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I find I have a lot of cookbooks, way more than I need, but I refer regularly to only a couple.

First and winner with the most stained pages: my ol' Betty Crocker cookbook. Not fancy, but has a lot of useful information and is still holding together after at least 30 years of use and abuse.

Second and third place go to my Better Homes and Gardens and my Good Housekeeping Illustrated. Better Homes and Garbage, as my family refers to it [none of us being all that domestic] is a solid reference; Good Housekeeping Illus. is good for techniques, but I've found it a bit shy on the recipe side; seems every time I look through it for something basic like potato leek soup, I'm force to either find a recipe in a different cookbook or steal Emeril's off one of the Internet cooking tubes.

So...what cookbook is your fave?
 

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Antique Nurse
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1) Better Homes and Gardens.... it is from 1938! It has everything from how to set the table/serve a fancy meal and or tea to canning and "campfire cookery"...

2) Farm Journal cookbook from 1959 - Again, it covers a very wide spectrum and has a lot of canning/preserving in it.
 
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Larousse gastronomic, and a georgio locatelli thing on italian food.
Basically I poach ( pun intended) other peoples ideas and adapt them with ingredients etc . If that goes wrong there's always some encona hot sauce or walkers firestick sauce to put it right.
 

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Psalm 34:4
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River Road Recipes by the Junior League of Baton Rouge Louisiana.... it's the primer on how to cook cajun and creole.
 

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Happiness is 2 at low 8
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I don't have any that "I can't live without", but my favorites are the Frugal Gourmet (Geoff Smith) books. With the 6 or so volumes I have, I get a wide range of cuisines, interesting banter/background and good solid recipes. Mostly I use the other cookbooks to get ideas for what to have and then "wing" the recipe to put it together with whatever I have on hand.

Allan
 

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I have a couple copys of "The Settlement" cook books (different reprints). The cook book originaly printed round the turn of the century, to help immigrants adjust to American life through local recipies.

There are recipies for dinners, preserving fruits, vegetables and meats and how to make wine.

But then again, my favorite cookbook might be one of the 25 others that I have. Ha! Ha!
 

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How to Eat, and How to be a Domestic Goddess, both by Nigella Lawson. Her books are very well written, are interesting and engaging and I've never been let down by any of her recipes yet.

Delia Smith's Complete Cookery Course is also very solid and practical.

Putting Food By for recipes and instructions on preserving.

Bread Alone by Daniel Leader, Judith Blahnik, Patricia Wells is a very thorough book on artisan bread making.
 

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I like the Betty Crocker Illustrated version. I also like Stews, Bogs, And Burgoos: Recipes from the Great American Stewpot. The Jesuit series is really good.
 

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Give me the good ol' Betty Crocker from way back. Belonged to Grandma, but neither of us ever really "followed the recipe" in our entire life. I honestly think it is more the sentimental appeal than the book itself. I love having stains and spots on the pages that were left forty years ago by that wonderful little round woman. That and McCalls' Cookbook give me the basics.
 

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I have two bookcases full of cookbooks. If I had to pare down to just a few, I'd choose the two family recipe books I've put together and the following:

Making the Best of Basics

Home Food Systems: Rodale's catalog of methods and tools for producing, processing, and preserving naturally good foods (1981)

More with Less Cookbook, by Doris Janzen Longacre

Complete Guide to Home Canning, Preserving, and Freezing, USDA Revised edition, 1994 (Dover Publications)

Baking: Easy to Make Great Home Bakes (this one is special because it was a gift from my son when he was just 7)

Around the World Cookbook -- lots of tasty foreign food

Homemade Bread, Farm Journal, 1969
 
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