I spend a lot of my free time looking at and learning from cookbooks. I believe they are a wonderful resource for tips, recipes, and inspiration. Sometimes, I go to sleep cuddled up with one. I dream of having a small library of them one day. I want hundreds, thousands. This list is forever expanding, but I do have my favorites and recommendations if you are just starting out. Here are my suggestions:

So you want to learn to cook…

On Cooking by Sarah R. Labensky, Priscilla R. Martel, and Alan M. Hause

This is a bad ass powerhouse of a book. It teaches you all of the techniques you need to know about everything related to cooking and even baking. It’s heavy and big, but it not only has beautiful color photos, it’s like the authors took every aspect of cooking and put it together as succinctly as they could. It was the main textbook when I went to cooking school. I also met and got to work with Priscilla Martel and she is stupendous.

The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker

This is a timeless classic. It also has go-to recipes, and lots of good information.

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman

I love Mark Bittman. He is everything I want to be. I love his no-nonsense, practical approach to food. I also have his How to Cook Everything, but I believe a lot of the info in that book is contained in The Joy of Cooking. I like the Vegetarian version because it’s vegetable centered, obviously, and highlights ways to use them. We can never eat enough vegetables.

And Bake…

Baking: Illustrated by the Editors of Cook’s Illustrated

A great general baking book by my favorite cooking company, Cook’s Illustrated. Trusty and reliable.

Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois

Think you have no time for bread? You do.

The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

Cakes are my favorite dessert, and Rose knows what’s up. She writes baking bibles for a reason. Learn from her.

Rose’s Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum

A follow-up to to her Cake Bible, Rose offers us even more perfect cakes.

Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Dorie is adorable and if you’re just starting out to bake, this book offers everything you need to know about baking and great go-to recipes.

Bon Appetit Desserts by Barbara Fairchild

When I read this book, my jaw does not close because the desserts are so out of this world looking and tasting. Mmmmmmmm.

Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich

All you ever need to know about cookies, Alice Medrich will explain.

Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito left careers in advertising to open up a bakery. They made the right choice. Their baked goods are amazing and my mouth waters when I read about them. I trust their recipes.

Baked: Explorations by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

Follow up. Just as good as the first.

Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi

I. Love. Christina. Tosi. She is incredible and a genius. Her desserts are unexpected and nostalgia, but I seriously trust her palate. They are all so so so good.

Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole Grain Flours by Kim Boyce

I love whole wheat and my fiber, and Kim Boyce tells you how to use them in baking. She also utilizes several other unknown flours besides all purpose. Healthful and lovely.

And you Wanna Just Eat Well in General…

Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

When I get a cookbook, I make a list of all the recipes I want to make out of it. But with this vegetarian book, I want to make every.single.recipe. No joke. All of them. It’s a spectacular book with bold flavors. Obsessed. It’s my favorite cookbook right now.

Sunday Suppers at Lucques: Seasonal Recipes from Market to Table by Suzanne Goin

Suzanne Goin is serious. She knows what tastes good. I want to make every single recipe in this book. She divides everything by season which makes it easy to select menus and take advantage of seasonality: buying foods at their peak of flavor.

Essential Pepin: More than 700 All-Time Favorites from My Life in Food by Jacques Pepin

Jacques. Pepin. Enough said.

Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child

Oh, Julia. No cookbook library would be complete without her. French food can be complicated, but not with this book.

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