10 Cookbooks Every Home Cook Needs
The definitive list for kitchens everywhere
Sure, you hit up the Internet for recipes on a daily basis. (Hell yeah, General Tso's Cauliflower!) But there's something super special and old-school about owning cookbooks. Here, the ten we couldn't live without.
“How to Cook Everything” by Mark Bittman
The title of this one kind of says it all. If you were trapped on a desert island (that somehow came fully equipped with a kitchen), this is the book you'd want to take. It’ll teach you how to roast a chicken, flip a pancake and make better pad thai than you could ever get on Seamless.
“Baking” by Dorie Greenspan
Dorie Greenspan is kind of like everyone’s favorite aunt--warm, charming and never without a plate of freshly baked cookies. Her recipes are clear, easy to follow and pretty much foolproof. Start with the World Peace Cookies and don’t blame us when you eat the whole batch.
“The Zuni Café Cookbook” by Judy Rodgers
OK, so every restaurant in the world these days is seasonal, market-driven, farm-to-table, blah blah blah. But in 2006, when San Francisco legend Judy Rodgers first published her 500-page tome, she was still pretty cutting edge. Even more revolutionary? A wonderfully detailed restaurant cookbook that home cooks can actually follow and use. The recipe for her legendary roast chicken and bread salad is a full three pages long, and worth every step.
“The Moosewood Cookbook” by Mollie Katzen
Whether you’re a vegetarian, sticking to Meatless Mondays or you just need a few go-tos for when your vegan yoga instructor neighbor pops by for dinner, it’s important to have a good arsenal of plant-based recipes. We love Mollie Katzen’s 1974 classic, full of satisfying dishes like spinach lasagna, Brazilian black bean soup and swiss-and-mushroom quiche.
“Barefoot Contessa Parties” by Ina Garten
We’re pretty sure that no one on earth throws a better dinner party than Ina Garten. And while we’d give up an appendage for an invite to her place in the Hamptons, we’re happy just to score her recipes. Her book is full of great, seasonally-organized, make-ahead creations--from pitchers of cocktails to brunch casseroles to racks of lamb.
“The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook” by Deb Perelman
When we’re looking for day-to-day inspiration, we turn to our old pal Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen fame. Her book is full of the same kinds of no-fuss, delicious recipes (and gorgeous photography) we’ve come to expect from her wildly popular blog over the last eight years.
“Jerusalem” by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
It was hard for us to pick just one of Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbooks. (We’re also passionate devotees of his vegetarian book, Plenty.) But Jerusalem ultimately stole our hearts. Written collaboratively by two Jerusalem natives—one Jewish, one Arab—it captures the vibrancy of the ancient city in surprising recipes full of bold flavors.
“Essentials of Italian Cooking” by Marcella Hazan
Marcella Hazan is to Italian cooking as Julia Child was to French. If you want to learn how to make real Italian food—including her perfect, deceptively simple four-ingredient marinara—there is only one source. End of story.
“Mexican Everyday” by Rick Bayless
Turns out Mexican food is a bit more complicated than tacos and guacamole. And Rick Bayless, owner of a Chicago empire of upscale Mexican restaurants--has made it his life’s mission to bring this fresh, varied cuisine to the American palate. All of his books are great, but the recipes can get a bit involved. Mexican Everyday is manageable without losing any of the flavor.
“The Cake Bible” by Rose Levy Beranbaum
Because sometimes you just want to make a cake. And Beranbaum will show you how--from a simple coffee cake to a four-tiered, fully decorated wedding cake, and everything in between.