Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Go To Cookbooks

I have lots and lots of cook books… some by celebrity chefs, a full arsenal of soup & stew cookbooks, and those with irresistible photos on the covers. But truth be told, there are only six books that really qualify as my go to cookbooks. What are they?

My most basic recipes from macaroni and cheese to apple crisp come from my Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book. I can’t remember when or where I received this cookbook – I believe it was a wedding present years ago. My mother had one. My grandmother had one. If I was told to pick only one, this would be my first choice for its wholesome tried-and-true home style recipes.

I am not a big baker, I prefer recipes that can easily adjust to whatever ingredients are in season. I am definitely a dice and dump cook as I seldom measure ingredients. But even I will admit nothing beats the smell of fresh baked bread. When I am in the mood for baking these are the three books I go to:

The Best-Ever Book of Bread by Christian Ingram is my all time favorite bread cookbook. I don’t know of any type of bread that is not in this cookbook. Even when I receive recipes from customers or find interesting recipes in magazines or on websites, I always compare them to recipes found in this book.

Ratio by Michael Ruhlman. This book revolutionized the way I think about cooking. It’s not so much about recipes as it is about ratios of ingredients.

Farm Journal’s Country Fair Cookbook. This is the book I turn to when looking to bake a unique cake, pie, or other sweet treat. It has an endless supply of great desserts and sweet breads. This was actually one of Corey’s cookbooks when he was in 4-H.

I love to can and preserve fruits and vegetables when they are at their peak.  Whether it is jams, jellies, pickles, relishes, or preserves there is a certain feeling of self accomplishment and preservation that comes from having a cellar full of canned food. I have two books I constantly go to during the peak of the growing season.

Home & Garden’s Home Canning and Freezing. This is a hand-me-down from Corey’s Grandmother. Open it up and you will find notes from three generations of women. (By the way, if you aren’t writing in your cookbooks, you need to. I am constantly making notes about what I like and don’t like as well as changes I have made to recipes.)

Ball’s Complete Book of Home Preserving.  This is a relatively new addition to my library. I love the new and creative twists it adds to old school jams, jellies, and relishes. Although I have only tried a few of the recipes thus far, it has twice as many as my H&G Home Canning and Freezing cookbook.

What are your favorite cookbooks?

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