5 Cookbooks Every Home Should Have

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Lynda Layng

Whenever I visit someone's home, I’m always curious to see what cookbooks, if any, are in the kitchen. Cookbooks give you an insight into someone’s taste and provide an easy conversation starting point. 

To me, cookbooks are life. I love reading about food and trying new recipes. Of course, like everyone these days, I do find recipes online, but I prefer to cook from the pages of an actual cookbook. ‘Tis the season for presents and I urge you to give the gift of cooking. Here’s a short list of some current favorites that I’d love to see in every home. Whether for a special someone or for yourself, I hope you’ll try one of these books this season. Sharing food and cooking not only nourishes the body -- it warms the soul. 

  1. Anything by Ina GartenThis woman is magic. Every recipe I’ve tried from any of her cookbooks has turned out perfect. From her Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with herbs to her Glazed Spring Lemon Cake, the results are invariably outstanding. I have most of her books and love each one, but if I had to name a favorite it would be Make Ahead Cookbook. It’s always my go-to for easy entertaining. 

  2. Nigella Express: 130 Recipes for Good Food, Fast by Nigella Lawson. I’ve been watching this British superstar chef on YouTube, and she always makes me hungry. She’s so elegant, and yet she’s never intimidating. She has such a fun way of keeping things real, and simple, and appealing. Hers is the kind of food I want to make all the time. Nigella has written several best-selling books, but this is the one I love best. It’s perfect for all of us who are busy working during the day but haven’t given up on cooking supper. This book is packed with great ideas for quick comforting meals. 

  3. Sara Moulton’s Home Cooking 101: How to make everything taste better. I recently heard Sara on a podcast, and the loving way she spoke about the ingredients of a recipe made me smile. One of the most reassuring cooking teachers anyone could hope for, Mouton focuses on seasonal cuisine in this book and guides you through all basics. The beginning is always a good place to start . . . and to return to. Whether you’re new to cooking or not, you’re sure to find plenty of advice in Home Cooking 101 that will help you become a better, more confident cook.

  4. The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook. Packed with recipes from all 21 seasons of the show. Plus equipment guides and taste-testing segments. This is a one-stop shop for all things culinary. An indispensable reference book with obsessively tested recipes that you count on to work. A must-have for any home. 

  5. Cooking at Home: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Recipes (And Love My Microwave) by David Chang and Priya Krishna. David Chang, founder of Momofuku, and Priya Krishna, food writer for The New York Times, joined forces and created something special: a book for the home chef with ideas that get you thinking beyond the recipe and empower you to trust yourself in the kitchen. With this book in your kitchen, you’ll always be ready to tap your creativity and use what’s on hand to make something spectacular.

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