As many blogs as there are on the internet, there is nothing like a cookbook to accompany you into the kitchen. When nothing strikes my fancy on the internet, or I just want to follow along and know the food will turn out well, I turn to some of my favorite authors and their bulletproof recipes. These are a few cookbooks I couldn’t live without:
I bought this book on a whim while shopping at a quaint little kitchen shop hidden inside an ACE Hardware with my soon-to-be mother-in-law. I had followed 101 Cookbooks for a while and had heard about the wonders of this book (and her other, Super Natural Cooking, which I have yet to purchase.. anyone?), but was unsure if I wanted to spend the money. However, as I shopped, one of the workers there paused to comment on her amazing experience with this book and recommended it wholeheartedly. I was sold. When I feel like I need a recipe that just works, this is where I go. There has been but one recipe I wasn’t a huge fan of, and I think it was just because I don’t like delicata squash (I know, judge me). Every other recipe has been a raving success, and if I’ve made it once, I’ve made it a few times. If you are new to vegetarianism, this is the book to get.
This book is entirely an adventure. If you’re looking for your simple comfort food that you’d enjoy while sitting round the fire with a small group of family and friends, this book is not for you. If you just want a meal your mother would make when you come home to visit, this is not the book for you. On the other hand. If you want to experience flavors you’ve never had before in combinations you would never dream about, dig in. if you want to get out of your comfort zone and learn about culinary traditions frm around the world, and then jumble them all around such as to make the traditionalists gawk in horror (cilantro? in an Italian dish?), come take a seat. This is not my every day cooking book, but when I want something new, something entirely out of the ordinary, this is it. It has a well-deserved place on my shelf.
This was one the the first cookbooks I ever bought for my vegetarian lifestyle. It is completely devoid of pictures, but don’t let that fool you – it just leaves more room for the recipes. These are just really solid recipes that can’t really fail. A medley of Mediterranean, Mexican, Italian, and American dishes rounds out this book and makes it a wonderful option for a first vegetarian cookbook.
If ever you want to learn how to make bread, to really make bread, then buy this book. Do not start your bread-baking adventure here; there are better, more simple options. However, Reinhart’s book is for anyone interested in really understanding bread, really perfecting the art in a home kitchen. Most of the breads take a bit of planning ahead because they generally like to sit in the fridge overnight, but that is something you should get used to. Plus, it gets you in the mindset of having an organized life in general, which we all could use a little improvement with. The breads you produce using this book will blow you away, and will leave you coming back for more.
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