Head of Fantastic Food at Abel & Cole
This is the first cookbook I ever owned. My mother gave it to me and her mother gave her a much earlier version upon leaving home, too. Recipes from this wonderfully retro book have fed me throughout my entire life. I used this book to make my first loaf of bread, my first quiche, my first batch of chocolate chip cookies (I've yet to find a better recipe!). I used to think Betty Crocker was a real person. My fantasy of this perfect American, 1950s domestic goddess was shattered when I discovered that Betty Crocker is in fact, a very clever brand name for a very big American food corporation. That however, has not lessened my love for this book, which is a hard-cover binder with inside pockets (where I store my mother's handwritten recipes). What I love about this book is that is gives you all the basics, and more. If you're making a cake and discover you're out of baking powder, this book will tell you how to substitute it. Baking bread that won't rise? This book will tell you why. I own hundreds of cookbooks and this one by far, is the most practical and helpful book I own. It lives on top of my fridge and is the first book I consult for the basics.