Let’s say cookbooks that are 15 years or older. For some of us, these favorite oldies go back decades, but we still turn to them occasionally for a specific recipe, nostalgia aside.
Mine are the original Moosewood Cookbook, an old Best of Bon Apetit, and the 2 Silver Palate Cookbooks as well as The New Basics.
How about you?
(John Hartley - a culinary patriot eating & cooking in Northwest England)
Bear in mind that we have been cooking together since 1972, so the interest goes back a long way. We regularly cull the cookbooks but, as you say, there are some oldies, but goodies, that survive every time.
I would not want to be without Delia Smith’s “Complete Cookery Course”, nor her “One is Fun”. I’d also be at a loss without all of my Nigel Slater ones - the oldest must be early 90s. I’m sure there are others on the shelves that are more than 15 years old. 15 years? That’s only yesterday, my friend.
My Better Homes & Gardens cookbook was the first I bought as a new bride, and I still use it. Im on my second copy of Joy, as the old one is dogeared, stained, and the binding is broken, and my ancient copy of The Heritage of Southern Cooking by Camille Glenn still holds a permanent place in my shelf…a survival purchase for a young Yankee girl finding herself cooking for her Southron husband.
Both the husbands are history, but the books are still with me. Lol.
I know John, 15 years WAS yesterday. I arbitrarily set15 years to encompass those who haven’t been cooking that long. For those of you who maybe more of a newbie than that, please tell us the first books you cooked from and what inspired you.
Ah, but what does “use” mean? The recipes I go back to I’ve transposed as I’ve modified them to my own files (some paper, some electronic).
My old favorites are the ones I can sit in bed and read.
The first cookbook I bought in 1982 was the sixth edition of Joy of Cooking (1975). I learned a lot. I learned more from fourth edition (1951) I found at a church sale. Mastering the Art of French Cooking is on my bed stand, not in the kitchen. On Food and Cooking is on the shelf in my home office. What they have in common is a fundamental focus on technique. On the basics. Knife skills. Food preservation. Repurposing leftovers. Cooking ahead. Freezing v. canning.
Oh and how can I forget Great Dinners from Life? Beautiful book, excellent recipes, divided into the four seasons with menus. I take it out just to look at the pictures sometimes and to get seasonal inspiration. The chicken Parmesan recipe is killer, and the apple pie, and, and, and…
Mrs. P still uses a very old cookbook that was compiled by, and given to her by her customer, when she worked in a fancy hair salon in New Orleans. It’s called Dining In- New Orleans Cookbook by Phyllis Dennery. It was written in 1985 and consists of recipes from some of the finest restaurants in New Orleans at the time. The foreword was written by famous clarinetist Pete Fountain. A lot of these restaurants are no longer open. She still uses some of the recipes for her gumbo, fried catfish with pecan sauce, flourless chocolate sin cake, and crabmeat au gratin, among other recipes.
Thank you @chowdom Yes, Mrs. P is a real treasure, and it did bring tears to my eyes to see this book with some of the restaurants that I went to when I visited New Orleans with my Mrs. P nine years ago as part of a Make a Wish gift from her hospital when she was battling breast cancer (that is thankfully in remission).
Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood and Enchanted Broccoli Forest, and these helped me learn to cook: Evan Kleiman & Vianna La Place’s “Cucina Rustica” and “Cucina Fresca”…I probably could add 20 more to that list!