Thursday, February 10, 2011

Favorite Cookbooks

Last night I had the pleasure of attending a dinner with the members of the Boston Chapter of the Propeller Club (yes, I am a shipping dork who loves talking shop with old salty sailors! what's it to ya?! ) at Dolce Vita Ristorante in the North End neighborhood of Boston.

The atmosphere, food and 80 year old accordion player who sang to me most of the evening transported me back to my childhood in my large Italian family. For a moment I was convinced I could have been at a Sunday Dinner or Christmas Day at my great aunt Vee's house with family running around everywhere! Simple delicious cuisine, large family style portions and everyone talking so loud you have to yell to the person next to you.  

While devouring enjoying my antipasto and pasta course I started to think of my favorite Italian dishes and then to my favorite cookbooks (have I mentioned my brain is a freight train of random thoughts, going from one topic to the next in milliseconds? no... well it does!)

So today I thought I would share with you all my favorite cookbooks.  Some you should be able to search out on your own, others are treasured family cookbooks that I cannot share for fear of a whack w/ a wooden spoon from Grama Q :)

King Arthur's Cook Book
This cookbook was instrumental and getting me to start cooking as a young girl.  I remember trying to make scones and soda bread on a Saturday when I was 10 years old and my mom was at work.  I can't say that they came out all that well. 

However, having such a clear cut breakdown with stories from professional and avid cooks really helps talk you down from the baking ledge.  This book as been my go-to source for info on my baking challenges this past winter.  The simple tips are priceless and the recipes are tasty!!!

Better Homes & Garden Wok cookbook
This cookbook was first published in 1985 and besides ebay, I am not so sure where you would pick up this gem!  I was lucky enough to have my mom pass this cookbook down to me (actually except for the family cookbook below, all of these cookbooks came from my mom!  Thanks mom!!!)

This simple cookbook takes the art of stir frying and breaks it down so that anyone can make a yummy Asian style dinner in no time at all!

The Best of Shaker Cooking
Ok, so again I am going for an old school cookbook.. What can I say, the recipes are just timeless.  Real ingredients like butter and red meat!

This cookbook was created by the "Shakers" in Hancock, MA.  They are very old school Americana but I must admit that with this long nasty winter we have been having it is the perfect mix of comfort food!

Recipes like cornbread, beef stew and breakfast scones are just what a girl needs to get through a month with almost 70inches of snowfall! (you read that right, MA has had almost 70 inches of snow in January alone!)

Quitadamo Family Cookbook

Oh where to begin with this cookbook?  Several years ago my aunts convinced my grandmother (gorgeous lady on the right) to write down all her favorite recipes to share with the family. 

The result was a 3 ring binder FILLED with the recipes of my childhood.  From breads to holiday Italian cookies to the coveted Sauce & Meatball recipe this binder had it all! 

I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have turned to this cookbook when in need of a quick dinner, a comforting meal to bring back my childhood.  This is also the cookbook I turned to when I decided to conquer Italian Christmas cookies on my own this past holiday season!  As with the other books

I have had ex-boyfriends try to snag a recipe here or there from this book, but honestly I am not even sure I would let my future husband (whoever the lucky man is) have a glimpse at this binder until at least our 5th anniversary!  These are treasured family secrets that I will hopefully pass along to my children and grandchildren someday.

Ok, so those are my favorite books (even though they are worn and weathered!).  What is your favorite recipe book or recipe site?