Thursday, October 15, 2009

VeganMoFo 15: My Favorite Cookbooks!

You know those questions like "if you were going to be stranded on an island, and you could only bring 5 cookbooks, which cookbooks would you bring?" Well, here's my attempt to answer this pressing concern.

I have a LOT of cookbooks. I really like cookbooks, and I pretty much never make up recipes from scratch. I'm really good at following recipes and getting good results, but somehow I'm just not very good at making recipes myself. My infrequent attempts at recipe-creation are usually just unsuccessful enough that I go back to the books.

First off, these are my two primary reference books. I have found some lovely dishes from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, but most of all I use it as a quick reference - how long to bake a potato and at what temperature, a quick way to prepare turnips, flavor pairings with beets, and so on... I especially love the section that's devoted to vegetables in alphabetical order. Also the Joy of Cooking. Back when I worked at Yahoo!, I won this JoC in a department baking contest. Hoorah! At the time, I didn't realize what a great prize this was. I use the JoC to refer back to the traditional way "things should be done" - like biscuits and pies and how to use a frosting tip. I also use the JoC for measurement conversions, classic recipes to veganize, and I am most grateful for the two amazing vegan cake recipes in this edition: vegan orange cake and vegan chocolate cake. They are totally reliable, easy, and delicious cakes.

Next up, Dreena's last two books. Dreena writes a lot of healthy and tasty recipes, but I will admit that there is really only one reason these books made the cut today: COOKIES. Dreena's cookie recipes RULE THE WORLD. They are always great, don't use margarine, make moderately-sized batches, have perfect texture, and are super freaky yummy. For cookie recipes alone, Dreena's books are very special to me.

These are probably my Top Five: Fresh Food Fast, Vegan with a Vengeance, Voluptuous Vegan, Healthy Hedonist, and Real Food Daily. (*) I love love love these books. They are my official "take to the island with me" picks. (Oh shoot, I forgot about Vegan Brunch. Hmm... I think Vegan Brunch is the winner. I really, really love Vegan Brunch. Maybe I can talk the Island Officials into letting me bring 6 books.) When I am looking for something delicious, flavorful, healthy, and interesting, these are the books I've turned to time and time again. I know I've made a recipe or two from each that I didn't really care for, but by and large, I've found these books to have a really low Dud : Success ratio.

(* If you click on the title of each book, you can see the times I've featured recipes from these books on my blog... The lists aren't complete, but I've been going back retroactively and adding labels to my posts, especially since blogger search quality has really gone downhill recently)

Last but not least, I love these little cookzines of mine. For the last 9 years, I've made a holiday cookbooklet for friends and family, full of the favorite recipes that I discovered that year. They are a great resource for tried-and-true recipes and old favorites. Most of the time, I like to make something I haven't made before... just for the adventure and excitement of it all. But sometimes life calls for an old favorite, and that's when I reach for my little ol' cookbooklets.

I don't want to leave you foodless, so here's last night's Giant Salad for dinner... Yes, there's lettuce under there somewhere.

...served with a side of toast, steamed green beans (super good!), and corn with the Spicy Miso Dressing from Vegan Soul Kitchen. A super yummy dinner!


  1. I am a HUGE cookbook fan! The other day I counted somewhere around 80 in my collection, although that just seems impossible and I think I'll recount! I need to update the cookbook list on my blog; it doesn't cover them all.

  2. oh, i really want my own copy of joy of cooking, i keep trying to steal my mom's.

    nice roundup, missy.

  3. I love all of these! Joy of Cooking is so useful to have around, and Healthy Hedonist has become a long-time favorite.

    I've found cookzines so useful for traveling, since you can't always lug around a book but a zine weighs nothing and packs a punch.

  4. I love cookbooks! The food looks great by the way!
    Debra @ Vegan Family Style

  5. I only own a few cookbooks, but one is a Deborah Madison one and I love it! Her food is so so gorgeous.

  6. My cookbook collection is growing slowly, there are just so many I would love to own and take to the island!

  7. Not Veganomicon with it's amazing tofu-cashew ricotta for lasagnas?

  8. I love this idea, I might have to snag it and do a cookbook post of my own! SO glad you included Vegan Brunch, I love that cookbook so much, in fact, I just made the tofu omelets for breakfast. Aren't those delicious?

    That corn on the cob looks GREAT!

  9. Dark colored leafy veggies are known to have a wide range of nutrients. Eating such food is good for digestion and brings out all essential nutrients our body requires.
    The Right Place. The Right Time

  10. I love the idea of making little zines for friends and family!

  11. I see a lot of my favorite books here too! I'm like you in that I am really good at picking out great recipes and making them turn out, but creating my own is usually a little more challenging. Either way, it's fun to have so many recipes to choose from.

  12. I like the rainbow of little cookbooks. I was lucky enough for you to send me one a few years ago, and I can attest that it is a dandy reference! Great round-up.

  13. I've said it before, but I feel so privileged to have your cookzines- and they are some of my most frequent go-to cookbooks as well!


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