On My Shelf: Cookbooks

When researching recipes or designing menus, I follow a particular process. Initially, I peruse my favorite food blogs (see BLOGS THAT INSPIRE in my sidebar) and recipe websites (i.e. FOOD AND WINE, BON APPETIT, etc), gathering inspiration and further developing the idea in mind.  Because I am such a tactile person, (as suggested in my ME EDITION post), and thoroughly enjoy the flip of a book page, I always follow up my research, delving into my cookbooks.

Some might argue that the Internet has made "the cookbook" futile. I for one, emphatically disagree! The "cookbook" will always be the last man standing in my culinary world. There's consistency with a cookbook. Reliability. History can be shared through a cookbook. A cookbook will forever stand the test of time (and perhaps the oil stains, flour marks, egg splatter, etc, that is my style of cooking).

In an effort to share more about myself, I am launching a new post series, titled "ON MY SHELF." Future posts may disclose information about my office shelves, craft cubby or perhaps my vanity, etc. But, today is all about the shelves, tucked neatly away from others. My COOKBOOK SHELF.

I can't even begin to prioritize my cookbooks by favorites. They all serve a purpose. Some, I use for specific events, others serve a more generic function. Even more, are referred to for both special celebrations and for daily use.

A few notables, in no precise order:

THE BAREFOOT CONTESSA COOKBOOK//INA GARTEN: A classic cookbook with a wide arrangement of entertaining possibilities. Soups. Salads. Entrees. Even breakfast. Love the GRILLED LEMON CHICKEN WITH SATAY DIP, ROSEMARY WHITE BEAN SOUP and SHORTBREAD HEARTS.

AT HOME IN PROVENCE//PATRICIA WELLS: For the rustic Francophile-foodie. The beauty and deliciousness of Provence in a cookbook! From GOAT CHEESE GRATIN to CARROTS PROVENCAL, your guests will devour every recipe with pleasure.

SUNDAY SUPPERS AT LUCQUES//SUZANNE GOIN: Beautifully designed and composed. Goin personalizes each recipe with a anecdote and often times, a photo. Recipes are highlighted by season and are consolidated in menu form. I could eat an entire bowl of Goin's RICE SOUBISE and have, without shame, licked the plate of her LEG OF LAMB WITH CHORIZO STUFFING AND ROMESCO POTATOES.

THE SILVER PALATE COOKBOOK & GOOD TIMES COOKBOOK//RUSSO & LUKINS: A true cult classic! Many modern cooks (Ina Garten, included) have taken significant inspiration from Julee Russo & Sheila Lukins. Any admirer of the Silver Palate series, will most likely suggest their CHICKEN MARBELLA recipe as a seasoned favorite. I have re-read this series innumerable times and still find new favorites after every read.

Other notable cookbook mentions on my shelf, include:


Never let it be said that I throw away a tasty food magazine -- certain Bon Appetit editions (and random 'zines that I take from the doctor's office), included. The mere glance at any in my heavy stack, remind me of the reason I originally kept it.

There is no comparing the experience of flipping through the pages of a cookbook (or magazine) to scrolling through a website.

What do you think? Do you agree, or prefer the ease of website browsing?


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