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My 10 Favorite Culinary Books

My 10 Favorite Culinary Books

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This is a subject I have wanted to write about for a long time. You see, I have been collecting culinary books for years. I feel that even when you have it in your genes, the passion for cooking and baking needs to be improved every day, by learning and discovering new techniques, ingredients or flavors.

My interest is in simple, made from scratch recipes from around the world. I am interested also in old cooking books and fascinated by what people used to eat in the past, especially since I moved to the US. I love going to antique or thrift stores or anywhere I can dig for more American old recipes and books.

Since I graduated the Pastry School in Bucharest few years ago, I started to invest in culinary books in an attempt to learn and improve my skills. So, today, I thought about sharing with you the 10 most important culinary books I cannot live without.

I buy a lot from Amazon, because I love it. I can compare prices, choose from old and new books, read reviews etc. In general, I love shopping online for that matter, reviews and comparison are the most important tools out there.

Every book you will see on this list, I use and cherish a lot. I recommend them because I think they are useful for anyone who loves to bake, cook, entertain or is simply a food lover.

Educational books:

1.Larousse Gastronomique: The World’s Greatest Culinary Encyclopedia, Completely Revised and Updated


I am in love with this one. It is a reliable source of information about classic continental cuisine, not only for chefs around the world but for anyone interested in learning more about the history of foods, cooking terms, ingredients etc. It also has over 3500 recipes on how to cook everything. I think the book is like the “Bible” for any aspiring chef and any food lover should have a copy of it. It is one of those books that are very close to my heart and a great resource for my recipes and my blog.

2. Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook


I recommend this book for the people interested in the American cuisine. This is a classic American cookbook with recipes from all over the United States from easy to more complicated, with food suggestions for any holiday, menus for every month of the year and any season. It also has over 300 recipes for pies and pastries, 250 desserts, 500 different salads and it doesn’t stop here. I was always interested in the American cuisine since I arrived on this continent many years ago. This is a book that taught me a lot about traditional foods and ways Americans cook and eat. A great, valuable resource!

3.The Way to Cook- Julia Child


For the non-Americans who do not know who Julia Child is…she was an American chef, author and television personality who brought French cuisine to America. This book will teach you basic techniques of how to cook anything from scratch. Her books are essential for any household and family interested in learning how to cook basic things. I love the “Bread” chapter, and the “Pastry” one in particular. However, the book is full of basic techniques and beautiful recipes with pictures to help you in the kitchen. It is a classic cooking book that teaches you from oxtail soups and consommes to genoise and creme Anglaise.

4.Slow Cooker Revolution


If you like throwing ingredients together into a slow cooker and come back a few hours later to a finished meal, this book is for you. The recipes are tested by cooks from America’s Test Kitchen and the book is filled with great tips and secrets to make your slow cooker food taste delicious.

Entertaining books:

5. The Opera Lover’s Cookbook: Menus for Elegant Entertaining


A beautiful book with elegant menus for entertaining. From drinks to appetizers, main course and desserts, the menus are created by associating opera trivia with beautiful pictures and amazing recipes. A great book for stylish, elegant entertaining! I recommend it not only for opera lovers but for all of you out there who love to cook and entertain in style! It is indeed a beautiful book that I am very fond of!

6. Martha Stewart’s Hors d’Oeuvres Handbook


This is a great book for people like me who never had any imagination on serving appetizers. For years if you came to dinner, you would always be served salami and cheese as appetizers, with lots of vegetable around and some olives. One day, I found this book and my entertaining style changed. From little sandwiches to dips, spreads, and salsas, from fine cheeses to sips and drinks, the book teaches you great, simple tricks of serving delicious, ingenious appetizers. Again, for the ones out there who love to entertain, this is a great one!

7. The Silver Palate Cookbook


I use this book quite a lot. There are lots of recipes, like “Chicken Marbella“ that I make quite often for my guests. The recipes in the book are easy to follow, so anyone with a minimum cooking experience should be successful. Great for entertaining as you can put together an impressive meal for your guests without spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

Baking books:

8. Taste of Home Cookies: 623 Irresistible Delights


This is a great book for the ones who love cookies because it has over 623 easy recipes to follow. From bars to sandwich cookies, brownies and cookie jar favorites, the book has it all. I think we all need to have a book around the house with classic recipes for cookies.Who doesn’t love them?

9. Baking with Julia: Savor the Joys of Baking with America’s Best Bakers


A beautiful book! If you like baking, you need to have this one! I think it is a classic of basic baking and it is full of wonderful recipes that you will love!  Breads, cakes, cookies, pies, and pastries, this is a collection of basic recipes explained in great detail for beginners but also for the more advanced bakers.

10. The Professional Pastry Chef- by Bo Friberg


There is something for everyone in this book, home bakers or professionals. The contents of this book are very well organized by chapters like “Basic doughs”, “Cookies”, “Sponge cakes and Cake Bases” etc. With great, easy to follow instructions, mise-en-place preparation, procedures and the principles behind them, this book will help you make delicious desserts like a pro. I truly recommend it for the amazing bakers out there.

 So, my friends, this is the list of the most used and loved books in my library. I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what cooking books are you fond of and which one you use the most. I am always curious to learn more!

Meanwhile, happy reading to all of you!

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