James Beard’s classic The Fireside Cook Book (Simon & Shuster, $30) is now available in a 60th- anniversary edition. It’s a classic for a reason: Beard’s recipes and explanations are simple without being patronizing.   It’s the perfect cookbook for someone who is new to cooking or who doesn’t want to be the next Top Chef but who wants to make good food.   The easy-to-follow recipes are accompanied by a series of variations, so you can tailor a recipe to suit your specific tastes or needs.  But perhaps the best part of this book is the quirky illustrations throughout.  The entire book has a light, almost whimsical feel. And, of course, the recipes are great.

The Fireside Cook Book: A Complete Guide to Fine Cooking for Beginner and Cover Image
By James Beard, Alice Provensen (Illustrator), Martin Provensen (Illustrator), Mark Bittman (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9781476743493
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - April 6th, 2013

Ina Garten’s new cookbook, Barefoot Contessa: Back To Basics (Clarkson Potter, $35), joins recent works by Jamie Oliver and Alice Waters that advocate a return to the essentials of cooking. Garten talks about the choice of ingredients, instructs in techniques for food preparation, and presents a hundred new recipes. For experienced cooks, this is a master class with a great chef. For new cooks it’s an invaluable resource for developing and improving their skills. It also provides an inimitable look into Garten’s thinking about food preparation and the choices a good cook makes when setting out to prepare a meal.

Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics: Fabulous Flavor from Simple Ingredients: A Cookbook Cover Image
ISBN: 9781400054350
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Clarkson Potter - October 28th, 2008

Master Chef Joel Robuchon has distilled decades of culinary experience into a single volume, The Complete Robuchon (Knopf, $35).  A hefty book (more than 800 pages), it starts with the basics: a glossary of terms, essential equipment, methods of cooking, and recipes for stocks and sauces.  The recipes that follow emphasize freshness and quality of ingredients while Robuchon’s descriptions clearly and precisely detail the process.  Classics such as Beef Bourguignon, Cassoulet, and Sole Meuniere retain all their rustic charm and simplicity while the author has clearly kept the American home kitchen very much in mind.  There are a wide variety of salads, vegetable dishes, soups, and desserts.  What you won’t find here are pages of glossy photos of happy country people, romantic landscapes, and the author grinning while sniffing an eggplant.  This is a book that promises to collect sauce splatters, butter stains, and dog-eared corners, a practical book for serious cooks.

The Complete Robuchon: French Home Cooking for the Way We Live Now with More than 800 Recipes: A Cookbook Cover Image
By Joel Robuchon, Robin H. R. Bellinger (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780307267191
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf - November 4th, 2008