Cookbook: 101 Classic Cookbooks

One of my activities this week has been reading 101 Classic Cookbooks, a present from my cousin for our wedding. It was a prescient present, given that I had asked for recipes from everyone but didn’t know that I would be so taken with blogging.

This book is very cool, because half of it is recipes, like a traditional cookbook, but the first half of the book is beautiful descriptions of the 101 cookbooks that the editors thought were most influential to the history of American cooking. It goes from hundreds of years ago right up to the most ultra-modern cuisine, and the reason I liked it was because it shows how the whole world has influenced American cooking. While it is a kind of cuisine in its own right, it can trace threads of influence from so many different groups of people who have immigrated, become Americans, and made their mark on our dining experience.

I’m excited to try more of the recipes they include because they’ve found 4 or 5 recipes from each book that are either indicative of the time or very delicious – there’s even a recipe for roasted possum, but I doubt that will be my choice to try! I’m excited to try their recipes for Spanish foods that I haven’t gotten a chance to attempt yet (I know I make a lackluster paella, so I need some help there).  It’s also fun to imagine a hundred or two hundred years ago, someone sharing a meal that I can still mostly recreate here and now, in the modern world.

Some of the folks who came to my wedding didn’t give me a single recipe but instead recommended cookbooks; while I’m not Julie of Julie and Julia, cooking a whole book worth of recipes, I’d sure like to know which cookbooks I can borrow from the library are standout good, like 101 Classic Cookbooks is. Any recommendations? I also love hearing if a cookbook has a special story for you – you know how it goes on this blog.




6 comments on “Cookbook: 101 Classic Cookbooks

  1. I love Nigel Slater’s recipes, and have been very taken by his life story, which was dramatized a year or two ago on BBC TV. One book I especially like is called “eat”, and is subtitled “the little book of fast food”. It is esp good for campervan cooks, because most of the recipes contain only 3 ingredients, and can be cooked in half an hour – but they are still wholesome and healthy. Nigel Slater ahs a lovely, gentle way of writing, and describes his recipes in such endearing adjectives as “earthy, frugal and filling” (that of his lentil Bolognese recipe) and “Sweet. Silky. Restoring” (referring to black bean and onion stew). How can you NOT want to cook such comforting food ….? He comes across as such a dear…


  2. I love reading cookbooks; sometimes I even make some of the recipes. The Kind Diet cookbook is one of my favorites, and Ina Garten’s How’s Easy Is That is my go to book for something that looks delicious and easy to make.
    I’ve ordered the 101 Classic from the library – thanks for the tip.


  3. acobriant82 says:

    I saw this post yesterday and enjoyed every bit of it! I decided to nominate you for the Blogger Recognition Award. To accept the award, follow the link for the rules. Thanks for such a fun reading experience!


  4. Linda says:

    This is the second blog today that mentioned a recipe for possum! Being from Georgia I am quite aware that they figured in the diet at one time, but the idea is to me a bit like eating rats…very,very occasionally I’ve seen a live possum, but usually they are on the roadside.
    But let’s move on. I used to laugh at people who read cookbooks, but I find them very interesting now. One I particularly like is True Grits, a Junior League of Atlanta book that my sister in law gave me when we moved away. There are some recipes in it I use a lot, but really I just like reading the essays from prominent voices of the time in between the recipes. What great descriptions of drinking ice tea on hot summer days, making fried chicken or slamming screen doors. Takes me home every time.


  5. Tilly Frueh says:

    There are so many great cookbooks out there that it is hard to limit a suggestion to just one. My collection of cookbooks is an ongoing labor of love and I love every one of them. I especially enjoy reading cookbooks, you know the ones that give a story behind every recipe. Those are the best.

    At the moment I am really enjoying all the cookbooks from America’s Test Kitchen. There are plenty of them out there and I have at least six so far. I was lucky enough to find a few at a library book sale for $1 each, while the others I’ve bought off Amazon for between $8 and $20. They can get pricey, so I usually wait for a sale or for a good used copy to become available.

    I also enjoy cookbooks by Mark Bittman. He has a series of books called How to Cook Everything. I own three of these and found two others at a garage sale for $1. Just love it when I can pick up an excellent cookbook for next to nothing.

    Look forward to reading more of your blog and trying some of your recipes.


  6. Jai Preston says:

    Hi there!

    I am writing to you to firstly say i am a big fan of your work. I think your posts are delicious!, thought-provoking and written in a very nice style. I came across some of your writing after you liked my blog. I looked through your posts, and have read a lot of your recipes. As a avid cook myself, my mouth waters as i flick through your first page.

    Anyhow, i have recently created a site in which i post material on all things about life. There is a blog section, as well as content on business, food & nutrition, fitness, philosophy, education, happiness. I want it to be an international hub of fascinating reads, material and resources. A global platform that delivers powerful information to readers, and one that anyone can benefit from. Videos, media and guest blogs from opinionated, interesting people. I also have plans to develop some sort of discussion function and a news feature. Think the Huffington Post, but better. A cleaner look, a more easier but equally-valuable content and focused almost exclusively on the readers. If you are an avid reader, i also have a book section, in which we discuss books, review them and dissect ideas past, present and future.

    I know, and you may or may not agree, that if everyone could read a little more, understand our purpose in life a little better and do what they genuinely love to do – the world would be a better place. And that is the mission of this site – To connect people and share knowledge for the benefit of the one family that lives under the skies.

    Back to the reason i am writing to you then, i would love you to contribute to my site in some way. And it can be any format you like, e.g., a weekly blog, book review, daily thoughts, short pieces, or anything that interests you. I think though food, maybe your preferred choice and it is one of the sections of the site i want to develop most. I worked as a chef for 2 years for Jamie Oliver and cook at home everyday – it is something i care deeply about.

    One book i’d recommend you check out if you haven’t already is The Zuni Cafe Cookbook. This book is probably the best cookery book I’ve read. Its worth buying just for the Introduction.

    If you take a look a the site ( link at bottom) and flick through the categories, you will see a range of content which i hope will give you an idea. Life, health and fitness is also one of my passions and it is going to be a big part of the future. It is currently one of, if not the biggest trend and is growing rapidly.

    To give you more of an idea, here are some of the most popular articles that best reflect the message i’m trying to convey: – Education if flawed, how can we change it?

    The site is currently not generating any profit, but as it gets bigger i will utilise ads that are specific to the customer, maybe even ask our readers to choose the ads.

    I look forward to your reply and hope you can become part of this special project i have planned.

    Thanks for your time,


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