10 Recipe Books for Cooking Meals That Are Simply Delish

When learning a new cuisine or hoping to impress your guests at a dinner party, a cookbook can prove to be an invaluable possession. A recipe book can last for generations and will help you create dishes that you may have never considered making before.

Here are the ten best recipe books to refer when whipping up your meals:

10. Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, by Marcella Hazan

First Published: 1973

What It’s About:

The author of this cookbook has been credited with introducing traditional Italian cooking in the United States and Britain. As the title suggests, the book discusses authentic Italian cuisine, explaining every dish with a straightforward and detailed recipe. Whether it is making lasagna, risotto or stewed rabbit, this book is a must-have guide for anyone looking to cook tasty Italian food at home.

Why You Should Read It:

Marcella Hazan was an Italian cookery writer who had, in fact, never cooked prior to getting married! She was a self-taught cook who realized she had a unique way of creating traditional Italian dishes in her own individual style. After imparting cooking lessons in her New York apartment, Hazan opened her own cooking school, after which she proceeded to write the Classic Italian Cookbook, which went on to win the prestigious André Simon Award.

Best Quote:

“I don’t cook ‘concepts.’ I use my head, but I cook from the heart, I cook for flavor.”

9. The Kitchen Diaries: A Year in the Kitchen with Nigel Slater, by Nigel Slater

First Published: 2012

What It’s About:

The book takes readers through 12 months in the life of award-winning British food writer, Nigel Slater, who makes cooking an adventure, not a chore. In the Kitchen Diaries, Nigel focuses on the food that he makes when he’s at home, or cooking for friends and guests. He shows us variation in fast-food as well as slow-cooked meals that are saved during special occasions.

Why You Should Read It:

Nigel Slater has been a presenter on several food shows on BBC television network in the UK and is a food columnist with The Observer newspaper for over 20 years. His book gives readers an insight into the food that he creates and allows them to see the process behind his creations. Read about Nigel’s pantry, his trips to the farmer’s market, and his joy at creating even the simplest of meals thanks to his love for good food.

Best Quote:

“Right food, right place, right time.”

8. French Provincial Cooking, by Elizabeth David

First Published: 1962

What It’s About:

As the title suggests, this straightforward and easy-to-read cookbook is a wonderful culinary journey through various French provinces and explores their traditional cuisines. The regions covered in this book include Brittany, Savoie, Provence, and Alsace, among others. Elizabeth David takes readers through the various traditional French regional dishes and recipes that make up this simple, yet elegant book.

Why You Should Read It:

This Irish-English author realized her love for cooking great food at the age of 19 when she received her first cookbook. She has a way of studying the region that she writes about, and has previously written about Italian, Spanish and Greek food. If you love preparing food with minimal fuss and focus on great taste, then this is the book for you. It also contains recipes that help one use leftovers and unused vegetables lying around the kitchen and transform them into delicious meals.

Best Quote:

“Everyday holds that possibility of a miracle.”

7. The Great Dishes of the World, by Robert Carrier

First Published: 1963

What It’s About:

The book deals with decadent, delicious and rich dishes from Carrier’s travels all over the globe. It also contains articles he wrote for Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and Sunday Times. Robert Carrier’s book aims to educate even amateurs unfamiliar with cooking complicated dishes. He helps readers understand how to prepare, cook and present dishes to please even the most demanding dinner guest.

Why You Should Read It:

Robert Carrier was an American chef, writer and owner of two Michelin star restaurants in the United Kingdom. He came to England when a friend invited him for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953. Due to the easy-to-understand and straightforward way of writing, Carrier’s book sold over 11 million copies after being published. In addition to publishing several cookbooks, Carrier also had a brief, but successful stint presenting a cookery show on television.

Best Quote:

“The history of every nation lies visible on its table. Its wars and victories, its occupation in defeat, the marriages of its kings, its religion, its overseas empires – all have left behind them a dish or two destined to be adopted into the national life.”

6. English Food, by Jane Grigson

First Published: 1974

What It’s About:

Acclaimed English chef Jane Grigson revised this 1974 cookbook in 1990, which celebrates her national cuisine. Brimming with English food and recipes, this is a simple and fun to read cookbook with plenty of creativity and soul. Initially an editor, Grigson’s love for food led to her writing her first book in 1967.

Why You Should Read It:

Jane Grigson was a cookery writer for the British newspaper The Observer for several years and this book won her the 1977 ‘Writer of the Year’ award. Her writing style will appeal to those who want to get a sense of history while reading about delicious traditional English food. Grigson had a habit of digressing often to recall the historical significance of various recipes and ingredients. Read this to discover the diverse range of traditional English food.

Best Quote:

“Shape is a good part of the fig’s delight.”

5. Nigella Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home, by Nigella Lawson

First Published: 2010

What It’s About:

In her kitchen, Nigella Lawson aims to create quick and easy comfort food that’s delicious and never gets old. From cakes, baked good, to other sweet treats, Nigella Kitchen is also full of recipes for preparing proper meals such as pastas, meat, salads, and more. The focus of the book is on using easy-to-find ingredients while always maintaining a certain standard for each dish. The book focuses on both traditional and modern delicious recipes.

Why You Should Read It:

If you enjoy delicious and nutritious comfort food, Nigella Lawson’s Kitchen is the perfect book for you. This book should be avoided if you are on a strict diet as the easy-to-make, mouthwatering dishes may be hard to resist. The book also contains plenty of slow-cooking recipes and is an engaging and informative cookbook.

Best Quote:

“You could probably get through life without knowing how to roast a chicken. The question is, would you want to?”

4. Tandoor: The Great Indian Barbeque, by Ranjit Rai

First Published: 2001

What It’s About:

This cookbook focuses on old-style Indian food which was cooked in clay ovens, or tandoors as they are called. It covers over 70 recipes that involve the use of fish, lamb, and poultry, and presents several kebab and lamb recipes. The book is extremely informative for readers as each recipe comes with its background and historical information. The book aims to make Indian cooking easy with clearly presented recipes.

Why You Should Read It:

This is a great book to read as it contains recipes that can be made at home easily. The different types of chicken tikka preparations make it the perfect barbeque handbook to have. If you want to try making modern and traditional Indian recipes in the healthy tandoori style, which often involves grilling, this book is a must-have. In addition, the images in this book are some of the most stunning to be seen in a cook book.

Best Quote:

“The word Tandoor comes from either ’Kund’ which means a large ‘bowl shaped vessel’ and changed to ‘tandoor’ with time or from the Persian word ‘Tatta Andar’ which translates to ‘hot inside’.

3. Thai Street Food, by David Thompson

First Published: 2002

What It’s About:

As the name suggests, the book deals solely with traditional Thai culinary fare ranging from street food, recipes used by Thai royalty, and decadent desserts along with historical and geographical information on each dish. It is a study of Thai culture as much as it is a cook book. In fact, this is one of the foremost cookbooks in the English language that allows for an in-depth and complex appreciation of Thai food in all its exotic grandeur.

Why You Should Read It:

Australian chef David Thompson landed in Thailand almost by accident due to a last minute holiday cancellation for another destination. He fell so much in love with Bangkok that he decided to move there and went on to study the art of traditional Thai cooking. His research was thorough and he scoured memorial books that contained recipes from the palace, while simultaneously studying traditional Thai street food. Initially, this book was supposed to be about Thai snacks but, after years of intensive and almost obsessive research, Thompson delivered this spectacular study of Thai food.

Best Quote:

“Thai food tastes bloody good!”

2. The Cake Bible, by Rose Levy Beranbaum

First Published: 1988

What It’s About:

This cook book is the definitive guide to all things cake. Rose is a food writer for various magazines and newspapers and has a knack for turning the most complicated concepts into easily-understandable notes that even a novice will get. Some of the most popular recipes include ‘how to make a decadent chocolate cake using only three ingredients’ or ‘how to make a low sugar cake’. From pancakes to intricate multi-layered wedding cakes, the list of recipes are exhaustive. There is bound to be a recipe for every kind of cake imaginable in this book.

Why You Should Read It:

Whether you are an enthusiastic wannabe baker looking to learn the basics of cake-making or an experienced baker looking to perfect your craft, you can’t go wrong with it if you have this book. Needless to say, the images in the book will make anyone’s stomach grumble.

Best Quote:

“If you ever bake a cake, this book will become your partner in the kitchen.”

1. Mastering the art of French cooking, by Julia Child

First Published: 1961

What It’s About:

With a staggering 524 recipes, Julia Child’s masterpiece is a treasure to own even in 2016. It also deals with topics other than just the cooking aspect of food. Julia Child discusses how to buy and handle raw ingredients, which many will find helpful. French cooking can be complicated and Child manages to break down each recipe into easy-to-follow steps. Instead of following traditional recipes to their details, they have been adapted to suit modern American tastes, which are applicable even after forty years of its original release.

Why You Should Read It:

Aimed at both beginners and seasoned chefs, this is a must-have cook book for those serious about learning French cooking. You can also learn about the correct accompaniment for each meal, including the type of wine to serve. Read it to improve your French cooking and as an instructive guide that has till date not been matched by any other cookbook.

Best Quote:

“Just like becoming an expert in wine–you learn by drinking it, the best you can afford–you learn about great food by finding the best there is, whether simply or luxurious. The you savor it, analyze it, and discuss it with your companions, and you compare it with other experiences.”

Conclusion

When it comes to preparing a delicious and exotic meal at home, a cook book can be of immense help. Not only can it guide you in your culinary adventures, but the magic of making something from scratch with the guidance of expert chefs is a delight in itself.

It may open your kitchen to cuisines from the farthest ends of the Earth, including those which you may have never considered attempting otherwise. A good cookbook is a reminder that the potential to create great food lies within each of us.

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