Today's theme for Back to School Book Week is cookbooks. Ah, cookbooks. Among my truest loves, I will readily admit to having an enormous stack of them. Some are more for occasional reference, certainly, but there are a few that I use almost daily. To the point that they are splattered with food stains and can practically open themselves to the right pages. Here are my favorites:
Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros is a new acquisition in my kitchen. I'm pretty sure that I've mentioned it here once or twice before, but it is worth mentioning again. It's a beautiful cookbook full of unique and wonderful recipes. Some are simple, others more complicated, but all of them perfect for everyday family comfort food. I especially love the spinach and ricotta cannelloni with homemade crepes. It is indescribably good.
I will admit to having tried to resist the pull of Alice Waters for quite a long time. I'm a Bay Area girl, after all, and if you are from that part of California, you may well understand how polarizing a force she has been when it comes to local food politics. But let's face it. The woman is a culinary genius, and this book is amazingly well done. Since it came into our lives we are making almost all of our own pasta and have mastered the art of absolutely perfect cupcakes.
Oh, Mark Bittman. What is there even to say? If you own only one cookbook, this should be it. He says "How to Cook Everything" and he means it.