Here's my three cents-worth:
1. COOKING LIGHT magazine: Okay, I cheated right off the bat. But, darn it, I've read this magazine for years and have never prepared a recipe from it that wasn't at least good. Not haute cuisine, for sure. Just good, healthy American cooking using ingredients that are very accessible in my neck of the woods.
2. Mark Bittman's HOW TO COOK EVERYTHING: Not the most elegant cookbook visually, but the simple, fresh ingredients and fool-proof directions more than make up for it. (I also enjoy Bittman's recipes in Men's Health magazine.)
3. THE JOY OF COOKING (75th Anniversary Edition): The standard by which all other cookbboks should be measured, and the one to buy if you're only buying one--not to mention a perfect wedding gift.
PENDING: Alice Waters' THE ART OF SIMPLE FOOD. Haven't prepared any of the recipes yet, so I'll reserve judgement. But I am so far very impressed with Waters' tasty but healthful approach to fresh, seasonal ingredients. (Have got to get to Chez Panisse someday.)
A FINAL NOTE: My choices above do not reflect my overall tastes in food, which go well beyond regional American cooking. These are simply the sources I consult most often when cooking at home.
So, how about it, guys? What other good ones have I missed? And, in particular, what Asian, Italian, Mexican, and/or French cookbooks are MUST-HAVES for American cooks?
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