My Favorite Cookbooks

Labor Day weekend is upon us and I will be competing in a three-day agility dog trial with my super duper agility dog Blue. I confess, I do have other hobbies besides obsessing over what next to cook in my skillet.

Here’s a picture of Blue doing his thing.

Super Duper Agility Dog

That said, I won’t be able to post my Coming Soon! Tips on How to Season Your Dutch Oven as I had planned. My apologies for the delay, but it will get posted soon. Here, in its place, are some literary foods for thought.

My favorite cookbooks are like old friends. I visit them often and they always invoke fond memories.

I imagine that everyone has a few go-to cookbooks that they use on a regular basis. Some recipes become so familiar and are used so often that they almost seem like our own.

Following are a few cookbooks that I treasure.

Cast Iron Cooking: 50 Gourmet Quality Dishes from Entrees to Desserts by Dwayne Ridgaway.

Cast Iron Cooking: 50 Gourmet Quality Dishes from Entrees to Desserts

This is one of my favorite cast iron cookbooks on the market. It has a great variety of dishes – ranging from skillet scampi (pictured on cover) to Moroccan cuisine. Beautiful photos, easy to follow recipes and delightful food. And a killer pizza dough recipe.

Glycemic Index Cookbook

Glycemic Index Cookbook

My husband is diabetic so we try to stay on a low glycemic diet. I found this cookbook at the bookstore and LOVE the recipes. They are flavorful, low-calorie, and include dishes for breakfast, appetizers, salads, entrees, and desserts. For the diabetic or health conscious, this cookbook is a keeper. And it is spiral-bound which makes it very easy to keep open. (It’s the little things in life that make me happy.)

Cooking the Cowboy Way: Recipes Inspired by Campfires, Chuck Wagons, and Ranch Kitchens by Grady Spears and June Naylor

Cooking the Cowboy Way

I must confess, I probably spend more time thumbing through the pages of this book than I do actually cooking the recipes (although I have cooked a few). This book is beautiful! It features ranches and their family recipes from across North America (Alberta to Florida). Each section features a specific ranch and several recipes from each, including descriptive intros, luxurious photos of ranch life and its food. I just want to jump into some of these pages, saddle up a horse and herd some cattle, snuggle down under the stars next to a campfire, and light up some coals under my old Dutch oven.

Dutch Oven Cookbooks – Lodge’s Camp Dutch Oven Cooking 101, The Beginner’s Guide to Dutch Oven Cooking by Marla Rawling, and Dutch Oven Secrets by Lynn Hopkins

Dutch Oven Cookbooks

These three are my favorites. They get used more than any other cookbook that I own. Their pages are dog-eared, smeared with all sorts of stains (cherries to BBQ sauce), and they smell like charcoal. And they feature some great Dutch oven recipes for all experience levels, including guidance on how many coals to use, oven sizes, and how to feed large crowds. My trifecta.

Classic Cooking with Coca-Cola by Elizabeth Candler Graham (great-great-granddaughter of Asa Griggs Candler, founder of Coca-Cola) and Ralph Roberts

Classic Cooking with Coca-Cola

Years ago a friend gave this to me when I was going through my Coca-Cola memorabilia collector phase. I got rid of most of my collection, but this cookbook stayed. Cooking with soda pop – awesome! All sorts of fantastic recipes are included – great desserts and my absolute favorite seafood fettucine recipe – that’s right, seafood fettucine with Coke. It’s fu-sizzle.

Betty Crocker’s Dinner for Two

Betty Crocker’s Dinner for Two

When I got my first apartment at the tender age of 22 (post college), my mom gave me this cookbook. I consider it my cooking instructor. In college, I was very adept at ordering pizza, cooking Top Ramen and mac and cheese, and making sandwiches, but that was the extent of my repertoire. This book provided simple, tasty, inexpensive (a key ingredient for a poor college graduate) recipes that helped me learn to cook for myself. I still use its meatloaf and scalloped potatoes recipe (one of my hubby’s favorites). I love its spice bread and paella recipes…and so much more. I’ll be cooking out of this book when I’m 80. Thanks Mom.

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