Top 5 Go-To Cookbooks


Peyton Price

Pictured here, ‘Nancy Silverton’s Breads from the La Brea Bakery’ and ‘I’m Just Here For the Food by Alton Brown’ are on display.

Everyone has to cook at least one time in their life. Some enjoy it, others don’t; some make a living out of it, others are really bad at it. Whatever your stance on cooking or baking is, there are numerous books out there to help improve anyone’s inner chef. From family-style dinner recipes to every type of bread imaginable, these are my top five go-to cookbooks. 


All-Time Favorite Cookie Recipes by Southern Living (Jean Wickstrom Liles):


For the best cookie recipes, All-Time Favorite Cookie Recipes by Southern Living, written by Jean Wickstom Liles, emerges undefeated. Known for its award-winning recipes, this book contains almost every type of cookie. From easy-to-read recipes to simple step-by-step instructions, even the most complicated cookies are easy to make. 


Besides recipes, the book contains a special few pages titled “All About Cookies.” Here, Liles writes of techniques, tips, tricks, and information about all the materials used in cooking. For example, cookie dough can freeze for up to six months before baking. 


Going above and beyond, the book also contains recipes for brownies, bars, and seasonal treats such as Eggnog Logs. Due to the simplicity of recipes, All-Time Favorite Cookie Recipes earns a score of four out of five feathers.


The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer:


Said to be “the most authoritative cookbook in America,” The Joy of Cooking by Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan has any recipe imaginable. From simple soups to strudel and souffles, this timeless book walks through each recipe explaining both the steps involved and the history of the dish. 


Throughout the book, there are explanations of the use of specific ingredients and the techniques that come along with them. To ensure consistency, there are “rules” sections under most dishes.


Since the original copy came out in 1931, there have been many revisions. In 2019, Marion Rombauer Becker, Irma S. Rombauer’s daughter helped revise the book to match today’s standard of technology and taste. Keeping its focus on “freshness, convenience, and health”, they have recently added vegetarian meals for a modern touch. A more in-depth look into specific ingredients and their uses are also present. Specifically, the book focuses on how to use a variety of apples, when they are in season, and how to tell if they are ripe.


Due to its overwhelming number of words and lack of photos, The Joy of Cooking earns a rating of three out of five feathers. It is ideal for anyone who enjoys cooking as the sheer variety of recipes is enough to last a lifetime.


Jamie’s Dinners – The Essential Family Cookbook by Jamie Oliver:


With over 120 recipes, this cookbook from Jamie Oliver has something for everyone. Recipes include anything from french toast to Concertina Squid. Included are photos, ingredient lists, and guided instructions.


This book is ideal for families as most of the ingredients are already in common homes or stores. The back of the book also includes useful tips on tools and extra ingredients that you can incorporate into your dish. Not only are the recipes stellar, but the photos are what truly make this book special. Each recipe, and section of the book has its own photo(s) making any reader want to eat right out of the pages. This gives Jamie’s Dinners- The Essential Family Cookbook by Jamie Oliver a score of four out of five feathers.


I’m Just Here For the Food by Alton Brown:


Catching attention through the relatable title, this book is drastically different from others. Rather than going from dish to dish, this book goes by cooking method. Beginning with searing, the book includes grilling, roasting, frying, boiling, braising, brining, and microwaving. Each method also has its own section of techniques within it. 


Following this unique approach is the science behind various cooking methods. The beginning of the book starts with a basic understanding of heat. This includes definitions, diagrams, examples, and more. Additionally, you can find a chemical description of salt, helping to bring a further understanding of seasoning. 


Each of these cooking methods provide a scientific understanding of what is going on and why it works with detail, diagrams and examples. Later in the book, these newfound understandings go towards the recipes.


Due to its originality, I’m Just Here For the Food by Alton Brown earned a rating of five out of five feathers.


Nancy Silverton’s Breads from the La Brea Bakery:


After the artistic bread trend exploded in 2020, Nancy Silverton’s Breads from the La Brea Bakery is a necessity in everyone’s home. This book contains recipes with an array of breads, rising agents, and starters, so each reader can master the art of bread baking.


Starting off with a deep description of ingredients and elements of bread, this book gives an understanding of how one can make bread. Following, there is information about proper tools needed plus instructions on how to use them. 


Before the recipes, there is information about making starter from scratch and the time commitment that comes with it. It will take a while.


The rest of the book consists of recipes organized by type of starter, including sourdough. Each one gives a deep walk through of the process. This includes a simple ingredient list and advice on proper rolling techniques, giving it a score of five out of five feathers.