The TOP TEN: Recipe editor Tara Swartzendruber-Landis dishes about her favorite cookbooks

September 30, 2016
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Choosing a favorite cookbook, Swartzendruber-Landis says, is about as easy as choosing a favorite child: Impossible! But we twisted her arm and she gave us a list of cookbooks that have influenced the way she gardens, cooks and eats.
1.       A Taste of the Far East
by Madhur Jaffrey
(Arrow, 1997)
I fell in love with Southeast Asian food long before I ever went there. Jaffrey’s thorough research and wonderful photographs have helped me continue to want to know more about cooking in this part of the world.
2.       Japanese Farm Food 
by Nancy Singleton Hachisu     
(Andrews McMeel, 2012)
This is a wonderful book that brings seasonal Japanese cooking to life. The photography, simple recipes and stories make this book wonderful to flip through or cook from.
by Julia Child
(Knopf Doubleday, 2011)
This is obviously a classic, but as a cook I know that each recipe in the book has been so thoroughly tested that everything will turn out great each time. I love the hand-drawn illustrations as well.
by Deborah Madison     
(Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony, 2010)
This book is fantastic for anyone who has ever had a community-supported agriculture (CSA) subscription or a garden. When I can’t think of one more thing to do with Swiss chard, I can always turn to Madison for help.
by Nigel Slater
(Fourth Estate, 2009)
I love to garden almost as much as I like to cook, so I am always looking for cookbook writers who share these passions. The photography in this book is fantastic! The recipes also celebrate the things that we grow in our backyards and the ways that we can best utilize what we grow.
6.       Smoke and Pickles     
by Edward Lee
(Artisan Books, 2013)
This is a newer cookbook in my collection but I am thoroughly enjoying every recipe I have tried so far. Our family, along with Edible Michiana publisher Victoria Brenneman’s family, is working to cook through this book. Lee’s recipes are involved and often complex, but the flavors of North Asia and the Southern U.S. make for a fun and smart combination.
by James Barrett and Wendy Smith Born
(Rodale, 2003)
When I began to think about baking in a more serious way, I ate a lot of pastries and bread from this well-known Philadelphia bakery and then bought their cookbook. These great recipes take me back to eating at the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia. The black and white photography is spare and fresh.
8.       The White House Cookbook     
by Hugo Ziemann and F. L. Gillete     
(Random House Value, 1902)
I love old cookbooks! I like to think about the way cooks have used ingredients for hundreds of years. Seasonal eating is all the rage now, but 100 years ago it was done out of necessity. If you want to think about “new” ways to use currants or gooseberries, you can see all of the ways they would have been eaten and preserved many years ago. I also love the adventure of interpreting a recipe that has few measurements and no pictures; it feels novel at times just to focus on the text.
9.       When French Women Cook     
by Madeleine Kamman     
(Ten Speed Press, 2010)
I enjoy recipes and stories; I also love French food. This book is about the everyday cooking that we do in our kitchens as well as cooking for the people that we love.
10.     Canning for a New Generation     
by Liana Krissoff
(Abrams, 2011)
When I first thought about canning, I lived in a tiny un-air-conditioned row house with a galley kitchen. The thought of putting up bushels of pickles seemed completely insane, but when I found Krissoff’s book that celebrated small-batch canning I fell in love with the process of preserving each season as it happens.
Read more about Edible Michiana recipe editor Tara Swartzendruber-Landis here!
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