Cookbook Recommendations

Are you missing a good cookbook? I rummaged through my collection the other day and realized… I need to go book shopping!

Below are a few of my cookbooks that I truly adore, in case you find that your collection needs added to as well.

For a cute little slideshow summary, please watch this video.

Let’s dig in…

Sunflower Sampler is a collection of recipes put together by The Kansas Junior League in the mid-late 1970s. My copy is the third printing from 1977. I was fortunate enough to find this gem at a garage sale down the way; but I could have just as easily borrowed it from my mother.

This book is what the beautiful men and women in your humble Midwestern church would refer to for potluck Sundays. It is full of comfort food, and all of the dishes. One of my favorite recipes is Mexican Casserole, under “Poultry”, on page 144. It helpfully notes, “Men love it!” I’m sure they do.

Williams-Sonoma, Pasta I have never made homemade pasta, but my Italian father sure has. He gifted me this book one year, and I promise one day I will use it.

Pasta is a book that shows you techniques to make any kind of pasta you can imagine… whether it is linguine, spaghetti, gnocchi, ravioli, dumplings, or soba noodles. It is a complete guide to get your noodle-groove on. One of the recipes that looks promising is a traditional Spaghetti Carbonara, under “Dried Pasta”, page 102. Pancetta, eggs, spaghetti, pecorino romano – what’s not to like?

From Crook to Cook, Snoop Dogg Buy this for your friends. I promise you they need it. I can’t say that there is anything brilliant here, other than the fact that it is a cookbook from Snoop Dogg… and I feel like that is brilliant for what it is.

It is visually interesting – plenty of color and nostalgic 1990’s gangster calligraphy. From sections on his favorite munchies, to a recipe for OG Chicken & Waffles – this cookbook truly makes the world a better place.

Your Shirt is NOT an Oven Mitt! My mother tried her best to impart her cooking wisdom to me before I took my first run at college. I had zero interest in responsible things like feeding myself. I lived on cafeteria food, and that seemed good enough to me.

This book was her last hope (or so she thought…) It is full of very simple recipes, with very few words (which I appreciate). There is an entire section on how to use those cheap ramen packages for a variety of meal explorations. See page 60 for Ramen Salad – serves two, and is complete with broccoli slaw.

Italian Country Cooking, The Secrets of Cucina Povera Cucina Povera is Italian for “poor kitchen”, so this cookbook is all about country cooking from Italy. It includes plenty of bean recipes; and if you’re into tripe, osso buco, or beef cheek, you’ll find that here as well.

I am a huge fan of bite-y, spicy arugula, and Italian Country Cooking has a beautiful Arugula Salad with Pear and Pecorino (Insalata di rucola) on page 126. Try it. Let me know how much sparkly life it brings to you.

Food, Mary McCartney This book is a must-have for me. I bought it when I went down the vegetarian path last year. So many vegetarian books looked so… punishing. This was far from that.

Food is home in a book. It has real food. It doesn’t ask you to do a juice cleanse. But it does have a banging recipe for French toast on page 20. You will not be disappointed.

The Ultimate Italian Cookbook You will weep at the beauty of this book. It is heavy, rich, and makes you want to crawl inside. There are over 200 recipes. You don’t have to cook any of them. Just reading the pages and seeing the photos will make you remember your connection to life. I promise.

This book came wrapped with the Williams-Sonoma Pasta book. The Ultimate Italian Cookbook is so fabulous. Simply displaying it in your kitchen will spice up the atmosphere. Please see the recipe for Stuffed Onions, and let me know how it goes… I’m so curious.

A Cooking Affaire, III If you didn’t get enough Midwestern potluck food, please see this book for much more! The Cooking Affaire volumes were put together by two friendly women, who gathered recipes from even more friends to piece together these books.

“A Cooking Affaire” has a wide variety of foods, and is very “home cooked”. Under the Sweet Temptations section on page 105, there are three recipes that are begging to be tried: Judy’s Peaches and Cream, Luscious Lemon Dessert, and Chilled Cherry Dessert. Don’t you want to invite some people over for dessert and coffee now?

The Big 15 Paleo Cookbook Just like I experimented with vegetarianism, I also experimented with the paleo diet. I really have no agenda other than fulfilling my wildly curious foodie desires…

Like the vegetarian cookbooks, paleo cookbooks have a way to make you hate yourself. This is one of the only paleo books I found that did just the opposite of that. It is simple, keeps my attention, and is not pretentious. Highly recommend. There is a great fish stew recipe inspired by her grandfather on page 87.

A Cookbook, Matty Matheson I stumbled upon this book while shopping a few years ago, and it was holy serendipity. I did not know who Matty Matheson was before buying this book, and I’m still not sure what his complete list of accomplishments is (sorry Matty!), but it hardly matters. He is brilliant, a truly creative original, and is heartwarmingly passionate about food and where he comes from.

I read this book front to back, and I’m not much of a book reader. His soul is in this book, and you can’t help but to fall in love. If you’ve worked in kitchens before, Matty will feel like an old friend. Among his gourmet recipes, he also includes a full page for Mom’s Cheesy Things which will make any of us feel good.

The Sunset Cook Book This was another garage sale find for me. Dear Fran Holthaus, I have your cookbook, and I will keep it safe! This is from 1960. The art, ingredients, and recipes are exactly what you want from that era. You need this book for the shocking things that people used to eat not so long ago:

Ham and Tongue Aspic (Google it!), Avocado and Tomato Salad Mold (…?), Hassenpfeffer (ever see that Bugs Bunny episode?), Pheasant Salmi, Batter Fried Wild Goose… If you can get your hands on this book, buy a copy for you and your very best friend.

Thank you for taking an interest in my blog, xo


Wild blueberries forever.

Matty Matheson

I really have no agenda other than fulfilling my wildly curious foodie desires.

Published by Needs More Lemon

I have a great desire to bring the ordinary to life. I think life is at once more beautiful, and more simple, than we have been taught to believe.

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