The only cookbooks they could pry out of your dead hands...

I’ve been culling my cookbook collection for years - some of it prompted my a major move, a kitchen remodel and an infestation of pantry moths from a container of birdseed my dogs broke near our kitchen door along the bookshelves that housed my pared down collection (but which exceeded my capacity for needing them all). I still have so many that I will never visit again.

What are your Bibles? I need to dig into my stash again, because I want to bring some of my dishes out of the basement to store where the cookbooks now reside. I cannot get up and down the basement stairs safely anymore and I miss my seasonal tableware.

I would not relinquish my 1980’s Joyce Chen cookbook, my St. Mary’s Parish of New Bedford cookbook with lots of Portuguese and French Canadian recipes (given to us as a wedding present in 1978 by a dear woman who just turned 93.) Nina Simonds’ Asian Noodles. Craig Claiborne’s New York Times cookbook. Joy of Cooking 6th edition - it’s a scrapbook of my life. Otherwise - I don’t go to my books anymore. I do have a giant cache of tried and true recipes in a box - many handwritten by people who are no longer here. I treasure them.

Getting old, need to cull the herd. I miss my dishes and want them on the first floor so I can use them.


We’ve done two major culls over recent years. The latest, just last autumn, involved the books where we only ever cook one or two recipes. I photographed the recipes, printed them off, filed them away in the “recipe folder” and culled the book.

But, to address your question, my assorted Delia Smith and Nigel Slater ones will probably never be culled. All the others could go, if need be.


I don’t use cookbooks too often. The one of my grandmother’s is the only one I consult for recipes.

Other than that I looks online for recipes if needed, read a few and pick what sounds the best


Wow. I remember the Blue Ribbon and what a tragedy it was to lose the building (didn’t realize how long ago that was!)

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One of the local news stations did a segment on the building and the tunnels that ran underneath it where alcohol was moved during probation

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I think Fuschsia Dunlop’s Chinese cookbooks were very helpful and essential but I think I do enough of the techniques that I don’t need to reference it that much anymore.

I think the 5 volume Modernist Cuisine was also very helpful. I read it once (like over a 3 year period) but never picked it up again.

So I guess I don’t have any cookbooks that I always cook from so much anymore (since I feel good about knowing the techniques I learned).


Same here… I usually search around on the internet, print out 2 or 3 recipes and combine elements from each to make my own version.
If I can’t come up with anything that I like, I just call my Mom… She has a recipe in her head for everything. If I’m having a problem cooking/baking something, she has the solution.
Each time she dictates a recipe to me (over the phone) I type it up and put it into my “recipe binder”… also have a back up on a thumb drive.

This week I’m researching a “Tater Tot” casserole. I found a couple versions I like, so I’ll grab elements from each and give it a try – That is… after I go to the store and pick up some tater tots.


Yes, ‘Mom’ is the vault for recipes. My oldest child called me (I was at at work) from their cell phone somewhere in the mountains and asked, “Mom, how do you cook a rattlesnake?”. I knew of course, but I had a different question for them! Bless your mom!


Rattlesnake?? OMG!! You have got to tell the rest of the story on that one.
Yes, I just got off the phone with my mother. I had to ask her about working with rice paper, she didn’t know that one – she never worked with rice paper.
I doubt she would have a recipe for rattlesnake either, she did cook my Dad frog legs and squirrel, but I think that is the extent of her “exotic” recipes.


I won’t ever give up my Carmine’s cookbook, Cooks Illustrated cookbook, or Bravetart.


Paula Wolfert cookbooks, all of them.
Judy Rodgers, Zuni Cafe.

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I’m going to have to take a look at Carmine’s book. I know you’ve nominated it for COTM a few times. Knowing it’s one of your top 3 has me interested.

And they *still find the odd boarded up tunnel or safe room.