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Opinionated cooks weigh in on favorite cookbooks. Big surprise!

October 24, 2012|By Russ Parsons
  • "The Joy of Cooking" was probably the most-mentioned cookbook. No surprise there.
"The Joy of Cooking" was probably the most-mentioned cookbook.…

When I posted a link on my Facebook page to my Daily Dish item on “101 Classic Cookbooks,” I kinda had a feeling I’d get some responses. Big surprise that a lot of opinionated cooks would have opinions, right? Lots of old cookbook friends were recommended and some new ideas as well. I got notes on everything from Apicius (Rachel Laudan is such a showoff) to “Food that Really Schmecks” and – believe it or not – “The Jill St. John Cookbook” (Carolyn O'Neil). REALLY? Here are some of the highlights.

Probably the most-mentioned cookbook was no surprise – the “Joy of Cooking.” And some “Joy” geeks even specified their favorite vintages. Like, uh, me – 1943. Michelle Anna Jordan prefers the 1975 edition, Terrie Chrones the 1972 and Alexia Haidos the 1997.

Fannie Farmer also got a lot of love, under its various names, and so did the old “New York Times Cookbook” by Craig Claiborne, Marcella Hazan’s “Classics of Italian Cooking” (or its revised edition “Essentials of Italian Cooking”), and Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything.” Julia Child and Richard Olney were among the authors most mentioned by name, along with Deborah Madison and Diana Kennedy, though exactly which of their books were best loved was pretty evenly split.

What were my own choices? Besides that old blue plaid “Joy” (my go-to for pancakes and waffles), I picked Olney’s “Simple French Food," Lindsey Shere’s “Chez Panisse Desserts," Madison’s “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone," Hazan’s “Classics of Italian Cooking," Patience Gray’s “Honey from a Weed” (actually, I was surprised that this got picked by so many people. I thought I was the lone weirdo), and Madeleine Kamman’s first version of “Making of a Cook." I also tossed in Yotam Ottolenghi’s “Plenty” as my favorite recent cookbook.

But as I said, this list would probably change every five minutes. Anyone else have recommendations?

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