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Cookbooks I Use

Listed below are some cookbooks that I either use frequently or just acquired.  Many of my favorite cookbooks have crumpled, dog-eared pages, sometimes to the point of just opening automatically to my favorite recipe page.  Do you have any cookbooks like that?

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Americas Test Kitchen Cooking School

America’s Test Kitchen is a 2,500 square foot facility Near Boston that tests cooking techniques, kitchen gadgets and recipes.  This cookbook/resource should be in your kitchen simply because you have been cooking meat the wrong way.  Did you know chicken doesn’t have to be dry and stringy?  Tough, dry beef has more to do with our cooking technique than the cheap cuts we pick.  It also has 600 recipes, 2,500 color photos and begins with 46 pages of cooking basics.  It’s the only cookbook I keep out all of the time because I reference it so often.

Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1

French cooking is classic cooking.  These techniques, sauces and recipes you will use throughout your cooking adventures.  The book is very educational, easy to read and is perfect for the American home cook.

Maangchi’s Real Korean Cooking: Authentic Dishes for the Home Cook

I first fell in love with this little fire cracker on YouTube.  I recommend her show.  She’s funny, her videos are well done, sound is excellent and she taught me how to cook Korean food.  She also teaches you how to shop in an Asian market and find what you need.  Her website is super helpful too.  She is the reason why I have seaweed in my pantry and anchovies in my freezer.

Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking

Written by a James Beard award winning chef, this book is a great staple for any non-Israeli American home cook.  It was written for us.  “Zahav tells an authoritative and personal story of how Solomonov embraced the food of his birthplace. With its blend of technique and passion, this book shows readers how to make his food their own” (Amazon).

Cooking the Middle East Way

This vintage book can be hard to find.  It’s worth the hunt though.  Circa 1963, this book is interesting as a cookbook and as sneak peek into cooking world in the 1960’s.  Some details are missing in the instructions such as oven temperature and some measurement descriptions you may have to look up.  The recipes are simple and the instructions are easy to follow.

The World of Kebabs

I love this book!  I use this not only for the kebab recipes but I use the marinades in this book for roasts, steaks, chops, shrimp, chicken etc.  The spice and essence combinations are classic to world cuisine.  Each section comes with a history of the kebab culture, which brings world cuisine to your kitchen and hearts.

The Encyclopedia of World Cookery

Another vintage cookbook, this one from 1958.  Perusing the yellowed pages is like peeking back in time when home cooks in the 1950’s were curious about international cuisine.  This was the time of Julia Child, where anything was possible for the curious cook.  The recipes are still relevant today and I use this cookbook pretty regularly.

The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook: Home Cooking from Asian American Kitchens

This is a treasure of handed down recipes from Asian American grandmothers.  The recipes are well constructed for the American kitchen, the family stories of the women that made this cookbook possible is endearing.  An excellent read and resource.

The Curry Book: Memorable Flavors and Irresistible Recipes From Around the World

This is my favorite curry cookbook that is in my main toolbox.  I have made many curries from this book, the recipes are easy to follow and the ingredients are easy to find.

Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick & Easy Indian Cooking

I love this Indian cookbook because it feels like it was written for me, an American home cook that is learning to cook exotic cuisines with little kitchen skills.  It covers rice, breads, curries, chutneys etc.  Your home will smell like an Indian restaurant when cooking these home recipes.

True Thai: The Modern Art of Thai Cooking

This cookbook was my first foray into Thai cooking.  The book was so well written for the American home cook that I never looked for any other Thai cookbook.  The ingredients are easy to find and there are substitutions just in case.  The Laab recipe on page 210 is stained and wrinkly from making this dish so often.  I don’t even need to look in the index, the book opens up to our favorite recipe!

From Mom with love: Complete Guide to Indian Cooking and Entertaining

This is another Indian favorite, I am complete, I don’t need another Indian cookbook.  This compilation doesn’t replicate the other Indian cookbooks.  Most of the recipes I have never heard of before.  All are well explained and easy to follow.  Pushpa also included a pantry checklist, glossary of terms and equipment commonly used in Indian cooking.  The recipes are of course, delicious.

 Lipsmackin’ Backpackin’: Lightweight, Trail-Tested Recipes For Backcountry Trips

OK, not technically a world-cuisine cookbook but if I were backpacking in the Himalayas would this count?  This is my only backpacking cookbook, the recipes are delicious and  backpacking gourmet is complicated with special skills.  This book breaks it down into easy to understand steps, ideology, recipes, pre-trip prep etc.  It even covers how to pack the items.  A must have for backpackers unless you are either hooked on freeze-dried, pre-packaged food in a pouch or hanging loose John Muir style with “A piece of bread and a satchel of tea”.