The best cookbooks contain much more than just a simple list of recipes; they also contain enough sensual descriptions to make them enjoyable to read whether you’re seated at the table or snuggled up on the couch. Nigella Lawson’s How to Eat is as much a defense of purple language as it is a guide to home cooking while Mastering the Art of French Cooking is still enjoyable to read over 60 years after it was first published because of its common sense and gentle humor.
However, one can always learn new recipes even by playing online cooking games but reading a cooking book has its fun. Every wonderful home cook has a cookbook that has been “cooked with” and is covered in olive oil and red wine splatters. Here are some of the tried-and-true cookbooks that we frequently refer to. Here are some of the best cooking books that can give your kitchen a whole new life.
New Complete Techniques by Jacques Pépin
Jacques Pépin is the best in the business when it comes to technique. La Méthode and La Technique, two of his most well-known works, are combined in one volume. Pépin explains proper cooking techniques, such as how to butcher meats and shellfish, fill sausages, and shuck oysters, as well as vintage ornamental techniques, like fluting mushrooms, in step-by-step images.
Essentials of Cooking by James Peterson
The comparison between Peterson’s Essentials of Cooking and Pépin’s New Complete Techniques is fully complimentary. This is the book to recommend to everyone who asks about the most fundamental procedures for complete beginners. Like Pépin, Peterson uses simple-to-follow step-by-step images to illustrate all of his recipes and cooking methods. He demonstrates things like how to truss and roast a chicken, make a pan sauce, and garnish a salad.
On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee
Even though On Food and Cooking doesn’t qualify as a cookbook because it doesn’t contain many recipes, any curious cook should nonetheless own a copy of it. McGee explains why eggs act the way they do, how emulsions develop, and much more by breaking down the science underlying some of our most fundamental meals and preparations in clear English.
The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science by J. Kenji López-Alt
If McGee is the fundamental text on scientific cooking, then J. Kenji López-big Alt’s book, The Food Lab, based on his well-read column on the website, expands on that idea and offers a tonne of delectable recipes to go along with it. Kenji exemplifies the “show, don’t tell” tenet of a good scientist page by page by explaining why methods and recipes work the way they do, how to improve things, and when to reject conventional wisdom. An immediate classic, indeed.
Good Meat by Deb Krasner
This 400-page handbook on meat is nonetheless thorough despite its emphasis on local eating and sustainability. Krasner delves deeply into the fundamentals of meat, covering cattle, hog, lamb, chicken, and more. She provides anatomy diagrams, buying advice, a foundational understanding of animal management, and, of course, a tonne of recipes.
Sauces: Classical and Contemporary Sauce Making by James Peterson
Peterson’s name is mentioned a few times on this list because he has a lengthy history of authoring thorough books on important topics. In Sauces, he deconstructs sauce preparation in all of its subtleties, starting with stocks and guiding you through traditional French and Italian dishes as well as others.
The Taste of Country Cooking by Edna Lewis
Numerous excellent books on American regional cooking exist, with dozens of them focusing solely on the South. But Lewis’ ode to Southern food is particularly significant since it tells her experience of growing up in Virginia in a rural town established by freed slaves and goes beyond just offering delicious recipes. Lewis’s book is far more personal and less of a general reference guide to Southern cooking than many of the other books on our list. That’s what a vital book on the subject calls for given the history.
Learn all the world-famous recipes at home by playing online cooking games. However, having a cooking books library at home is one exciting thing. You can experiment with different dishes in your kitchen and impress your guests by learning restaurant management skills.