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Recipe For Finding Good Cookbooks

Updated on December 10, 2014
Recipe For Finding Good Cookbooks
Recipe For Finding Good Cookbooks | Source

What Makes Good Cookbooks Good?

Are you searching for a good cookbook? The best cookbook? Perhaps even a perfect cookbook? Maybe you are a casual cookbook collector (like so many of us) or maybe you are a serious collector. In either case you know that many cookbooks are NOT great. There are good ones. There are bad ones. There are middling ones. What should you look for, then, when you are choosing a new cookbook?

This page will provide you with eight ideas to consider when choosing a new cookbook, some interesting cookbook facts and some great sources for finding new cookbooks. I hope this page helps you with your next cook book purchase!

Click here to purchase Christopher Stott's cookbook image on eBay.

American Country Country Cooking Cookbook
American Country Country Cooking Cookbook | Source

Eight Considerations That Make A Cookbook Great

When the Executive Editor of Gourmet magazine, Doc Willoughby, announced he had given away almost all of his cookbooks there was, understandably, chaos. But it was not long before someone asked the most important question - "How did you choose?" What followed was most likely a strong discussion but Willoghby summed it up with, "The recipes have to work," he said. "Otherwise, I'm not interested." That, naturally, is of the utmost importance. However, there are other considerations for a good cookbook:

Format - consider a book that opens flat. Spiral-bound cookbooks are great because they open nicely. A regular hardcover book can be difficult to work with.

Good Photography - there are some books that do not have pictures that are good but in general, a cookbook with pictures draws you in and engages you and allows you to see how the food will appear when it is prepared. Great photos makes a cookbook more fun to read. However, do not make the mistake of buying a cookbook just because the cover is pretty!

Clear Instructions -- they should be clear, detailed and easy to follow as well as suitable for your level of cooking ability. A beginner would be better off with a beginnner's cookbook than with one that is too advanced.

Personality -- this will shine through, you should feel like you know the author's style a little bit, their lifestyle, their skill.

Theme -- this is a personal choice but without a theme a cookbook is just a collection of recipes. The subject could be a type of cuisine, a country, a produce, a type of cooking or a style of writing. Watch for recipes that you know you and your family and friends will enjoy eating and watch out for exotic and/or expensive ingredients.

Extra features -- are often helpful and might include a list of ingredient substitutions, conversion tables or basic cooking techniques.

Bargain Cookbooks -- they are no bargain if you buy a mustard cookbook that you use once and never open again! Remember this bit of advice when you approach the sale table at the bookstore.

Recommendations -- there is no better way to know the quality of a cookbook than from someone who has used it and loves it. If a friend owns it and recommends it, you can be sure that it is great!

HOT MONEY-SAVING TIP

Check out cookbooks from the library before you buy them! This allows you to decide if you really like a cookbook and if it is worth owning. If you don't like it, you will have saved yourself some money! -- Design For Less Blog

My Favourite Cookbook...

Good Cookbooks that Friends Recommend

Here are your favorite cookbooks. The ones you really love. The ones you could not live without. Read through the following sections to see what cookbooks your favorite Squids recommend!

Treasures By Brenda (That's Me!) - Country Cooking

COUNTRY COOKING by Time Life in the American Country series

"My favorite cookbook? Well, as usual, a favorite is hard to pick. One that I positively, absolutely love though is a 1989 Time-Life book from the American Country series called Country Cooking. It is my favorite because several of the best recipes I have ever tried came from it. They include an absolutely amazing corn chowder and a delicious chicken pot pie." -- Treasures By Brenda

Rockycha's - Tyler's Ultimate Cookbook

Tyler's Ultimate: Brilliant Simple Food to Make Any Time by Tyler Florence

He's Tyler Florence - the hunk of HGTV (goodness gracious he's gorgeous, lol.) He's another celebrity chef, for a long time he had a show on Food Network called "Food 911" where he'd go to people's houses (usually women) and teach them how to fix a certain recipe that always flopped for them. The whole time he was teaching them he'd flirt in all these cute subtle ways - a joy to watch. I loved it because it didn't matter if the lady was short, fat, old, young, attractive. He was just always so warm and delightful.

Anyway, now his show on food channel is "Tyler's Ultimate" usually on in the afternoon around 2 pm central every day. He takes classic recipes - beef stew, apple pie, meatloaf, roast chicken - and then investigates how to make them in the ultimate recipe - pretty good show and his teaching is very clear." -- rockycha

Read rockycha's lens on Thanksgiving decorations by clicking here.

The Party Animal - Campbells' Cookbooks

Any of the Campbells' Cookbooks

"I enjoy cookbooks with pictures for each recipe - that is a good cookbook for me. I honestly like the Campbell's cookbooks - all recipes are so easy!!!" -- The_Party_Animal

Amy from Americana Kitchen - Nigella Lawson's How To Eat

Nigella Lawson's How To Eat

"While I love absolutely anything Nigella Lawson, if I were limited to a single favorite cookbook I'd choose her first, How to Eat. I like to think of it as a modern alternative to the Joy of Cooking. Almost all of the information Nigella gives is practical and useful in a modern kitchen (Ms. Rombauer, I don't think I'll ever need to know how to skin a squirrel; at least, I hope I won't), and the personal stories and funny tidbits make the cookbook great reading as well.

True, if you want glossy food porn pictures, one of Nigella's later cookbooks will be your best bet, but for classic cooking, How to Eat will tell you everything you need to know to do just that: eat." -- Amy from Americana Kitchen

RMS - Giada De Laurentiis' Cookbooks

"I like Giada De Laurentiis' cookbooks." -- rms

EverythingMouse - Gordon Ramsay Makes It Easy

"I think my favorite is probably Gordon Ramsay Makes it Easy. Although I love most of his books. I am also a big fan of Jamie Oliver - his latest book Jamie at Home is inspiring me to start growing my own food too." -- EverythingMouse

Joan 4 - The Tate Family Cookbook

"I have to admit my favorite cookbook is the family cookbook my sister created, The Tate Family Cookbook." -- Joan4

NancyOram - Vintage Cookbooks

"I love the vintage cookbooks. Not always practical for today's cooking, but fun to take a step back in time." -- NancyOram

GramaBarb - 1957 Robin Hood Cookbook

"My favorite cookbook is still an old (1957) Robin Hood Cookbook I received as a gift at my wedding shower :) That book taught me how to bake the best bread ever! Since then I collect recipes from family and friends" -- GramaBarb

JudyDunn - Jane Brody's Good Food Gourmet

"My favorite cookbook is Jane Brody's Good Food Gourmet. The recipes are straight forward, not too complicated, and have ingredients that I am likely to have around....and they are healthy! It is probably the first cookbook I go to when I am looking for a recipe." -- JudyDunn

Ottoblotto - Church Group Cookbooks

"I love cookbooks from church groups; church ladies in the south always have the greatest casserole recipes." -- ottoblotto

NanLT - Better Homes and Gardens or What's Cooking

"I don't tend to favour one cookbook over another. But some that I return to again and again are 'Better Homes and Garden' cookbook for American recipes and the 'What's Cooking' series of books here in the UK." -- NanLT

CCGAL - Shirley Corriher's CookWise

"I think Shirley Corriher's book "CookWise" is my favorite. She teaches the kitchen chemistry side of cooking, so that once you understand why recipes work, you can develop the ability to read other cookbooks and look at proportions of ingredients and know in advance if a recipe is going to be a winner." -- CCGAL

My Favorite Cookbook -- This Spot Reserved For Your Recommendation!

Yes, that is right! This spot is waiting for YOU. Or rather, for your favorite cookbook. When you reach the end of this page, ant the box titled My Favorite cookbook, just submit the name and author of your favorite cookbook and why you like it. I will write up your recommendation and create a link to your lensography, biography or Squidoo cooking-themed page.

Joy of Cooking

Irma S. Rombauer Joy of Cooking Tips - Take The Joy Fun Facts Quiz

The Joy of Cooking is one of the most successful and enduring cookbooks of all time having been reprinted many times with each edition still sought after! Enjoy this video with some tips and tricks.

 

The Joy of Cooking

Joy of Cooking
Joy of Cooking

The book is the 75th anniversary edition of Irma Rombauer's Joy of Cooking. It almost needs no introduction...past versions have been favorites for generations. It is a staple and includes hundreds of brand-new recipes as well as recipes from previous editions. It is also probably one of the only cookbooks that does not have pictures that I would recommend to a friend.

 

Do you collect cookbooks?

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Purchasing Cookbooks from Treasures By Brenda

An avid shopper, I love to search for and find bargains. I use my bargain-hunting skills to find treasure for you and I frequently manage to track down great finds for cookbook collectors. I sell new and pre-owned cookbooks. They may be recent and straight from the store or they may be vintage, collectible books. You can see my latest discoveries, in my eBay store's cookbook department. Clicking on this link will take you directly to my cookbook page.

When you shop at my eBay store, you can rest assured that customer service is my top priority. I am here, ready and willing to answer your questions or process your order. You will find me quite willing to combine items to help you save money on shipping. Two cookbooks usually ship for not much more than the cost of one. (Unless you are overseas.) If it is not clear in the description, please just ask for a shipping quote!

I stand by my auctions with a 100 percent money-back guarantee. I am willing to give you a full refund, including shipping, if the item is not as described.

Every item that I ship is insured and shipped the business day after payment is received. I do everything I can to get your purchase(s) to you as quickly as possible.

I have met many nice people through my eBay business and now I am meeting more through Squidoo. I love hearing your stories about the items you have purchased, what you collect and what it is that you are looking for. It is these stories that make selling on eBay rewarding. Please let me know if there is something special you are looking for and I will add it to my search.

Do you have a favorite cookbook author?

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Cookbooks Worth Collecting: The History and Lore of Notable Cookbooks, with Complete Bibliographic Listings and Up-to-date Values
Cookbooks Worth Collecting: The History and Lore of Notable Cookbooks, with Complete Bibliographic Listings and Up-to-date Values | Source

Cookbooks Worth Collecting: The History and Lore of Notable Cookbooks, with Complete Bibliographic Listings and Up-to-date Values

A Book Dedicated To Collecting Cookbooks!

If you are looking for more information to help you collect cookbooks, there are some excellent books available. They discuss many of the considerations for collectors -- notable titles, what is collectible (what might be), cookbook categories and more.

Fast Cookbook Facts

We all know that there are a lot of cookbooks out there and every season there are more which, of course, people buy. The New York Times says that cookbooks are a $530 million dollar business in the United States. That figure represents about 14 million cookbooks! Every year since 2002, more cookbooks have been sold than in the previous year and the trend continues.

What brings you to this page about finding good cookbooks?

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Will you be buying a new cookbook today? If so, take a peek at the following cookbooks available through Amazon today.

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What's Your Favourite Cookbook?

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    • TreasuresBrenda profile image
      Author

      Treasures By Brenda 2 years ago from Canada

      Hi, Sockii - That sounds like a great cookbook -- I love Italian food!

    • sockii profile image

      Nicole Pellegrini 2 years ago from New Jersey

      My favorite cookbook is Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. These are the recipes I grew up learning while cooking with my grandmother as we studied this book together and learned about what makes real Italian food just that: Italian. It's actually not a fancy book; there are very few photographs, for instance. But the instructions are wonderful and really teach one how to prepare food with an Italian sensibility.

    • profile image

      nifwlseirff 5 years ago

      My all time favourite is Mix & Bake, by Belinda Jeffrey, and Australian author and chef. It's sprinkled with funny and warm anecdotes, and useful tips, plus every single recipe I have tried has been stunning - and I've cooked most of them! I love baking, and this is my go-to book, whenever a friend or family member requests a 'new' cake. If I could, I'd give this book 10 stars out of 5!

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image
      Author

      Treasures By Brenda 6 years ago from Canada

      @anonymous: I have a friend whose husband threw out her Betty Crocker cookbook, thinking it was old and worn out...it may well have been the one to which you are referring!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      My favorite cookbook is the 1979 second edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook because it has some really good recipes in it and most of them are down to earth and fairly simple to read and use. The only thing I don't like about the book is that it is not spiral bound, but I have used it so much that it almost lays flat now.....lol

    • WhiteOak50 profile image

      WhiteOak50 7 years ago

      Very interesting lens. I just purchased a new cookbook the other day. I love cooking Amish recipes-usually the recipes are old and passed down generation to generation. I am excited and cannot wait to get it. But being the cook I am, I also altar just about every recipe I use. "Blessed by a SquidAngel"

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 8 years ago from Templeton, CA

      My favorite is still the one I made myself with all my favorite recipes from all the others. This lens has great advice for those selecting cookbooks.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 8 years ago

      Wow! you put a lot of work into this! 5* AND I added it to Stumble Upon Stumble

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      My all time two favorite cookbooks are the original plaid Betty Crocker, handed down to me, and Bernard Clayton's Complete Book of Breads -- the original, not the new one.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      You know Brenda -- I was thinking of great recipe cookbooks from various countries! My mom has a lens on Hungarian cookbooks -- it would be cool to organize with a zeemap or some other interactive map to connect countries with the cookbooks! ;)

    • Andy-Po profile image

      Andy 8 years ago from London, England

      Excellent idea for a lens. I have lots of cookbooks, but probably use just a couple of recipes from each one (actually I customise the recipes and rarely stick to the exact formula.)

    • CCGAL profile image

      CCGAL 8 years ago

      I think Shirley Corriher's book "CookWise" is my favorite. She teaches the kitchen chemistry side of cooking, so that once you understand why recipes work, you can develop the ability to read other cookbooks and look at proportions of ingredients and know in advance if a recipe is going to be a winner.Nice lens! I have really enjoyed it, and the favorites of others is a very special and interesting touch. Great idea to keep your lens fresh. 5*

    • NanLT profile image

      Nan 8 years ago from London, UK

      I don't tend to favour one cookbook over another. But some that I return to again and again are 'Better Homes and Garden' cookbook for American recipes and the 'What's Cooking' series of books here in the UK.

    • Natalie W Schorr profile image

      Natalie W Schorr 8 years ago

      I love cookbooks from church groups; church ladies in the south always have the greatest casserole recipes. 5*

    • JudyDunn profile image

      JudyDunn 8 years ago

      My favorite cookbook is Jane Brody's Good Food Gourmet. The recipes are straight forward, not too complicated, and have ingredients that I am likely to have around....and they are healthy! It is probably the first cookbook I go to when I am looking for a recipe.

    • GramaBarb profile image

      GramaBarb 9 years ago from Vancouver

      Your catchy title caught my attention - well done! 5* My favorite cookbook is still an old (1957) Robin Hood Cookbook I received as a gift at my wedding shower :) That book taught me how to bake the best bread ever! Since then I collect recipes from family and friends.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 9 years ago

      Ah, definitely interesting to get lensmasters' spins on what their favorite cookbooks are. I have a couple. 5*****

    • Nancy S Oram profile image

      Nancy Oram 9 years ago

      I love the vintage cookbooks. Not always practical for today's cooking, but fun to take a step back in time.

    • profile image

      Joan4 9 years ago

      This is a great lens! I have to admit my favorite cookbook is the family cookbook my sister created, The Tate Family Cookbook - My daughter also loves all of the cookbooks by Paula Deen. I have bought several of those for her!

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 9 years ago

      Great idea for a lens. I'm not into cookbooks or cooking for that matter, but this lens is very well made.

    • AlisonMeacham profile image

      AlisonMeacham 9 years ago

      I think my favorite is probably Gordon Ramsay Makes it Easy. Although I love most of his books. I am also a big fan of Jamie Oliver - his latest book Jamie at Home is inspiring me to start growing my own food too.

    • RuralRoute2 profile image

      RuralRoute2 9 years ago

      Brenda:Good Advice. Cookbooks are a very personal item. They get used - like a good hammer or wrench. Everybody has a favorite.LeAnnhttps://hubpages.com/food/ruralroute2cookbook

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 9 years ago from USA

      I like Giada Delaurentiis' cookbooks. Nice work on this lens!

    • profile image

      RubenCV 9 years ago

      Restaurant cookbooks are my favorites but I'd have to vote Treasury of Great Recipes by Vincent Price and his wife as the most beautiful cookbook ever in terms of the binding, material, etc. It is truly a treasure. My CookbookVillage.com store has a lot of restaurant and signed cookbooks--especially on Sunday's. I sell out of those categories pretty fast and usually stock on the weekend. I am glad to see another cookbook collecting writer and fellow ebay cookbook store owner on Squidoo. I just joined recently. You have a fantastic Lens. - Ruben

    • Wendy Leanne profile image

      Wendy Leanne 9 years ago from Texas

      This is a great lens and I have featured it as an example on my new lens about the various Squidoo templates. Please come by and take a look.

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      While I love absolutely anything Nigella Lawson, if I were limited to a single favorite cookbook I'd choose her first, How to Eat. I like to think of it as a modern alternative to the Joy of Cooking. Almost all of the information Nigella gives is practical and useful in a modern kitchen (Ms. Rombauer, I don't think I'll ever need to know how to skin a squirrel; at least, I hope I won't), and the personal stories and funny tidbits make the cookbook great reading as well.True, if you want glossy food porn pictures, one of Nigella's later cookbooks will be your best bet, but for classic cooking, How to Eat will tell you everything you need to know to do just that: eat.

    • profile image

      sbaokay 9 years ago

      Beautiful job on your lens. 5 stars from me!

    • ssuthep profile image

      ssuthep 9 years ago

      Great lens Brenda. I love to cook, eat and informally collect cookbooks. I must have over 100 cookbooks scattered all over my house. When I am bored I sometimes read a cook book. *****

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      RuthCoffee 9 years ago

      Good photography does it for me. I'm convinced to try something when I see it.

    • CollectorsCottage profile image

      CollectorsCottage 9 years ago

      As a restaurant reviewer, I particularly enjoyed this lens! A big 5 stars for all your hard work and great information. Welcome to the Collector Clubs group!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 9 years ago

      Fabulous lens! I have shelves full of cookcooks, but there is always room for more. Welcome to Culinary Favorites From A to Z. Squid Angel Blessed.

    • profile image

      rockycha 9 years ago

      Tyler's ultimate is one of my favs. Great lens! high fivers :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      No excuse for not cooking now LOL. Great lens and welcome to the eBay Squidbids Group! - Kathy

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image
      Author

      Treasures By Brenda 9 years ago from Canada

      I have read that cookbooks are a category for which condition is less important to collectors. People expect that a cookbook was made to be used and therefore are more willing to accept the stains as proof of a great cookbook! From that perspective, stains are wonderful!Brenda

    • mosaic lm profile image

      mosaic lm 9 years ago

      Wow wow wow! So many cookbooks!! My favorite cookbooks always have stains on them. Sometimes I wish I could wipe the stains off, but that inevitably never works. Though, if all the pages were laminated, the cookbook would be unwieldy. So, I use the stains as proof that I have tried that recipe. :)

    • thepartyanimal2 profile image

      thepartyanimal2 9 years ago

      I enjoy cookbooks with pictures for each recipe - that is a good cookbook for me. I honestly like the Cambell's cookbooks - all recipes are so easy. Good job - you get 5 yummy stars to cook up some more with!!!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 9 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I don't collect them but my daughter does so I will send her this link. Great lens. 5*

    • profile image

      sbucciarel 9 years ago

      Great lense. The Firestorm Forum is great for promoting your lenses and blogs. There's a very active Squidoo community there. firestormforum.com Hope you check it out. I also have a lense about it at http://www.squidoo.com/firestorm