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Berenbaum, Rose Levy. The Cake Bible. William Morrow & Company. New York, 1988.

This rather intimidating book is nevertheless a great resource. I don't bake many cakes, but when I do, they come from this book. Just try not to turn too many shades of envious green when you look at the photographs, and remember that the woman does this for a living.

Cox, Beverly. 365 Great 20-Minute Recipes. HarperCollins. New York, 1995.

A life-saver of a book. I can't recommend it highly enough. Almost all of my "fall-back" recipes are from this book, the ones I can count on when I know I'll be getting home later than I want to, but still want to put something decent on the table.

Fields, Debbi. Mrs. Fields Cookie Book. Alexandria, VA: Time Life Books, 1992.

Mrs. Fields. Yum.

Garten, Ina. The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. New York: Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 1999.

Gorgeous book, one of those you buy more to look at than to cook from. If I were in the catering business I would rapidly gain 300 pounds making food like this.

Haughton, Natalie. 365 Easy One-Dish Meals. New York: Harper & Row, 1990.

My mom got me this book for my birthday when Dave and I had our first apartment together, so it has some meaning for me. I think it was a perfect gift, because I wound up with no preconceptions at all about what kind of things I could cook—it spans cuisines and budgets. And there usually isn't much washing-up to do afterward.

Heatter, Maida. Maida Heatter's Cookies. New York: Cader Books, 1997.

She's kind of obsessive about things like parchment paper, but she's also considered something of a baking goddess, and her historical anecdotes make the recipes more interesting.

Quick from Scratch Chicken and Other Birds. New York: Food & Wine Books, 1997.

You can never have too many chicken recipes, can you?

Quick from Scratch Fish & Shellfish. New York: Food & Wine Books, 1997.

Very useful for me, since I tend to be a bit tentative when it comes to cooking with seafood.

Rodgers, Rick. On Rice: 60 Fast and Easy Toppings That Make the Meal. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1997.

Indispensible. Many of these can be made in less than a half hour.

Rosso, Julee, and Sheila Lukins. The New Basics Cookbook. New York: Workman Publishing, 1989.

I've spent blissful hours fantasizing about the yuppie lifestyle this book represents. If you work or have a life outside of cooking, you may find many of these recipes a bit out there, requiring equipment or ingredients you would never use again, or which might be helpful the one and only time you throw a formal dinner party. Still, it's an education and a fun read; it opened my eyes to the possibilities inherent in food.

Rosso, Julee, and Sheila Lukins. The Silver Palate Cookbook. New York: Workman Publishing, 1982.

Everything that goes for The New Basics. Doubled.

Sahni, Julie. Introduction to Indian Cooking. Ten Speed Press: Berkeley, CA, 1998.

One of two books I own on Indian cuisine, this is a good, thorough introduction. The author thoughtfully provides equivalent ingredients where possible, for those who don't have access to some of the more esoteric items.

Schloss, Andrew, and Ken Bookman. Fifty Ways to Cook Most Everything. Simon & Schuster: New York,1992.

A priceless treasure whenever you're stuck for ideas. There really is no excuse for eating the same old thing all the time, not when there's such a dizzying number of ways to prepare even the most pedestrian ingredients.

Sedaker, Cheryl. 365 Ways to Cook Chicken. Harper & Row, New York, 1986.

We eat a lot of chicken in our household. If you're sick of the stuff, something in this book might well rejuvenate it for you.

Shaw, Diana. Almost Vegetarian Entertaining. New York: Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 1998.

One of the more adventurous items in my collection. She writes clearly and wonderfully about food. If you're iffy on red meat but not interested in giving up animals entirely, she's a good resource.

Simmons, Marie. Fresh & Fast. Shelburne, VT: Chapters Publishing Ltd., 1996.

A Christmas gift from Brian (I believe 1999), this is an excellent source for quick, light recipes and simple presentations.

Sloan, Bob. Dad's Own Cook Book. New York: Workman Publishing, 1993.

Another book I heartily recommend for novice cooks. It covers pretty much everything in a non-intimidating way.

Yan, Martin. Martin Yan's Feast. San Francisco: Bay Books, 1998.

Includes a totally scrumptious selection of recipes from a variety of cooking traditions, mostly taken from his show.

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Except where noted, all material on this site is © 1999 Rebecca J. Stevenson