So you'd like to...

start a cookbook collection

A guide by Bookworm "Chris" (New York)

Products sampled from this guide:
I'm a little embarrassed to admit that my collection of cookbooks has surpassed the 100 mark. What can I say? I love food, I love to cook, and I love cookbooks. I was going through my collection today and wondering, if I were to start from scratch, which cookbooks would I buy again? Which ones form the foundation of my collection? Which ones would I recommend to others to start a collection of their own? This guide is simply the answer to those questions. I hope you enjoy!


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First, I recommend having at least one or two "compendium" cookbooks that have a large number and variety of recipes. When I have an ingredient I want to use, these books often point me toward several different recipe options. They are also good for those days when I think, "I really want to make "salsa or enchiladas or blueberry sauce or banana-nut muffins, etc" More often than not a quick check in the index will point me toward a recipe for the type of food I want to cook, without the need to consult any specialty cookbooks. The ones I have and love are:

The Bon Appetit Cookbook,

The Rodale Whole Foods Cookbook: With More Than 1,000 Recipes for Choosing, Cooking, & Preserving Natural Ingredients, and

1,000 Vegetarian Recipes.

That last one might seem strange to have in this "compendium" category, but I have found it to be such a great resource for just about any kind of recipe that does not involve meat. It is an excellent general-use cookbook.


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Secondly, I would recommend an "instructive" cookbook. My favorite is:

The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution.

This cookbook has a wide variety of recipes with in-depth instructions to teach you how to cook better


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Next, I would recommend having some cookbooks that focus just on vegetables. Healthy cooking is very important to me, but I want my vegetables to taste good! I am a believer in balance as the way to a healthful diet and plain steamed broccoli just does not cut it. No better way than to incorporate more healthy veggies than to have a few cookbooks dedicated solely to making vegetables taste great. My absolute favorite is:

The Roasted Vegetable (Non)

and some other great ones are:

Serving Up the Harvest: Celebrating the Goodness of Fresh Vegetables: 175 Simple Recipes,

Vegetables Every Day: The Definitive Guide to Buying and Cooking Today's Produce With More Than 350 Recipes, and

Greens Glorious Greens!: More than 140 Ways to Prepare All Those Great-Tasting, Super-Healthy, Beautiful Leafy Greens.


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Next, I am also a big believer in seasonal, organic cooking. I recommend having at least one or two cookbooks that focus on seasonality and/or organic cooking. These cookbooks are especially great if you shop at your local farmer's market. A few of my favorites are:

Cooking Light Cooking Through the Seasons: An Everyday Guide to Enjoying the Freshest Food,

Earth to Table: Seasonal Recipes from an Organic Farm,

Lucid Food: Cooking for an Eco-Conscious Life,

EatingWell in Season: The Farmers' Market Cookbook,

Food to Live By: The Earthbound Farm Organic Cookbook,

Jamie at Home: Cook Your Way to the Good Life, and

Southern Living Farmers Market Cookbook: A Fresh Look at Local Flavor (Southern Living (Hardcover Oxmoor)).


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While I do feel that Seasonal/Organic cooking goes hand-in-hand with healthy cooking, I still like having one or two "healthy cookbooks." These are the types of cookbooks that are aimed at teaching you how to improve your diet by eating and cooking in a more healthy, balanced way. I recommend:

The New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life,

The Essential EatingWell Cookbook: Good Carbs, Good Fats, Great Flavors (EatingWell), or

The Strang Cancer Prevention Center Cookbook


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Next, I recommend having at least one or two really great general baking cookbooks. Again, these are the types of cookbooks that provide a wide range of recipes for baked goods. My favorites are:

How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking,

Chez Panisse Desserts,

Baking: From My Home to Yours,

King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking: Delicious Recipes Using Nutritious Whole Grains (King Arthur Flour Cookbooks), and

The Essential Baker: The Comprehensive Guide to Baking with Chocolate, Fruit, Nuts, Spices, and Other Ingredients.


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Next, I recommend having one single-subject cookbook for each of the various topics you are interested in. The following are my favorite specialty topics. Try some of these or find cookbooks that fit your particular niche.

Chocolate Desserts -
Luscious Chocolate Desserts

Lemon Desserts -
Luscious Lemon Desserts

Frozen Desserts -
The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments

Bread-making -
The Tassajara Bread Book

Risotto -
Risotto: More than 100 Recipes for the Classic Rice Dish of Northern Italy

Focaccia Bread -
Focaccia

Candy/Truffle making -
Truffles: 50 Deliciously Decadent Homemade Chocolate Treats (50 Series),

Chocolates and Confections at Home with The Culinary Institute of America, and

Truffles, Candies, and Confections: Techniques and Recipes for Candymaking

Miniature Desserts -
Sweet Miniatures: The Art of Making Bite-Size Desserts or

Bite-Size Desserts: Creating Mini Sweet Treats, from Cupcakes to Cobblers to Custards and Cookies

Decorative cupcakes -
Martha Stewart's Cupcakes: 175 Inspired Ideas for Everyone's Favorite Treat

Fruit Desserts -
Seasonal Fruit Desserts: From Orchard, Farm, and Market and

Rustic Fruit Desserts: Crumbles, Buckles, Cobblers, Pandowdies, and More

Italian -
Jamie's Italy and

Everyday Italian: 125 Simple and Delicious Recipes

Soup -
Love Soup: 160 All-New Vegetarian Recipes from the Author of The Vegetarian Epicure or

Enlightened Soups: More Than 135 Light, Healthy, Delicious and Beautiful Soups in 60 Minutes or Less

Lighter Desserts -
Enlightened Cakes: More Than 100 Decadently Light Layer Cakes, Bundt Cakes, Cupcakes, Cheesecakes, and More, All with Less Fat and Fewer Calories &

Enlightened Chocolate: More Than 200 Decadently Light, Lowfat, and Inspired Recipes Using Dark Chocolate and Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

Alcoholic Beverages -
Market-Fresh Mixology: Cocktails for Every Season

Fondue -
Fondue


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And finally, it's always good to have a few fun titles in your collection. Feel free to find your own favorites!

My French Kitchen: A Book of 120 Treasured Recipes - this book is by the author of the novel "Chocolat" - who could resist!

Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth &
Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey Treats for Kids - these just sound like delicious fun!

Girlfriends Forever - Actually, I recommend any of Susan Branch's books. They're a beautiful combination of art, writing, and recipes

O, The Oprah Magazine Cookbook - Who doesn't love Oprah?

Happy cooking everyone!

Products mentioned include:
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1.  The Bon Appetit Cookbook  by Barbara Fairchild
$25.16 Used & New from: $0.01
4.7 out of 5 stars   (105) | 1 customer discussion
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2.  The Rodale Whole Foods Cookbook: With More Than 1,000 Recipes for Choosing, Cooking, & Preserving Natural Ingredients  by Dara Demoelt
$22.79 Used & New from: $5.36
4.7 out of 5 stars   (42)
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3.  1,000 Vegetarian Recipes  by Carol Gelles
$24.95 Used & New from: $0.01
4.6 out of 5 stars   (67)
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4.  The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution [Illustrated]  by Alice Waters
$19.77 Used & New from: $8.14
4.5 out of 5 stars   (186) | 2 customer discussions
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5.  The Roasted Vegetable (Non)  by Andrea Chesman
$11.17 Used & New from: $2.55
4.7 out of 5 stars   (53)
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6.  Serving Up the Harvest: Celebrating the Goodness of Fresh Vegetables: 175 Simple Recipes  by Andrea Chesman
$13.05 Used & New from: $4.05
4.6 out of 5 stars   (33)
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7.  Vegetables Every Day: The Definitive Guide to Buying and Cooking Today's Produce With More Than 350 Recipes  by Jack Bishop
$24.73 Used & New from: $4.58
4.5 out of 5 stars   (76)
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8.  Greens Glorious Greens!: More than 140 Ways to Prepare All Those Great-Tasting, Super-Healthy, Beautiful Leafy Greens  by Johnna Albi
$15.32 Used & New from: $4.11
4.8 out of 5 stars   (81)
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9.  Cooking Light Cooking Through the Seasons: An Everyday Guide to Enjoying the Freshest Food  by Editors of Cooking Light Magazine
$24.36 Used & New from: $0.01
4.8 out of 5 stars   (11)
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10.  Earth to Table: Seasonal Recipes from an Organic Farm [Bargain Price]  by Jeff Crump
Used & New from: $10.49
4.4 out of 5 stars   (21) | 1 customer discussion
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11.  Lucid Food: Cooking for an Eco-Conscious Life  by Louisa Shafia
$17.18 Used & New from: $5.07
4.8 out of 5 stars   (18)
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12.  EatingWell in Season: The Farmers' Market Cookbook  by The Editors of EatingWell
$17.96 Used & New from: $0.01
4.2 out of 5 stars   (14)
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13.  Food to Live By: The Earthbound Farm Organic Cookbook  by Myra Goodman
$14.92 Used & New from: $0.01
4.7 out of 5 stars   (77)
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14.  Jamie at Home: Cook Your Way to the Good Life  by Jamie Oliver
$37.50 Used & New from: $3.57
4.6 out of 5 stars   (112) | 2 customer discussions
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15.  Southern Living Farmers Market Cookbook: A Fresh Look at Local Flavor (Southern Living (Hardcover Oxmoor))  by Editors of Southern Living Magazine
$19.86 Used & New from: $8.50
4.8 out of 5 stars   (14)
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16.  The New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life  by American Institute for Cancer Research
$27.04 Used & New from: $0.25
4.7 out of 5 stars   (45)
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17.  The Essential EatingWell Cookbook: Good Carbs, Good Fats, Great Flavors (EatingWell)  by The Editors of EatingWell
$14.36 Used & New from: $0.22
4.6 out of 5 stars   (56)
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18.  The Strang Cancer Prevention Center Cookbook  by Laura Pensiero
$18.61 Used & New from: $0.01
3.7 out of 5 stars   (7)
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19.  How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking  by Nigella Lawson
$19.99 Used & New from: $0.01
4.3 out of 5 stars   (156)
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20.  Chez Panisse Desserts  by Lindsey Remolif Shere
$15.94 Used & New from: $5.01
4.6 out of 5 stars   (19)
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21.  Baking: From My Home to Yours  by Dorie Greenspan
$23.20 Used & New from: $10.00
4.5 out of 5 stars   (198)
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22.  King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking: Delicious Recipes Using Nutritious Whole Grains (King Arthur Flour Cookbooks)  by King Arthur Flour
$22.79 Used & New from: $6.30
4.7 out of 5 stars   (171) | 10 customer discussions
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23.  The Essential Baker: The Comprehensive Guide to Baking with Chocolate, Fruit, Nuts, Spices, and Other Ingredients  by Carole Bloom
Used & New from: $0.12
4.6 out of 5 stars   (13)
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24.  Luscious Chocolate Desserts  by Lori Longbotham
$14.86 Used & New from: $0.01
4.6 out of 5 stars   (28)
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25.  Luscious Lemon Desserts  by Lori Longbotham
$13.30 Used & New from: $0.01
4.7 out of 5 stars   (46)
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26.  The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments  by David Lebovitz
$11.01 Used & New from: $9.39
4.7 out of 5 stars   (381) | 2 customer discussions
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27.  The Tassajara Bread Book [Deluxe Edition]  by Edward Espe Brown
Used & New from: $13.82
4.8 out of 5 stars   (122)
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28.  Risotto: More than 100 Recipes for the Classic Rice Dish of Northern Italy  by Judith Barrett
$21.60 Used & New from: $0.01
4.9 out of 5 stars   (30)
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29.  Focaccia [Bargain Price]  by Carol Field
Used & New from: $1.72
4.9 out of 5 stars   (13)
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30.  Truffles: 50 Deliciously Decadent Homemade Chocolate Treats (50 Series)  by Dede Wilson
$9.32 Used & New from: $0.77
4.1 out of 5 stars   (26)
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31.  Chocolates and Confections at Home with The Culinary Institute of America  by Peter Greweling
$22.76 Used & New from: $9.61
4.8 out of 5 stars   (62)
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32.  Truffles, Candies, and Confections: Techniques and Recipes for Candymaking  by Carole Bloom
$19.12 Used & New from: $0.68
4.5 out of 5 stars   (19)
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33.  Sweet Miniatures: The Art of Making Bite-Size Desserts  by Flo Braker
$16.16 Used & New from: $0.01
3.8 out of 5 stars   (35)
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34.  Bite-Size Desserts: Creating Mini Sweet Treats, from Cupcakes to Cobblers to Custards and Cookies  by Carole Bloom
$17.96 Used & New from: $3.98
4.1 out of 5 stars   (22)
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35.  Martha Stewart's Cupcakes: 175 Inspired Ideas for Everyone's Favorite Treat  by Martha Stewart
$16.82 Used & New from: $1.13
4.3 out of 5 stars   (198)
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36.  Seasonal Fruit Desserts: From Orchard, Farm, and Market  by Deborah Madison
Used & New from: $2.85
4.6 out of 5 stars   (14)
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37.  Rustic Fruit Desserts: Crumbles, Buckles, Cobblers, Pandowdies, and More  by Cory Schreiber
$15.33 Used & New from: $7.33
4.6 out of 5 stars   (57)
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38.  Jamie's Italy  by Jamie Oliver
$34.95 Used & New from: $2.45
4.5 out of 5 stars   (65)
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39.  Everyday Italian: 125 Simple and Delicious Recipes  by Giada De Laurentiis
$20.30 Used & New from: $0.24
4.3 out of 5 stars   (433) | 2 customer discussions
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40.  Love Soup: 160 All-New Vegetarian Recipes from the Author of The Vegetarian Epicure  by Anna Thomas
$16.87 Used & New from: $1.92
4.8 out of 5 stars   (87)
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41.  Enlightened Soups: More Than 135 Light, Healthy, Delicious and Beautiful Soups in 60 Minutes or Less  by Camilla V. Saulsbury
$20.05 Used & New from: $0.03
4.5 out of 5 stars   (13)
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42.  Enlightened Cakes: More Than 100 Decadently Light Layer Cakes, Bundt Cakes, Cupcakes, Cheesecakes, and More, All with Less Fat and Fewer Calories  by Camilla V. Saulsbury
$17.71 Used & New from: $0.60
4.3 out of 5 stars   (3)
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43.  Enlightened Chocolate: More Than 200 Decadently Light, Lowfat, and Inspired Recipes Using Dark Chocolate and Unsweetened Cocoa Powder  by Camilla V. Saulsbury
$19.22 Used & New from: $0.50
3.6 out of 5 stars   (5)
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44.  Market-Fresh Mixology: Cocktails for Every Season  by Bridget Albert
$14.54 Used & New from: $1.16
4.6 out of 5 stars   (29)
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45.  Fondue  by Lenny Rice
Used & New from: $0.01
4.2 out of 5 stars   (4)
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----------------------------------
46.  My French Kitchen: A Book of 120 Treasured Recipes  by Joanne Harris
$13.32 Used & New from: $3.35
4.6 out of 5 stars   (29)
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47.  Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth  by Jill O'Connor
$15.67 Used & New from: $0.01
4.5 out of 5 stars   (40) | 1 customer discussion
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48.  Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey Treats for Kids  by Jill O'Connor
Used & New from: $0.01
4.1 out of 5 stars   (56)
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49.  Girlfriends Forever [Bargain Price]  by Susan Branch
Used & New from: $2.15
4.8 out of 5 stars   (47)
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50.  O, The Oprah Magazine Cookbook [Bargain Price]  by Editors Of O Magazine
Used & New from: $0.09
4.7 out of 5 stars   (31)
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Bookworm "Chris" (New York)
Qualifications: home cook & lover of good food
Last updated: 5/15/10
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