My Favorite Cookbook is an ongoing Guest Blogger series. If you are interested in writing a post for this series, you can find submission guidelines here. (Please note that you do not need to be a food writer or blogger to submit a post.)
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I know what you’re thinking. What does a wine blogger know about cookbooks? My answer is simple. Wine and food go together like peanut butter and jelly! While it’s not necessary to have wine with every meal, making a good meal is key to enjoying any wine and food pairing.
When you’re first learning how to cook, you often don’t know the difference between a scallion and a shallot. So when faced with a recipe that tells you need one or the other, you may have a minor panic attack. You may ask yourself, “Is there a cookbook out there that tells me the difference?”
Yes, there is. My favorite cookbook is the “Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook.” In over 20 years of publication, Cook’s Illustrated has shown people around the world that cooking isn’t rocket science. All it requires is a simple approach, a well-laid plan, and the ability to follow directions.
I love how this book is broken down. While the traditional sections of a cookbook, such as appetizers, salads, and soups are in there, there is also sections for poultry, meat, fish & seafood, and grilling. Even the dessert section is broken down into their sections. Within the sections, they break things down even further with subsections of each of the main sections (i.e. grilling has a separate section for poultry, meat, etc.) so that you can find something of the same style easily.
Not only is the cookbook laid out beautifully, but there is a “why this recipe works” note on each recipe. It explains the process they used, including the variations they tried, to get the recipe to the point where they felt it was “perfect”. In addition to the “why this recipe works” note, there are also additional variations of a recipe after the main one.
My favorite feature, though? There are over 150 tips interspersed throughout the cookbook. These tips include everything from getting the perfect measure for baking to storage tips. There are also many beautiful illustrations in the book, showing one how to do everything from peeling tomatoes to carving a chicken.
The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook is well worth the investment. Yes, it’s heavy and thick. However, having this as part of your collection, or giving it as a gift to a young person (or couple) just starting out, is practical.
About Alina: Alina Ferguson is the “Chief Wine Dork” behind the wine blog One Girl, One Glass, One World. Known for her down-to-earth approach to wine, she has featured wines from areas around the world without coming off as pretentious or snobbish. She has traveled to some of the most notable wine regions on the west coast of North America, but the Portland, Oregon area is home.