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March 1-7, 2006

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5 Things to Love

Essential Cookbooks

By Stett Holbrook


EACH YEAR publishers churn out a new crop of cookbooks, some good, most destined for the remainder bin. Over the years there are a handful of cookbooks I return to again and again for dinner ideas, reference or inspiration.

Baking Illustrated, by the editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine. If you're at all interested in baking, this is the book. Each recipe has been laboriously tested by America's Test Kitchen, so if your recipe doesn't turn out right you have no one to blame but yourself.

The Essential Cuisines of Mexico, by Diana Kennedy. First published over 25 years ago, this book by the Julia Child of Mexican food remains as vital as ever.

Joy of Cooking Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker and Ethan Becker. First published in 1931, this essential kitchen book was thoroughly updated in 1997. Whether it's used by first novices or seasoned cooks, this book has a little bit of everything.

The Naked Chef by Jamie Oliver. Yes, he's one of those celebrity chefs, but this 2000 book (Oliver's first) is full of great, simple recipes. Just about everything in this book is something you'd want to eat.

The Zuni Café Cookbook, by Judy Rogers. While many of the recipes here are time consuming and sometimes complex, the breadth and depth of this award-winning cookbook from the quintessential San Francisco restaurant made it an instant classic.


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