The Basics: Cookbooks

We recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal on Alton Brown's top five favorite cookbooks. You remember Brown. He's the quirky chemistry geek on Good Eats and one of the commentators on Iron Chef. If you're one of the few non-Food Network junkies, you might recognize him from Welch's grape juice commercials.

When we started reading the article, we thought his list would be similar to ours. Wrong. We only had one favorite in common, The Joy of Cooking. But that's not the unusual part. We had only heard of one of the cookbooks from his list. How could this be? With our obsessive collecting of cookbooks, we thought we would've come across more than just one of his suggestions. So, what's on Alton's list?

1. The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer 2. The Frugal Gourmet by Jeff Smith 3. Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan 4. Outlaw Cook by John Thorne 5. Ratio by Michael Ruhlman

We weren't the only ones surprised by his list. The article received a number of comments wondering why his list didn't include other favorites like the one by Jacques Pepin or The Cake Bible. But, as one author so bluntly explained, "To each his own."

So, what are some of our favorite cookbooks?

1. The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer (not the 1997 "modern" version) 2. The Gourmet Cookbook by Ruth Reichl 3. Cooking Up a Storm by Marcelle Bienvenu and Judy Walker 4. Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck

We are always looking to expand our already enormous collection of cookbooks. Tell us your go-to favorites.

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Jane Catherine Collins