Skip Navigation
foodie finds header foodie finds header mobile header foodie finds mobile header foodie finds

Favorite cookbooks bring joy

I have a collection of cookbooks I rarely refer to anymore, but still love. They’re like old friends I can’t quite bear to part with and are usually filled with memories along with the recipes. I'm sharing some of my favorites with you.

Teaching Cookbooks

mastering the art of French cookingFirst up is a classic, The Joy of Cooking by Rombauer and Becker. This book was my first cooking teacher. I can’t say I have any favorite recipes in it, but I certainly relied on it when I first started cooking. Julia Child wrote my other teaching cookbooks The Way to Cook and the two volume Mastering the Art of French Cooking. All three Julia Child books are some of the best cookbooks out there. She was the first superstar chef and made French cuisine accessible to the masses.

The Silver Palate CookbookThe Silver Palate Cook Book was one where I could always find a great recipe. This book was published in the '80s written by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins who owned a celebrated gourmet food shop in Manhattan. I hosted several dinner parties back in that era using that book! Another cookbook from that same era that I love is Beyond Parsley presented by the Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri, published in 1984. A tried-and-true recipe I still use to this day is the Cheddar Carousel. It’s basically a cheese ring with cheddar cheese, garlic, onion, hot sauce and mayonnaise and pecans, then the center of the ring is filled with strawberry preserves. A true 1980’s recipe! Served with crackers, it’s still a favorite at the cookie party I co-host in December.

Topeka Cooks

Cooks of the Week pageI’m including America’s Best-Loved Community Recipes by Better Homes and Gardens because it’s the only book where I have a recipe that was published, if you don’t count those great Cooks of the Week cookbooks that were published by the Topeka Capital Journal. Never mind, I AM going to count them and you can even find them at the library. I’m in volume 3, recipes from paper through June 6, 1985 - May 29, 1986 (pictured). Back to the Better Homes and Garden book – the book is a collection of recipes that the Better Homes and Garden test kitchen gathered from community cookbooks, tested for quality and flavor and published in 1994. They chose my recipe for Snow Eggs that I had given to the Everywoman’s Resource Center Dinner by Design cookbook. ERC is now known as ChildCare Aware of Eastern Kansas. It’s been a very long time since I’ve made those Snow Eggs. It’s a recipe I acquired in France.

China InnSometimes those little cookbooks that are collections of recipes are the best. I recently found a cookbook that had been gathered by the grade school where my girls were attending. I passed it on to them to treasure. I really like this little book of recipes from the China Inn, a once popular restaurant in Topeka. You can look at this China Inn cookbook in the library's Topeka Room and write down or take pictures of the recipes you want. Their recipe for Almond Chicken is so good and I still make their dinner rolls that use vanilla ice cream as an ingredient! The Yee family released this cookbook in 2008 and China Inn is part of my history. I ate their many times as a child with my family and even had my rehearsal dinner there. I still fondly remember their food, as do many Topekans.

Contemporary go-to recipes

Barefoot in ParisThese days, I do love a good Ina Garten recipe. I have two of her cookbooks, Barefoot Contessa Family Style and Barefoot in Paris. The library has lots of her other books and I will often check them out when I’m looking to be inspired. Last week, I made Blue Cheese and Walnut Crackers for an evening with a friend. She and I both agreed the recipe was a keeper! You can try it here:

Whew, it feels like I’ve barely scratched the surface of the cookbooks I own. I needed to practice the “keep it only if it brings you joy” Kondo method. But every one of these books I mentioned does bring me joy! They all get to stay!

Back to Top