As with many of us, my food journey has been complicated. My relationship with food is still mending but it has gotten healthier as I've focused less on appearances and more on good nourishment. That has involved reading about food as practical theology, growing and preserving our own food and finally learning, relatively late in life, how to cook. My college friends gave me a hard time when they learned I could barely boil water. My time in graduate school introduced me to sauteing meat and vegetables. And later, my husband encouraged me in expanding my recipe repertoire.
Now, I cook most of our meals. My husband often cooks when we have guests or on the weekends. This isn't possible for everyone and I'm only able to do so because it's my full-time job and because we live in a place where good restaurants are hard to come by. But my cooking style is pretty simple. Except for special occasions, I don't use complicated recipes.
Here are my favorites cookbooks:
Simply in Season. A Mennonite affiliated collection of recipes divided into seasons. If you grow your own food, try to eat in season or get CSA boxes with bizarre vegetables, this is the book for you. My personal favorites are Winter Squash Bars, Green Enchiladas and Vegetarian Groundnut Stew.
More with Less. Another book in the Mennonite series of recipes. The premise of this collection is teaching us to cook more sustainably, both for our earth and for our neighbors. Meat is used more as a garnish than the main course and there are some helpful bulk recipes for pancakes and sauces.
How to cook everything. This collection appeals to my lazy side. Each recipe has an approximate time from start to finish. And I've learned how to fix different cuts of meat, experiment with spices and dress up rice dishes. It really does have a little of most everything.
Moosewood Cookbook. From the kitchen of a famous restaurant of the same name in Ithaca, NY. This collection is totally vegetarian. Their recipe for brownies are the best I've ever tasted.
The New Best Recipe: from the editors of Cook's Illustrated Magazine. This is my husband's favorite recipe book. He's a great cook and he likes the fussy details. I can get overwhelmed by the information accompanying each recipe but when I take the time to read it, I always learn something. These people are food scientists and each recipe has been tested numerous times by their editors. The results don't lie. Their cupcakes are amazing.
What are your favorite recipe books?