We’re officially in the season of good food, comfort meals, and celebratory cooking & baking, with the holiday season just around the corner! Personally, it’s my favorite time-of-year for consuming, making, and sharing food. It’s no secret, our kitchen is my happy place in our home, and I’ve been enjoying spending even more time in there than usual. Of course I have my tried & true go-to recipes and a Pinterest board filled with delectable ones to try, but I still turn to cookbooks for the best inspiration in the kitchen. I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorites with you today. Whether you love cooking & baking, are searching for easy gift ideas, or want to style some functional cookbooks into your own kitchen… I hope these will give you some ideas! Click through to see which cookbooks I own and love.
During art school, I was awarded a scholarship that included a grant… while the other scholarship winners were out spending their money on paints, new rulers, and design supplies for their thesis- I marched straight to the bookstore. Why, and what does this have to do with cookbooks? My design school gallery thesis was an installation on cooking, baking, and heirloom family recipes rooted in tradition, emotion, and flavor. It’s something I’m still very passionate about! I designed pantry staple packaging, seeds and gardening infographics on growing and making your own food, and my most coveted piece- a giant heirloom cookbook filled with mine and Emmett’s family recipes. From great grandparents and aunts & uncles to cousins and siblings… the book contains hundreds of our family’s best food that has been made time and time again. It also includes history, tidbits, and info on who created the recipe, how and where it was often made, and how the food was enjoyed. It was a true passion project for me in college and it’s still a special book we often reference. Needless to say, I’ve always been a person who loves cookbooks (you will always see one displayed on my countertop), spending time in the kitchen, and sharing meals with loved ones.
My friend Laurie Anne and her husband just left after a five day visit, and she said something that made me think… “I love how you and Emmett spend time cooking and appreciate sharing good food.” I would consider Emmett & myself foodies, but her statement felt accurate- with an emphasis on sharing. When people come into our home, I enjoy showing them my appreciation, gratitude, and love by being cooking for them. The common cliché “homemade with love” phrase rings pretty true in our household. Sharing meals, making memories around the table, and consuming great food is basically my love language. Even if it’s just Emmett & myself at home, we still make dinner together and thank whoever cooked. It’s special! I think I enjoy spending so much time in our kitchen because I can be creative in a different way, feed my favorite people, and enjoy food. Food just has a way of bringing people together!
Personally, I enjoy baking more than cooking. I’m always the designated dessert maker for friend & family functions, but I enjoy having lots of cookbooks to reference, that contain great recipes of all sorts! You’ll find a good mix in my tried & true roundup below. It’s fun to mix up your regular routine and try something new! Who knows… maybe you’ll discover a new recipe to add to your regular rotation.
Click directly on my cookbooks in the collage to be redirected to the source- or use the numbered links below to shop…
01: genius recipes // 02: appetizers // 03: the sprouted kitchen // 04: the cook’s atelier // 05: mast brothers chocolate // 06: cook beautiful // 07: the full plate // 08: dining in // 09: genius desserts // 10: the best make ahead recipes // 11: momofuku milk bar // 12: simple // 13: sunny side up // 14: le picnic // 15: dumplings and noodles // 16: the art of french baking // 17: modern comfort food // 18: sweet // 19: dinner // 20: sunday suppers // 21: nothing fancy // 22: one pot // 23: magnolia table // 24: let’s do dinner
There are SO many incredible cookbooks packed into this roundup (I told you I own a LOT), therefore it’s difficult to narrow down my favorites. It depends on what you’re in the mood for! Ayesha Curry’s new cookbook (#7) came out last month, and it’s wonderful. I had the privilege of meeting her and dining at her restaurant in San Francisco, International Smoke, on a work trip last year. She is so talented and the food was amazing. I’m looking forward to trying more of her recipes from her latest cookbook. I adore all of my French baking books, and there are plenty of others that come in handy for small dinner parties, hosting, and entertaining. I’m always looking for appetizer ideas or food I can make in advance! Cook Beautiful by Athena Calderone (#6) is another favorite we use often. I’m a big fan of eating seasonal flavors, so there are certain go-to recipes Emmett and I make at varying times of the year.
I would be a happy lady if I could bake something every single day, but it takes quite a bit of time and I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t be consuming THAT many calories. Ha! I save baking for special occasions or as a way to de-stress in the kitchen. I often share treats with neighbors, friends, and anyone else who would like a bite of something sweet. It’s a fun way to surprise people!
When it comes to styling cookbooks in the kitchen, my preference is to leave them out for easy access. In our current kitchen, I even designed a designated spot for my cookbooks to live (pictured below). In our previous kitchen, I just stacked them in the corner on the countertop. I like the texture they add, and it’s a good reminder to try new recipes…. kind of like clothing in your closet- if you can’t see something, you probably won’t wear it. Having a visual reminder that you have recipe and dinner options is always good!
While I love using cookbooks in my own kitchen, they also make a wonderful gift for new homeowners, newlyweds, the host or hostess, someone who has just finished a kitchen renovation, or creative friends & family who are passionate about cooking & baking. I like to pair a tea towel or utensil set with a cookbook for an awesome, fast gift. I’ve also been gifted many cookbooks over the years, and I can tell you exactly who gifted me what book. It makes me think of that person each time I use it, which puts a smile on my face!
Last month I shared my favorite interior design books, if you’re looking for inspiration on that topic! This has truly been a year of books and reading for me… getting back to my roots has felt really good. I’ve been reading two books per month and have been flipping through pages for inspiration more than I have in the past. While I love connecting online and searching the web for recipes, inspiration, and information- it has been really nice to appreciate physical copies, meaningful moments, and to unplug and find creativity in new (old) ways. Do you use cookbooks? I guess I should probably ask if you enjoy cooking or baking, first? If so- where do you find your best recipes? Has anyone else been spending more time than usual in the kitchen? Who else agrees that this is the best season for delicious food?