The Eating...Our Words Library: 10 Essential Cookbooks Everyone Should Own and Use

Image from Barnes & Noble
This book has been bringing joy into kitchens everywhere for over 75 years.
1. Joy of Cooking: 75th Anniversary Edition by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker and Ethan Becker

Since its privately published first edition in 1931, Irma and Marion Rombauer's Joy of Cooking remains one of the most popular and best-selling cookbooks of all time. With extremely detailed directions for home-style classics written in the practical, friendly voice of Irma, the book has been called the definitive guide to American cooking history and has been selected by The New York Public Library as one of the 150 Most Important and Influential Books of the Twentieth Century. While the original takes us back to times in which electric mixers were a novelty, there were more "iceboxes" than refrigerators, and veal was cheaper than chicken, the 75th anniversary edition has been updated for the modern kitchen. And yet, it has in no way lost its ability to teach kitchen neophytes the joy of cooking.

Why it's on our shelf: If there's one cookbook in your collection, it should be the all-purpose Joy of Cooking. To this day, the book remains the at-home cook's Bible. It's the first place to go to learn about kitchen basics, covering everything from knife skills, cooking methods and knowing your ingredients to growing herbs and canning and preserving. And all the recipes and instructions are fool-proof. Learn the easy way to grind your own peanuts or make homemade ice cream, then master kitchen favorites like tamales and cheese soufflé. In its 75th edition, the witty but concise voice of Irma is recaptured by her grandson, Ethan. The book manages to stand the test of time and, as always, bring joy into every kitchen.

Bonus recipe: Steak au Poivre

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