My favorite cookbook

Readers write in to share their favorite recipe collection.

Kitchen Mysteries: Revealing the Science of Cooking by Hervé This (2007). While not a cookbook in a formal sense, this journey into the mystical and magical realm of "molecular gastronomy" gives insight into the amazing chemical and physical drama that unfolds as food is cooked. I've worked through this book slowly, as I would a fine entrée, to fully savor the poetry of the author's writing style and the alchemy that belies a superlative dining experience.– Pete Lee, Portland, Ore.

My favorite cookbook is the Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook, first edition (1950). It was a big help to an inexperienced cook. I still get compliments on my pies, cakes, and cookies made from Betty Crocker's recipes, using her methods.– Helen B. Potter, Vero Beach, Fla.

The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook by Gloria Bley Miller (1984) is my most worn and most soy-sauce-spattered cookbook since it's my most used. The recipes are vastly more varied than you would find at your local Chinese restaurants, and feature unexpected steamed and braised cooking methods, authentic sauces, and how-to soak and how-to store instructions.

I've never verified if the recipes total 1,000 but the cookbook teaches the user a diverse country's wide array of cooking styles.– Elliot Legow, Youngstown, Ohio

I have a tattered copy of Joy of Cooking that I carried from America to Oz in 1980. I have had to paste a cardboard piece on one side to hold it together. It is my standby for everything: conversions from Fahrenheit to Celsius and from ounces to mils, and has everything from recipes for rabbit (found in profusion on our farm) and eel, which we found on one Sunday outing. We drove through the creek, saw an eel, caught it, and, thanks to "Joy," cooked it. – Sancy Nason, Tathra, Australia

I love my old, tattered Los Angeles Times California Cookbook (1983). All the recipes have been used for many years by its contributors, who range from Jean-Michel Cousteau to Clifton's Cafeteria. They are all easy and consistent, and some, like the oxy fudge, have become family traditions around the holidays.

Deborah Pruette, Pleasanton, Calif.

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