Julie & Julia Redux: Top 5 Cookbooks I'd Work My Way Through Besides MtAoFC

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Felicity was my favorite American Girl doll.
I admit, I've got a bit of a copycat streak in me. When I first read Julie and Julia, I was so intrigued with the project I wanted to try it myself. (Me and one million other foodies. Here's hoping Powell believes imitation is the sincerest form of flattery).

But I would repeat with a difference: select my own venerated cookery tome and spend one year making every single recipe. Here are my top five picks.

5. Felicity's Cookbook. Even though I'm officially a Victorianist, I harbor a special fetish for eighteenth-century American culture. Felicity, of course, was my favorite American girl doll and I filled many hours in my youth salivating over the simple meals referenced in her stories. Given that this cookbook is written for ten- to 12-year-olds and contains just a handful of recipes, I sure as hell better be able to go through it within a year. Or maybe even a month.

4. The Kimchi Chronicles. When I was living in Alexandria, Virginia, with no access to the Internet and only public television, the Kimchi Chronicles cooking show was my and my husband's only entertainment. Although Korean is not my favorite type of Asian cuisine, stuff like bos ssam (barbecued pork belly) and grilled stuffed squid certainly excites me. Also, Hugh Jackman is hot and I'm hoping the cookbook contains many pictures of him cooking. Shirtless.

3. Baking: From My Home to Yours. Given the proportion of high carbohydrate foods in this cookbook, the year I cook my way through this baking bible should also be the year I attempt my first ultra-marathon. I received this cookbook for my wedding from my dear friend Hannah and have only used it for food porn. A damn shame because Dorie Greenspan writes marvelous recipe intros and provides directions even a monkey could follow. A cake-craving monkey.

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Photo courtesy of amazon.com
Harry Potter Cookbook. Unofficial but Intriguing. Also, again let me emphasize it's Unofficial.

2. The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. Pumpkin juice. Treacle tarts. Cauldron Cakes. Despite the fact that this book is NOT authorized, approved, licensed or endorsed by J.K. Rowling, it nevertheless summons, with painstaking and delicious detail, virtually every food and drink reference in the Harry Potter series and provides a recipe. There's no mention, however, of how to make those magic frogs actually come alive, but I'm sure a wave of the spatula will do the trick.

1. Essential Pepin. A bit ambitious even for me considering this monster cookbook boasts more than 700 recipes. Also, the amount I know about French cooking could fit in a dollhouse thimble. But go big or go home, right? And Joanna & Jacques has such a nice ring to it.

PS.: If more than 100 people comment on this post, I will do #1.

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I think you should make a "wheel of fortune" with a whole bunch of comment  suggested cookbooks on it and at a designated close of the comment period, give the wheel a big ol' spin and see what you'll be cooking and eating for the next year.  Now THAT will be a challenge.

kspidel moderator

Comment moar. I want to see this! 


I've thought of doing this with Diana Kennedy's The Cuisines of Mexico.


Pomodori e Vino is a nice project among a group of people who went all the way through Marcella Hazan's "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking" - which itself is one of my favorite cookbooks.

Anything I can do to help.

kplo moderator communitymanager

Is that a gauntlet down there? Let me help pick that up.


Old, or classic cookbooks are a goldmine of culinary wizardry before the advent of sous vide, Cuisinarts & Kichen Aid mixers. I still have my grandmother's recipe for head cheese written in her perfect script. Growing up, I didn't know it was made with pig innards or cheek meat. Who knew it would be all the rage in this day & age. 


The dare is worth a comment. 


I'll start the ball rolling.  I occasionally think about following the J&J route.  I'd try the "Bread Baker's Apprentice"


also my Larousse de la Cuisine... but that just seems like masochism.

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