There are literally thousands perhaps even millions of different recipe books available in the world, so how do you pick the one or three that will be right for you?
The easiest place to begin when choosing the perfect recipe book is by deciding on the particular cuisine, cooking style, or diet you and your family often cook within and/or want to switch to. Perhaps you are trying to incorporate a vegetable-based diet, or maybe you desire to go gluten free. Perhaps you are much simpler than that and just want a few different recipe books to help bring a more varied culture spin to your week-to-week or month-to-month meal planning. Whatever your culinary interest, be sure to choose one that will prove useful for years down the line. Do not buy a cookbook of nothing, but baking recipes if your family is not the type to eat multiple baked goods on at least a monthly to bi-monthly basis.
Ok so let us say your family is trying to do meatless Mondays, and you want to invest in a cookbook related to vegetarianism to give you some ideas for meal planning. The next step to finding the perfect cookbook is by finding a location that sells a variety of different books, though Amazon may have a large variation of cookbooks, but I find used bookstores to be much more appealing for this type of search. The reason I suggest taking your search to a used bookstore is that you are likely to find a greater variety of recipe books including ones that never quiet made it to Amazon. This variety will help assure to find the book that is going to be most helpful to you. Of course if you either A) Don’t have a used book store nearby or B) Just prefer the scrolling search of the internet no problem the rest of the suggestions I’m going to give will help you out just as much.
So you are at the store standing in front of the large mass of recipe books dedicated solely to vegetarian cuisine or whatever theme you decided to follow or explore during this recipe book quest.
3 Things to Avoid:
1. Books that require the use of a certain kitchen tool i.e microwave cooking, crock-pot, one skillet meals ect. (If you are looking for quick meal suggestions, I recommend the search of these be done on the internet vs a cookbook every time.) For suggestions on recipe sites see my article 4 Recipe Inspiration Sites.
2. Books that are clearly from circa 1990 or later these books are filled with what we know today to be not so healthy ingredients i.e large portions of butter, and lard.
3. Be wary of books with one ingredient as the center point. Example Cooking With Cheese, you want any cookbook you get to include recipes filled with a variety of different ingredients cookbooks having a focus on one ingredient don’t end up being very useful in terms of long term use for a home kitchen.
3 Things to Look At:
1. When picking out the perfect cookbook, choose a book that has a variety of recipes, turn to the table of contents page check the number of chapters or sections make sure the book is offering a variety. One of my favorite recipe books entitled The Best Recipe Italian Classic by the Editors of Cook’s Illustrated Magazine has 14 chapters ranging from Antipasti to Fish and Shellfish. They also cover Fruit Desserts, Biscotti, Crostate, and Cakes. If you want a recipe book that is going to last you awhile I highly recommend one with multiple chapters.
2. Look to make sure the recipes are laid out in an easy to read fashion, are the ingredients lists obvious and separate from the directions? Do the recipes indicate the number of servings the recipe is designed to make? Is the font clear, readable, and large enough for you to read? Are the recipes spaced out well enough that you will not get lost while trying to read the steps in a hurry as you cook?
3. Finally, read through a few of the recipes turn to random pages throughout the different chapters of the book to determine if the recipes actually sound appetizing, I’ve made the mistake in the past of buying recipe books only to read through them and find that I did not like half of the recipes I found within. Be sure to purchase a book that’s recipes make you think tasty, yummy, or I can’t wait to get this book home so I can cook that.
Happy Recipe Book Hunting!!!