My favorite cookbook

Readers share their picks.

I don't think we would have survived graduate school, four kids under age 7, and trying to make it on a new teacher's salary back in the early '80s without Doris Longacre's More-With-Less Cookbook (1975). It is not just a cookbook, it is a recipe for survival for families – the missing grandma who tells us how they "did it before." – Walter Betz, Kwigillingok, Alaska

At the library, I came across From a Monastery Kitchen: A Practical Cookbook of Vegetarian Recipes for the Four Seasons Complete from Soups to Desserts with Breads (1976), by Victor D'Avila-Latourrette and compiled by Elise Boulding. It features simple vegetarian recipes arranged by season, with common garden-variety veggies. Quotes and proverbs on food line each page. Then a miracle happened. I found a copy at a rummage sale for 25 cents. And the food is divine!– Renee Hand, Milwaukee, Wis.

Without a question it is the Heritage Cook Book edited by Don Dooley (1975). It is as much a great history book as a cookbook. It's all-American, starting with Indian recipes through "The New Americans." Good old home cooking with all the old favorites you grew up with. It ends in the "Melting Pot," a blending of heritages. It just doesn't get any better. – Conrad Conrad, Corpus Christi, Texas

My favorite cookbooks are, unfortunately, unpublished. I used to be an instructor of English as a second language and began an end-of-semester cookbook project for my midlevel students. The students told a favorite food story or experience, listed ingredients, and then provided a recipe. More than one had to call Mom to get the recipe! One young Saudi student even practiced the recipe and brought us all a delicious basboosa! I love to page through the books, read the stories, and experience the variety of cultures that it has been my good fortune to share.– Diane DeCristoforo, El Dorado Hills, Calif.

The Busy Woman's Cookbook: Over 500 Three and Four Ingredient Recipes (2000) by Sharon McFall and Gene McFall. In addition to offering easy dishes that you can put together quickly at the end of your workday, there are more than 200 short stories and facts about famous and influential women written along the margins of this cookbook! – Ami Amero, Monmouth, Maine

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