I am a bit weird about cookbooks. I love to read them, but I don’t want any around unless I actually use them. My solution to this is to get a cookbook out of the library to give it a test run. If I use it, I buy it; if not, I return it and feel proud of myself that I didn’t waste my money on it. Of course, this does not in any way apply to WWII cookbooks and memorabilia. Those I just buy blindly, because I am a collector.
Here are the cookbooks I currently reference over and over again:
The Joy of Cooking – This was the first cookbook I ever had, given to me by my mother when I was 18. I use this as my reference book, if I ever need to know what to do with a particular food or how to do it.
The Wartime Kitchen Set – This is Marguerite Patten’s collection of British Wartime and Austerity recipes. I use it at least once a week, and I use many of the baking recipes, since they don’t call for much flour. This set is frugal, GF-friendly, and very fun for WWII nostalgists.
Eating for Victory – This is collection of reproduction MoF pamphlets, which are useful for the same reasons that the Wartime Kitchen set is useful.
Everyday Italian – I like to use this cookbook and other Giada recipes in the summer. Many of them are fussy enough to put me off, but I did learn how to make dressings from scratch and snazzy vegetable dishes through her, so I hold Giada’s stuff dear to my heart. (plus the polenta cake is divine!)
The Gluten-Free Vegan – We eat a lot of vegetables (probably because I cook a lot of vegetables) and this cookbook is chock full of vegetable and fruit recipes. It’s the only GF book I reference regularly and it meets my standards of not being fussy, even if I’m not vegan.
More-with-Less – I don’t own this cookbook anymore, and I gave it away with a heavy heart. I wore it out during my pre-GF days, but I just couldn’t figure out how to convert enough of the recipes to GF to justify keeping it after my diagnosis. This book is for anyone who wants basic, increasingly vintage frugal recipes and a wealth of information on how individual food choices can contribute to a better world.
The Elements of Cooking – This is a book about cooking, rather than a cookbook. I reference it when I want to know about a particular technique or what something is, often in conjunction with The Joy of Cooking. Unfortunately, I still haven’t managed a successful raft…