Food & Drink

12 Timeless Cookbooks That Experienced Cooks Swear By

Forget the trendy new cookbooks. These are the tried-and-true recipes that great cooks love.

While contemporary cookbooks like Alison Roman’s “Nothing Fancy” may top 2019 foodie wish lists, timeless classics from the past five, 10 or even 30 years may be exactly what the budding chef in your life needs this holiday. Kitchen staples like “The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook” have survived decades for a reason: They’re simple and low-fuss with downright delicious recipes that stand the test of time. Even better? These classic collections inspired many of today’s top food influencers.

Instead of gifting the trendiest new recipe collections, gift your loved one the tried-and-true cookbooks that chefs, food bloggers and cookbook authors swear by. We have 12 of these timeless cookbook recommendations to consider.

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1
The Professional Chef
The Professional Chef
Food blogger Jasmine Sanders ofMore Than You Can Chew credits "The Professional Chef" with getting her outside of her culinary comfort zone. “I received this book as a Christmas gift from my late aunt who was a huge culinary inspiration in my life,” Sanders told HuffPost.“This book has inspired me to try making more ambitious dishes like gnocchi, something I never thought I’d make from scratch!”

Buy "The Professional Chef"from Barnes & Noble.
2
Food52 Genius Recipes
Food52
Sara Forte, cookbook author and founder of the Sprouted Kitchen blog, said“Food 52 Genius Recipes" is the perfect inspiration for budding chefs who want some freedom in the kitchen. “It is instructional without being overly wordy,” she told HuffPost. “The headnotes are often just as valuable as the recipes themselves.”

Buy "Food 52 Genius Recipes" from Barnes & Noble.
3
Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables
Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables
Forte also says Joshua McFadden’s“Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables," a James Beard Award-winning book, is one of few collections she truly can’t live without. “I read this cookbook cover to cover,” Forte told HuffPost. “I have so many books, many that I spend some time with then hand off to friends, but I will always keep this book. It is smart and casual, and I love it.”

Buy"Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables" from Amazon.
4
Everyday Pasta
Everyday Pasta
Food blogger Kristin Porter of Iowa Girl Eats received Giada De Laurentiis’ “Everyday Pasta: A Cookbook" as a wedding gift; more than 10 years later, it’s still pushing her to expand her horizons in the kitchen. “This cookbook inspired me to go beyond dishes I was comfortable with and start experimenting with one of my very favorite foods — pasta,” she told HuffPost. “I still remember cooking her farfalle with broccoli recipe, which calls for five anchovy filets, for the first time. I was so nervous, but it was incredible. Now I make it for my kids!”

Buy"Everyday Pasta: A Cookbook" from Amazon.
5
The All New Good Housekeeping Cookbook
The All New Good Housekeeping Cookbook
"The All New Good Housekeeping Cookbook" is the first cookbook blogger Philia Kelnhofer of Sweet Phi — now a cookbook author herself — remembers reading and using. “One of my best friends gave me this cookbook she picked up at a garage sale for 10 cents,” she told HuffPost. “It followed me through college, graduate school, newlywed life, and now beyond, into life with kids and entertaining.”

Buy"The All New Good Housekeeping Cookbook" from Amazon.
6
Ottolenghi Simple
Ottolenghi Simple
Allison Day, cookbook author and the blogger behindYummy Beet, picked up“Ottolenghi Simple" during a talk with author Yotam Ottolenghi while she was living in London. “It’s a keepsake from my time spent in London, and it holds the memory of meeting one of the most inspiring cookbook authors out there,” she told HuffPost.

Buy "Ottolenghi Simple" from Amazon.
7
Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook
Better Homes and Gardens
For Beth Moncel of Budget Bytes, it’s hard to top the“Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook." Moncel learned to cook with this book in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and continues using it as her go-to guide today. “I loved that it included so much general information about food and ingredients, with tons of photos and diagrams on everything from different cuts of meat to the sugar stages of candy-making,” she told HuffPost.

Buy"Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book"from Amazon.
8
Son Of A Southern Chef: Cook With Soul
Son Of A Southern Chef: Cook With Soul
Quin Liburd of the blog Butter Be Ready attributes her culinary adventures to “Son of a Southern Chef" by Lazarus Lynch. “This particular book is special to me because it is written by a Black, Caribbean, queer author which are all three of my own identities,” Liburd told HuffPost. “It is incredibly meaningful to me to see a piece of myself within this author and book. It is also refreshing to see a cookbook that highlights Caribbean cooking with a Southern flair.”

Buy"Son of a Southern Chef: Cook With Soul" from Amazon.
9
The Taste of Country Cooking
The Taste Of Country Cooking
“It’s not common to feel like you’ve found a fond, seemingly familiar voice visiting with you as you flip through a cookbook,” Amber Wilson, founder of the blog For the Love of the South, told HuffPost. She recommends “The Taste of Country Cooking" by Edna Lewis as a source of culinary inspiration. “I find myself reaching for this gem at the beginning of each season for deep inspiration, not only on what to cook but an uplift and reminder to celebrate life, love, and food with an open hand and an open heart,” she said.

Buy"The Taste of Country Cooking"from Amazon.
10
The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook
The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook
Tania Sheff, the food blogger behind Cooktoria, says “The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook" from the 1980s is a must-have for every kitchen. “It has simple pictures so that I feel assured I am doing things right,” she told HuffPost. “Every single recipe I have tried has been delicious.”

Buy"The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook"from Amazon.
11
Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics
Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics
Julie Tran Deily, founder of The Little Kitchen blog, swears by chef Ina Garten’s cookbooks. “The one I go back to a lot is ‘Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics,'” she told HuffPost.“I just love her easy cooking style and you can feel the love. I watched Ina Garten's cooking show on Food Network long before I became a food blogger and have a dream of cooking with her one day!”

Buy"Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics"from Amazon.
12
Chez Panisse Vegetables
Chez Panisse Vegetables
Food blogger Alexandra Stafford of Alexandra’s Kitchen received “Chez Panisse Vegetables” from her mother for college graduation — and she’s been using it ever since. “It’s no doubt the cookbook I have used more than any other,” she told HuffPost. “Years after first opening ‘Chez Panisse Vegetables,’ I continue to find gems. It's not a book for everyone — there are no photos, and in some recipes, quantities are omitted and instructions are vague. But for me it's perfect, a gift that has never stopped giving.”

Buy"Chez Panisse Vegetables"from Amazon.
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