questionswhat cookbook would you be lost without (or think…

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I personally like Ina Garten, I have her book back to basics I think it would be great for you. The recipes are simple and delicious very easy to follow and not complicated at all. I have made quite a few dishes from the book and it has gone over well with my family and friends. Hope this helps!

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@missallergic123: looks like a good book for me. +1 for hardcover (they just feel better). overall great reviews (and the only 1star review was an animal rights activist, not a review of the book itself.) thanks for a great start @missallergic123!

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America Test Kitchen, everything turns out picture perfect. It gives you easy everyday recipes, they recommend the best brands to shop for and the equipment that works best as well. I love it.

http://www.amazon.com/Americas-Kitchen-Cookbook-Heavy-Duty-Revised/dp/193361501X

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As a novice cook, the Better Homes & Gardens red checkered loose leaf cookbook was the easiest for me to learn basic cooking skills. Pictures! Lots of good pictures of what a diced/julienned/shredded whatever should look like. Photographs of different cuts of meat helped me learn the difference by sight. Different regions of the country sometimes have different names for cuts of meat.
The Joy of Cooking was my other go-to. I have 3 volumes with the earliest dating from the early 30's. That one includes a recipe for groundhog.

My newest addition was one of Alton Brown's Good Eats cookbook. Not quite sure it's an easy read when you just want a recipe but he does gangbusters at breaking down the science behind cooking. It's kind of like a cooking comic book. BANG! POW! SHAZAM!

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I use the Joy of Cooking a lot. I am looking for some new books, as well. I got the Gourmet cookbook for Christmas but it didn't really seem to be what I was looking for. One that is packed in a box right now, and I miss, is the Monday to Friday Cookbook. The basic Good Housekeeping and Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks are nice to have around. On television, I enjoy Jacques Pepin Fast Food My Way, America's Test Kitchen, and Everyday Food and will probably look for their books/magazines at the library to see which ones I need to buy.

I am also looking for a pressure cooker cookbook. I have heard good things about Lorna Sass.

cf cf
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I have been doing a lot of reading up on pressure cookers in anticipation of getting one, and the name that keeps coming up is Lorna Sass. I think that I will start with this one: http://www.amazon.com/Cooking-Under-Pressure-Anniversary-Edition/dp/0061707872/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347144858&sr=8-1&keywords=lorna+sass

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@cf: Ha, just saw your comment about Lorna Sass. I guess we're both reading the same reviews!