I collect them. I read them like novels. I browse the cookbook section on every visit to a book store. I own more than I could possibly use in a lifetime. I am addicted.
I can get totally lost in any cookbook but I most enjoy ones that tell stories, involve historical lessons, showcase a family’s heritage or can teach me about a different culture.
Currently, these are my top 5 favorite cookbooks in my collection.
- In Memory’s Kitchen
I had to share this one with my foodie people. I just think it’s one of my coolest discoveries thus far. I was watching a PBS documentary titled “The Meaning of Food” and learned of a cookbook that consists of recipes compiled by women in the Terezin concentration camp during the Holocaust. These women were starving to death but started writing down their family recipes in hopes that their heritage would not be lost.
The recipes were later delivered to one of the prisoner’s family members after her death which resulted in this book being written as a dedication to those women who suffered such cruelty at Terezin.
I did receive this cookbook for Christmas and it is every bit as special as I thought it would be. While it’s hard reading about the life these women endured in Terezin, it is quite meaningful to own a little piece of their family heritage.
You can purchase this book on Amazon – In Memory’s Kitchen: A Legacy from the Women of Terezin.
2. Specialties of the Haus
This one is special because it was presented to me as a thank you gift during my first mission trip to Haus Edelweiss in Vienna, Austria. This cookbook contains recipes that were commonly served to students and staff over the years. There is also a section of recipes from various countries collected from the students who come to study there.
Since 2010, I have used this cookbook as a quasi yearbook. Each time I return to the Haus, I take it with me and have new and old friends write a little note in it. This helps me remember them and our time at the Haus. While this one cannot be purchased by the general public, it is priceless to me!
3. International Cuisine
This cookbook / textbook is a souvenir from my time in culinary school. The year we studied international cuisines was my favorite time in school. Here’s a description of this book from Google Books’ website:
The Best Tool for Learning About the Diversity of Cuisine from Around the World
Increasing world travel, changing demographics, multinational business, and greater diversity at home have whetted our appetites for international flavors–whether in national dishes or creative culinary fusions. Anyone entering the foodservice industry today must be prepared to meet this growing demand. Taste truly has gone global.
With its comprehensive approach, International Cuisine explores countries and regions, cultures, and ingredients, and describes the crucial role they play in different world cuisines. This comprehensive and engaging resource gives readers an introductory knowledge of food cultures from five continents, as well as the Caribbean and British Isles.
This book can be found on Amazon, Google Books and Barnes & Noble.
4. Jamie’s America
Well what can I say? Jamie Oliver is a righteous dude with a lovely British accent! And the fact that he came to America and traveled the land searching out folks who could teach him the local traditions and then used that as inspiration to cook them an amazing meal…he’s living my dream job in this book. This is one of those storyteller type of cookbooks that I adore. It’s a must read!
This can be bought at most major book retailers and online.
5. 5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Recipes
This cookbook was shoved in a kitchen drawer with my Mom’s other family recipes. When I discovered it, Mom and I spent a whole winter picking out recipes and testing them. Our slow cooker was smokin’ from almost daily use!
A recipe with five ingredients couldn’t be any easier and I honestly didn’t expect much out of the recipes but I was so wrong. These recipes are full of flavor and I have added at least ten of them to my winter menus.
You will find some of my favorites from this book on this blog: Pesto Meatball Stew and Ranch Pork Loin. This cookbook has been around a long time and is not readily available but I’ve been able to find it on Amazon and eBay recently. It’s worth the hunt!