I have been asked about what cookbooks I think are the best. Most of the cookbooks I have I found while shopping in thrift stores. There is a real treasure trove of cookbooks in thrift stores and yard sales. Many of them are not very old or in bad shape. There has been many of hours of enjoyment I have gotten out of my cookbook thrift shopping and reading the books. One thing I have found over the years that some well known chefs don’t write good recipes. They produce beautiful cookbooks with glossy pictures only you end up with a failed dish when you go to make it. They must not be testing those recipes in a home setting before they publish. Maybe they are just good at showmanship and running a restaurant.
The best cookbooks for learning how to scratch bake and cook are cookbooks from well known test kitchens. Vintage books from, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, King Arthur Flour and others well known grain mills are always a good cookbook to purchase for baking. You can usually find them under $5 used in thrift stores. Even if the cookbook is falling apart and stained that shows the cookbook was well loved with great recipes.
Pillsbury published a beautiful 500 glossy page cookbook in 1993 that is a wonderful hard bound cookbook just for baking. It is simply titled The Complete Book Of Baking with a Pillsbury logo over the title. It is loaded with their most popular classic scratch recipes perfect for today’s cook. They even include many of the best Bake Off recipes and some recipes using mixes. The pictures are gorgeous and makes a perfect coffee table book so you can show it off and to keep handy to look at for inspiration. I just love this cookbook. It was originally a $25 book and I found it for $3.49 . It must of had a dust cover to it because the price is very small on the back cover and there is no code box on it. Which I think makes it really nice to show off. The resellers over looked this copy because it’s bottom corner on the cover was damaged probably from a fall landing on that corner. I actually didn’t noticed that until after getting it home. I was just so excited that I found it in such good condition and that was 10 years ago.
The first chapter is titled Baking from A to Z. All the baking terms , equipment and substitutions are listed in an easy index to follow. You can tell it was designed for the novice baker as well as the experienced baker. In the back of the book there is nutritional information as well as a index of all the recipes. The book is very well organized and easy to follow. The print is large enough that my 70 years old eyes don’t need a magnifying glass to read the measurements. I keep a magnifying glass in my utensil container on the counter because I find some recipes hard to read.
This cookbook is one of the gold standards on baking with all the techniques that are covered in the book. You can find all the recipes for cookies, cakes, pies, breads, and even pancakes in this book that is enjoyed today. There are pictures to walk you through basic techniques. That is what makes this cookbook a must have when you don’t have room for a large library of cookbooks.
You can find it on Amazon and there is over a 100 reviews on the cookbook. Take time to read the reviews because this book is a must have baking book and some people are buying it to replace the one they have worn out. People have also bought it to give a copy to a family member to share a great cookbook. You can put it on a list of cookbooks to look for when thrift shopping. It is really fun to find a copy in the wild that isn’t marked up by a reseller. Or you can put it on a wish list for Christmas or a birthday so someone else can get you something you will love and use.
I will be reviewing other very good cookbooks I would like to share that I think are a must in a cook’s library.