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The Best of the Best – Cookbooks

July 13, 2009

cookbookAround my house we read cookbooks like novels.   They are everywhere, all the time.  Even the kids have theirs.  Each one is stuffed with notes and recipes.  Good recipes with a story are my favorite.  So with this in mind, I have compiled a list of my favorite cookbooks.

1. Gasparilla Cook Book – Tampa Junior League. This timeless classic was first printed in 1961;  it is in it’s 22nd reprinting.  It features recipes common to the Tampa Bay and Ybor City areas and many Florida-grown specialties.

2. Nathalie Dupree’s Matter of Taste.  It was the first Christmas gift I ever bought for my wife that wasn’t cast iron with a handle.  A TV cook before The Food Network, there was a necessity to be more cook than personality then.

3. Emeril’s Louisiana Real and Rustic – Emeril Lagasse.  This is a very good reference into Cajun and Creole Cuisine.  Any book which features a recipe for Boudin is worth picking up.

4. Memories of a Cuban Kitchen – Mary Urrutia Randelman.
Fascinating stories and recipes from her childhood in pre-Castro Cuba.  Nearly as entertaining for it’s historical context as it is for the authentic Spanish and Cuban recipes.

5. Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen. Another regional favorite from Louisiana, the spices are real and the flavors incredible.  If you want the real thing, this is it.  Word of caution:  Prudhomme likes it spicy.  There’s no need to “kick it up a notch” if you stick to the recipes.

6. Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book. I think these came with a marriage license in the 1950s and ’60s.  First printed on the Gutenberg press, it was my Mother’s and contains dozens of handwritten notes.  Purely a sentimental favorite, but an essential part of the kitchen.

So what are your go-to guides for culinary direction?

Photo from flickr

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One Comment leave one →
  1. July 14, 2009 9:42 am

    I typically do searches online for recipes or guides.. However, for any kind of southern cooking, I look to good ole’ church cookbooks.

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