Must-Have Cookbooks

Not only will they look great on your bookshelf, but they’re also filled with incredible techniques and recipes.

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We are hopelessly addicted to cookbooks. In fact, in the age of tablets and kindles, they are the only books we buy anymore. Sure, you can access digital recipes with a couple of clicks, but there's something about cookbooks that we can't say no to. So much nostalgia, for old, tomato-stained ones, and so many possibilities for crisp, unexplored ones. Plus, they look great in our kitchen and styled on our bar cart! 

A CLASSIC

How to Cook Everything is the flagship volume of a series of books written by Mark Bittman. This book has been called the new Joy of Cooking. If you don't know what a high compliment that is, consider that Joy of Cooking was first published in 1931 and has since sold more than 18 million copies. High praise, indeed.

We love How to Cook Everything because it allows you to discover the rewards of simple cooking, providing the basics of a recipe and then offering numerous alternatives and/or modifications to make the recipe different. This allows for creativity and encourages flexibility in your cooking habits. Compared to many cookbooks, this one has a relaxed and straightforward approach to cooking, which makes it essential to have on your shelf. 

Author, Mark Bittman, was a food columnist for the New York Times and, with his incredible knowledge, he has put together an instant classic for both pro chefs and beginners. There are over 2,000 recipes from Pad Thai to Roast Chicken, Six Ways. The recipes are easy to execute, and many can be prepared in under 30 minutes. 

How to Cook Everything is the flagship volume of a series of books written by Mark Bittman.

LA TECHNIQUE

Jacques Pépin has been called the Godfather of La Technique; he is universally hailed by professional chefs and home cooks as the grand master of cooking skills and methods. New Complete Techniques is the completely revised and updated version of his classic seminal work, Jacques Pépin’s Complete Techniques, with more than 1,000 color photographs, 600 techniques and 160 recipes.

The two Jacques Pépin classics, La Méthode and La Technique, published in 1978 and 1979, were combined into Jacques Pépin's Complete Techniques and it has become a cookbook classic in its own right. In fact, we would go as far as to say that it is a culinary course on every aspect of classic cooking, from the basics (how to sharpen a knife or peel an onion) and the practical (how to properly bone a chicken) to the whimsical (how to make decorative swans and flowers out of fruits and vegetables) and, finally, the complex (how to use an old refrigerator as a smoker for trout). Tom Colicchio, the brains behind the American reality show Top Chef said, “Pépin asks the reader to not treat this as a book, treat it as an apprenticeship. I took that to heart, and, indirectly, Jacques Pépin, became my mentor through these techniques.”

Jacques Pépin has been called the Godfather of La Technique

THE AMERICAN CORNER

David Lebovitz is a popular American food blogger and pastry chef, and is also a terrific storyteller and a brilliant recipe writer. His lighthearted, satirical style is combined with far-reaching knowledge of food and its context. His book, My Paris Kitchen is both a storybook and cookbook that illustrates incredible ingredients.

This book is a collection of stories and 100 sweet and savoury, French-inspired recipes, reflecting the way modern Parisians eat today and featuring lush photography taken around Paris and in his Parisian kitchen. Yes, he moved to Paris in 2004 and hasn't looked back. He remasters the classics, introduces lesser-known fare, and presents recipes that reflect Parisian food culture. The book is divided into four sections; Introduction, Ingredients, Equipment and Recipes (divided by type). It's a great education on both simple cooking and working with great ingredients. Our favourite recipes in the book are Coq au vin, Croque-monsieur, and Scalloped Potatoes with Blue Cheese and Roasted Garlic. 

A lot of people who are passionate about food know who Anthony Bourdain was. He started his career as a chef at numerous restaurants in New York City, before going on to write bestselling books on food, cooking and travelling. His book, Kitchen Confidential, a personal memoir and candid look at restaurant kitchens was an instant bestseller and his television shows No Reservations and Parts Unknown reached adoring masses. 

Les Halles is his no-nonsense cookbook that could only be written by Bourdain. He shares classic techniques for bistro-style cooking and recipes for everything from veal short ribs to steak frites. It's a great book for food lovers, aspiring chefs and Bourdain fans. Our favorite recipes from this book include: Steak au Poivre, Steak Tartare, Salade Niçoise and the creme brûlée recipe alone is worth the purchase of this Les Halles! 

The creme brûlée recipe alone is worth the purchase of Les Halles!

THE ONE AND ONLY, NIGELLA

Hailing from London, England, Nigella Lawson is a food author and cooking show host who recently marked the 20th anniversary of her breakout cookbook How to Eat.

A fixture of British and American kitchens for two decades, Ms. Lawson began her professional career as a freelance journalist and food critic. Then, in 1999, she launched her own cooking show, Nigella Bites, marking the beginning of a dazzling career in television and food writing. The series was filmed at her home in West London and was accompanied by a best-selling recipe book, of the same namesake.

A champion of home cooks, Lawson has written over a dozen cookbooks, appeared in hundreds of television episodes and even had her own food column in the New York Times. She has never pretended to be an expert cook and has no formal training, but her cookbooks are very personal, reading almost like a confessional – it’s all a part of her charm. She shares her cooking failures, leans into indulgent food and insists that life is for living and stomachs are for filling.

Nigella Lawson has cemented her status as one of the most beloved food personalities in Britain and North America and she has some seriously good recipes too. We especially love her recipe for Buttermilk Roast Chicken and Chocolate Cake. Mmmmmm, thanks Nigella!