March 27, 2014

What’s Your Favorite Cookbook?

Jun8

cookbook decisions_opt

One of my family manager goals this summer is for the kids to all master a few recipes. My girls were browsing some of my new cookbooks trying to decide what they wanted to learn and to them, it’s all about the food photography. If the picture looks amazing, they want to make it. I have a ton of “kid cookbooks,” but none are exactly what I want. In my “free time,” I’d love to write a Cooking with Kids” cookbook, emphasizing the importance of family meal time, ideas for making meal time meaningful, and of course, lots of “how to” recipes…all while doing it on a budget. Look for it completed by the time our children graduate. :)

During this “perfect recipe” searching process, the realization hit of just how many cookbooks I own. People have all sorts of collections, don’t they? I guess I collect cookbooks, and the problem is that I don’t want to get rid of any of them. I love them all. I feel as if I am betraying a part of my culinary legacy because each one holds a tiny memory.

cookbooks on shelves_opt

Do you see that shelf? Notice any problem? Yes, it’s bowing from the weight of too many cookbooks (and there’s another whole shelf you can not see.) I guess it’s time to start passing on some of my “heritage” to the next generation of wanna be cookers. :)

I bought the Better Homes and Garden “New” Cookbook at an estate sale for $3 when I first got married. It’s one of my “go to” books when I am trying something new, and my Mr. Food Cooks Like Mama cookbook was a wedding shower gift. I still use it all the time, and now my kids will as well because it has yummy recipes for people who don’t know how to cook. I have breakfast, lunch and dinner cookbooks – cookbooks for just muffins, cookbooks for just salads, even cookbooks for recipes that only use beans. Not to mention the tons of whole food books from all the years I was completely consistent with only eating whole food. Mix that with great recipes from magazines and now the host of on line recipes  and it’s recipe overload. Even though I get the majority of my recipes on line, there’s something about holding and browsing those cookbooks that just bring me back to simpler times and I LOVE them.

I started counting the number of cookbooks that I own and it’s in the dozens…yes, I know…too many. I’ll be passing on some of these to my friends in real life (come get them, girlfriends :)).

cookbooks for kids_opt

So, am I the only one who collects cookbooks?

I thought it would be fun to share how many you own and if you have one or two favorites that are like a best friend…please, give us the title. Once I clear out all these old ones, I might need a few new ones. :)


Comments

  1. I did collect them. For years. Then my older girls grew up, moved out and so did most of my cookbooks. I still have waaaaaaay too many. My favorites would have to be any that are sold by churches. Let’s face it….God created church women to worship Him and to cook.

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    Jens Reply:

    HAHA…oh, what a great way to start out my morning. That made me chuckle….worship and cook. Sounds great to me. :)

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  2. My favorite of all time is my Original 1950 Betty Crocker Cookbook. I love the recipes and the pictures and the introductions to the chapters and the recipes.

    I have a tall 6-shelf bookshelf in my kitchen that I bought for my cookbooks. After I loaded it up, including every Southern Living Cookbook since 1994, every Mediterranean cookbook my husband has been able to find on ebay (our favorite ethnic flavoring), every Kosher cookbook he could find (we follow a Levitical diet), and a host of baking and bread making cookbooks, I still had two boxes of books that had no place to go. Including the entire Sue Gregg collection. I told my husband that I needed to weed through my cookbooks and make room. His answer was to just get another shelf. HA!

    Hallee

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    Jens Reply:

    Hallee – I love your man…that’s the attitude. (And yes, I have tons of Sue Gregg…haven’t thought of those in years. Thanks for the reminded…lol)

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  3. your cookbook idea sounds great…go for it.

    I love cookbooks, but I am thinking my new one, mommy and me cookbook, that I bought for my 4 yo will be my new favorite one.

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  4. I have way too many! I love all the Paula Deen cookbooks, Apples for Jam for the photos alone, and Baking With Dorie is lovely too.

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  5. I,too, collect cookbooks. I am currently blogging through Simply in Season and I love it!

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  6. I have two shelves FULL….but my absolute favorite is “My Recipes” – a place to write in my own favorites (including those handed down from friends and family) it’s my go-to book!

    Next in line though, are ANY Taste of Home or church cookbook – I find they have the BEST recipes because people only submit their favorites!! :)

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  7. I have tons of cookbooks. I don’t even know how many. I don’t think I could name a favorite. Although, I love my old Taste of Home ones and my Martha Stewart ones.

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  8. Lol! Yes, I have a plethora of cookbooks, but lately I’ve been using a lot of recipes from Tasty Tuesday. It has helped tremendously as I don’t have to pour over cookbooks for hours on end. I saw your post about Springpad and just signed up for it. I’m already excited about it for recipes but for so many articles that I want to go back to as well.

    My favorite cookbooks would be Southern Living’s Favorite Reader Recipes, several church cookbooks, and my Betty Crocker 40th Anniversary cookbook (from my wedding). I went in and counted – 48 and that is after purging some a while ago. :D Some are booklets, so they are smaller.

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    Jens Reply:

    @Sherry, Yea, that Tasty Tuesday has been a help. I love that they’re tried and true recipes and most of the bloggers have already improved upon the original. :)

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  9. I think I have less than 20 cookbooks. I’m just not a collector. My favorite, though is Mennonite Country Style Recipes by Esther Shank. I modify many of the recipes to be gluten-free and/or a little healthier, but the basic recipes are just the kind my family enjoys. The book was given as a wedding gift and 21 yrs. later it is falling apart.

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    Jessica Reply:

    @Linda, I totally forgot – we have several Amish cookbooks – and yes, they are simple/basic – just what my kids love! :)

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  10. What a coincidence that you wrote about too many cookbooks, I just posted about the same thing last week! In fact, I am working my way through using a few recipes in all of them to see which ones can be culled from the herd.
    I totally agree with the church cookbook and Southern Living cookbook comments but I would also add that “Texas Ties” from the Harris County (Houston area for you non-Texans) Junior League is one of the best cookbooks ever.

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  11. I got a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook when I was 18 or 19, and it’s still my favorite go-to. I’m still amazed that I’m finding new recipes to try in there.

    I don’t own a lot of cookbooks, but I love reading them. I think I offend my mom and MIL when I go visit them, because I spend most of the “visiting” time sitting in a chair with one of their cookbooks, just browsing. It’s so fun!

    I’m trying to eliminate most of the meat from our diet, and I have yet to find a really good vegetarian cookbook. Any suggestions?

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    Amber Reply:

    @Starving Student Survivor, Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian is one of my favorite vegetarian cookbooks. No gorgeous pictures, but TONS of great recipes and information.

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    Karen @ Abundance on a Dime Reply:

    @Starving Student Survivor,

    Have you tried Passionate Vegetarian by Crescent Dragonwagon, World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffrey, or Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison? These books are all rather large tomes (700+ pages) and expensive to purchase, but your library should have at least one of them! They are great books to browse through to get ideas.

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  12. I love Barbara Beery’s cookbooks. They are so girly!! I have the Fairies one right now but will soon have to take it back to the library. This is where I got the Frosty Fairy Mints recipe. :)

    I, too, refer to the Better Homes and Garden cookbook for a lot of recipes, and I alter them sometimes to make them more healthy.

    I use Hopkins’ Healthy Homecooking quite a bit, too.

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  13. I have oodles of cookbooks, mostly from churches in towns where I’ve lived. I also have about a million and one back issues of Taste of Home. These days, my go-to cookbooks are Pioneer Woman and the Mitford Cookbook. Practical and oh so good!

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  14. Oh I love cookbooks (only with pictures though!), but have recently started purging them and cleaning out. Just too many w/out any good places to store them.

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  15. The two cookbooks I always go to as resources are my mother’s Better Homes & Garden (looks just like the one on YOUR shelf), that I stole from my mother; and the other one is my Joy of Cooking. Any time I want an understanding of where a cut of meat comes from & the best way to cook it, or to know the origins of & recipe for a certain food, that’s the one I grab. It has SO much information that I use in my everyday cooking!

    I used to have about 100 cookbooks, but I purged several years ago, when I got a baker’s rack (for the sole purpose of making it a cookbook rack). Now I’ve got under 50 – this is progress!

    Another of my all-time favorites is Dom Deluise’s “Eat this – It’ll Make you Feel Better” – classic Italian home cooking.

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  16. I counted 34 cookbooks on my shelf! my “go to” cookbook is still the Betty Crocker one also – all the basics are there. I cannot pick a favorite cookbook; just not possible. They each have their own gems. I have a few vintage cookbooks that were my mothers – honestly I never make recipes from them. I’ve found interesting recipes that I think I’d like to make, but I find they are written in such a way that they are hard to follow, and they rarely contain pictures, so I never know if it “looks right”. The best cook books always contain photos (IMHO).

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    Jens Reply:

    @Sharon @ UnfinishedMom, I’m definitely going to have to keep my eye out for the vintage Betty Crocker one. I wonder how many I have passed up at yard sales and just over looked them?

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  17. I love cookbooks as evidenced by my “cookbook corner”….
    http://robertapm28.blogspot.com/2008/11/homemaking-cookbook-corner.html

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  18. My favorite cookbook is from my mother-in-law. It’s one her church put together, and it includes several of HER famous recipes. She passed away shortly after Mark and I got married, so it’s even more special…

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    Jens Reply:

    @Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect, Oh Mary – that would be a treasure for me as well.

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  19. I totally collect cookbooks! I have a bookshelf in my kitchen crammed full. My faves are the Gooseberry Patch cookbooks. And I have an old one from a mother’s group I used to attend back in the 90′s that features some of my favorite, tried and true recipes.

    Love this idea of having your kids master recipes this summer. What else do you have planned? If you write a post, be sure and alert me as I would love to read it!

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    Jens Reply:

    @Marybeth Whalen, Can you believe I haven’t heard of the Gooseberry Patch cookbooks? Thanks a lot…now another to add to my browsing list. :) Congrats on your book….yea! Just saw the announcement. Enjoy your time at the beach.
    I’ll let you know when I do the post. Last night my teen boys conquered Mexican Lasagna, so we’re off to a good start.

    (And your editor eye caught me while I published this post for the waiting people, and then went to edit it…. :) lol)

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  20. Oh yes, I’m with you on collecting cookbooks. At one time I had over 500! I’ve culled it down a little bit. I love to just browse through them. What a wonderful thing to pass on to your kiddos.

    Christi @ A Southern Life

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    Jens Reply:

    @Christi at A Southern Life, Ok Christi – So far you definitely are going to win the prize…500? WOW! But what a fun afternoon I would have with all of those. :)

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  21. My favorite cookbook hands down is The Great American Favorite Brand Name Cookbook. I have yet to try a recipe from there that we didn’t like. And it’s loaded with pictures. (An absolute must…if there’s no pictures I won’t buy or borrow it :-))

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  22. I had no idea until I had so many until I started packing them up – I’ve packed 57 so far and I keep coming across others in the strangest places, including my girls’ beds! I can’t bring myself to get rid of a single one either. Someday!

    And Jen, you definitely need to check out the Gooseberry Patch cookbooks. I have a Christmas one and it’s great. I know you’d love them!!

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  23. I have a bunch of cookbooks, too–it’s hard to pick a favorite! I guess I would say my Gooseberry Patch cookbooks.

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  24. I do own a lot of cookbooks and every so often I go through the collection and move the ones I am using less to a bookcase upstairs. Then later, I may decide to get rid of or keep the cookbook. I’ve kept all of my husband’s cookbooks, even though he only uses one of them now. We currently own about 55 cookbooks!

    One of my absolute favorites is the cookbook that my husband’s grandfather used when he worked as a baker. Some of his handwritten recipes were tucked into the book. Almost all of my husband’s generation still make Papa Bill’s butter cookies!

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  25. I’m not a food blogger (though it’s my summer goal to become one!), but I posted a recipe today and knew that someone had to have a “Tasty Tuesday” meme and found your blog on a Google search. I’ll have to play more in the future.

    I have a lot of cookbooks, too. I almost always find my favorite recipes in those fundraiser cookbooks that churches or whoever does. Lots of yummy family favorites!

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  26. Jen, I will NOT count my cookbooks! :) I’m afraid I would feel guilty … I DO love cookbooks and can’t pick a favorite, but I think the one I pull out the most often is our family made one. We have the recipe cards written from family members there, and it’s our special stash of fav’s. I’ve also found some “Virginia Hospitality” cookbooks by a women’s club in VA to be excellent and reliable, also including some near history and suggestions about how the recipes are used and at what functions. My kids love to cook, and it’s fun to have them rummaging through my cookbooks now and swapping recipes with ME. :)

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  27. Kristina says:

    Joy of Cooking, hands down. I have three different editions, which I consult regularly. It’s almost more of a reference book, since it always gives variations and substitutions for every recipe. I’m all about options, since I very rarely follow a recipe to the letter, anyway.

    I’m of the opinion that if kids have attained a decent reading level, that any cookbook will work. I’ve often thought about writing a party cookbook. We do a lot of entertaining, and kids especially enjoy “assemble your own” sorts of dinners, like making pizzas or sushi or stir fry or any other assemble-able food. Of course, the pizza dough can get a little grey by the time they finish playing with it and really make a pizza, but as long as they’re the ones eating it, I don’t mind.

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    Jens Reply:

    @Kristina, OK Kristina – you are about the 5th person to say Joy of Cooking…I’m keeping my eyes open for it from now on. :)
    And I totally agree with you that the kids can use any cookbook. If I ever write one, it will be specifically woven with ideas for parents and kids cooking together….now I am going to be brainstorming. LOL

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    Kristina Reply:

    It turns up at our library’s used book sale sometimes. It’s more fun when the last person who loved a cookbook made notes in it!

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  28. Oh Jen, I feel exactly the same about my cookbooks! They are all special, and I have a bowing bookshelves too. In fact, I have a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook (just like yours from the estate sale) that was my Mom’s. She bought it in the late 1950′s. I used to “read” it as a little girl and I still use it to cook from now (although I have bought a more modern version too!). I’ve also got all my Dad’s old cookbooks as well, and I love to remember my parents by cooking things they cooked from their books. Thanks for hosting Tasty Tuesday!

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  29. I love cookbooks and recipes. I may never make a recipe out of a particular cookbook but just love reading it and looking at the pictures. Right now I love the New Taste of Home Cookbook, and I just received a copy of The Pioneer Woman’s new cookbook.

    I have several files with recipes in them and I have plans to put them into a notebook (nicely organized…we’ll see)

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  30. My favorite is a book that fell apart and I can’t get it now. America Cooks. It had recipes from clubs all over the states and some of them were fantastic.

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  31. I love cookbooks….this is one of my faves – http://ilovemy5kids.blogspot.com/2009/10/sweet-giftbarney-andy-opie-and-aunt-bee.html

    Blessings to you!

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  32. I collect cookbooks as well. In fact, I not only collect them, but they are among my favorite reading materials. I am currently constructing a bookcase for my kitchen just to house all of them!

    My favorite cookbook would have to be Joy of Cooking. It’s not the prettiest and the pictures are severely lacking, but it allows you to cook almost anything you can think of! Plus, it’s the first cookbook I was introduced to and the first cookbook my mom bought me before I moved out of the house.

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  33. Even after clearing out some of my cookbooks, they still number in the hundreds. I read them like novels and I tell you, I am convinced they multiply like rabbits in the dark recesses of my many bookcases where they are stacked 2 deep. That is my story and I’m sticking to it! ;)

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  34. My favorite cookbook of all time is “Cooking Downeast” by Marjorie Standish. She lived in my town in Maine and wrote her cookbook in the fifties. It is a staple that my Mom used, and I use today–and I hope to pass it on to my kids, complete with the greasy pages, like the ones for Maine Apple Pie!

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  35. I too collect cookbooks – I have to be careful or they slowly take over my storage!

    I love my tried and true Betty Crocker cookbook, plus a couple of old 4-H cookbooks I have acquired thru the years. If I want a more adventurous dish I will look to more exotic cookbooks – but if I want something comforting, filling and reliable, I pull out these cookbooks!

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  36. Free time? I do not know the language you are speaking. The words sound familiar, but not necessarily spoken together.

    That said, my cookbook is a pile of printed out recipes several inches thick. Week by week I test recipes, photograph them, post them. One would think the pile would shrink, but no this is not at all the case. It grows, on a logarithmic scale.

    I guess my favorite cookbook is the internet.

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  37. I love cookbooks! I have 150+ cookbooks in my collection. I used to have more but have given some away. My current favorites are: Weber’s Real Grilling by Jamie Purviance, Perfect Recipes for Having People Over by Pam Anderson, and any of Ina Garten’s Barfoot Contessa cookbooks.

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  38. I have about 75 cookbooks or so (and I have purged quite a few from my collection over the years!) I’ve been an avid cook since I was about 8 so I’ve had plenty of time to build up a collection, lol.

    My two favourites are The Fannie Farmer Cookbook by Marion Cunningham, which is an excellent, all-purpose general reference cookbook, and The More with Less Cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre. I prefer books that use basic ingredients rather than those calling for boxes of pudding, whipped topping, etc. I got both of these books at yard sales; Fannie Farmer for 50 cents (hardcover in like-new condition) and More with Less for a quarter!

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    Karen Reply:

    @Karen @ Abundance on a Dime, I think we’re twins! I’ve got about 80 cookbooks, by estimate, favorite is More with Less, still looking for Fanny Farmer, and prefer starting with basic ingredients. I also have found most of my best ones on the cheap. I tend to look for original versions from the 1930′s and 1940′s.

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    Karen @ Abundance on a Dime Reply:

    @Karen,
    Cool! You must be my long-lost sister or something :) I collect vintage cookbooks as well!

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  39. I have over 100 cookbooks, not sure the current count. I myself a collector of cookbooks. I did just clean out a few, those low fat and diet cookbooks I bought a few years ago. Funny how when you go to thrift stores you see a lot of diet cookbooks on the shelves.

    I have so many favorites, althought I don’t use cookbooks as much as I would like. Using my cookbooks more was one of the reasons I began blogging.

    I love my Junior League of Kansas City cookbooks, The Victorian Sampler Cookbook, it’s from a tea room that used to be in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Some of my newest favorites are Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker, Pauls Deans Lady and Sons (picked it up at Goodwill for 1.99), The Ultimate Rice Cooker, my rice cooker is my latest favorite kitchen appliance.

    Really enjoying reading everyone’s favorites.

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  40. I collect them! My favorites, and most used, are my Gooseberry Patch cookbooks and my Taste of Home Light & Tasty cookbooks. Light & Tasty was a magazine Taste of Home did for several years (I think they are still doing a variation of it with a different title). The compilation cookbooks are great – tons of photos and nutritional information for every recipe. If you ever see one, snag it! Gooseberry Patch is still alive and growing more wonderful every day. Their cookbooks have the best tips, memories, and recipes – I like to read them cover to cover!

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  41. I love Gooseberry Patch cookbooks. Oh my, they are my favorites! The recipe I am posting today is taken from their “5 Ingredients or Less” cookbook. I also love Ina Garten’s cookbooks – especially “Barefoot At Home”. The photos alone just inspire me. Oh! And Trisha Yearwoods cookbooks!! Gosh, I loooove cookbooks too!

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  42. I too would like to spend time this summer teaching my kids to cook. My favorite cookbook is Americas Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. I use alot of their recipes regularly. I like the step by step pics. I also really like Martha Stewarts Baking Handbook.

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  43. I counted 27 on my shelf not including the magazines and recipe booklets. My favorites are anything from Taste of Home although the Quick Cooking cookbooks really stand out. Where’s Mom Now That I Need Her? is also a wonderfully simple cookbook for basic muffins, cakes and breads.

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  44. Nourishing Traditions. By Sally Fallon – all whole foods recipes, some kinda out there, but I like eating on the edge…have 3 different things fermenting on my kitchen counter right now…Kefir, Kombucha and Sourdough bread!

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  45. Oh, I’d have to go count – but I have 2 and a half shelves worth. Most shelves on my bookshelves hold about 30 books, so I’m guessing about 75. I need to weed through them and get rid of the ones I don’t use often! I’d say my favorite is “BakeWise” and “CookWise” by Shirley Corriher.

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  46. I love the new cookbook I received from my mother it is filled with recipes in my grandparents native language of sweedish as well as recipes in english

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  47. not sure what is going on but will not allow me to add my link http://shopannies.wordpress.com/2010/06/08/graces-pie/

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  48. Hi and thanks, as always, for the linky party! It’s always fun to link up. I’m inviting you all to come see me and enter to win one of 3 super glamalicious Sam Moon cuff bracelets I’m giving away! I can’t wait to see who wins them – they are so gorgeous! Here’s the addy:
    http://www.sceneofthegrime.blogspot.com

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  49. I love cookbooks! I have many favorites so it is hard to choose but I LOVE The Use-It-Up Cookbook by Lois Carlson Willand which is out of print but can be found on ebay, etc. I go to it all the time when I have too much of some kind of ingredient, esp. summer produce. For a good Southern cookbook, I love Entertaining at the College of Charleston by Zoe D. Sanders because it covers all the basic southern dishes as does Charleston Receipts. I could not live without my Make -A- Mix cookbooks. And I have the usual Joy of Cooking, Better Homes and Gardens, and Betty Crocker. I like reading Jane Brody’s Good Food Book just for all the info on ingredients. And I can’t tell you how many recipe files I have. Too many!!

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  50. I read cookbooks like novels! I have so many favs I would have to say The Stuffed Cougar (Richmond, Va) Market to Market (Hky Service League) and Charleston Recipts Repeats (Charleston Jr League) are my go-to faves!!

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  51. I like the cookbook Supper’s On The Table, Come Home. It’s great for teaching kid’s how to cook because it gives a meal plan for the week, then it tells when to start cooking everything so that it will all be ready at the same time. It has lots of other tips as well. The recipes are “normal” food…not too fancy. Here’s a link to check it out:

    http://www.schallertel.net/~rmasters/

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  52. My favorite cookbooks, hands down, are the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks. I couldn’t possibly pick just one. :-)

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  53. Christy says:

    My favorite cookbook cannot be purchased in any store. My Mother-in-Law put a cook book together when I first got married of all of my Husband’s favorite recipes. As the years went on we added to it whenever my husband or I really liked something that she made. It is priceless now that she is no longer with us. I love looking at the recipes in her handwriting. I treasure it and use it often. I always let my children know when we are eating one of her recipes(it feels like I am keeping her memory alive in them). I made one for each of my brothers when they married and I intend to do it for my children one day as well.

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  54. I just counted my cookbooks…70!! I would not have guessed that I have that many! Some favorites are Southern Living, Gooseberry, Fix-It and Forget-It(slow cooker) and the many church cookbooks( especially those that were my Mom’s or have one of her recipes in it). I’m excited about and looking forward to a new cookbook that will be available in October…Southern Plate : Classic Comfort Food that Makes Everyone Feel Like Family by Christy Jordan. Wonderful Southern recipes and the family stories behind them!!

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  55. i cook more meals out of everyday food: great food fast than any of my other cookbooks. couldn’t do without better homes & gardens for non-recipe reference information like how long to cook chicken in the oven.

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  56. I share your love for cookbooks! Though it seems lately I don’t even need them, I just come here and browse all these wonderful recipes each week!! :)

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  57. I’ve never collected recipe books but I do collect recipes. Just recently went through the binders I keep them in. Been married for 26 years and if I haven’t used it in the last 10 or ever, it went into the recycle bin.

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  58. I bet your girls will have fun mastering recipes this summer. I think summer vacation is the perfect time of year to get the kids in the kitchen with you and have fun spending time together and learning a life long skill…but that’s why Alex, Sophia and I do our show, cuz we love spending time together cooking (and eating!).

    We also have lots of cook books, I don’t know if I have a favorite, we have favorite recipes in each, though. I do love Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything…lots of great recipes and info.

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  59. I’m not sure how many cookbooks I own, I’d have to go and count them… but I do know my very favorite by far is Pioneer Woman’s cookbook – that’s why I’m cooking my way through EVERY single recipe ;-)

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  60. I love cookbooks, too! My favorite go-to is the Southern Living Ultimate Cookbook. I have lots of other favorites, too–I love Rick Bayless for tasty, modern Mexican food, and I love Moosewood for vegetarian inspiration. But, I always go back to Southern Living.

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  61. Great info, thanks for useful post. I’m waiting for more

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  62. This isn’t a beta it’s a early preview build sent out for early previews for reviewers get on facebook at school

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  63. Because of reading your blog, I unquestioned to write my own. I had at no time been interested in keeping a blog until I slogan how kind yours was, then I was inspired!

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