A Few Books

I love reading blogs, the internet, and Pinterest for recipe inspiration, but there’s something about standing in my kitchen getting smeary chocolate fingerprints on the pages of a cookbook that will never go out of style.

Lately, here are a few I’m loving:

Joy the Baker’s book, 100 Simple & Comforting Recipes

I feel like I am sitting in Joy’s kitchen when I read this book and that we’re long lost gal pals. Not only are the recipes and photography great, but her story-telling is fabulous. If you like your cookbooks with a side of story (and butter and sugar), this book is for you.

I met Joy and she is every bit as sweet, funny, and witty in person as she is on her blog and in the book and is just so darn endearing.


Lindsay Landis of Love and Olive Oil’s book, The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook

A cookbook dedicated to eating raw (egg-free and safe) cookie dough. Need I say more?

Her photography is spectacular and I also gushed about this book in this post.

Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi. A more complete book review is here.

The book is not for those who are looking for quickie recipes, basic recipes, things you’ve seen, done, or tried before. The recipes are adventurous, both in terms of time needed to devote to them and also in terms of pairing ingredients you likely never have.

Potato chips in cookies, ingredients that you likely have not worked with such as liquid glucose, or techniques like creaming butter and sugar for at least 7 minutes when making cookies are things found in this book. I view this book as culinary inspiration despite it not necessarily being “practical” if you only have 20 minutes to spare in the kitchen.

Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks’ book, Super Natural Everyday: Well-Loved Recipes from my Natural Foods Kitchen. I rediscovered this book after putting it down for over a year. Straightforward recipes that focus on using real ingredients, natural ingredients.

There are no marshmallows and no red dye #40 in anything Heidi makes. She is vegetarian and cooks with eggs and butter, and there is plenty of focus on beans, lentils, whole grains, natural, seasonal, organic, locally-sourced ingredients. She makes you want to fall in love with squash blossoms from the farmers market and fava beans all over again.

Matt Armendariz of Matt Bites’ upcoming book, Focus on Food Photography for Bloggers.

Although it’s not a cookbook per se, anything by Matt is a must-read and I can’t wait. I adore his wit, humor, kindness, and the life-changing day I spent with him.

Helene Dujardin’s of Tartlette’s book Plate to Pixel. This is a book that I put down, pick up, come back to, re-read, re-read ten more times, and have been letting it “marinate” for the past year and a half. It’s singularly the best book to date I’ve ever read on food photography and food styling. I cannot recommend it highly enough and wrote more extensively about it here.

I’m extremely excited about the release of Jenny Flake of Picky-Palate’s book, The Picky Palate Cookbook. Jenny is such a sweetheart and she’s a mom, a fellow SoCal blogger, and makes the most amazing desserts.

If you think I have a sweet tooth, Jenny’s desserts are full of Oreos, marshmallows, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and butter. Yes, I love them all. No doubt the photos will be wonderful as Matt Armendariz was the photographer.

Lori Lange of The Recipe Girl’s book is coming out later this year. Lori is a fellow San Diego and mom, and I am so excited for her book. She has such an extensive collection of recipes (2500+) on her blog and I can’t wait to see what she came up with for her book. Matt did her photography and I am sure it’s stunning.

Jenna has a book coming out

Gaby has a book coming out about avocados.

My dear friend Alison Lewis of Ingredients, Inc. has another book coming out.

There are so many books I am excited to get my chocolate fingerprints all over that I can hardly wait.

What are your favorite cookbooks? Any cookbooks you’ve always wanted but haven’t bought or are excited to purchase?

There are classics that never go out of style (think Joy of Baking) and then there are new books that come onto the scene that fill a gap that you never knew existed. I love those books.

I also will forget about a cookbook put a cookbook down for a month or two, or a year, or even longer sometimes and then come back to it. The recipes, ideas, techniques are new again, all over.

I have more books than I have time to cook and let’s face it, I’m cooking for a family of 3, not 13.

I did a Cookbook Reviews post ages ago and have tried to keep it somewhat updated in case you like books as much as I do.

Do you use cookbooks? Old-fashioned with paper and pages or digital?

I do have a few digital copies of cookbooks that I can read from the Kindle app on my iMac that I downloaded. As I said in the opening of the post, real books that I can hold in my hands and thumb through the pages will never lose their appeal.

Enjoy your weekend!

The winner of the Adonia Greek Yogurt Giveaway is CJ at Food Stories


  1. so many great books to think about. I don’t have any of these. the food styling books sound really interesting. thanks for the reviews.

    I own maybe 5 or 10 cookbooks, but I haven’t used any of them in months! :-( I’m excited for Jenna’s book, too.

  2. It’s funny, I was just talking to a co-worker about cookbooks recently. She was saying how she thinks cookbooks are becoming obsolete because of the ready availabilty of recipies in blogs and on the internet. I said I sure hope cookbooks stick around for the long run…they’re a treasure that can passed down for generations. Seeing notes made in the margins of cookbooks made by my grandma and my mom will always make me smile.
    My favorite cookbooks are the series by Isa Moskowitz & Terry Romero…Vegan cupcakes take over the world, Vegan cookies invade your cookie jar, and Vegan pie in the sky. I can’t wait to explore the ones you’ve listed here, too!
    Happy Friday!

  3. I love cookbooks but almost never actually use a recipe as written. I just love the ideas and creativity. And when are we going to see your pretty face on the cover of one???

  4. I use cookbooks and I love them but they should have nice pictures so I can see how my end result will look :)

  5. I love using good old fashioned paper cook books- I have just had a good sort through and got rid of a bunch, because the collection had expanded a little too much… made some space for a few new ones; Plate to Pixel is definitely on my list of books to buy, even though I don’t even photograph food! More and more nowadays I print recipes off the internet…there are just too many amazing food blogs out there!
    When’s your book of sweet treats coming out ;-) ?? I would love that!
    Btw, just noticed one of your smoothie creations featured in the Crazy Sexy Life newsletter, which just arrived in my inbox :-) Congrats xxx

  6. love my girl SprinkleBakes!!

  7. You might now believe me… this is so shameful…. but I do not own ONE cookbook. So crazy. I have a few on my wishlist though, so hopefully I’ll be starting a nice collection soon. I did recently purchased Food Blogging for Dummies by Kelly Senyei which I’m really loving right now. So many wonderful tips!

    And Averie… if/when you publish your first cookbook, I know that would be my fave!

  8. I was wondering where my copy of that cookie dough book went and then a friend from my old old house in arizona called me on Sunday. He said that it was delivered there! So, it’s on its way to me now.

    I have a huge cookbook collection that I cull every now and then, but you are right – there is just something about a real book. Same goes for reading fiction. I can read a few Kindle books in a row, but then I need to switch it up and read a real book. ;)

    • I knew you got the Kindle and I think they’re great (I just don’t have one) but was wondering if you like real, paper cookbooks or kindle/digital when it comes to cookbooks. And you’re going to love the cookie dough book! (not GF though, as written)

  9. cookie dough lovers? THAT’S YOU! lol I’m with you on the magic of using a cookbook to create things. My favorite is going back to some of my oldest cookbooks and having to pry open the pages that are stuck together with honey or tomato sauce… May sound gross, but just shows how much love I have for each and every book!

  10. I definitely need to get Joy’s book. Love the Milk Bar book, but that definitely is a bit time consuming :) A time and a place for everything!

    I’d say my favorite go-to is Rocco DiSpirito’s Now Eat This. Great, easy recipes that are healthy without sacrificing an ounce of flavor!

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  12. I would love that cookie dough cookbook. Right up my alley! I have tons (like 2 packed shelves) of cookbooks at home. My favorite is the King Arthur Flour’s All-Purpose baking cookbook. I have probably made 30 things from that book and each dish is amazing. I also have binders filled with recipes I clip from magazines or print from my favorite blogs. I think I could make one different recipe every day and be set for life.

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  15. What a great bunch of bloggers’ cookbooks to share, Averie! It’s amazing how some food bloggers reach for the stars and make their dreams a reality! It’s wonderful of you to support them, too. Have a happy weekend!

  16. Believe it or not, one of my favorites is the Weber Big Book of Grilling. So many marinades, sauces, ideas for sides, besides just the meat. And for that, it is a great resource on different cuts, cooking techniques and temperatures, etc.

  17. I love cookbooks too, though in this day and age of Google, I don’t open mine up nearly enough! Heidi Swanson’s book that you mention looks great. My brother gave me a beautiful cookbook (which is soo much more than recipes) this year called “Tender – A cook and his vegetable patch” by Nigel Slater…it’s such a lovely addition to my kitchen’s book collection, I highly recommend it.

  18. awesome list of books! Thanks for mentioning my new book coming out this fall! Have a great weekend, my friend!

  19. I love Plate to Pixel and I was just gifted Joy’s cookbook. Sitting down and pouring over a cookbook is one of my favorite things. As our world becomes increasingly digital, I’m happy to see new cookbooks published.

  20. All these books are great choices … So excited that I won the giveaway … Happy Weekend :-)

  21. I’m actually not a huge fan of cookbooks, mostly because of the ones I know that won’t stay open! (Which I was pleasantly surprised that the cookbook I’m in actually does stay open even though it looks like it wouldn’t – the SparkPeople cookbook). How am I supposed to make things out of a book that refuses to let me look at it! But I do love being inspired by new food ideas.

  22. Hey Averie, I just got Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Life Newsletter and your Peaches and Coconut Cream Smoothie is listed at the bottom. Congrats!

  23. These days I find most recipes via Foodgawker and Google, but I do love flipping through our books and seeing those dog-ears and food stains- it’s the real “bookmark” of a tried and true favorite recipe.

  24. I just bought Super Natural Every Day last weekend! Enjoy! I love buying new cookbooks and trying recipes out of them.

  25. I got Plate to Pixel for Christmas last year and have been working my way through it slowly, because I feel I best absorb and will remember the info if I go through it bit by bit rather than try to take it all in at once! It’s a great book though and everything is broken down so well!

    • Yes and what you read one month may sit a certain way with you and then 6 mos later, it will sit another way…it’s like seeing a fave movie again and again…you can always get new info from it. AND there’s like….300+ pages of info. I love that book!

  26. I love cookbooks, I’ll forever be true to Joy of Cooking and How to Cool Everything Vegetarian, but I need to get Joy’s book, I love her blog.

    • Very little is vegan, not sure how strict you are or how much you like to adapt. Love the book and there are a few recipes written as vegan, but maybe like 2% or so. Just LYK in advance on that one!

    • Thanks for the heads up! I’m actually a vegetarian, not vegan, so milk and eggs are a-ok:) but I appreciate your looking out for me!

  27. So many cookbooks…so little time!
    I don’t know if i have one favorite, but I really enjoy all of Tosca Reno’s cookbook. For Desserts, this Big Fat Cookies cookbook is super cute (it makes a great gift!)

  28. What a great list of cookbooks! Some of those are on my wishlist, and I have and love a couple others! The Cookie Dough Cookbook will be my downfall, I want to make every. single. thing.

  29. This is an awesome post. I hadn’t seen a few of those and will be sure to get my hands on them.
    Also- you may already be well aware, but if you’re not check out milk in LA…website: the milk shop, I think. Drool-worthy.

  30. Catherine Hoffman Reply

    I have bookcases full of cookbooks that I’ve been collecting since I was a teenager. My favorite basic cookbook is America Cooks. I love Pinterest and my Kindle for recipes but there is nothing like curling up on the couch with a new cookbook and putting post-it tabs on all the new things I want to try. All three of my kids are creative, accomplished cooks and they always know where to come for a cookbook.

    • “I love Pinterest and my Kindle for recipes but there is nothing like curling up on the couch with a new cookbook and putting post-it tabs on all the new things I want to try.” <--- 100% agreed! You have 3 awesome sounding kids....job well done, Mom :)

  31. I love cookbooks I can hold in my hand (with great pics too!), but I also have a few on my I-pad which is convenient space-wise. I had some great Thai food (more than once) in SF, so I’m on the hunt for a good Thai cookbook. I scored some TJ’s chips but couldn’t bring back any mango salsa (managed to travel very light and didn’t check baggage). Next time I’m passing thru Indianapolis, I’ll just have to make a stop at the TJ’s there.

  32. I love going through cook books too!
    It’s nice to have the internet and reviews of real people, but it just isn’t the same!!

  33. So many great books and so little time to read, ah! Great round up of books here, thanks for the reviews. A few of my faves are Veganomicon because there’s such a huge selection of recipes, all of Ani Phyo’s books, Thrive Foods, and Peas and Thank You.

  34. I have several cookbooks, but lately have been getting all of mine from food blogs. I print them and keep them in a binder. I like to have something tangible in my hands when cooking.

  35. I love cookbooks and still buy them on occasion. I got an Indian cookbook for Christmas and have yet to crack it open. I hope to have an Indian themed dinner party something this summer.

  36. You were nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award, Averie. Check out my site for the deets :-)

  37. I so wanted to comment on this a couple of days ago. I love Heidi Swanson’s book and I own both and cook from them often. I always hope that I might run into her in Marin or the city but It hasn’t happened yet. I actually just picked up a copy for my friend’s birthday as she is all about vegeterian fare.

    I also just picked up 2 great vegeterian books, The Meat Free Monday Cookbook and Vegetarian by Alice Hart. Both books look great and have pictures in them, which I need. I love the Moosewood cookbooks but they don’t have any pictures and that is a bummer.

    I am so excited for the Matt Bites photography book to come out. I think he is amazing and you are so lucky that you got to attend his class. I would totally go if I lived closer. Maybe I will use my miles and fly down to one of his upcoming ones! hmmmm…. I am sure it’s going to be chock full of info.

    I actually enjoyed Food Blogging for Dummies. It’s a great book for beginner bloggers and gave me tons of tips.

    I haven’t checked out Plate to Pixel but since you recommended it twice, I must do that!

    My photographs are great now but I am nervous about when fall and winter arrive as I will not have any natural light. Most of my recipes are for entrees and I make them at night! I am definitely going to take a course before then so I can figure out how to set up some sort of mini lighting studio. I see tons of bloggers who have great fall and winter photos so I know there is a way to do it!

    So much to say! I also want to chat with you regarding advertising. I may email you later. I have to go and make my 12 year old her morning egg whites! So California, I know!

    Cheers Averie!

    • Matt RARELY has workshops, so if you see one, jump on it.

      Dinnertime photography…why do you think that 95% of my blog is desserts? I can take the pics any time, no pressure of the family standing around waiting to eat, no lighting issues, I can make it ahead and shoot it whenever I want. Pressure to get the family fed is a 100% recipe for shaky, blurred, rushed photos. Just doesnt work for me. Other bloggers that do savory recipes either pre-cook and take pics at 3pm or somehow squeeze in 5pm pics with the last drops of natural light and then edit. There are a few “this is what I ate” bloggers who pull off dinner/winter pics but rare. It’s just…HARD! If you find the secret, LMK!

      And Heidi & her books are 100% your approach! You two could be the same! I can’t believe you’ve never run into her; I bet one day you will!

    • Hi Averie. Ok, I will look at his site. I think I saw that he is having a workshop soon but I might of missed it.

      I have noticed that the food blogger that do the entree’s do not have kids because they are definitely making their meals during the day. I just can’t do that and I don’t want to waste food. My family is actually pretty cool about waiting for me to take shots of my food. I tell them to eat away while I photograph dinner. I always have everything set up and staged so it only takes me 3 minutes or so to get my shot. My kids are older though so they know that this is mommy’s hobby and they love that I am finally doing something I love. I am looking at taking this food photography course in June and I am going to ask them about nighttime lighting issues. I will let you know if I get any good tips!

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