One of my favorite blogs to read is TennZen, and recently, she wrote a post about her top 5 favorite cookbooks. I collect vintage cookbooks, and so I have more of them than any person rightly should, but I only keep a handful in the kitchen and use them often. Here's my list:
1. Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. I used BH&G in my 8th Grade Home Ec class at Hartsig Junior High School in Warren, Michigan, and it became the standard for me. The one I have in my kitchen is the one I got at my bridal shower in the early 1990s, but just yesterday, my sister in law gave me my mother-in-law's version from the 1950s. I love that hers features a recipe for a "liverwurst pineapple" - an appetizer that was liverwurst molded into a pineapple shape and covered with American cheese and olives. She also underlined the potato chips in the calorie counter section (7 chips contains 108 calories), which I am sure bummed her out. Also, on the back cover is the distinctive crop circle like brand of an electric stove burner, from accidentally setting the book on an uncooled coil. It was her well loved cookbook, and the 1990s version is one of mine as well. It's where I look first for any recipe.
2. Barefoot Countessa - the original cookbook. Every recipe in this book is a winner. The photography is beautiful, too. Try the French potato salad featured on the cover or the coconut cupcakes. Thank you Ina Garten.
3. I'm Just Here for the Food. I love every Alton Brown recipe I ever made, and I adore his show on the Food Network. I still need to get his second volume "I'm Just Here for More Food". Try the "No Backyard Babyback Ribs" or "Alabama Alchemy" recipe for collards to start.
4. The Ball Complete Book to Home Preserving - I usually buy a Ball Blue Book every year it changes - it's like a magazine for me, but this book is a great reference with many unique recipes.
5. Joy of Cooking. I have many versions of this book in my collection, but the one I keep in my kitchen is the one I got for my bridal shower. If you want to cook anything, you can find a recipe for it in this cookbook. I love that they used the term "cockaigne" - in medieval times meant a "mythical land of peace and plenty" to indicate their favorites recipes.
So, what are your Cockaigne cookbooks?