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10 Cookbooks Everyone Should Have

10 Cookbooks Everyone Should Have


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From classic French to vegetarian, these are the 10 cookbooks that should definitely be in your kitchen

Jane Bruce

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

Spend more than five minutes in the cookbook section of a bookstore and you’ll quickly realize two things: One, you can throw out your back if you don’t use your knees to lift Nathan Myhrvold's Modernist Cuisine and two, everyone, except apparently you and me, has a cookbook on the market. With hundreds of cookbooks to choose from, it may seem like a daunting task to pick which cookbooks belong in our kitchen and which cookbooks should be left on the bookshelves to collect dust, but I believe that there are 10 cookbooks every home cook should own.

In order to be a well-rounded cook, every kitchen should have at least one reference cookbook, a general cookbook, and an Italian, French, Chinese, Mexican, and Indian cookbook, so I chose a book for each of these categories. These books are great for novice cooks, but they are also useful for more advanced cooks because they are informative and teach cooks a lot about their particular cuisine. It also never hurts for a home cook to have a vegetarian cookbook and one on pastries and bread for a complete culinary education.

The list includes blockbuster bestsellers like Joy of Cooking and Mastering the Art of French Cooking, both on the list of the 25 Best-Selling Cookbooks of All Time. But it also includes less well-known, but praiseworthy cookbooks like Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking and The Bread Baker's Apprentice. Both books take pains to show cooks how to master a recipe with careful, step-by-step instructions that make it almost impossible to fail.

If you could choose only one cookbook to own in each category, what would you pick?


The Best Cookbooks for Every Kitchen

I own a lot of cookbooks, and I treasure them all, from my dusty, leather-bound tomes written for 19th-century homemakers to my pocket-size Italian monograph on tripe cookery.* And, while they all feel essential to me, they're not all equally essential in a broader sense. I may own a copy of Apicius (and I may have once left fish guts to rot on a New York City rooftop for eight months in a harebrained attempt at making garum), but that doesn't mean everyone should.

*Well, I'm not sure how much I still treasure The I Love to Fart Cookbook, but cut me some slack: It was a hoot when I was a kid.

This, then, is a list of what I consider to be the most essential cookbooks—the ones every library should include. Mind you, that does not mean these are all my favorite cookbooks, though many of them are. Rather, these are the ones I turn to first when I have a question about a particular cuisine, technique, or recipe. They tend to be the most comprehensive, and they serve as a starting point before I dive into increasingly specialized works.

For example, I almost always look first to Marcella Hazan for questions about Italian cooking, whether they're about Bolognese sauce from Emilia-Romagna or the fried artichokes of the Roman Jews.

After that, I'll turn to single-subject sources to learn even more. I may end up learning more from those specialized sources, but Hazan dependably and authoritatively sets the stage. Her book is essential for anyone interested in Italian cooking the others are only for those of us who wish to go deeper.

In most cases, there's more than one book on a subject that's worthy of being celebrated as "essential," which makes assembling a list like this especially hard. Which of the multitudes of great books on French cooking should I single out? Julia Child's? Richard Olney's? Elizabeth David's? Jacques Pépin's?

Add to that the even greater difficulty in deciding which cuisines and topics to include in the first place. Sure, American, Italian, and French are on this list, as are single-subject guides to things like meat, fish, and grilling. But what else? Is it okay that I've included Chinese and Japanese cooking while skipping right over Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese? And how do I explain that I don't have a single book that covers food from anywhere in sub-Saharan Africa?

In many ways, that's because this list reflects the cuisines that have become the most popular and widespread in the US over the last several decades—not just what many of us eat when we go out but also what many of us cook for ourselves at home. That makes it inherently biased and incomplete.

Finally, note that this list does not include any baking, pastry, or sweets topics. That alone would double its length.

With that in mind, take this list as a starting point—not definitive, and not final. It will never be complete or comprehensive enough. Still, I'll stand by any of these books as deserving of a place on your shelf.


The Best Cookbooks for Every Kitchen

I own a lot of cookbooks, and I treasure them all, from my dusty, leather-bound tomes written for 19th-century homemakers to my pocket-size Italian monograph on tripe cookery.* And, while they all feel essential to me, they're not all equally essential in a broader sense. I may own a copy of Apicius (and I may have once left fish guts to rot on a New York City rooftop for eight months in a harebrained attempt at making garum), but that doesn't mean everyone should.

*Well, I'm not sure how much I still treasure The I Love to Fart Cookbook, but cut me some slack: It was a hoot when I was a kid.

This, then, is a list of what I consider to be the most essential cookbooks—the ones every library should include. Mind you, that does not mean these are all my favorite cookbooks, though many of them are. Rather, these are the ones I turn to first when I have a question about a particular cuisine, technique, or recipe. They tend to be the most comprehensive, and they serve as a starting point before I dive into increasingly specialized works.

For example, I almost always look first to Marcella Hazan for questions about Italian cooking, whether they're about Bolognese sauce from Emilia-Romagna or the fried artichokes of the Roman Jews.

After that, I'll turn to single-subject sources to learn even more. I may end up learning more from those specialized sources, but Hazan dependably and authoritatively sets the stage. Her book is essential for anyone interested in Italian cooking the others are only for those of us who wish to go deeper.

In most cases, there's more than one book on a subject that's worthy of being celebrated as "essential," which makes assembling a list like this especially hard. Which of the multitudes of great books on French cooking should I single out? Julia Child's? Richard Olney's? Elizabeth David's? Jacques Pépin's?

Add to that the even greater difficulty in deciding which cuisines and topics to include in the first place. Sure, American, Italian, and French are on this list, as are single-subject guides to things like meat, fish, and grilling. But what else? Is it okay that I've included Chinese and Japanese cooking while skipping right over Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese? And how do I explain that I don't have a single book that covers food from anywhere in sub-Saharan Africa?

In many ways, that's because this list reflects the cuisines that have become the most popular and widespread in the US over the last several decades—not just what many of us eat when we go out but also what many of us cook for ourselves at home. That makes it inherently biased and incomplete.

Finally, note that this list does not include any baking, pastry, or sweets topics. That alone would double its length.

With that in mind, take this list as a starting point—not definitive, and not final. It will never be complete or comprehensive enough. Still, I'll stand by any of these books as deserving of a place on your shelf.


The Best Cookbooks for Every Kitchen

I own a lot of cookbooks, and I treasure them all, from my dusty, leather-bound tomes written for 19th-century homemakers to my pocket-size Italian monograph on tripe cookery.* And, while they all feel essential to me, they're not all equally essential in a broader sense. I may own a copy of Apicius (and I may have once left fish guts to rot on a New York City rooftop for eight months in a harebrained attempt at making garum), but that doesn't mean everyone should.

*Well, I'm not sure how much I still treasure The I Love to Fart Cookbook, but cut me some slack: It was a hoot when I was a kid.

This, then, is a list of what I consider to be the most essential cookbooks—the ones every library should include. Mind you, that does not mean these are all my favorite cookbooks, though many of them are. Rather, these are the ones I turn to first when I have a question about a particular cuisine, technique, or recipe. They tend to be the most comprehensive, and they serve as a starting point before I dive into increasingly specialized works.

For example, I almost always look first to Marcella Hazan for questions about Italian cooking, whether they're about Bolognese sauce from Emilia-Romagna or the fried artichokes of the Roman Jews.

After that, I'll turn to single-subject sources to learn even more. I may end up learning more from those specialized sources, but Hazan dependably and authoritatively sets the stage. Her book is essential for anyone interested in Italian cooking the others are only for those of us who wish to go deeper.

In most cases, there's more than one book on a subject that's worthy of being celebrated as "essential," which makes assembling a list like this especially hard. Which of the multitudes of great books on French cooking should I single out? Julia Child's? Richard Olney's? Elizabeth David's? Jacques Pépin's?

Add to that the even greater difficulty in deciding which cuisines and topics to include in the first place. Sure, American, Italian, and French are on this list, as are single-subject guides to things like meat, fish, and grilling. But what else? Is it okay that I've included Chinese and Japanese cooking while skipping right over Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese? And how do I explain that I don't have a single book that covers food from anywhere in sub-Saharan Africa?

In many ways, that's because this list reflects the cuisines that have become the most popular and widespread in the US over the last several decades—not just what many of us eat when we go out but also what many of us cook for ourselves at home. That makes it inherently biased and incomplete.

Finally, note that this list does not include any baking, pastry, or sweets topics. That alone would double its length.

With that in mind, take this list as a starting point—not definitive, and not final. It will never be complete or comprehensive enough. Still, I'll stand by any of these books as deserving of a place on your shelf.


The Best Cookbooks for Every Kitchen

I own a lot of cookbooks, and I treasure them all, from my dusty, leather-bound tomes written for 19th-century homemakers to my pocket-size Italian monograph on tripe cookery.* And, while they all feel essential to me, they're not all equally essential in a broader sense. I may own a copy of Apicius (and I may have once left fish guts to rot on a New York City rooftop for eight months in a harebrained attempt at making garum), but that doesn't mean everyone should.

*Well, I'm not sure how much I still treasure The I Love to Fart Cookbook, but cut me some slack: It was a hoot when I was a kid.

This, then, is a list of what I consider to be the most essential cookbooks—the ones every library should include. Mind you, that does not mean these are all my favorite cookbooks, though many of them are. Rather, these are the ones I turn to first when I have a question about a particular cuisine, technique, or recipe. They tend to be the most comprehensive, and they serve as a starting point before I dive into increasingly specialized works.

For example, I almost always look first to Marcella Hazan for questions about Italian cooking, whether they're about Bolognese sauce from Emilia-Romagna or the fried artichokes of the Roman Jews.

After that, I'll turn to single-subject sources to learn even more. I may end up learning more from those specialized sources, but Hazan dependably and authoritatively sets the stage. Her book is essential for anyone interested in Italian cooking the others are only for those of us who wish to go deeper.

In most cases, there's more than one book on a subject that's worthy of being celebrated as "essential," which makes assembling a list like this especially hard. Which of the multitudes of great books on French cooking should I single out? Julia Child's? Richard Olney's? Elizabeth David's? Jacques Pépin's?

Add to that the even greater difficulty in deciding which cuisines and topics to include in the first place. Sure, American, Italian, and French are on this list, as are single-subject guides to things like meat, fish, and grilling. But what else? Is it okay that I've included Chinese and Japanese cooking while skipping right over Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese? And how do I explain that I don't have a single book that covers food from anywhere in sub-Saharan Africa?

In many ways, that's because this list reflects the cuisines that have become the most popular and widespread in the US over the last several decades—not just what many of us eat when we go out but also what many of us cook for ourselves at home. That makes it inherently biased and incomplete.

Finally, note that this list does not include any baking, pastry, or sweets topics. That alone would double its length.

With that in mind, take this list as a starting point—not definitive, and not final. It will never be complete or comprehensive enough. Still, I'll stand by any of these books as deserving of a place on your shelf.


The Best Cookbooks for Every Kitchen

I own a lot of cookbooks, and I treasure them all, from my dusty, leather-bound tomes written for 19th-century homemakers to my pocket-size Italian monograph on tripe cookery.* And, while they all feel essential to me, they're not all equally essential in a broader sense. I may own a copy of Apicius (and I may have once left fish guts to rot on a New York City rooftop for eight months in a harebrained attempt at making garum), but that doesn't mean everyone should.

*Well, I'm not sure how much I still treasure The I Love to Fart Cookbook, but cut me some slack: It was a hoot when I was a kid.

This, then, is a list of what I consider to be the most essential cookbooks—the ones every library should include. Mind you, that does not mean these are all my favorite cookbooks, though many of them are. Rather, these are the ones I turn to first when I have a question about a particular cuisine, technique, or recipe. They tend to be the most comprehensive, and they serve as a starting point before I dive into increasingly specialized works.

For example, I almost always look first to Marcella Hazan for questions about Italian cooking, whether they're about Bolognese sauce from Emilia-Romagna or the fried artichokes of the Roman Jews.

After that, I'll turn to single-subject sources to learn even more. I may end up learning more from those specialized sources, but Hazan dependably and authoritatively sets the stage. Her book is essential for anyone interested in Italian cooking the others are only for those of us who wish to go deeper.

In most cases, there's more than one book on a subject that's worthy of being celebrated as "essential," which makes assembling a list like this especially hard. Which of the multitudes of great books on French cooking should I single out? Julia Child's? Richard Olney's? Elizabeth David's? Jacques Pépin's?

Add to that the even greater difficulty in deciding which cuisines and topics to include in the first place. Sure, American, Italian, and French are on this list, as are single-subject guides to things like meat, fish, and grilling. But what else? Is it okay that I've included Chinese and Japanese cooking while skipping right over Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese? And how do I explain that I don't have a single book that covers food from anywhere in sub-Saharan Africa?

In many ways, that's because this list reflects the cuisines that have become the most popular and widespread in the US over the last several decades—not just what many of us eat when we go out but also what many of us cook for ourselves at home. That makes it inherently biased and incomplete.

Finally, note that this list does not include any baking, pastry, or sweets topics. That alone would double its length.

With that in mind, take this list as a starting point—not definitive, and not final. It will never be complete or comprehensive enough. Still, I'll stand by any of these books as deserving of a place on your shelf.


The Best Cookbooks for Every Kitchen

I own a lot of cookbooks, and I treasure them all, from my dusty, leather-bound tomes written for 19th-century homemakers to my pocket-size Italian monograph on tripe cookery.* And, while they all feel essential to me, they're not all equally essential in a broader sense. I may own a copy of Apicius (and I may have once left fish guts to rot on a New York City rooftop for eight months in a harebrained attempt at making garum), but that doesn't mean everyone should.

*Well, I'm not sure how much I still treasure The I Love to Fart Cookbook, but cut me some slack: It was a hoot when I was a kid.

This, then, is a list of what I consider to be the most essential cookbooks—the ones every library should include. Mind you, that does not mean these are all my favorite cookbooks, though many of them are. Rather, these are the ones I turn to first when I have a question about a particular cuisine, technique, or recipe. They tend to be the most comprehensive, and they serve as a starting point before I dive into increasingly specialized works.

For example, I almost always look first to Marcella Hazan for questions about Italian cooking, whether they're about Bolognese sauce from Emilia-Romagna or the fried artichokes of the Roman Jews.

After that, I'll turn to single-subject sources to learn even more. I may end up learning more from those specialized sources, but Hazan dependably and authoritatively sets the stage. Her book is essential for anyone interested in Italian cooking the others are only for those of us who wish to go deeper.

In most cases, there's more than one book on a subject that's worthy of being celebrated as "essential," which makes assembling a list like this especially hard. Which of the multitudes of great books on French cooking should I single out? Julia Child's? Richard Olney's? Elizabeth David's? Jacques Pépin's?

Add to that the even greater difficulty in deciding which cuisines and topics to include in the first place. Sure, American, Italian, and French are on this list, as are single-subject guides to things like meat, fish, and grilling. But what else? Is it okay that I've included Chinese and Japanese cooking while skipping right over Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese? And how do I explain that I don't have a single book that covers food from anywhere in sub-Saharan Africa?

In many ways, that's because this list reflects the cuisines that have become the most popular and widespread in the US over the last several decades—not just what many of us eat when we go out but also what many of us cook for ourselves at home. That makes it inherently biased and incomplete.

Finally, note that this list does not include any baking, pastry, or sweets topics. That alone would double its length.

With that in mind, take this list as a starting point—not definitive, and not final. It will never be complete or comprehensive enough. Still, I'll stand by any of these books as deserving of a place on your shelf.


The Best Cookbooks for Every Kitchen

I own a lot of cookbooks, and I treasure them all, from my dusty, leather-bound tomes written for 19th-century homemakers to my pocket-size Italian monograph on tripe cookery.* And, while they all feel essential to me, they're not all equally essential in a broader sense. I may own a copy of Apicius (and I may have once left fish guts to rot on a New York City rooftop for eight months in a harebrained attempt at making garum), but that doesn't mean everyone should.

*Well, I'm not sure how much I still treasure The I Love to Fart Cookbook, but cut me some slack: It was a hoot when I was a kid.

This, then, is a list of what I consider to be the most essential cookbooks—the ones every library should include. Mind you, that does not mean these are all my favorite cookbooks, though many of them are. Rather, these are the ones I turn to first when I have a question about a particular cuisine, technique, or recipe. They tend to be the most comprehensive, and they serve as a starting point before I dive into increasingly specialized works.

For example, I almost always look first to Marcella Hazan for questions about Italian cooking, whether they're about Bolognese sauce from Emilia-Romagna or the fried artichokes of the Roman Jews.

After that, I'll turn to single-subject sources to learn even more. I may end up learning more from those specialized sources, but Hazan dependably and authoritatively sets the stage. Her book is essential for anyone interested in Italian cooking the others are only for those of us who wish to go deeper.

In most cases, there's more than one book on a subject that's worthy of being celebrated as "essential," which makes assembling a list like this especially hard. Which of the multitudes of great books on French cooking should I single out? Julia Child's? Richard Olney's? Elizabeth David's? Jacques Pépin's?

Add to that the even greater difficulty in deciding which cuisines and topics to include in the first place. Sure, American, Italian, and French are on this list, as are single-subject guides to things like meat, fish, and grilling. But what else? Is it okay that I've included Chinese and Japanese cooking while skipping right over Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese? And how do I explain that I don't have a single book that covers food from anywhere in sub-Saharan Africa?

In many ways, that's because this list reflects the cuisines that have become the most popular and widespread in the US over the last several decades—not just what many of us eat when we go out but also what many of us cook for ourselves at home. That makes it inherently biased and incomplete.

Finally, note that this list does not include any baking, pastry, or sweets topics. That alone would double its length.

With that in mind, take this list as a starting point—not definitive, and not final. It will never be complete or comprehensive enough. Still, I'll stand by any of these books as deserving of a place on your shelf.


The Best Cookbooks for Every Kitchen

I own a lot of cookbooks, and I treasure them all, from my dusty, leather-bound tomes written for 19th-century homemakers to my pocket-size Italian monograph on tripe cookery.* And, while they all feel essential to me, they're not all equally essential in a broader sense. I may own a copy of Apicius (and I may have once left fish guts to rot on a New York City rooftop for eight months in a harebrained attempt at making garum), but that doesn't mean everyone should.

*Well, I'm not sure how much I still treasure The I Love to Fart Cookbook, but cut me some slack: It was a hoot when I was a kid.

This, then, is a list of what I consider to be the most essential cookbooks—the ones every library should include. Mind you, that does not mean these are all my favorite cookbooks, though many of them are. Rather, these are the ones I turn to first when I have a question about a particular cuisine, technique, or recipe. They tend to be the most comprehensive, and they serve as a starting point before I dive into increasingly specialized works.

For example, I almost always look first to Marcella Hazan for questions about Italian cooking, whether they're about Bolognese sauce from Emilia-Romagna or the fried artichokes of the Roman Jews.

After that, I'll turn to single-subject sources to learn even more. I may end up learning more from those specialized sources, but Hazan dependably and authoritatively sets the stage. Her book is essential for anyone interested in Italian cooking the others are only for those of us who wish to go deeper.

In most cases, there's more than one book on a subject that's worthy of being celebrated as "essential," which makes assembling a list like this especially hard. Which of the multitudes of great books on French cooking should I single out? Julia Child's? Richard Olney's? Elizabeth David's? Jacques Pépin's?

Add to that the even greater difficulty in deciding which cuisines and topics to include in the first place. Sure, American, Italian, and French are on this list, as are single-subject guides to things like meat, fish, and grilling. But what else? Is it okay that I've included Chinese and Japanese cooking while skipping right over Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese? And how do I explain that I don't have a single book that covers food from anywhere in sub-Saharan Africa?

In many ways, that's because this list reflects the cuisines that have become the most popular and widespread in the US over the last several decades—not just what many of us eat when we go out but also what many of us cook for ourselves at home. That makes it inherently biased and incomplete.

Finally, note that this list does not include any baking, pastry, or sweets topics. That alone would double its length.

With that in mind, take this list as a starting point—not definitive, and not final. It will never be complete or comprehensive enough. Still, I'll stand by any of these books as deserving of a place on your shelf.


The Best Cookbooks for Every Kitchen

I own a lot of cookbooks, and I treasure them all, from my dusty, leather-bound tomes written for 19th-century homemakers to my pocket-size Italian monograph on tripe cookery.* And, while they all feel essential to me, they're not all equally essential in a broader sense. I may own a copy of Apicius (and I may have once left fish guts to rot on a New York City rooftop for eight months in a harebrained attempt at making garum), but that doesn't mean everyone should.

*Well, I'm not sure how much I still treasure The I Love to Fart Cookbook, but cut me some slack: It was a hoot when I was a kid.

This, then, is a list of what I consider to be the most essential cookbooks—the ones every library should include. Mind you, that does not mean these are all my favorite cookbooks, though many of them are. Rather, these are the ones I turn to first when I have a question about a particular cuisine, technique, or recipe. They tend to be the most comprehensive, and they serve as a starting point before I dive into increasingly specialized works.

For example, I almost always look first to Marcella Hazan for questions about Italian cooking, whether they're about Bolognese sauce from Emilia-Romagna or the fried artichokes of the Roman Jews.

After that, I'll turn to single-subject sources to learn even more. I may end up learning more from those specialized sources, but Hazan dependably and authoritatively sets the stage. Her book is essential for anyone interested in Italian cooking the others are only for those of us who wish to go deeper.

In most cases, there's more than one book on a subject that's worthy of being celebrated as "essential," which makes assembling a list like this especially hard. Which of the multitudes of great books on French cooking should I single out? Julia Child's? Richard Olney's? Elizabeth David's? Jacques Pépin's?

Add to that the even greater difficulty in deciding which cuisines and topics to include in the first place. Sure, American, Italian, and French are on this list, as are single-subject guides to things like meat, fish, and grilling. But what else? Is it okay that I've included Chinese and Japanese cooking while skipping right over Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese? And how do I explain that I don't have a single book that covers food from anywhere in sub-Saharan Africa?

In many ways, that's because this list reflects the cuisines that have become the most popular and widespread in the US over the last several decades—not just what many of us eat when we go out but also what many of us cook for ourselves at home. That makes it inherently biased and incomplete.

Finally, note that this list does not include any baking, pastry, or sweets topics. That alone would double its length.

With that in mind, take this list as a starting point—not definitive, and not final. It will never be complete or comprehensive enough. Still, I'll stand by any of these books as deserving of a place on your shelf.


The Best Cookbooks for Every Kitchen

I own a lot of cookbooks, and I treasure them all, from my dusty, leather-bound tomes written for 19th-century homemakers to my pocket-size Italian monograph on tripe cookery.* And, while they all feel essential to me, they're not all equally essential in a broader sense. I may own a copy of Apicius (and I may have once left fish guts to rot on a New York City rooftop for eight months in a harebrained attempt at making garum), but that doesn't mean everyone should.

*Well, I'm not sure how much I still treasure The I Love to Fart Cookbook, but cut me some slack: It was a hoot when I was a kid.

This, then, is a list of what I consider to be the most essential cookbooks—the ones every library should include. Mind you, that does not mean these are all my favorite cookbooks, though many of them are. Rather, these are the ones I turn to first when I have a question about a particular cuisine, technique, or recipe. They tend to be the most comprehensive, and they serve as a starting point before I dive into increasingly specialized works.

For example, I almost always look first to Marcella Hazan for questions about Italian cooking, whether they're about Bolognese sauce from Emilia-Romagna or the fried artichokes of the Roman Jews.

After that, I'll turn to single-subject sources to learn even more. I may end up learning more from those specialized sources, but Hazan dependably and authoritatively sets the stage. Her book is essential for anyone interested in Italian cooking the others are only for those of us who wish to go deeper.

In most cases, there's more than one book on a subject that's worthy of being celebrated as "essential," which makes assembling a list like this especially hard. Which of the multitudes of great books on French cooking should I single out? Julia Child's? Richard Olney's? Elizabeth David's? Jacques Pépin's?

Add to that the even greater difficulty in deciding which cuisines and topics to include in the first place. Sure, American, Italian, and French are on this list, as are single-subject guides to things like meat, fish, and grilling. But what else? Is it okay that I've included Chinese and Japanese cooking while skipping right over Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese? And how do I explain that I don't have a single book that covers food from anywhere in sub-Saharan Africa?

In many ways, that's because this list reflects the cuisines that have become the most popular and widespread in the US over the last several decades—not just what many of us eat when we go out but also what many of us cook for ourselves at home. That makes it inherently biased and incomplete.

Finally, note that this list does not include any baking, pastry, or sweets topics. That alone would double its length.

With that in mind, take this list as a starting point—not definitive, and not final. It will never be complete or comprehensive enough. Still, I'll stand by any of these books as deserving of a place on your shelf.