Too Many Useless Cookbooks - do you use a cookbook?

Reply Mon 3 Apr, 2006 04:09 pm
Since I've been married people have given me cookbooks, and 9 times out of 10, they aren't usefull at all. Here's my question - Do you use a cookbook, and if so, what is the name of it?

I want to shop for cookbooks I can actually use. Maybe we can all share good titles and expand our cookbook library. Laughing
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Reply Mon 3 Apr, 2006 04:51 pm
There are a couple of cookbooks that are in reasonably regular rotation here.

The best in some ways is one I bought just about 30 years ago "The I Never Cooked Before Cookbook". Lots of helpful hints and basic recipes and a couple of tasty ones.

I use my old Diet for a Small Planet and Recipes for a Small Planet books more than I use any of the cookbooks like Moosewood.

There are some good recipes in some of the old Time-Life collections. I particularly like the Russian, German, Scandinavian and the best one "The Cooking of Vienna's Empire".


I occasionally poke into one of my Frugal Gourmet cookbooks.

I'm going to pick up some of the Barefoot Contessa's cookbooks as they seem to have a lot of recipes that I'd actually use.

I rarely use pretty, illustrated cookbooks.

In the Time-Life books, I'm more likely to use a recipe from the little spiral-bound books than the large ones with the stories.
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Reply Mon 3 Apr, 2006 06:09 pm
I rarely use a cookbook except for the first time I make a new dish. Once I grasp the basic recipe, I go off on my own tangent. I like the Fannie Farmer cookbook myself because it seems so incredibly comprehensive. I have a few others, including Joy of Cooking, but always reach for FF first.
Reply Mon 3 Apr, 2006 06:16 pm
More than 20 years ago a woman came into the office I was working in and asked if she could leave a sample of a cookbook to review for a week, to see if anyone wanted to buy one. I said sure because the next day was payday and about 50 nurses where going to be stopping in to pick up their checks.

I'd guess about 10 of them wanted a copy, I kept a list.

The woman never came back, she left no card, there was no publisher info in the book.

That the book I have used 99% of the time over the years. It's a huge honking book, probably 700 pages.

Like blacksmith, I read over a receipe, then make it my own.

I still glance at it to check to see how long at what temp for x amnt of pounds.
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Reply Mon 3 Apr, 2006 06:28 pm
I am a cookbook junkie.

I love to find them in garage sales and used book stores.

I find and print recipies off of the internet as well

Yet, when it is time to cook, I put things together on my own.
Rarely.. if ever, I pull out a cookbook.
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Reply Mon 3 Apr, 2006 07:42 pm
I've owned hundreds of cookbooks, have been interested in recipes from various cuisines, but honed them down recently to... about one hundred. I've bought almost all of them at used bookstores. I am sort of picky about my interests, which are particular to me. My suggestion is that you be picky too, getting books you like yourself. A lot of my oldies but goodies are paperback books. My first Marcella Hazan cookbooks were small paperbacks, two of them, held together until recently with two fat rubber bands. I've liked paperbacks, in that I don't feel horrible if I encrust them with some ingredient.

Once in a while I've bought a cookbook from a restaurant I like. 72 Market Street in Venice (California had a good one - the restaurant is closed now.) Incredible meatloaf and gravy recipe in that...

I've a few of the large coffee table type cookbooks, all of them from used book stores, and all for about ten dollars. That's where I got the Bugialli lemon chicken recipe that's on a thread I posted back up in line a few minutes ago. Those kind of books are usually high percentage gloss, with few recipes, but I still find some good ones.

On use of the cookbooks, hmmm. I buy what looks good at the store, come home and open a few books to see what they might suggest with, say, wild salmon filet...

Of course now we can all look online, and I do. But I like the tactile thing of my own books. And like other posters, I fool around with the recipe, only once in a while doing it exactly.
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Reply Mon 3 Apr, 2006 07:48 pm
I use a recipe once and then I change it...or work it from memory.Over the years I've made a small cookbook in a 3 ring binder...stuff from the internet and off the back of labels on cans.
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Reply Mon 3 Apr, 2006 07:56 pm
Me too, panz, re the binder of favorites.

I still have some long article on all kinds of custards. One of these days..

I have a friend who is a way more serious cook than I'd ever try to be. She buys a cookbook from such and such a chef and then cooks her way through it. By the end, while she may not have done every single recipe, she has a good sense of how that chef cooks. She doesn't have anywhere near as many cookbooks as I do, but she knows them very well. In daily life though she just cooks from what looks good in the store and what she thinks would be fun to do with that.
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Reply Tue 4 Apr, 2006 12:14 am
I love cookbooks Smile...I have quite a few and I find most of them useful.

When I shop for cookbooks...I quickly go through 3 or 4 recipes and see if it sounds like I'll like it. I can make out if I (or family) would like a dish by its recipe...So i pick the books i can use.
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Reply Tue 4 Apr, 2006 04:27 am
Can I get some cookbook titles from you all??
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Reply Tue 4 Apr, 2006 07:26 am
I don't use cookbooks much. I do use the Better Homes and Garden's New Cook Book, which I bought a few years ago. I had an earlier copy that was starting to fall apart. That is a very basic, easy book.

Years ago, I bought the Woman's Day Enclopedia of Cooking. That is a 12 volume set that I picked up at the super market, one volume at a time, too many years ago. I have a few recipes that I go to again and again, but don't really look through it much.

One book that I used to look at, but NEVER used was Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking". I'll be damned if I will spend an entire day whipping up victuals that are expressly designed to clog arteries! :wink:
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Reply Tue 4 Apr, 2006 09:28 am
When I bought a slow cooker earlier this year, I had no idea how to use it and so I bought 2 cookbooks:

Not your mother's slow cooker cookbook
Vegetarian slow cooking

I found the veg one to have fairly interesting recipes but the times were WAY off. I used Not your Mother's recently in order to make Boston baked beans, which I'd never made before. They were goo-oooo-ooood -- but I didn't follow the recipe perfectly.

I have a Rachael Ray cookbook that I have not used, will probably read it a bit more closely, plus I have a few prettier ones but they are, I've found, pretty dang useless. One thing I've done is, I have a small photo album, the kind with the pockets where you slip photos in, and I have clipped recipes from magazines and the like and stuffed them in there. It's now overfilled and stuff is falling out of the sides (maybe I'll buy another little album for the overrun). But the thing is, I don't use them much.

The clipped recipes almost all come from either Food & Wine, the NY Times or Boston Globe or Women's World or it was something like that, it was a magazine I got because I had paid for Mode and then Mode went out of business, so the publisher sent me a diff. mag. in its place. I didn't love that other mag. and eventually just cancelled it, so really the majority of recipes are from Food & Wine or a newspaper.

I mainly use recipes for something where proportions really matter (such as baking), something I haven't done before (e. g. the Boston baked beans) or something I don't cook too often (Thanksgiving turkey). Otherwise, I might check for occasional inspiration or if there's little in the kitchen or if I'm bored with the old reliables.
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Reply Tue 4 Apr, 2006 09:51 am
Give us a hint, Hickory Stick, what kind of food interests you?
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Reply Tue 4 Apr, 2006 09:58 am
The only one I really use is Julia Child's "The Way To Cook". It has a "master recipe", not really a finished dish, per say, but a preparation or technique. I find it very handy when I'm cooking something I've never done before -- a different kind of fish or meat especially.

After the master recipe it riffs on different ways to use the concoction and makes suggestions for making it your own.
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Reply Thu 6 Apr, 2006 04:22 pm
Well, ossobucco, I like a lot of southern comfort foods - basically most of what cracker barrel sells, and basically heavy foods with rich flavor.

Most of the cookbooks that have been given to me are filled with "quick and easy" recipes. I don't want to spend hours in the kitchen, but I'm NOT interested in the stir-fry pasta recipes that seem to be the "filler" in most new cookbooks.
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Reply Thu 6 Apr, 2006 04:54 pm
Thanks, Hickory, I'll think on that (I've only been to Cracker Barrel once and don't remember the menu that well.) Back in a bit.

OK, I checked their menu. Back with an attempt at a list of books.
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Reply Thu 6 Apr, 2006 05:07 pm
Oooh, HickoryStick, I have JUST the cookbook for you!!!

OK, the region is a little off (this is Midwestern farm food), but it's comfort food all the way. Lots of butter, lots of lard, not in the least bit healthy, but quite delicious. Also a fun read.

The one I seem to actually use the most is also Better Homes and Gardens' New Cook Book. It's great for a beginner.
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Reply Thu 6 Apr, 2006 05:22 pm
OK, here's three. Back with a couple of mere books..

These are available through a2k amazon link (see the home page, on the right side of the page).

The Lady and Sons Savannah Country Cookbook
see under the book cover photo - you can look at the book chapters and index of recipes..

Miss Mary Bobo's Boarding House Cookbook

Fanny Farmer Cookbook Anniversary Edition (Marion Cunningham)

I'm not familiar with the books, but they all look good to me...
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Reply Thu 6 Apr, 2006 05:24 pm
Oops, quoted rather than "IMG"'ed, sorry:

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Reply Thu 6 Apr, 2006 05:24 pm
nah, cookbooks, manuals - i stay out unless i HAVE TO use them. And then I'm most likely to just google for something particular that strikes my fancy. Rarely happens. I don't like anyone telling me what to do. I like to learn from people, or trying out combinations of my own. These days i hardly ever cook at all though.
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