Tools of the Trade
5 Must-Have Cookbooks
Inspiration to cook at home
-Harriet Bell, bellbookandhandle.com
Who’s eating out these days? Not so many of us. Everyone seems to be cooking at home to save money. So we need basic cookbooks. As a cookbook editor, these are my five must-haves. And another tip for the new economy: Save money by buying used books from eBay or at yard sales.
1. Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook, 12th Edition. Hey, if this book was good enough for your mother and grandmother then it’s good enough for you. From meatloaf to mashed potatoes, this classic includes all the basics.
2. Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison. Total disclosure: I edited this book, but it remains my favorite because I always find inspiring ideas for vegetables, grains, pastas and more.
3. How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. User-friendly and encouraging, Bittman is the master of no-fuss food in a short amount of time.
4. The Gourmet Cookbook by Ruth Reichl. When you’re ready to step up to your first dinner party, go to this one for simple to sophisticated recipes.
5. The Ultimate A-to-Z Bar Guide by Sharon and Ron Herbst. You need to know how to mix yourself a drink after all that cooking.
Sample Recipe: Herb Salad
From Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison
If you’re like me, you buy bunches of cilantro and parsley, but only need half of them. This salad is a good way to use up all those odds and ends the fridge. No dill? Don’t worry. Use what you have – more mint, less parsley; this salad is very forgiving.
3 cups small spinach leaves
1 cup arugula, torn into pieces
1⁄4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1⁄4 cup cilantro leaves
1⁄4 cup dill sprigs
6 mint leaves, torn into small pieces
Several celery leaves, torn
2 scallions, including a few inches of the greens, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or as needed
Fresh lemon juice
1. Toss the spinach, arugula, herbs, scallions and a few pinches of salt together in a salad bowl.
2. Drizzle on enough oil to coat the leaves, then squeeze on a little lemon juice and toss again. Serve immediately.