Here are five cookbooks that taught me how to make people happy.
“Joy of Cooking” By Irma Rombauer, et. al., 1975 edition.
The ultimate Swiss Army knife of cookbooks has lost some of its zaniness in recent editions, but the 1975 edition has recipes for everything from Escoffier’s mother sauces to proper squirrel stew. Most often used: German spaetzle recipe.
“The New Classic Chinese Cookbook” By Mai Leung Thayer, illustrated by Claude Martinot.
Thayer’s words and Martinot’s sparse line drawings have never led me astray. They gave me the courage to conquer scallion pancakes from scratch, pinch together tidy pork dumplings and wield cornstarch as a secret agent of stir-fry happiness.
“The Thrill of the Grill” By Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby.
The chapters on tending and exploiting a live charcoal fire opened up a world of possibilities. Gas grills have been dead to me since.
“Sundays at Moosewood” By Moosewood Collective.
A vegetarian tour through the world’s cuisines that proved flavor knows no boundaries. This was the book that made me understand, in delicious ways, why many of the world’s eaters are entirely satisfied without meat.
“The Complete Meat Cookbook” By Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly, 1998 edition.
I figured if two chunky white guys could rock thin-sliced Korean beef bulgogi and steak tacos, a third could too. The book I turn to whenever impulse sends me home with a cut of meat I never heard of before.