The Best Cookbooks For Novice And Experienced Chefs

The Books I Picked & Why

The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook: Featuring More Than 1,200 Kitchen-Tested Recipes

By America's Test Kitchen

The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook: Featuring More Than 1,200 Kitchen-Tested Recipes

Why this book?

If you are starting out in life and can only get one cookbook, get this one. It contains recipes for the classics as well as the familiar, basic dishes you must have in your repertoire—and the recipes are foolproof. Because the recipes are thoroughly tested, you can hardly go wrong if you follow the detailed instructions.


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The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book: The Only Baking Book You'll Ever Need

By America's Test Kitchen

The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book: The Only Baking Book You'll Ever Need

Why this book?

I know, I know. America’s Test Kitchen again. But seriously, these are the two most used cookbooks in my house, and their tattered condition testifies to that. Nearly everything I have tried from the Baking book has turned out delicious, and I have enough confidence in these recipes to try something new even for company.


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Pillsbury's Best 1000 Recipes: Best of the Bake-Off Collection

By Ann Pillsbury

Pillsbury's Best 1000 Recipes: Best of the Bake-Off Collection

Why this book?

This was my favorite childhood cookbook (my mom wanted it back recently but I begged). As a kid, I made quite a few dishes from that book for my family and was even allowed to make the Butter Cream Orange Cups for my brother’s bar mitzvah. I got loads of compliments for them and walked around in a happy glow for the rest of the day. The cookbook is chock full of unusual recipes, so I love revisiting them for inspiration for my food columns. Though out of print, it’s worth a search on eBay or used book stores.


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Death by Chocolate: The Last Word on a Consuming Passion

By Marcel Desaulniers

Death by Chocolate: The Last Word on a Consuming Passion

Why this book?

This is the kind of cookbook that is so beautiful that it can serve as a decorative item to keep on your coffee table. The downside is that it can set unrealistic expectations in the minds of your guests. Or give them crazy chocolate cravings. (I am actually eating chocolate as I write these words.) The book is filled with whimsical and fanciful recipe titles, like “Chocolate Phantasmagoria” and, of course, the star of the show, “Death by Chocolate.”


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Chocolate and Confections at Home with the Culinary Institute of America

By The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), Peter P. Greweling

Chocolate and Confections at Home with the Culinary Institute of America

Why this book?

I’m a confirmed chocoholic, so I can’t help it that this is the second chocolate cookbook on the list. This cookbook is great for chocolate lovers who want to learn how to make handmade chocolates at home. The skills needed for some of these recipes take time to develop, so if you are new to the art, arm yourself with patience and a sense of adventure before rolling up your sleeves and melting the chocolate. The time invested is well worth the effort.


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