The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, by Deborah Madison
I dont follow any particular diet these days, but for a brief time in graduate school, I made a shoddy attempt at veganism. I was the sort of vegan who ate a lot of French fries, if you know what I mean. That same year, my mother gifted me this tome by Deborah Madison, and even as Ive brought eggs and meat back to my plate in the intervening years, this cookbook has remained my favorite reference for basic veggie things. Its so thorough its practically encyclopedic. On those weekends when I just wander to the farmers market and pick out whatever looks good, I can rely on this book to offer me at least a handful of great ideas for how to use it. Kaelyn Riley, Senior Editor
Against All Grain Celebrations,by Danielle Walker
Theres nothing more fulfilling to me than clearing a few hours to plan and prepare a fun dish usually for a special occasion. Blogger and paleo-chef Danielle Walker has tried-and-true classics for every holiday and event throughout the year. Her approach is always grain-free, and mainly dairy-free, and pretty uncomplicated. Mini corndogs for a kids party no problem. Legume-free baked beans check. Chocolate pecan tart no one in my family knows is free of refined sugar nailed it. Laura Fogelberg, Audience Development ManagerMarketing
Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking,by Marcella Hazan andMediterranean Cookery, by Claudia Rhoden
Most Italians (and even some French) maintain that the true glories of French cuisine came from Italy, as French royalty often hired Italian chefs way back when. Jump forward several centuries and Marcella Hazan became theItalian ambassador of the kitchen to Americans. Her various collections were akin to Julia Childs masterpiece, filled with charming commentary and staunchly held opinions, yet with vastly simpler recipes (and without the tipsy asides). Around our home, the go-to Hazan cookbook is a well-traveled, spine-broken, ingredient-stained copy of Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. Hazan came from the Adriatic coastal city of Cesenatico, and so was a great proponent of the heavier pork- and dairy-based foods of Emilia-Romagna, helping champion that region as thecapitol of Italian cuisine. But, dont forget the other regions especially the soul of the boot of Italy, including Sicily. For recipes from these regions, Claudia Rhodens Mediterranean Cookeryis our fave and without doubt our kitchens most-used cookbook all around. Its a slim guide, yet the dishes are well chosen and wonderfully flavorful, taking you beyond Italy and around the Mediterranean as far as Spain, Morocco, and the Middle East. Michael Dregni, Deputy Editor
How to Cook Everything, by Mark Bittman
Cooking isnt magic, and it shouldnt be difficult either. This is the opening line of the first chapter of How to Cook Everything, and hands down my favorite thing Ive ever read from any cookbook. Bittman makes it all seem easy and imminently doable whenever I have a yen for, say, mixing up my own pizza dough, or making tortellini from scratch, or cooking a whole fish, I turn to this book. Kaelyn Riley, Senior Editor
Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies,by Najmieh Batmanglij
When I think back on my childhood, it smells like onions frying on the stove with turmeric. It looks like kebabs, marinated in pomegranate and parsley, skewered and waiting for a hot grill. It sounds like saffron-stainedtahdig the quintessential crispy rice of Persian cooking crackling between my teeth. It tastes likekhorest, stews filled with veggies and braised meat, bursting with the tangy flavor of dried limes,limu,that have exploded in the thick broth.
These sense memories of growing up in a Persian household are visceral, but completely unhelpful when I left home and wanted to cook on my own. Calls to my mom and dad, the latter of whom owned a restaurant serving Iranian cuisine in New York City, ended in frustration when recipes turned out to be incomplete grocery lists, imprecise measurements, and barely approximate cooking times.
My parents cooked based on feel, and I ate based on feel. Cookbook author Najmieh Batmanglij helped me bridge the gap and bring the foods I loved into my own kitchen.
Her book,Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies, is the cookbook I reach for most often. The title is English fornoosh-e jan, which translates loosely as food of life or soul food and is our equivalent of bon appetit. Its a blessing of nourishment with which Iranians begin each meal.New Food of Lifehas hundreds of recipes, including those for my favorite dishes as well as many Ive never heard of. They hail from regions across Iran and are accompanied by stories of heritage and holiday.
Food of Life is a gem in my collection.
Ive used Batmanglijs recipes for the better part of a decade. Whereas I once cooked them verbatim, I now consider the collection a reference. Thats not how Momo makes it, became my refrain. Ive grown accustomed to cooking outside the lines and adapting recipes to my memories.
For instance, I leave out garlic, because my mom is allergic and I never grew used to the flavor. I double or triple the amount of acid in the form of lemon juice and dried limes. I use a combination of butter and oil in my rice, but never maketahdigwith yogurt, potato, or bread. And like my parents before me, I dont measure anything.
Batmanglij knows the value of not only region, but family and more specifically, family member in creating our food of life. She encourages adaptation, as that is how the foods developed in the first place.
Noosh-e jan.Maggie Fazeli Fard, Senior Editor
Joy of Cooking,by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker
Joy of Cookingis my very favorite cookbook.In an age where we can look up any recipe in seconds, this is still a cookbook that I refer to frequently. I use it as a foundation or a jumping-off point when I want to riff on a recipe that I have found elsewhere.Joy of Cookingis very-well categorized, relatable, and tried and true all the recipes are tested by the authors and the editions that have come before.I also have an old version ofJoy of Cookingfrom the 1960s that belonged to my grandfather. He was a professional restauranteur and usedJoy of Cookingfor many of his daily specials and for his salad-dressing recipes. My copy has scores of dog-eared pages and drips and stains on it, which I love.My own copy ofJoy of Cooking, which I have been using for almost 25 years, is also showing its age it pretty much opens instinctively to my favorite recipe, Gorgonzola Stuffed Chicken Breasts. My second favorite is Roasted Turkey with Gravy. (I refer to theJoy of Cookingsmethod of preparing turkey every year at Thanksgiving.)Oh, and in the potatoes section the recipe for Gratin Dauphinois . . . delicious! Ann Gabrielli, Business Specialist/Office Manager
My New Roots,by Sarah Britton
This is one of my all-time favorite cookbooks because its organized exactly how I grocery shop seasonally! The author is a plant-based holistic nutritionist, and while, yes, the recipes are healthy, food simply tastes better when its grown and picked exactly how nature intended. The beauty of cooking this way extends beyond produce proximity and fresher flavors its what Im actually craving during any given season. Everything is vegetarian and mostly vegan and gluten-freeroasted pumpkin with tangerine-tahini sauce anyone? and very adaptable for meat eaters. Laura Fogelberg, Audience Development ManagerMarketing
The Oh She Glows Cookbook,by Angela Liddon
This cookbook, named after Liddons eponymous vegan food blog, is the only cookbook I own thats actually falling apart from use. I love the front matter I feel like I could spend an entire weekend just reading lists of various home chefs favorite cooking tools and pantry ingredients but, more importantly, theres not a bad recipe in the bunch. Lots of these are on heavy rotation in my kitchen during the wintertime, including the Immunity-Boosting Tomato Sauce with Mushrooms, the Quick & Easy Chana Masala, and the Soul-Soothing African Peanut Stew. Kaelyn Riley, Senior Editor
Madhur Jaffreys Indian Cooking, by Madhur Jaffrey
This slim, inauspicious paperback was one of Madhur Jaffreys first cookbooks. While Jaffreys since authored larger, grander, and more gloriously illustrated collections, she covers many fundamentals here. Jaffrey came from the Delhi area, and this cookbook is mostly focused on northern Indian cooking styles. One of our favorites for southern Indian cooking is Dakshin: Vegetarian Cuisine From South India,by Chandra Padmanabhan. Michael Dregni, Deputy Editor
Love Real Food, by Kathryne Taylor
Ive long loved Taylors blog, Cookie and Kate, where she shares fresh vegetarian recipes and cute snaps of Cookie, her rescue dog and sous chef. I especially love this book for its front matter: a treatise on the value of whole foods, a handful of tips and techniques to boost the flavor in your veggies, and (especially unique) a list of foods that are toxic to dogs. Ive made quite a few recipes from this cookbook (and many more from the blog), and Ive truly never been disappointed. Kaelyn Riley, Senior Editor
I dont have a favorite cookbook, actually. My husband and I simply tear out delicious-sounding recipes from magazines like Eating Well, Bon Appetit, and Experience Life(of course). We found a couple of binders, bought some dividers and page protectors, and added the recipes. We organize our binders in multiple categories, such as Breakfast, Salads, Soups, and various meat sections. When we want to make a recipe, we just pop it out of the binder. I highly recommend it!Carrie Stafford, Audience Development ManagerCirculation