What Are Your Favorite Cookbooks?

Favorite Cookbooks

Today on the podcast, we are interviewing Julia Turshen! This is, in my opinion a no-miss interview. We talk about food (so much food talk), her brand new cookbook, body image, a very cute Internet meet-cute with her wife Grace Bonney, her social justice work, and more. So today I wanted to share a few of my personal favorite cookbooks and more importantly, get YOUR favorites. I have all of Julia’s cookbooks but Simply Julia (her newest) is definitely my favorite… probably because of the emphasis on healthy comfort food (something I am trying to master), the lists, and the beautifully written personal essays that are interspersed between her recipes. Below are four cookbooks I’m loving right now but I’d love to hear your favorite cookbooks in the comments section!

A Few of My Favorite Cookbooks

I have a lotttttttt of cookbooks, so by no means is this list exhaustive – I also have a bunch more favorite cookbooks in this blog post. But here are a few in particular that I’ve really loved recently.

Simply Julia, by Julia Turshen

In this cookbook, Julia explores my absolute favorite thing: healthy comfort food. Things (like white pizza kale) that give a more nutritious and nourishing take on our favorite indulgent recipes. I also absolutely love all of the lists (there’s a great one on kitchen organization, + also some really helpful ideas for using both leftover egg whites and egg yolks) and personal essays (especially around body image). I am dying to make the lemon ricotta cupcakes next.

It’s All Good, by Gwyneth Paltrow

I am someone who tries to keep her things in meticulous condition but my copy of It’s All Good is such a mess. It’s dirty, there are pages folded down and some pages that have food stains on them… but I like to think of that as a sign of how well loved it is! I think I have made nearly every recipe in this book but I especially love the soups and both meatball recipes. It’s also worth noting that she collaborated with Julia Turshen on this one!

Eat What You Want, by Gaby Dalkin

I am sure you already know Gaby from her amazing blog but if not you will quickly become obsessed with her. I love her anti-deprivation attitude, balancing lighter recipes with more indulgent ones, and her mindset of just ENJOYING your food! And I highly recommend making the ham and cheese croissant bread).

Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat

This book is an essential for anyone looking to up their cooking game, I have learned so much from it!!!! I feel like it’s a classic, up there with The Joy of Cooking, etc. (The TV show is excellent too!) Nosrat takes us through the “four elements of good cooking…” salt – to enhance flavor, fat – to deliver flavor and texture, acid – to balance flavor, and heat – to determine texture. She balances the HOW and WHY of cooking, which will make you a better cook… with or without a recipe (and when it comes to recipes, this one is packed with great recipes!!!). I love the illustrations + infographics too.

Simply Julia, by Julia Turshen

Also is anyone as obsessed as I am with these sticky tab markers? My favorite. Becca calls it “making my cookbooks my own Lucky Magazine.” RIP Lucky, I miss that mag! But also, RIP folding down my cookbook pages.

best cookbook 2021

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  1. Thanks for the recommendations! I love cookbooks but I can never bring myself to buy one when I can get free recipes online! They do make very nice gifts though! ❤️✨

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    • grace at the stripe says 3.17.21

      i know, that makes it hard! I will say i get so much pleasure paging through a good cookbook and choosing recipes for later!

  2. Christina says 3.17.21

    I love my cookbooks! I have two of the Skinny Taste cookbooks, her original and the meal prep one, and I use them both all the time. I also love my Dinner A Love Story cookbook, Cravings by Chrissy Teigan, and Thug Kitchen.

  3. Katie Misencik says 3.17.21

    Like I need another reason for another cook book, but I’m here for it! True Comfort by Kristin Cavallri and Christy Teigan;s (BOTH OF THEM!) are fantastic!

  4. Meena says 3.17.21

    Love, love, love Half Baked Harvest!

  5. Brianna Rooney says 3.17.21

    Gotta get the dude diet cookbooks! Serena is the BEST! quality insta follow too (cooking, skincare, melissa wood health!)

    • grace at the stripe says 3.17.21

      okay literally everyone is suggesting this one. must check out!

      • rosemarie says 3.19.21

        Serena was a guest on Gee Thanks Just Bought It podcast and it is hysterical. She is a great, all around follow.

        • grace at the stripe says 3.20.21

          It’s funny, I have followed her a while but didn’t put two and two together with her cookbooks!

  6. Katie says 3.17.21

    I have a cookbook obsession and have to keep myself from going cookbook crazy lol. I love Antoni in the Kitchen, Nothing Fancy, and The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen. Some of the recipes are a little simple, but it’s perfect if you’re cooking for one or two people. I haven’t bought one of Christina Lane’s cookbooks yet, but I like the recipes on her site and her cookbooks are focused on desserts for two people, which is an awesome concept! I’ve been getting really into baking bread recently and just got New World Sourdough. I’ve only made one thing from it so far, but I’m planning to cook my way through it!

    • grace at the stripe says 3.17.21

      I love Antoni’s cookbook too! And I follow Bryan Ford on insta and am tempted by his cookbook.

  7. Valerie says 3.17.21

    I love myself a good cookbook! While the popular, Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child is the classic go-to when I’m feeling fancy, my most favorite is a was created for my great-grandmother by my family! They titles it Home Cooking and isn’t published for the world, but something about the classic recipes and anecdotes from each family member of grandma’s house bring so much comfort to me.

  8. Berkley says 3.17.21

    I am constantly reaching for Nothing Fancy by Alison Roman – I am not a good cook, and her recipes never miss for me!

  9. Janet says 3.17.21

    I love Mark Bittman’s Dinner for Everyone. The book is organized into groups of three recipes – one that’s easy, one that’s vegan, and one suitable for company. I tend to get overwhelmed deciding what to make so I decided to just go through the easy recipes in order, only skipping those with ingredients we didn’t like or couldn’t find.

  10. Zoe says 3.17.21

    Both of Chrissy Teigen’s cookbooks are obviously amazing! Also I know it’s not ~cool~ to like Fixer Upper anymore, but I think Joanna Gaines’ cookbook is really solid too! I’ve made several recipes in it and they’ve all turned out delicious. I also like the “One Pan, Two Plates” series by Carla Snyder. There is a regular cookbook and a vegetarian version and there are lots of unique, yummy meals in there as well as some traditional favorites. I’m a sucker for a good cookbook!

    • grace at the stripe says 3.17.21

      YESSSS I have both of her books too! must check out your other recs, thank you for the suggestions!

  11. Katie says 3.17.21

    This Will Make it Taste Good by Vivian/Chef and The Farmer!

  12. Ivana S. says 3.17.21

    Love Half Baked Harvest cookbooks and Instagram page! Also, Alison Roman – is AMAZING! She has two cookbooks and used to write for NYTCooking – she just started doing YouTube videos every Tuesday and she just keeps it REAL which I appreciate. Also agree with you on SALT, FAT, ACID, HEAT! 🙂

  13. Regina says 3.17.21

    I’m an Ina Garten fan. Her recipes are not too complicated but always get rave reviews. Her latest, Modern Comfort Food, is worth a look. I also enjoy Half Baked Harvest and her spin on recipes. Clearly I need to check out Julia Turshen.

    • grace at the stripe says 3.17.21

      I love Ina, but don’t have any of her cookbooks! Need to change that.

      • Cy says 3.18.21

        Me either, love her too!

  14. Nicole says 3.17.21

    I too have all of Julia’s cookbooks. She has this ability to make you feel like she’s there with you and you’re good foods pulling together dinner. I have over 100 cookbooks. Julia and Ina are usually some of the first I reach for when needing inspiration.

  15. Kelly says 3.17.21

    The Defined Dish is excellent, and has been my #1 go to during quarantine. Even better? Every meal is super healthy – most are paleo/Whole 30 compatible, but you’d never know it from the taste.

  16. Molly says 3.17.21

    Now I am realizing I have tv taste in cookbooks. Daphne Oz and Giada I enjoyed in print. Ina I enjoy on screen. Should we expect a lot of cooking from your Charleston kitchen?

    • grace at the stripe says 3.17.21

      i hope so! It’s much nicer than my current kitchen and I have a dishwasher!!!

      • Molly says 3.17.21

        Yea! I see a recipes category coming to the blog soon!

  17. Melissa says 3.17.21

    I definitely need to check out Julia’s cookbooks! I have been loving the dude diet cookbooks lately and am cooking my way through Dude Diet Dinnertime; I like the recipes because they’re pretty straightforward, quick and she has a lot that serve 2-4 people so you don’t have too much leftover.

    • grace at the stripe says 3.17.21

      okay everyone is recommending the dude diet books. such a funny name, wasn’t even on my radar, must check out!

  18. Stephanie says 3.17.21

    I love the Smitten Kitchen cookbooks – everything turns out outstanding! Deb’s become a mainstay when I’m setting out to make a good meal.

    And I really love Ruffage by Abra Berens. It’s focused on vegetables and what I love is that she includes variations for different takes on many of the recipes. This one helped me so much with my CSA last year.

    And for dessert: the Sister Pie cookbook. I was so intimidated by PIES but the step by step instructions on making the dough, rolling it out, doing the crimps, blind baking are nearly foolproof. And the pies are all so special. I’ve made 4 of the recipes and each time my partner says “no THIS one is my favorite!” She’s built a really wonderful, community-centered bakery in Detroit, and I wish I lived closer so I could visit more often.

    • grace at the stripe says 3.17.21

      thank you so much for the recs!!! i love the smitten kitchen blog, should probably invest in the cookbook too!

  19. Ellie says 3.17.21

    Unclear how this happened but somehow my husband and I have 25 cookbooks (including books that are hybrid like Reese Witherspoon’s Whiskey in a Teacup). The ones I actually reach for the most are: Half Baked Harvest Super Simple and Donna Hay’s Basics to Brilliance. I need to pick a book every month to actually use! Some have never been used at all

  20. Ali says 3.17.21

    I am an admitted cookbook hoarder but one that I reach for constantly is Serena Wolf’s Dude Diet Dinnertime. She had delicious, crowd pleasing dishes that are easy enough for weeknights!

  21. Jessica M says 3.17.21

    Six Seasons by Josh McFadden is a great guide for making -any- vegetable delicious – as is Vegetable Kingdom by Terry Bryant!

    Thank you for such a wonderful episode. I didn’t realize that Julia Turshen struggled with body image and fear around food, and hearing her perspective on what ‘healthy’ is was very impactful!

    • grace at the stripe says 3.19.21

      Thank you so much for the suggestions, and I am SO glad you enjoyed the episode!

  22. Claire says 3.18.21

    The Defined Dish!!! Healthy recipes that taste amazing, and fool-proof to make! Could not recommend highly enough – I’ve loved every recipe I’ve tried.

  23. Cynthia says 3.18.21

    thanks for this list!! And I am still not over the loss of Lucky. A monthly bit of sunshine I would pour over multiple times. So so good!

    • Cy says 3.18.21

      Me either! That was the best magazine ever!

    • grace at the stripe says 3.19.21

      Truly the best magazine, I miss it so much!

  24. Chelsea says 3.18.21

    I would give GP’s “The Clean Plate” a try, too. I find its simpler than “It’s All Good” and really delicious healthy meals. So much lemon and fresh herbs. Try the chicken leek soup and the za’atar chicken with cauliflower rice pilaf. Also Hetty McKinnon’s “Family” is a great vegetarian cookbook with no skips.

    • grace at the stripe says 3.19.21

      I have that one too!!!! My preference is still It’s All Good but I haven’t tried either of those recs. Thank you for the suggestions!

  25. Anne says 3.18.21

    All About Dinner by Molly Stevens is my favorite cookbook right now

  26. Cy says 3.18.21

    A friend gifted me a Nigella Lawson cookbook years ago and that started my fandom. My two favorites are “How to be a domestic Goddess “ all baking recipes and “Nigella Express” easy, fast recipes of all kinds. I have so many cookbooks and I’m still collecting. Dorie Greenspan, Julia Child, Jacque Pepin, Donna hay, Meera Sodha, Edna Lewis.The list goes on. My newer favorites ; Mississippi Vegan by Timothy Pakron and Help Yourself , A guide to Gut health for people who love delicious food by Lindsey Maitland Hunt. I have quite few vintage books also, The Joy of Cooking and an inherited Armenian Cookbook ( my dad’s side). I’ve been eyeing several of the ones in your collection too! I love Samin Nosrat! Her Netflix series was great! I’m also a huge fan of online recipes; Smitten Kitten, Food 52 and Serious Eats are favorites

  27. ShanghaiSue says 3.18.21

    Indianish by Priya Krishna. If Indian food isn’t on your regular rotation you might need to do one grocery run, but her pantry guide is awesome. One of our favorite books in quarantine. Her recipes are creative and fresh but without being fussy.

  28. Lisa says 3.19.21

    Ahhh going through a cookbook is like going through a magazine. Such a treat!!! My favorite cookbook lately is the one you recommended, ha! Nothing Fancy by Alison Roman. I’m also super excited for Kristina Cho’s new/first?? cookbook this fall! Her recipes are so delicious!


  29. Paula G says 3.19.21

    Dinner by Melissa Clark, excellent.

  30. Emily Kuhfeld says 3.23.21

    Are you familiar with ‘Deliciously Ella’? Her cookbooks are amazing!