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Food is constantly changing and endlessly inspirational. A cookbook can hit a chord at the right moment and I want to cook every recipe in the book. Cooks have hundreds of cookbooks, but usually only a dozen that are opened repeatedly. The more dog-eared and stained the pages, the better the recipes taste.

I enjoy revisiting cookbooks from years ago. Sometimes the recipes are just as good as when I first made them and other times I tweak the ingredients with what is available in the markets today.

The ten cookbooks that most influenced my life, in chronological order, are:

Joy of Cooking, by Irma Rombauer. At age 11, I followed her recipe for croissants, and they were perfect.

The Book of Great Desserts, by Maida Heatter. Her explicit instructions are perfect for a novice cook and every cake I tried worked, even the polka-dot cheesecake.

Mediterranean Kitchen, by Joyce Goldstein. She introduced me to herbs and spices and I still follow her recipe for lamb sausage.

On Food and Cooking, by Harold McGee. He explains how to emulsify the classic sauces, such as beurre blanc and hollandaise, so that they never fail.

Splendid Soups, by James Peterson. A recipe for every soup you have ever craved is in this book. The white gazpacho is so refreshing.

Bistro Cooking, by Patricia Wells. By following her recipes, French food is simplified and incredibly delicious. I love her celery remoulade salad.

Rose’s Christmas Cookies, by Rose Levy Berenbaum. Every cookie is a winner, but my favorite is her buttered rum sandwiches.

Best of Thai and Vietnamese Cooking, by Mai Pham. The best dipping sauce I have ever tasted, plus a full explanation of the flavors of southeast Asian cooking.

Regional Foods of Northern Italy, by Marlena de Blasi. The caramelized onion-pea soup that was the favorite of Catherine de Medici is utterly delicious.

100 Greatest Creole Recipes, by Roy Guste. From gumbo to jambalaya to bread pudding, this book has all the New Orleans favorites.

And one more personal choice:

A Passion for Cooking, by the chefs who have taught at Kitchen Conservatory. This compilation has amazing recipes from our very talented local chefs, including the greatest recipe for chicken and the best beet salad.

Read, salivate, cook, eat, and enjoy!

5 Comments for “Anne’s Top 10 Cookbooks”  

  1. AK

    Great list, Anne! I must get a copy of The Joy of Cooking!

  2. AK

    Anne, I just got this, I really love it! Thanks for the encouragement.

  3. paul

    I’ve been hearing that the latest version of Joy is much better (more accessible) than the last version. I need a copy too.

  4. mjo

    You can never miss with Emily Luchetti’s Star’s cookbook for great flavors and straightforward recipes.

  5. Anne

    AK: Joy is a great reference; check out the parsnip recipe which a student recommended to me last night.

    Paul: I still think that the 1975 version is better than the two latest versions.

    MJO: Thank you! I also love Emily Luchetti’s cookbooks. Unfortunately her first 2 books, Star’s and Four-Star Desserts are no longer in print. Kitchen Conservatory does stock her more recent books, A Passion for Desserts and A Passion for Ice Cream. If you would like a copy, call us at 866-862-2433.

    Anne Cori, Kitchen Conservatory