Wednesday, July 13, 2016

10 Cookbooks My Friends & Family Declare as Their Favorite!

If you ever come across the cookbook, In the Kitchen with Miss Piggy, be sure and buy it. It’s a gem. While it is full of fabulous recipes from celebrities and friends of Miss Piggy I love this cookbook for one simple reason: it makes me laugh! Nearly every page exudes with Miss Piggy’s charm, wit, sarcasm, and commentary that are good, if not better, than the recipes from her famous friends.

Of course, Kermit the frog, is given the honor of the book’s dedication: “To Kermit, who has always been the hottest dish in Moi’s life.” The 128-page book has full-color photos throughout of the dishes, the stars, and the flamboyant Miss Piggy. One of the best recipes comes at the end by a famous journalist and humorist Calvin Trillin: "Scrambled Eggs That Stick to the Pan Every Time."


Over the years cookbooks have filled up my bookcases coming to my aid many times and providing me with hours of entertainment. I narrowed down my collection a few years ago, keeping only my favorites and Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook which my Mom gave me decades ago. Out of curiosity I asked a few friends and family what was their favorite cookbook. Their answers surprised me! I think you'll enjoy finding out, as I did, which ones they like and why. 

Classic Home Cooking (Good Housekeeping) is Julie Johnston's (wife and mother of two little ones) pick of the best cookbook around. “It is all comfort food dishes that are distinctly American (like chicken and dumplings) and it gives a brief history of each dish.”

Anna Cave’s #1 choice for best cookbook is any title by Ree Drummond, famous for The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier. According to Anna “Ree has pics and stories about her family, plus the recipes are very down-home in nature, spelled out very clearly with tons of great pictures. I bought one at a Cracker Barrel, read it cover to cover (who does that with a cookbook?) and shared it with several people here at work. My daughter, Kinsey, then gave me another one for my birthday.”

Coming in #2 place for Anna is Trim Healthy Mama's Cookbook. “I have followed their eating plan for over a year and know it is right for me. They put out a new cookbook in the last year and I love it.”

Sharon Gutierrez absolutely LOVES Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook by Cheryl and Griffith Day. “I love it because I love to BAKE more than cook, and in their cookbook they have pictures of vintage kitchenware which I love too.” 

(Sidenote: Don't let the comical cover fool you! Inside the pages are filled with beautiful photographs, recipes used at the couples bakery in Georgia, and a peachy sweet endorsement from Paula Dean. I don't need another cookbook, but added it to my wish list anyway.) 

Wini Giunta has lived in Boston most of her life so it's not surprising to find her favorite cooking resource to be The Boston Cooking School Cook Book by Fannie Merritt Farmer. It's an oldie, originally published in 1896, but Wini's copy is a revised edition from 1944 that she bought at a yard sale for $2.50, which she views as a “steal and a real treasure.” Among the reasons why she favors this book over others is due to the complete uniqueness of the area and food, plus the cooking hints and weights and measures information provided inside the front or back covers.

Former home economics teacher, Linda Turner-Mackley, was quick to tell me her favorites and where she finds recipes these days. “I have several that were written by Home Ec. teachers years ago in the San Diego area. They date back to the 70's and are filled with recipes that they contributed. Other than that, I tear out recipes from magazines or Google them these days.”

Ginny Johnston selected Pine Cove Cookery as her favorite for a sentimental reason: included in the recipes are several by her sister (aka Julie Cave). Another reason she likes this cookbook is because "all the recipes are tried and tested and proven favorites" by current or former staff of Pine Cove, an awesome Christian camp in Tyler, Texas. There's a bit of whimsy among the pages as besides each contributor's name is their special camp name which often ties in to their responsibility (i.e. “Needles” the camp nurse, or “Suds” the dishwasher.)

Deanne Davis is partial to Peg Bracken cookbooks: The I Hate To Cook Book and The I Hate To Cook Almanac. “I just love Peg Bracken's style ... light, breezy, funny and the recipes in these books are easy, do-able, with ingredients you can easily acquire at your local market or already have on hand. She is vastly entertaining in her writing and her recipe for what she calls 'McClintock's Best' in The I Hate to Cook Almanac, appears in my book*... somewhat changed, but based on hers and entitled ‘Chicken-Tortilla's Casserole’ which is pretty much what it is. This particular dish has appeared at my house, my daughter's houses and a number of other places countless times.”

*A Tablespoonful of Love by Deanne is a mix of tasty-sounding recipes and home-spun stories we all can relate to and enjoy. You can find it on Amazon via this link: A Tablespoon of Love, A Tablespoon of Laughter.


Among my favorites are two you have probably never seen. Both are compilations and loaded with variety. 

The first one is Cooking From the Heart, a 224-page book of tested recipes by the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ Staff. I've a copy of the original 378-page 1971 version which has lost its cover, being held together by a rubber band, and bears food stains. Though falling apart I still hold on to it for the wonderful recipes, the best one being Harvest Apple Pie. 

The second one is Cooking Up a Cave Creation, a project my sister undertook and published one year for our annual family reunion. Though only 63 pages long its full of delicious recipes and is a heirloom that I'll never give up. It triggers many good memories every time I open its pages.

No extra copies exist today, but who knows, maybe I can convince my sister to do a 2nd edition . . . and make it available on Amazon for others to enjoy. If/when that happens I'll let you know.


Out of the ten cookbooks mentioned above the trend seems to be that most prefer those with recipes from a variety of cooks. Is that true for your favorite cookbook? Do let us know in the comment box below. Could be I'll add it to the list! 



  1. I'm honored to be included! I also have Cooking Up A Cave Creation and have tried several recipes that I have used over and over again. Those Cave girls can cook!

    1. My sis is definitely the better cook in the family, but I do make a mean taco soup. Thanks for telling me about the Day's cookbook. It looks great.

  2. I use my Cooking up a Cave Creation cookbook all the time, too! Can't beat family recipes, no matter how many pictures there are in the fancy books!!!

    1. Maybe our next edition can include a few photos . . . and some new recipes from those two girls of yours in Texas. Thanks bunches for your part my latest post. Fun having you participate.

  3. Julie! What a great idea this was and thank you so much! We enjoyed Chicken-Tortilla casserole at daughter, Patti's, house this past Sunday night to celebrate grandson, Luke's, 19th birthday. That stuff is just delicious! Good cooking and a Tablespoon of Love to everyone who participated.


Always happy to hear from anyone who stops by my blog.