We're on our third volume of "What were your LAST three cookbooks?" (thanks, Buttertart). The first time I encountered the first of these threads, I thought it said "What were your FIRST three cookbooks?" and of course, it wasn't that at all: people were talking about Dorie Greenspan's French Kitchen, not Julia Child's Mastering the Art. But I've wondered ever since what people's first cookbook influences were, and since Buttertart just opened v.3 of "last three", I thought this might be a good time to post about our first three cookbooks. (Did anyone else misread the original thread title the way I did?)
My first three cookbooks:
1. THE FRENCH CHEF COOKBOOK - Julia Child
My mother bought this in 1970 or so, when she became interested in better cooking (quiche, onion soup, coquilles St. Jacques). She sent me a copy in college in 1973, as I chose to learn to cook rather than eat junk food when I got out of the dorms. It's just old and brown now, a paperback I eventually replaced with Mastering the Art.
2. JOY OF COOKING - 1973 trade paperback
I taught myself so much out of this book. Somehow, early on, I learned I could make souffles easily, and the recipe on p. 204 for "Made in Advance Cheese Souffle" is simply the best recipe I tried during my first couple of years of cooking. I also love the Chicken Paprikash recipe.
3. THE CLASSIC ITALIAN COOKBOOK - Marcella Hazan
This one changed everything. I'd loved Italian food since I was a little boy. Four huge changes: Bolognese, fresh pasta, *real* Parmigiano-Reggiano, and, saving the best for last, learning to plan menus while shopping instead of depending on a shopping list (probably the most important thing I've learned about cooking).
Another early influence: BON APPETIT magazine, starting in 1978.
Not a cookbook, but I made so many things I read in Bon Appetit starting in the summer of 1978, with a raspberry souffle recipe from Suzanne Somers. Then lemon mousse, sorbets by Abby Mandel, a chocolate cherry cake from Simca, and on and on (I loved dessert). I could go on and on. I subscribed until sometime in the 1980s.
What were your first three cookbooks?