If I Had to Pick One

by Nancy on April 2, 2010

I have lots of cookbooks. I read them like novels. They are my friends. A few I keep in touch with frequently, if not daily. Others a couple times a year, some just at Christmas and several are like old school friends you hear from around reunion time. Here’s a picture of part of my collection. I can get away with having them up so high because I’m tall.

And here’s a picture of the cookbooks I use frequently. They get to live in a small spot next to my microwave. Please note my beloved Mastering the Art of French Cooking. That is a FIRST edition copy that Joan gave me for Christmas. It is why I love her and everyone should wish they had a friend like her!!!!!!!!! Colorado readers will recognize my beat up copy of Colorado Cache, the first cookbook of the Denver Junior League. It’s still a winner after all these years. I also like Lynn Kasper Rosetto’s, The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Super (another gift from Joan.)

Some of my favorite cookbooks.

Looking at this picture of my favorite cookbooks reminds me of an artist whose work I love – Jane Mount. She believes that people’s book choices are a form of portraiture. You can see some of her work here and here.

But what would you do if you were told you could only have one cookbook? (Mastering doesn’t count, it is waaay more than a cookbook.) I would pick the book I reach for again and again. It’s not fancy but every single recipe I have ever made out of it has turned out perfect. It’s well organized. It offers great product and equipment picks. If I had to pick just one cookbook it would be this one from Chris Kimball and his talented staff at Cooks Illustrated/America’s Test Kitchen:

If I could only have one cookbook, this would be it.

I have to give kudos to my sister-in-law, Lori, for turning me on to this cookbook a couple years ago. I saw it at Costco but it looked so much like a Betty Crocker cookbook that I glanced over it. Let me assure you, this book is far, far better than good old Betty. It is in the same 3-ring binder format. If you get one, be sure and have some of those paper hole reinforcers at hand. Although the binder format is excellent for being able to lay the recipes flat, it does mean that pages easily tear away.

America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook is my just the right thing cookbook. What’s yours?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Joan April 3, 2010 at 12:12 pm

My favorite cookbook is the Internet!

Nancy Nancy Giehl April 3, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Except for when Comcast keeps dropping and the server at Cook’s Illustrated is hung up right while I’m trying to find my favorite recipe for berry trifle.

Lori April 5, 2010 at 5:39 pm

I have heard that the Cook’s Illustrated one is awesome. I have The Splendid Table cookbook and that is one of my alltime favorites. I’m addicted to them and couldn’t possibly choose just one!!
.-= Lori´s last blog ..Easter Festivities =-.

Kublai April 6, 2010 at 9:30 pm

We photocopied the best recipes out of all our good cookbooks, put them in plastic sleeves and reorganized them into binders. Entrees, appetizers, salads, breads, etc. We also can sort Italian, Mexican, Asian. The best of 100 books in a convenient format. We still keep the best cookbooks around though, they’re like old friends.

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