To celebrate her new cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust, the renowned chef shares with Zola the five cookbooks she turns to time and again.
Mastering the Art of French Cooking
When my husband, Jeffrey, and I were first married, we took a four-month camping trip to Europe, mostly in France. We had no money so dining in restaurants was out of the question. Instead, I shopped at the wonderful street markets and cooked dinner every night on a gas camping stove. When I came home, I bought both of Julia Child’s books and taught myself how to cook. These books are required reading for anyone interested in cooking; the recipes will teach you techniques that will serve you for a lifetime.
Summer on a Plate
Anna Pump & Gen Leroy & Alan Richardson
When I bought my specialty food store, called Barefoot Contessa, I had the unbelievably good fortune to work with Anna Pump, who later bought her specialty food store, Loaves and Fishes. The most important thing that Anna taught me was that simple food is the most sophisticated. If you start with good ingredients, you don’t need to do much to make them taste delicious. I love Anna’s books because she understands that people eat differently at restaurants than they do at home, and her recipes make perfect dishes you’ll want to serve to your guests.
Tate’s Bake Shop Cookbook
Kathleen King grew up on a chicken farm in Sag Harbor, New York. She started making chocolate chip cookies to sell to her father’s customers and people went crazy over them. Kathleen’s bakery in nearby Southampton is a required stop for everyone in town. It is a charming country store that’s filled with delicious cookies, cakes, pies, and other treats you dream about. Her cookbook has recipes for the desserts she sells in the store, so now you, too, can have them even if you can’t drive to Southampton!
Shirley O. Corriher
By nature, I’m a scientist; I’m really interested in why things work. Cooking for me is the perfect science, and Shirley Corriher’s books are amazing because they’re not only filled with wonderful recipes but she also explains why they work. Why do you use baking soda instead of baking powder? How does the proportion of sugar affect the texture of the cake you’re making? Everyone who bakes should own this book.
The Union Square Cafe Cookbook
When Jeffrey and I first came to New York City, we lived on lower Fifth Avenue. A new restaurant opened around the corner, so we tried it. It was astonishingly good so we went again. More than 30 years later, Union Square Cafe is still one of the greatest restaurants ever in New York. Danny Meyer and his team welcome everyone to the restaurant as though the guests have arrived at their own house. Instead of fancy restaurant food, this is my kind of home cooking with the volume turned up. I adore Michael Romano’s style and there are countless dishes in this book that I’ve made over and over again. Trust me, you will too!
This article originally appeared on Zola Books.