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Recipe For Finding Good Cookbooks
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!
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
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?
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?
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?
More Great Cookbook Sites
- What Makes a Good Cookbook
Gourmet, the Magazine of Good Living. Recipes, popular columns, features archive, forums, and subscriptions. This is the direct link to the full story of Executive Editor of Gourmet magazine, Doc Willoughby who gave away almost all of his cookbooks.
- Tyler Florence's Official Site
Official site of chef Tyler Florence. Includes blog, news, TV shows, books, photos, and information on the Tyler Florence Scholarship at Johnson & Wales University.