Are you looking for a list of reasonably priced cookbooks that can be the foundation of your cookbook collection?
I'm often asked to recommend cookbook titles, and today's post is a brief list of the six cookbooks I would recommend the most highly out of the dozens of cookbooks I've bought, borrowed and used over the past 20 years. Today's six recommendations are our "foundation cookbooks" here at Casual Kitchen.
It's all too easy to have many of the cookbooks you buy just sit on your shelf, wasting space and money. That's why it's so critical to get trustworthy recommendations, so you can be certain that the cookbooks you buy will be a part of your critical few. I hope you enjoy these cookbooks as much as we do.
Readers, what are the foundation cookbooks in your kitchen?
Six Foundation Cookbooks:
1) Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant
This is our favorite cookbook here at Casual Kitchen, and in my humble opinion, it's one of the best cookbooks in existence. It contains some 500 recipes across 18 different ethnic cuisines, and after more than ten years of cooking from it we've still barely scratched the surface of what this book has to offer.
2) The Vegetarian Epicure
A classic work of the vegetarian cookbook canon. Even if you're just part-time vegetarians like we are, or if you're just looking for ways to cook great recipes at reasonable expense, this is an exceptional cookbook that I recommend highly. It's filled with straightforward and delicious recipes of all types, and it includes highly informative chapters on vegetarianism, as well as a discussion of issues surrounding processed foods and food additives (given that the book was written in 1972, this book was far ahead of its time in addressing these subjects). Still more amazing is the fact that author Anna Thomas was only 24 years old when she wrote this treasure of a cookbook.
3) Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook
Don't expect to see exotic ethnic cuisine in this warhorse cookbook (although the book tries valiantly on occasion), but do expect to find all of the information you'll ever need to know to cook every meat, vegetable, casserole, bread and cake under the sun. In short, for under $20, it's all you'll ever really need to master hearty American cuisine.
Also, for supporters of breast cancer awareness, there is a limited edition "Pink Plaid" version of Better Homes, which contains the full Better Homes cookbook with bonus feature recipes from a variety of female celebrity cookbook authors.
4) Vegetarian Soup Cuisine: 125 Soups and Stews from Around the World
Jay Solomon's cookbook is unfortunately becoming more and more difficult to find on bookstore shelves, but you can still get plenty of copies at Amazon. This wonderful, modest little cookbook opened an entire new world to me of simple one-pot soups and stews, most of which are easy to make and laughably cheap. If you're looking to make an investment in reducing both your food bill and the amount of time you spend cooking, this book is an excellent place to start.
5) 365 Ways to Cook Pasta
On a per-dollar-spent basis, I've found more great recipes in this cookbook than in any other cookbook I've ever purchased. By far. I highly recommend this book if you're looking for a big selection of affordable recipes, most of which are extremely easy to make.
6) Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen
The least healthy, but the most fun, cookbook on this list. This cookbook is suitable for intermediate-level cooks, as some of the recipes in here can be a bit involved and complex. But if you've mastered the basics of cooking, this book will teach you how to make exceptional Cajun and Creole food and blow away your family and friends with what is arguably America's greatest cuisine. Just take one look at the picture of chef Paul on the cover and you can tell that there's gonna be some great recipes in here.
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* A note to readers: As always, along with each book title, I've included links to Amazon for your convenience. If you are interested in buying any of these cookbooks, you can help support Casual Kitchen by using those links to visit Amazon. I will receive a small affiliate fee based on your purchases, and it will not cost you anything extra. I thank you, readers, for all of your support!