Our Staff’s Favorite Cookbooks – Experience Life

I don’t follow any particular diet these days, but for a brief time in graduate school, I made a shoddy attempt at veganism. I was the sort of vegan who ate a lot of French fries, if you know what I mean. That same year, my mother gifted me this tome by Deborah Madison, and even as I’ve brought eggs and meat back to my plate in the intervening years, this cookbook has remained my favorite reference for basic veggie things. It’s so thorough it’s practically encyclopedic. On those weekends when I just wander to the farmers’ market and pick out whatever looks good, I can rely on this book to offer me at least a handful of great ideas for how to use it. Kaelyn Riley, Senior Editor 

There’s nothing more fulfilling to me than clearing a few hours to plan and prepare a “fun” dish — usually for a special occasion. Blogger and paleo-chef Danielle Walker has tried-and-true classics for every holiday and event throughout the year. Her approach is always grain-free, and mainly dairy-free, and pretty uncomplicated. Mini corndogs for a kids’ party — no problem. Legume-free baked beans — check. Chocolate pecan tart no one in my family knows is free of refined sugar — nailed it. Laura Fogelberg, Audience Development Manager­–Marketing

Most Italians (and even some French) maintain that the true glories of French cuisine came from Italy, as French royalty often hired Italian chefs way back when. Jump forward several centuries and Marcella Hazan became the Italian ambassador of the kitchen to Americans. Her various collections were akin to Julia Child’s masterpiece, filled with charming commentary and staunchly held opinions, yet with vastly simpler recipes (and without the tipsy asides). Around our home, the go-to Hazan cookbook is a well-traveled, spine-broken, ingredient-stained copy of Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. Hazan came from the Adriatic coastal city of Cesenatico, and so was a great proponent of the heavier pork- and dairy-based foods of Emilia-Romagna, helping champion that region as the capitol of Italian cuisine. But, don’t forget the other regions — especially the soul of the “boot” of Italy, including Sicily. For recipes from these regions, Claudia Rhoden’s Mediterranean Cookery is our fave — and without doubt our kitchen’s most-used cookbook all around. It’s a slim guide, yet the dishes are well chosen and wonderfully flavorful, taking you beyond Italy and around the…

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