When I was in high school and first learning how to put together a meal on my own, my dad would tell me to just be creative and change recipes by adding ingredients or substituting ingredients. I was too afraid I'd mess it up, so for a long time I stuck strictly to the recipe. Now I've been cooking so long that there are many, many meals I make without a recipe. I'm also no longer afraid to add to or to substitute ingredients in a recipe. I do stick pretty close to the recipe for things like cake, though.
I think every cook has a few cookbooks that they go to over and over again. Here are my favorites.
1. More with Less. This is "suggestions by Mennonites on how to eat better and consume less of the world's limited food resources". This is my go-to book because the recipes are easy and use a limited number of ingredients. If I had to cut down to one cookbook, this would be it.
2. Betty Crocker.
But the second book I'd want to keep is my Betty Crocker cookbook, especially for cake and cookie recipes. When it comes to baking, Betty Crocker is my lady. I was given this book when I first went to Nigeria as a single missionary. By the way, I have a copy of More with Less and a Betty Crocker cookbook on both sides of the ocean.
3. I have two old cookbooks that I love because they were written before recipes called for a can of this and a mix of that. One is an even older version of Betty Crocker than what I have and the other is an old Good Housekeeping cookbook that has especially wonderful cake and cookie recipes.
4. The Crocodile Cookbook. This one is so old and my copy is falling apart. It was put together by a women's club in Nigeria back in the '70's and is full of recipes that work in Africa.
5. The Betty Crocker's Best Bread Machine Book. I make all of our bread with the exception of the delicious baguettes we get here. This book has a lot of different kinds of bread. It was worth every penny I spent buying it used on Amazon (not more than a dollar or two!).
6. And my own notebook of saved recipes. Some are ones I've gotten from friends and some I've printed from off the internet. I need to do some re-organizing of this book. That will be a home-assignment project.
What's your favorite cookbook?