I own close to 60 cookbooks. And you know what? That ain't nothin'. I have read of women owning hundreds. I suppose, if I were to collect anything other than antique books, it'd be antique cookbooks. Ahem. (Same difference, I know...)
There are a select few in my present collection which I hope that my daughters will fight over when I am dead. I'll look on, from heaven's portals, with immense satisfaction in their wisdom to identify the best of the best. I mean, they are free to split the whole lot of them down the middle, draw straws, play "paper, rock, scissors", but there are some of my cookbooks that are worthy of a good row...a "sissy fight".
This one wins "Best All Around". I have gathered more inspiration from its pages than any other cookbook, because it is far more than a cookbook, really. I don't think it is in print any longer, so if you can get your hands on one, you are blessed.
I turn to this one, time and again, when I want ideas for food that cooks fast, that is not fast food, and decidedly is not the typical quick-cook recipe. You won't find many cans of "cream of mushroom soup" in these recipes! Lots of fresh ingredients.
"Make Your Own Convenience Foods" by Don and Joan German
This one wins the "Most Interesting" category. I promise, you'll read it for fun. It is out of print, but you should be able to find it on a website such as http://www.alibris.com/
These two tie for "Most Sentimental". They are my church's very own cookbook "From My Sister's Kitchen" - and the tried and true, red-checked "Better Homes and Gardens" - both are compilations of family style recipes, basic and good for you. Both are great "first cookbooks".
"Return to Sunday Dinner" by Russell Cronkite
This one wins the "Best Appliance Cookbook" category. I realize, I could have placed one of the half-dozen crock-pot cookbooks I have in this category. But I want us to think outside the box. A pressure cooker is the way to have healthy food FAST. (Ya gotta open a lotta cans and boxes make some of those crock pot recipes!) You can take basic foods such as brown rice, beans of any sort, meats, vegetables, and with the guidance from this book, have an amazing meal in a half an hour - with ingredients in it you can control and pronounce. My pressure cooker is electric.
::big Barney Fife SNIFFFF:: Eeee-yup. God equips His daughter.
Last, but not least:
This one gets my vote, because it combines into one beautifully photographed book, three concepts that are very dear to me: Sundays, and hospitality, and slowing down enough to enjoy friends and family. If you are sane, you'll never cook a-one of these recipes for an after-church Sunday crowd. They are not simple enough, by and large, and just don't work for Sunday Hospitality, Atchley-Style. We keep it wwwwway simpler. But this is a gorgeous book, and you won't regret buying it. I pull this one out when I am in the mood to linger over the preparations, create a beautiful table, and a memorable meal. I also display it in my kitchen.
Daughters, take note. When your momma is with Jesus, these are the books you want to snatch each other bald over..."Cooking Under Pressure" by Lorna Sass