The Good Cook (series)

by Time-Life Books, Richard Olney, Carol Cutler and Jeremiah Tower

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Original Publisher
Time Life
Date of publication

Recommended by

Laura Washburn Hutton

Food writer

It is hard to choose just one title from this series. I do not have the whole collection, but I have a bunch. They are fantastic books which curate recipes from all over the world, in English, on a single subject. The how-to photos at the front are so informative, not always pretty but they tell you what you need to know. A great great series, never really equalled since, in my opinion. Notable recipes from "Preserving": Watermelon Rind Spoonsweet, Piccalilli, Pickled Turnips, Wild Plum Ketchup.

Cat Black

Food writer

This book has no one author, but the chief consultant was Richard Olney, a brilliant food writer. This entire series is an indispensable collection of advice and tempting recipes on each subject. The first books I bought, I saved for each and went to Books for Cooks filled with anticipation at each purchase. Grains, Pasta & Pulses, Eggs, and Fish & Shellfish are also all favourites.

Rukmini Iyer

Food stylist and food writer

I would read the pastry book cover to cover as a child over breakfast and marvel at the step by step photographs & description of patisserie techniques, albeit nothing I made from the book came out very well. (Ephron lists the reasons why in her brilliant article about the food industry and the Time Life series.)

Sue Dyson and Roger McShane

Food writers

An immensely important series that clearly set out in pictures and words how to tackle even the most complex of recipes. Clear, precise, ell-written text with well-tested recipes. Still important fifty years after publication.

Jami Curl

Founder of QUIN – a small batch, handmade candy company headquartered in Portland, Oregon

Yes, an entire collection of books, but I really do not know anyone who loves food who did not read these like novels

John Martin Taylor

Culinary historian

Indispensable resources for both techniques and recipes.

Brandon Jew

Chef/owner, Mister Jiu; San Francisco, CA

Poultry, in particular.

Harry Lester

Cook and restaurateur

Eric Treuille

Cookbook seller

Matthew Fort

Food writer and critic

Cortney Burns

Co-chef, Bar Tartine

Jon Croft

Cookbook publisher

Rodney Dunn

Co-Founder of The Agrarian Kitchen

Barbara Ketcham Wheaton

Honorary curator of the culinary collection at the Schlesinger Library

Andrew Maxwell

MD and Principal, Tante Marie Culinary Academy

David Kinch

Chef and Proprietor