My cookbook collection is vast. I don’t view them as mere dinner inspiration! I read my favorite cookbooks cover to cover, often more than once.
The cookbooks in this post are my current favorites. They’re the ones I turn to over and over again for both improvisational cooking inspiration and exact recipes. I love these eight in particular because they’re filled not only with delectable recipes but also with beautiful writing, delightful visuals, and unique approaches to cooking food.
No-Recipe Recipes by Sam Sifton
No-Recipe Recipes is one of the cookbooks I look to when I’m feeling stumped. The author’s dishes push me out of my comfort zone and encourage me to try flavors I don’t always gravitate toward. They also teach me how to use my pantry really efficiently.
Indian(-ish) by Priya Krishna
When I want to feel a bit challenged by a new-to-me recipe (without any given recipe being too difficult), I turn to this cookbook. All of the dishes I’ve tried have been so flavorful and delicious.
One: Pot, Pan, Planet by Anna Jones (gifted)
This is a cookbook I can easily reference when I want to make a meal from what I already have in my fridge. The author’s insights also make me want to be a better steward of our planet through the food I buy and consume. This cookbook was a surprise gift from the author’s publisher upon the book’s release in the US and the day it arrived, I read it cover to cover. Since then, it’s been my most referenced cookbook!
A Cook’s Book by Nigel Slater
I’m no stranger to Nigel Slater’s cookbooks—I bought my first one when I was going through my divorce years ago. I purchased this cookbook earlier this year and love it so much. There’s gorgeous writing, beautiful pictures, and plenty of vegan and vegetable-based dishes. Unlike Sam Sifton’s recipes, the flavors Nigel uses are ones I already gravitate toward. I think it’s important to find recipe creators who work with foods you’re already comfortable with (along with those who push you outside of your comfort zone).
A Table for Friends by Skye McAlpine
This cookbook got me through holiday hosting. I love entertaining and this author does too. The cookbook is organized by dish type (main, side, etc.) and includes plenty of hosting tips throughout. One of my fellow Cookbook Club members gave each of us a copy and we cooked from it toward the end of 2021. Most of my dinner party meals have come from this book since receiving it.
Nothing Fancy by Alison Roman
This cookbook, which I’ve had on my shelf for years, features simple, delicious everyday dishes. I’ve cooked so much from it over the years that it’s falling apart.
The Modern Larder by Michelle McKenzie
This cookbook is organized by ingredient, paired with recipes featuring each ingredient. It’s similar to the cookbook style of Anna Jones in that Michelle teaches you to be creative with simple recipes. It also includes really clear instructions and hacks that can get you out of a cooking rut in a second.
Old World Italian by Mimi Thorisson
At first blush, this cookbook can feel a little intimidating—but it’s well worth buying, I promise. Mimi explores the cuisines of Italy by region. My Italian pantry recipes have gotten so much better because of this cookbook.
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BY Kate Arends - March 23, 2022
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.