
- 1001 Low-Fat Vegetarian Recipes, by Sue Spitler
- Fields of Greens: New Vegetarian Recipes from the Celebrated Greens Restaurant, by Annie Somerville
- Real Thai: The Best of Thailand’s Regional Cooking, by Nancie Mcdermott
Thai food is a special variant of fast food in Eugene, Oregon. This was one of my first cookbooks purchased in my first apartment downtown. Though it is lacking in the slick pictures I am so found of, it has stunned my palate into craving cilantro in a whole new way, pesto. This book helped give me the tools to recreate a favorite pizza discovered in Hawaii: cilantro pesto for the base sauce, sprinkled with sundried tomatoes, goat cheese crumbles, sliced red onions, and drizzled with sweet hot vinegar chilli sauce.
- Basic Herb Cookery, by Rose Marie Mcgee
This northwest corner of the country is studded with nurseries and seed farms. The Nichols nursery is a nice drive outside of Eugene and sponsers a special Plant Day that features some of Rose Marie’s recipes and good sales on their plants. I was lucky to visit Nichols the Christmas after I made lavender truffles for friends, who still aren’t too sure about the flavor combination. With lingering doubts about my tast buds, I wandered into Nichols to find an offering of lavender ice cream and lavender lemonade! A woman after my own heart, Rose Marie’s family is very lucky to have a family cookbook at their fingertips. Recipe highlights: Dandelion Bud Omlette, Sauted Spinach with Lemon Thyme, Tarragon Pear Sorbet, Honeyed Oranges with Violets, and Rosemary Orange Shortbread. More recipes can be found at their website.
- Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream and Dessert Book, by Ben Cohen
What can I say? Ice cream lust is a force that strikes sharply. Ben and Jerry’s came to market at a time when our nation needed a taste bud wake up call.
- ClayArt Cooks, a special collection on recipes from the online community of ceramic artists, ClayArt
- Culinary Delights & Bearcat Bites, a collection of recipes from the Willamette University community, 1998
- Muffin Variations
- if you live alone, culinary confessions
- Culinary Challenges
- back from hibernation with chocolate summer jam
- My favorite flavor: charred tomatoes
- Storage experiments: jalapeños
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