Cookbooks: How Mine Stack Up

by Julie

Many times, when I tell folks about my weekly meal-planning ritual, the question that follows “What?!” is “HOW?” How do I do it, and which cookbooks do I use?

The trick is variety. Both my husband and I have a pretty restricted diet, either by necessity (we’re both allergic to dairy; I’m have a pretty severe intolerance for gluten) or by choice (we prefer not to eat the animals). Given that, I’m always scouring used bookstores or Amazon for the best and latest in cookbooks.

My latest find, as many of you know from this week’s recipe line-up (here) is this one:

I think one of the greatest challenges for anyone trying to cook, restricted diet or no, is balance. Renee does a great job introducing basic nutrition and the necessary elements for a well-balanced meal, providing helpful charts, questions and answers, and nutrition information after each recipe.

In other areas, here’s the break-down of my go-to books–those I come back to again and again, but utilize for different desires and occasions:

(what i'm currently cooking with)

From left to right:

Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz: for do-it-yourself instructions on live culture foods, anything from kombucha to tempeh

Cradle of Flavor by James Oseland: one side of my family has Indonesia in its roots

Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health by Rosemary Gladstar: a great beginner’s book to practical herbalism, recipes for both internal and topical use

Food to Live By by Myra Goodman: Earthbound Farm’s seasonal cookbook (the farm has special meaning for me; they provided all the flowers for Eric’s and my wedding)

Babycakes by Erin McKenna: the dessert-laden vegan and (mostly) gluten-free cookbook from New York’s famous bakery; with the majority being labor-intense recipes, I save this book for special occasions

Canning and Preserving with Ashley English: simple and straightforward, celebrate summer in winter!

How it All Vegan & The Garden of Vegan by Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer: basic, easy-to-follow recipes

The Fannie Farmer Cookbook: a local library-sale find; because every once and again, I want to see how Grandma did things

Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero: I’m pretty sure I stole this from my mother-in-law. I think she knows by now that I’m not giving it back–this is my tried-and-true collection of recipes

The Candle Cafe Cookbook by Joy Pierson and Bart Portenza: recipes from one of New York’s vegan restaurants; lovely photos, wonderfully simple, yet elegant recipes

PS: What’s on your cookbook shelf and why?