Cookbooks... probably one of my favorite types of literature. I've been known to buy a new cookbook and read it from cover to cover like any other book. I've got enough cookbooks to take up at least 1.5 bookshelves on a book case, and I'm slowly adding to my collection. Here's a condensed list of some of my favorites
Cookbooks I consider "required" for any kitchen, good for basic references:
Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook
If you're not lucky enough to own the original 1968 ring-bound edition, the newest edition is still worth getting!
Betty Crocker's Cookbook
Again, get the old one if you can, otherwise I'm sure the new one is good too... lots of basic recipes and helpful hints.
Cookbooks I use all the time:
300 Comfort Food Recipes
Recommended to me by a co-worker, and I've found some very nice recpies in here. Apparently she's releasing a new edition in August, 500 Comfort Food Recipes. I've already ordered a copy!
Outstanding authentic Mexican food, and none of the recipes have tons of ingredients or are very complex. Lots of things that are easy to shop for and make on a weeknight (a big plus for me!)
Cookbooks that I think are beautiful and entertaining to read (and occasionally cook out of):
Mexico One Plate at a Time
Great recipes, a tad more involved than I'd choose to cook on a weeknight, primarily weekend cooking.
Fiesta at Rick's: Fabulous Food for Great Times with Friends
Again great recipes, but more involved... probably more appropriate for special occasions or weekends.
Jamie at Home: Cook Your Way to the Good Life
An absolutely beautiful read, gorgeous pictures, great inventive recipes, and the book is broken up into sections by what ingredients are in season... and each section also has a blurb with tips about growing the ingredients in question in your own garden/pots.
The New Moosewood Cookbook
A great vegetarian cookbook with superb recipes that make you not miss the meat... hand-illustrated and hand-lettered, beautiful to look at as well.
The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest
The companion to The Moosewood Cookbook, also hand-illustrated and hand-lettered.
I admit I'm also a bit of a Top Chef fangirl, so I own Top Chef the Cookbook, Top Chef: The Quickfire Cookbook, and How to Cook Like a Top Chef. The photos are gorgeous, the recipes make me drool, and they also contain helpful hints and behind-the-scenes info on the show. :)
I also have found that a lot of my favorite go-to cookbooks are rather unconventional... a free Jello cookbook pamphlet, a small paperback cookbook of nothing but curries... and don't ever overlook fundraiser cookbooks! I have one that my high school marching band sold as a fundraiser and one that my grandmother's church sold as a fundraiser, and I use them all the time... They're sure to be filled with tried and true family recipes!
Also keep an eye out for vendors at farmer's markets, county fairs, and local farms who sell their own cookbooks. These people know what they're doing! I have an asparagus and rhubarb cookbook from Pendleton's Country Market that's awesome!
What are some of your favorite cookbooks?