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Essential Cookbooks for All Skill Levels

Caroline Andrew "book addict"
The list author says: "Over the years, I've amassed a rather large cookbook collection. In fact, I am now beginning to branch out into eclectic and antique cookbooks (but that's for other lists). Here are the go-to cookbooks that all cooks--no matter what their level--should have close to hand for daily cooking and informal entertaining. These are not the "classics" but the ones to have on hand for everyday use--the ones that all cooks should have to offer friends and family a wide selection of healthy--and maybe sometimes not-so-healthy--tasty meals."
Joy of Cooking
Joy of Cooking
"The latest editions of Joy of Cooking have been rather disappointing, with even the chapters on canning and preserving removed. But here, the 75th Edition brings back those essentials that made it what it is--the go-to food reference for all home cooks."
Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites: Flavorful Recipes for Healthful Meals
Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites: Flavorful Recipes for Healthful Meals
"For healthy cooking, the Moosewood series just can't be beat. With a recipe for every taste craving, this healthy vegetarian book is well-used in my kitchen. For those of us counting, all the nutritional info is given for each recipe, and meal ideas are also given at the bottom of every recipe--very time-saving when you are trying to plan either a party or your weekly grocery list!"
Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special: More Than 275 Recipes for Soups, Stews, Salads and Extras
Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special: More Than 275 Recipes for Soups, Stews, Salads and Extras
"OK, one more essential from Moosewood: The Daily Special. From soups and salads to the side dishes and breads to accompany them, this is filled with a diverse range of flavors."
Barbecue! Bible Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades, Bastes, Butters, and Glazes
Barbecue! Bible Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades, Bastes, Butters, and Glazes
"I love Raichlen's books for their many flavorful dimensions and meal ideas. With this book in hand, you can find a sauce or rub for any grilling taste you may have in mind."
The New Basics Cookbook
The New Basics Cookbook
"Here's another to keep at easy reach. So many mix-and-match ideas for seasoning and serving."
The Best Recipes in the World
The Best Recipes in the World
"OK, I thought maybe Bittman was a bit overrated. But I find myself reaching for this more times than I ever thought! Have some pork and maybe are craving Chinese? Look up pork and find a dish to match your yen. Maybe have a little too much tequila in the house (is that possible?)--find a great recipe."
Fast Food My Way
Fast Food My Way
"I love this book for weekend cooking and quick entertaining."
The French Chef Cookbook
The French Chef Cookbook
"Always useful, readable, and practical."
Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen: Capturing the Vibrant flavors of a World-Class Cuisine
Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen: Capturing the Vibrant flavors of a World-Class Cuisine
"Got a craving for Mexican? Bayless' book and the Jamisons' book are the way to go!"
All American Desserts: 400 Star-Spangled, Razzle-Dazzle Recipes for America's Best Loved Desserts
All American Desserts: 400 Star-Spangled, Razzle-Dazzle Recipes for America's Best Loved Desserts
"This is only one of 2 dessert books that I find indespenible for every cook. The history behind the different desserts is what makes this book essential."
Baking: From My Home to Yours
Baking: From My Home to Yours
"Dorie Greenspan--who basically wrote Julia Child's baking book--brings us her own authoritative book for the home baker. A must-have for all kitchens."
The Border Cookbook: Authentic Home Cooking of the American Southwest and Northern Mexico (Non)
The Border Cookbook: Authentic Home Cooking of the American Southwest and Northern Mexico (Non)
"Again, one of two books every kitchen needs for Mexican cooking. The Jamisons also include food of the American Southwest."
Prairie Home Cooking: 400 Recipes that Celebrate the Bountiful Harvests, Creative Cooks, and Comforting Foods of the American Heartland (America Cooks)
Prairie Home Cooking: 400 Recipes that Celebrate the Bountiful Harvests, Creative Cooks, and Comforting Foods of the American Heartland (America Cooks)
"I admit that maybe this isn't totally essential to every kitchen--but it certainly is to those of us in the midwest. So many of our parents' and grandparents' recipes can be found here--and as always, Fertig's book is very readable. It's a cook's book. You can sit down and read it!"