I collect them and enjoy trying recipes from them.
But my all-time favorite is a set my parents gave me about 15 years ago.
It’s the same exact set my mother often used when I was growing up (and my mother, I have to say, is a consummate cook…she can do fancy and five-course, or simple and filling. We had the simple and filling most often when I was growing up because, well, there were nine of us to feed every day, and only one salary).
As a kid, I loved this set, not only because its publication year was the one in which I was born, but also because it came in encyclopedia form, and I was the kind of kid who read everything. These books are stuffed full of interesting history and information about the various ingredients, foods, and the cultures that inspired them. Plus, the title has Cookery in it. I love that word in and of itself.
Oh, and it’s got pictures and illustrations, too, all delightfully vintage. Which means, I guess, that I’m vintage too, since the books are as old as me. 🙂
I really enjoy looking up recipes (there’s an awesome homemade custard recipe, pies, breads, holiday foods…and of course recipes from just about every culture in the world that you can imagine, since it’s an encyclopedia of cooking).
Today, I looked in Volume 3 to find a quick recipe for corn chowder, since that’s what my kids really wanted for lunch (and I knew I had the ingredients – or some that were close enough – on hand). A few minor substitutions later (i.e. diced ham instead of salt pork, and regular milk instead of evaporated), and I had lunch ready for them.
Anyone else have a favorite cookbook – or set?