cookbooks I love


my mom dropping me off at the tiny kitchen shop in town while she ran her afternoon errands. i’d cozy up in the back nook of the store, surrounding myself with pillows and cookbooks, and for the next two hours i would totally immerse myself in the world of buttermilk biscuits, lemon pie and seafood gumbo.

I’ve had a strong, passionate love for cookbooks since I was only eleven years old. Currently, as I sit and type this from my childhood bed at my parent’s house, I have about five book boxes stuffed to the brim with them in the garage below me.

In the past, I’ve given you a lengthy list of my favorite novels. We’ve even talked about a few (here, here and here) and I promise, a review and discussion of American Wife coming soon.

I thought this morning though, I’d give you a list of my top ten favorite cookbooks.

Hands down favorites….the ones I always reach to when I’m starving and the ones that move with me wherever I go.

After reading my list, feel free to add your own favorites in the comments! I’d love to hear your favorites, too.

1. The Gourmet Cookbook

reasons why i love it: it’s pretty much the culinary answer to anything and the cookbook I use the most, hands down. I’ve never been let down by any of the recipes and love the little tips and tutorials that are scattered throughout. If I could pick one cookbook to cook from for the rest of my life, this would be it. Truth.

2. Apples for Jam

reasons why i love it: because it’s beautiful. Tess Vella’s photographs will take your breath away and her recipes are simple and comforting. This is a book to be read by a fireplace, snuggled underneath a warm blanket with a cup of hot cocoa by your side.

3. Prairie Home Cooking

reasons why i love it: because once, in high school, I spent three hours making the chicken and mushroom pot pie and, to this day, it’s still the best pot pie I’ve ever tasted. It’s normal to think about pot pie on a daily basis, right?

4. Vineyard Seasons

reasons why i love it: Susan Branch’s sweet illustrations and recipes touch my heart every time I flip the page. Favorites include sesame noodles, chicken and wild rice soup and the boston cream pie I spent a whole day baking when I was only fourteen.

5. How to Eat

reasons why i love it: quite simply, because I want to be Nigella Lawson when I grow up. Enough said.

6. The Art of Simple Food

reasons why i love it: because I’ve had an obsession with Alice Waters and Chez Panisse for the past fifteen years…and because this cookbook perfectly sums up my food philosophy of using simple, quality ingredients to produce amazing meals.

7. The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread

reasons why i love it: it’s so easy to follow! All of the recipes have been adapted for the home cook and you don’t need anything special or fancy…just flour, water, yeast and an oven. I’ve baked countless loaves of bread from this book and it’s great for both a beginner or a bread guru. In my opinion, it’s the best bread baking book out there.

8. Super Natural Cooking

reasons why i love it: Heidi’s blog was the first blog I ever read and still remains one of my very favorites. I love everything about her cookbook and her recipe for otsu has earned a special permanent spot on my weekly menu.

9. At Blanchard’s Table: A Trip to the Beach Cookbook

reasons why i love it: because it’s the food I grew up on, growing up in small Florida town right on the coast. I love all the fresh seafood, Caribbean flavors and fresh side-dishes. I still serve the spicy vegetable slaw at every big gathering and the coconut pound cake is to die for.

10. The Cook and the Gardener: A Year of Recipes and Writings From the French Countryside

reasons why i love it: I’ve been a big Amanda Hesser fan for years and absolutely love this book, which gives simple French recipes according to the season, along with little stories about Amanda’s time working as a cook’s apprentice in France. My very favorite recipe is the black walnut cake…oh, and the rosemary ice cream. It’s worth buying the book for those two recipes alone.

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  • Erika @ Food.Fitness.Fun
    October 29, 2010 at 5:56 am

    I think I might get the Bread Baker’s Apprentice – I am ALWAYS on the lookout for new bread recipes.

    I’m a carb-a-holic. 😉

  • Victoria (District Chocoholic)
    October 29, 2010 at 5:57 am

    Nick Malgieri’s “Chocolate” if only because it has his supernatural brownies recipe in it. But now that I have a signed (!!!) copy of his newest book, “Bake!,” I might slide “Chocolate” to number 2, because “Bake!” just details the process of making so many baked goods so perfectly with photos and step-by-step instructions that I might be able to make a killer piecrust someday.

  • megan @ whatmegansmaking
    October 29, 2010 at 5:57 am

    You’ve convinced me I want to get the gourmet cookbook – it sounds wonderful!

    Has anybody tried the tools and techniques book from Williams Sonoma? I”m debating if I should get that one or not.

    I’m not sure if I have a favorite cookbook…although I do have a certain childhood fondness for my old battered betty crocker cookbook I cooked through with my mom!

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite
    October 29, 2010 at 6:01 am

    I have two of the books you mentioned.

    Gourmet, and Apples & Jam… I love them both!

    Can’t wait to seek out the rest of your recs!

    Thanks 🙂

  • Katie @ Healthy Heddleston
    October 29, 2010 at 6:03 am

    ooo you make me wanna get the bread bakers apprentice cookbook! thanks for this this jenna!

    October 29, 2010 at 6:04 am

    3 years ago after reading you rave about apples for jam I ran to the local book store and bought apples for jam! it’s still one of my favs! 🙂 I’m dying to get the gourmet and at the blachards table!

    do you have any of donna hays’ cookbooks? they food photography is very beautiful and the recipes are so simple.

    October 29, 2010 at 6:05 am

    3 years ago after reading you rave about apples for jam I ran to the local book store and bought apples for jam! it’s still one of my favs! 🙂 I’m dying to get the gourmet and at the blachards table!

    do you have any of donna hays’ cookbooks? the food photography is very beautiful and the recipes are so simple.

  • maria @ Chasing the Now
    October 29, 2010 at 6:05 am

    I have not used any of the cookbooks you recommend, but I will keep them in mind for the future.

  • grocery goddess jen
    October 29, 2010 at 6:12 am

    I love your passion for each of those cookbooks. I have a special place in my heart for my mom’s Betty Crocker cook book from 30+ years ago, just because I remember her making things from it. I have a few vegetarian cook books that I love, but most often am inspired by blogs and online recipes these days.

  • lauren
    October 29, 2010 at 6:15 am

    jenna, do you have any of mollie katzen’s cookbooks? “the vegetable dishes i can’t live without” is adorable with all the drawings.

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman
    October 29, 2010 at 6:17 am

    I like simple foods, so my favorite is Everyday Food (the first cookbook). It’s split up by season and the recipes are approachable, more or less healthy, and really good.

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is
    October 29, 2010 at 6:18 am

    I read cookbooks like novels. It is an intense passion of mine too.

  • Krystina (Organically Me)
    October 29, 2010 at 6:19 am

    I, too, want to be Nigella Lawson when I grow up. I need to work on my cookbook collection; I currently have 0 under my belt. Thanks for the lovely suggestions, Jenna. 🙂

  • Julia
    October 29, 2010 at 6:20 am

    My favorite cookbook by far is How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman. I love that there is a technique lesson for every single fruit, vegetable, and grain imaginable.

  • Kristin (Cook, Bake, Nibble)
    October 29, 2010 at 6:23 am

    I love so many of these cookbooks, especially anything by Alice Waters & Heidi Swanson. I can’t wait for Heidi’s new book!

    A couple of my other favorites include Gordon Ramsay’s Healthy Appetite and Ad Hoc at home. Awesome!


  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    October 29, 2010 at 6:24 am

    These sound like must-haves!! Like Jess (above), I read cookbooks like other people read novels. If you have me a choice between the 2, I’d take the cookbooks any day. Maybe because they have pictures? 😉
    Have a great day!

  • Meaghen
    October 29, 2010 at 6:24 am

    I think I’m going to ask for the Gourmet Cookbook for Christmas this year. You always rave about it! Would you classify it as the Joy of Cooking but Gourmet or are the recipes from Gourmet magazine?

  • Ahn Ei
    October 29, 2010 at 6:27 am

    Ok, I need to go buy all of these boos now! Thanks for the great list!

  • Nic at The Fit Writer
    October 29, 2010 at 6:31 am

    Hi Jenna

    I don’t know if you guys get any of Nigella Lawson’s TV shows over there? If you don’t, and you ever find yourself in a place where you can watch them…don’t! I fear it will ruin your love of her forever. She used to be great (kind of cute and quirky) but as time’s gone on, she’s become a parody of herself and I can hardly bear to watch her shows now. Shame! Stick to the books 😉

  • Heather @ Sugar & Spice
    October 29, 2010 at 6:32 am

    Great post Jenna! I love my cookbooks too. I really enjoy learning about which cookbooks are trusted, go-to, must haves for other cooks, it is a great way to pick up a new favorite. Thanks for sharing yours!

  • melissa roby
    October 29, 2010 at 6:36 am

    I collect cookbooks myself…..thanks for the suggestions! I just went on amazon and purchased Prairie Home Cooking and Vineyard Seasons! Naomi’s Home Company by Naomi Judd is a cookbook that always reminds me of my Mom and I. When I moved to California from Ohio when I was 21, I started to find a passion for cooking. Not only did I love to eat whatever I made, but it was calming to me. This was one of my first cookbooks. For one, I grew up listening to the Judds’ and my Mom loved there music. Plus, the recipes in the cookbook are wonderful. The Sweet Potato Casserole was one of the first that I tried. I was invited to a friend’s house for Thanksgiving, because I couldn’t afford to fly home. It was such a huge hit! I make it for every Thanksgiving now. Every recipe is delicious, with a beautiful story and photo. Although, this isn’t a cookbook for the advanced , it is one that will always be cherished by me.

  • Logan
    October 29, 2010 at 6:40 am

    I have shelves full of the ones that are put out by churches and schools for fundraisers, plus some “go to” books for reference and good recipes. I don’t have the Gourmet cookbook you mentioned and I would like to. I’d also like to get Julia Childs’ Art of French Cooking….just to have it. I probably use my “Joy of Cooking” more than any other cookbook because it is a great reference tool. I also have an old Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook that also is good for reference.

  • Alina @ Duty Free Foodie
    October 29, 2010 at 6:46 am

    I like cookbooks with step-by-step picture instructions. Normal? Seriously though, the Gourmet Cookbook is next on my shopping list.

  • Nelly@CrazySexyFit
    October 29, 2010 at 6:49 am

    I have the Prairie Home Cookbook! I used to have an apron and a bonnet, too 🙂

    My favorite cookbook of all time is either my grandmother’s old edition of the Joy of Cooking (gives beautifully illustrated instructions on how to clean various game as well as the proper way to set table for a formal brunch) or the Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book. I can’t have more than a bite of wheat-based foods anymore without blowing up like a balloon, but this book is just so sensually written that I instantly return to the days of inhaling huge slices of buttered and honeyed whole grain toast…

    In other news, I seriously need a good gluten-free bread recipe. Got anything? 😀

  • stacey-healthylife
    October 29, 2010 at 7:09 am

    I wanna check out some of those books, I love cookbooks also.

  • Heather (Heather's Dish)
    October 29, 2010 at 7:18 am

    i’ve never tried any of these books, but they sound amazing! i love books…the written word IN PRINT is so exciting to me 🙂 guess that’s what happens when you study english and your dad’s an english professor, right? 😉

  • Heather I.
    October 29, 2010 at 7:21 am

    Apples For Jam is a fav over here, too! A few others I can’t get enough of are Martha’s Cookie cookbook, America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook and my latest being Fat Witch Brownies. Oh, and can I count all my Taste of Home mags?? I love this post!

  • Camille
    October 29, 2010 at 7:21 am

    I love cookbooks too.
    Thank you for this list, I need to start rounding some of those book up!

  • skinnyrunner
    October 29, 2010 at 7:24 am

    nigella lawson is one sexy mama of a cook, i always like to look at the pictures in her books.

  • Natalia - a side of simple
    October 29, 2010 at 7:32 am

    Prairie Home Cooking = Love. Plain and Simple. And oh-so-perfect for “the long winter.”

  • M.
    October 29, 2010 at 7:33 am

    You’re sitting in your childhood bed? You flew home? Wondering if I read that right.

    You seem to think about on the past a lot in a nostalgic manner. You’re only 25 years old though right. Try not to live behind yourself so much. You’re only a baby yet.

  • Beth @ DiningAndDishing
    October 29, 2010 at 7:38 am

    The other day we were talking about who we would most like to trade places with and I said Nigella. Everyone made fun of me for my answer but I’m serious! I am totally jealous of her life.

  • chacha
    October 29, 2010 at 7:40 am

    From my one year stint of not eating meat, I was gifted a Moosewood Cookbook. Excellent vegetarian cookbook.
    “Simple Suppers” – Moosewood Collective
    “Enchanted Broccoli Forest” – Mollie Katzen (I am obsessed with her Russian Carrot Pie recipe in this book – for a serial “new recipes every week” person, I’ve made that one 4 times already).

  • Cathy B. @ Bright Bakes
    October 29, 2010 at 7:47 am

    thanks for the great list! I also adore reading cookbooks! and can’t wait to check out some of the ones I’m not already familiar with…although many, (BBA anyone?) are already old friends of mine :)…
    cathy b. @ brightbakes

  • Jasmine
    October 29, 2010 at 7:49 am

    Wow. The way you describe yourself with cookbooks has always been me with regular books, a good story. It’s my passion beyond anything else. How cool to imagine a little girl so into cookbooks.

  • Ellen
    October 29, 2010 at 7:53 am

    “how to cook everything” by mark bittman is my go-to “what do i do with X that i just bought at the grocery store and need to cook for dinner tonight!”

    “la cucina: the regional cookbook of italy” is my bible for italian food. i’m obsessed, and after studying food there last year, giada just won’t cut it. this book is THICK and has everything you need to know! from fresh pasta, to braised rabbit, there are dozens of recipes for each.

    “the perfect scoop” by david lebovitz is also essential because, well, ice cream!

    • Ellen
      October 29, 2010 at 7:55 am

      also- i love amanda hesser as well. do you stalk food 52 as much as i? haha

    • Ashley
      October 29, 2010 at 6:16 pm

      totally agree – “how to cook everything” by Mark Bittman is a wonderful, basic cookbook, and my fall-back every day. I probably don’t go a week without opening it. Not sure how to cook artichokes? Want 10 good recipes for chicken breasts? Need to learn how to make a killer sourdough bread? it’s all there, in basic language. Love it.

  • Ashley
    October 29, 2010 at 7:53 am

    I am also a huge fan of Alice Waters cookbooks. The way you feel about Apples for Jam is the way I feel about Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights. Such a beautiful book and so fun to read. I got my Super Natural Cooking cookbook at Anthro on clearance of all places. I really lucked out on that on. She has a new cookbook coming out soon. I want it!

  • Katie H
    October 29, 2010 at 8:02 am

    Two cookbooks that never fail:

    “Baked: New Frontiers in Baking”
    “Barefoot Contessa Family Style”

  • S @
    October 29, 2010 at 8:03 am

    Dorie Greenspan’s _Paris Sweets_ for desserts!

    Have you ever made thing mints from Heidi’s book? I experienced an epic fail—the peppermint extract solidified the melted chocolate and wrecked my dipping potential… not sure why, but deeply saddened. 😉

  • Amber K
    October 29, 2010 at 8:08 am

    I have actually never been able to find a cookbook that had more than one or two recipes that I liked. With my food intolerances and preferences, it would be sort of difficult!

  • Liz
    October 29, 2010 at 8:27 am

    I love the New York Times Cookbook, for being so comprehensive.

    For beautiful pictures (and healthy recipes) I love the Canyon Ranch Cookbook. And for creating a “lifestyle” I have to say Jamie Oliver’s cookbooks, but I actually never make anything out of them.

    Moosewood Cookbook… a little hippy-dippy but I love so many of the vegetarian recipes.

    Also… Jane Brody’s Good Food Book. This one is from the early 1980s, I think, when… believe it or not… eating lots of carbs was in. (The subtitle of the book is actually “Living the High Carbohydrate Way.”) It’s got some amazing bread and muffin recipes. I bought it as an adult when I realized that a bunch of the recipes my mother always cooked were in it.

    Cooking Downeast… classic Maine food… and to be honest, some of the best best BEST recipes are in a little self-published cookbook put out by a local ladies’ auxilary.

  • Courtney @ Ice Cream & Wine
    October 29, 2010 at 8:31 am

    Jenna, thank you so much for listing these books and the reasons why you love them. There are SO many cookbooks out there today, so it’s really helpful to see a condensed list – from a trusted authority! Have a great weekend!

  • Jenny
    October 29, 2010 at 8:38 am

    These are great! I will definitely add a couple to my christmas list:)

  • Rachel @ The Avid Appetite
    October 29, 2010 at 8:50 am

    I really need to branch out! My go-to is The Joy of Cooking and Betty Crocker via my mom. I’ve really been wanting the Gourmet cookbook…Christmas is coming!

  • katie
    October 29, 2010 at 9:04 am

    love your list. my mom just sent me some recipe cards so im going to start and fill those up too.

  • Food & Other Things
    October 29, 2010 at 9:21 am

    I love cookbooks…I can’t wait to check these out!

  • L
    October 29, 2010 at 9:33 am

    I need to check out some of your picks. I haven’t even heard of some of them! An excellent reason to buy a few new cookbooks! I am OBSESSED with Martha Stewart’s Cooking School book. Lots of technique exercises and instructions on basic recipes, then how to make them fancy. There are step-by-step photos of everything, which is fun, even when you know how to do something already. It’s always fun to learn a new way of doing something or a shortcut. My mom has a cookbook from the 1950s (maybe 1940s?) called “The Way to Your Man’s Heart” (not 100% sure on the title). It’s so cute! It’s about how to make good food for your husband, to express your love. It’s a great little book.

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape
    October 29, 2010 at 9:34 am

    I do like Nigella. Except for when I leafed through her book for fast, easy meals and there was a recipe for quail. What normal grocery store carries quail?? Maybe I’m not looking hard enough at mine but I’ve never seen it, lol.

    Wonderful list of cookbooks here! I haven’t heard of all of them but will definitely search them out now.

  • Jen
    October 29, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Dinners. LOVE this cookbook. I think I’ve made pretty much everything in it and it’s all fantastic. It is by far the most stained piece of readery that I own.

  • Alyse
    October 29, 2010 at 9:49 am

    Joy of Cooking. Hands down. I love it, but the index sucks. 🙁

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey
    October 29, 2010 at 10:01 am

    Is it bad of me not to have a favorite cook book? I usually just look online for things!!

  • Dana @ my little celebration
    October 29, 2010 at 10:11 am

    I just tried out America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook and really liked it. Ever cooked from it?

  • Bonnie
    October 29, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Oh, new cookbooks to look at!! I love reading cookbooks I may have just put Apples & Jam into my Amazon shopping cart ;-). Thanks for the list Jenna!

  • Jenn @ LiveWellFitNow
    October 29, 2010 at 10:45 am

    My current go to cookbook is a ridiculous binder full of magazine cut outs, old family recipes and everything in between!

    And for some reason cookbooks have scared me in the past…so much to pick from and no idea where to start!!! Silly, I know. But I’m slowly getting over this fear. Very slowly.

    May just go out and buy The Art of Simple Food- because simple food is the backbone of my philosophy. 🙂

  • Alexia@ Dimple Snatcher
    October 29, 2010 at 10:57 am

    I love browsing cookbooks in the bookstore and I’m purchasing these two to start my collection:

    + Delicious Jamaica: Vegetarian Cuisine by Yvonne McCalla Sobers
    + The Real Taste of Jamaica by Enid Donaldson

    Have a great weekend!

  • Margaret
    October 29, 2010 at 11:11 am

    I really like Katie Lee (Joel’s) cookbooks, they’re simply fantastic and fantasticly simple, which for a twenty-something is perfect. I’ve become famous for her oreo truffles, her chili, and the apricot porkchops. Really a go to for me.

  • Erin Rose
    October 29, 2010 at 11:49 am

    I love my Little House Cookbook – my grandparents gave it to me when I was ten or so, and I treasure both the authentic, rustic recipes and the memories of the sweet people who introduced me to sourdough starter, grits, and homemade peanut butter fudge.

  • Lizz @ Leading the Good Life
    October 29, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    I love Jack Bishop’s A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen. It is divided into seasons and there are soups, salads, pastas, and entrees for each. Plus some really beautiful photos.

    I love reading cookbooks. I have a stack of them next to by bed at all times!

  • Rebecca
    October 29, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Super Natural Cooking is one of my all-time favorites also. I made the Acai Power Popsicles for my kids and they loved them! I hold The Enchanged Broccoli Forest by Mollie Katzen close to my heart as well.

  • jane
    October 29, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    hey! love the blog and the new approach. eating healthy and all that jazz is great and i try to be as healthy as i can-but caman, gotta have some bacon and frosting! question though-i thought you grew up in florida, am i wrong? did you grow up in savannah?

  • Lola
    October 29, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    A Nigella Lawson reminds me so much of my mom (her looks)! But as for cooking, she’s got nothing on you 😉

  • Tal
    October 29, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    I make Heidi’s Otsu every week and add it to salads!

  • Helene - Happy @ Thirty
    October 29, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    I love cookbooks. Ive got tons of them but always make the same old boring things.
    I dont have a favorite book but I remember my 1st cookbook. It’s called “Je cuisine avec maman”, which means “I cook with mummy”. It’s a French book that I used to use when I was little. Last time I went to visit my parents, I had a look at it and realised how dirty it got. I must have dropped lots of my experiment on it…at least I used it 😉

  • Jenny H
    October 29, 2010 at 2:05 pm


    I just wanted to let you know of a magical moment that you helped make possible today. This past Sunday, an apartment in our building was destroyed by an electrical fire while the two residents were gone, killing their beloved kitty and pup inside. Needless to say my heart broke for them but having not met them previously, I was at a loss for how to help. I wanted to get them a gift card to Bed Bath and Beyond but as my husband and I are both students we couldn’t afford to. Then my husband suggested a brilliant idea – to bake them cookies. Now I am typically the person that likes to replace a good amount of butter and sugar with applesauce and pumpkin puree but not this time. And I knew just where to look for a recipe – eatliverun. So I picked up some butter at the convenience store as we only had a tbsp’s left and baked up BethT’s recipe. I wrapped them up while they were still warm and was lucky enough to catch the wife while she was outside the building. She started to cry when she felt that the cookies were still warm, then I started to cry for her. She said “why do I wait until something tragic happens to realize what nice people we live with? I mean you made me cookies!”

    Anyways just wanted to share an account of a little culinary comfort that you played a part in. Never underestimate the power of a chocolate chip cookie 🙂 . Oh and I saved two cookies one for me and one for my husband err um two for me and he should have been here to eat it before I could!

    • Marieke
      November 1, 2010 at 5:04 am

      wow what a sad story, I’m sorry to hear about the pets! I hope that your neighbours will be ok.

  • Dynamics
    October 29, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    I love the uniqueness of your cookbook selections. Bread Baker was recommended to me and being a bit pricey I checked it out from the library. The next day with coupon in hand I purchased the book. It definitely is a great book and explains the process of baking bread so well. I collect cookbooks and if it has some stories with history and I can make but one recipe, it is worth the money. Hopefully some day you will be able to have all your books in one place proudly displayed.

  • Jean
    October 29, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    I have a serious cookbook addiction. I have been reading and collecting cookbooks since I was 11 and I am now 49. I must have at least 2000 or more and thats not counting novels . I adore Tessa Kiros and have all her books – thats who you meant right not Tess Vella? Love your blog. Its refreshing to read about someone else who has a passion for food and all books. My earliest memories are of books and food and apart from my family nothing in life gives me more pleasure.Have you heard of Nigel Slater?He is a wonderful British food writer and cookbook author.Try to get his book Appetite.When I read it for the first time it made me weep with pleasure at his sheer love and passion for food.

  • Katie
    October 29, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Jenna, I just want to say that I love that you share your nostalgia and sentimental memories with us. Whether you are 25 or not (cough), there is such a great benefit in looking back –you can reminisce and see where your present values have come from, how they’ve developed, how you hope to nurture them in the future. Reading your blog has often made me stop to recall and celebrate little isolated points in life where food signified something else, as well as the long, overarching rhythms of life that were punctuated by what we ate or otherwise experienced through our senses. So, not to be snarky to any other comment, but just to let you know I appreciate the way you reflect. (Even if you’re 25. Cough.)

    And, with that, I wonder if you have checked out Food to Live By? It has some simple and some more “gourmet” recipes in it that I think would be fitting for your tastes. It’s by Myra Goodman, who started Earthbound Organic Farms with her hubs. It’s been a good source of inspiration for me to start from, and the photography is beautiful. Might be worth a gander : ) My favorite gluten-free (ok, my favorite cookbook period) is Elana Amsterdam’s Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook. Even the glutinous (haha, get it?) love that stuff.

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin
    October 29, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    My favourite “cookbook” is my huge shelf of Fine Cooking magazines. It’s recipes are wonderful!

  • Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary)
    October 29, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    LOVE this post Jenna! I made a book mark to this page so I can come back to it and do a bit more research. Have been thinking about adding some cook books to my collection. -m

  • Kate
    October 29, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    Thanks for this post — I too LOVE cookbooks and cooking magazines..and was also a devout Little House fan growing up. Until you, I thought I was the only person who loved reading the Prairie books for the food descriptions….now I realize there were many others just like me:) I love so many different cookbooks, but a really cool mostly vegan cookbook (I am not vegan or vegetarian, but love ALL food!) is Rebar (recipes from the restaurant by the same name in Vancouver). It is AWESOME. Everything I have made has been delicious!

  • Katelynn
    October 31, 2010 at 8:36 am

    There is something so comforting about cookbooks. I also would sit in the corner of a bookstore with my mom or alone and fall into cookbooks. I love nights I can sit with a glass of wine and read through a cookbook.

    The Gourmet cookbook is also one I have on hand.

  • Elisabeth
    November 2, 2010 at 9:19 am

    I am a total cookbook junkie. Three weeks ago (right before our wedding), my husband gifted me with an old, gently used edition of “From Julia Child’s Kitchen”. He got it at a used book store, and I cried when he gave it to me. There is nothing like the smell and feel of an old cookbook. They seriously smell wonderful. ***awkward***

    I have the vintage gold souvenir version of The Better Homes and Gardens from 1965 that I unearthed at an antique shop 10 years ago. That is one of my most prized possessions (***again…awkward***), and I display it on my kitchen counter on a cookbook stand. I cook from it at least twice a week. I prefer the simplicity of the recipes, and the fact that many of them specifically call for “lard”. Love it.

    Like you, I would read them for fun as a child. Wow…I could seriously go on forever about cookbooks! They’re my favorite.

  • Rachel Wilkerson
    November 3, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    I love The Art of Simple Food! I went to reference it this morning and realized I somehow left the damn thing at my house in Michigan. WHAT?! Awful.

    I also collect vintage cookbooks and I love when people get them for me as gifts!! The perfect thing to find online or at thrift stores.

  • David
    November 18, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    Your post is so informative. I just knew of three of the books

  • Tracey
    December 27, 2010 at 8:50 am

    Such a great post! I’m so so glad I’m not the only one with this mad obsession! I recently wrote an article about the challenge my dozens of cookbooks presented. 52 Ways to Cook:

  • Caroline Moore
    August 1, 2011 at 6:17 am

    I, like you, am from SC. And I just found out about 10 years ago (soon to be 11), when I got married that I did not even know how to boil water. So, I went on a quest to learn to cook. But being southern and being married to a VERY southern boy (meat and potatoes) – I have been through some cookbooks. My favorites are always Amish (because it’s all homemade). Or a local church cookbook. But I have WORN OUT my The Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook. We have loved everything, so far! I just found your blog last week and have already made the cheddar Wafers for our road trip. They went over well and I have 4 more of your recipes printed off to try this week!!! Love your blog!!!!