I’ve never done this before, so I asked readers to share their thoughts in comments. I was so surprised by how many people said that they’ve completed cookbooks before (and loved it), knew someone who did, or have thought about it as a quarantine-friendly activity. I had no idea this was a fairly common thing that home chefs did!
I loved reading about your experiences, your favorite cookbooks, and your dream cookbook completion projects. Today, I’ve gathered up a bunch of cookbooks that YOU recommended, plus a few that I’m contemplating for my own creative challenge this winter.
If you’ve cooked your way through a cookbook before, we’d love to hear more details. How did you go about it? Which cookbook did you complete? Tell us all about it in the commentssection!
Before I ever visited her blog, I heard Deb Perelman speak at my local library. She won me over with her warmth, humor, and kitchen know-how. But then I saw her cookbook and was blown away—gorgeous (and funny) writing, beautiful photos, and the recipes! The recipes are unpretentious and yield delicious dinners, brunches, and sweet treats. She’s yet to let me down, and I’ve cooked my way through a significant portion of the cookbook. A friend of mine has cooked every recipe in this book and loved the process. More info →
Ruth Reichl is one of my favorite food writers. Not only does she make me want to cook what she’s cooking, but she also makes me want to visit the places she’s talking about. My Kitchen Year focuses on her time in Manhattan and the Hudson Valley, and it’s the perfect book for this moment. When Reichl was facing scary changes and uncertainty, she turned to her kitchen for comfort. These are the recipes that represent her “kitchen year.” They’re organized by season, which I appreciate. Mostly, I adore the stories, her voice, and the comfort of reading about good food. But you've inspired me to start cooking some of her recipes! More info →
Here's the cookbook that inspired this post! I’m currently cooking my way through Ina Garten’s newest cookbook because I couldn't wait for it to appear underneath the tree. I’m a big fan of Ina's recipes; her cookbooks get a lot of use in our house. I can’t believe that she had a book on comfort food ready and waiting, just in time for a pandemic-induced return to home cooking. So far, we've loved the giant crinkled chocolate chip cookies and chicken pot pie soup. My local booksellers said that cookbooks are flying off the shelves earlier than ever this year, so grab your copy soon! More info →
This cookbook speaks to my minimalist heart. The goal is to create a framework for a streamlined kitchen so that you can create and cook easily throughout the week. As someone who enjoys spending more time in the kitchen on Friday nights or Sunday afternoons, I like the breakdown of "weekday" versus "weekend" recipes. One reader said that she's been cooking her way through for two years, slowly picking new recipes to try and returning to her favorites often. She offered a great tip for aspiring cookbook completists: pick a cookbook that you already know and love to complete; it gives you a head start, and you already know you'll like at least a few of the recipes. More info →
I'm not here to convince anyone to replace their weekly takeout meal (sometimes you just need a break!), but if you do want to cook your favorite Chinese food at home, this cookbook is a great source of delicious recipes. One reader gave it a glowing review: "I cooked my way through Every Grain of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop. I even bought an actual wok and the tools needed to make it authentic. I loved every minute of it and my family enjoyed most of the recipes. It was such a fun learning experience! I hope I find another cookbook I am that motivated to work my way through." More info →
Inspired by her mother's creative recipes that combined the traditional Indian recipes of her childhood with American favorites (like spaghetti), Priya Krishna shares fun, everyday recipes that can only be described as "Indian-ish." I'm interested in picking this one up for the stories. I love reading my cookbooks like novels, and Krishna shares funny and endearing family memories in between recipes. This one sounds fun to read and to cook from, making it a great candidate for a cookbook completion project. More info →
I was introduced to Kimball’s writing when he was at the helm of Cook’s Illustrated, and I’ve always liked his tone and style. Now editor in chief at Milk Street, he’s probably single handedly responsible for changing the contents of my spice drawer. It’s filled with new additions like sumac powder, coriander seeds, and za'atar. Their goal at Milk Street is to make cooking a part of life-long learning, which I can totally get behind. I’m also smitten with this cookbook title because I feel like I’m constantly making new words by adding (ish) at the end, see: bookish. Cooking through it would be a full hands-on learning experience. More info →
Like many cooking enthusiasts, we watched the Netflix series A Chef’s Life, “a show about people, place, tradition and family told through the lens of food.” I’ve since checked out some of Howard’s cookbooks from the library. Her newest, filled with simple recipes sounds like a fun project. She’s insistent that she will CHANGE THE WAY YOU COOK, and that's what made me pick it up. I had been impatiently waiting on my library request, finally caved and bought it at my local indie last weekend, and proceeded to make three of her "flavor heroes" before the weekend was over. Of course, the emphasis on "simple" is appealing when you're ready to tackle every single recipe. Bonus: more than half the dishes are vegetarian, gluten-free, or both. More info →
This cookbook comes with a built-in challenge: cook every meal for 90 days. If that sounds daunting, don't worry, leftovers are part of the equation. The premise is that with home-cooking, you'll feel better, save money, and pick up more skills in the kitchen. The book comes with over 100 recipes and four weeks of meal plans to kick-start your challenge and make deciding what's for dinner a breeze. This comment sold me: "I love the variety of recipes and the fact that almost all of them prepare a family meal rather than just a main dish or side dish. I really dislike having to figure out, now what goes with this dish?" More info →
This is a GENIUS idea. I need to ask you for cookbook recommendations and kitchen tips more often! From Meg: "I’ve been baking through the Sister Pie cookbook! Because most of them are dessert pies, I’ve loved baking a new pie for a special occasion or small dinner party gathering. In the book’s margin, I’ve been writing the occasion, who was in attendance, date, and any notes about the night or recipe. For example, I recently made the INCREDIBLE Apple and Sage Pie and included: Dinner party at X’s house with Y, Z, Q. We ended the night carving pumpkins! 5 Star Review all around. I’m excited to have a record of memories of the dinner parties and friends sharing pie when I’m done." More info →
Have you been cooking from a favorite cookbook recently? Share your favorites, plus recipe recommendations in the comments section.