A new favorite is Crazy Sista Cooking: Cuisine and Conversation with Lucy Anne Buffett (2007).Yes, "those" Buffetts. Lucy (Lulu) Buffett is something of a local celeb. Besides being singer Jimmy's sister, she's the owner of Lulu's at Homeport Marina on the banks of the Intracoastal Waterway in Gulf Shores, Ala. Lucy says every Southern family has at least one "crazy sista" (or aunt or cousin) and for the Buffett family, she holds the title. Her cookbook not only gives the family recipes that make up most of the menu offerings, but also tells how the restaurant came to be, and funny and heartwarming tales of the seafaring Buffett family.– Massey Lambard, Foley, Ala.
I enjoy Simply in Season edited by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert (2005) and commissioned by the Mennonite Central Committee. It contains recipes that call for fresh, local foods available in each of the seasons experienced in North America. Through both recipes and short narratives, this book links our eating habits with care for the earth. Foods locally grown or preserved are so much tastier than "fresh" products harvested before they are ripe then shipped across the country. Grocery store strawberries in January bear little resemblance to the ones I pick from my garden in June!– Maynard Kurtz Elkhart, Ind.
My favorite cookbook is Mary Margaret McBride's Encyclopedia of Cooking (1959). It was sold in grocery stores in sections, and my mother carefully bought all the individual pieces, compiled them, and presented it to me when I was in college (in the late 1960s). It is a book I trust. When paired with Joy of Cooking (1964 edition), I have never been unable to find exactly the recipe I am looking for, and frequently one I didn't know I was looking for. I have added lots of cookbooks since, a whole bookcase full to be truthful, but "Encyclopedia of Cooking" is the book I turn to first, "Joy of Cooking" second, and all the others are more for reading than for cooking.– Lucie Connolly, Dayton, Ohio
The Ultimate Cook Book by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough is an all-purpose cookbook with 900 recipes. There aren't any photos, but it's a solid and reliable volume. On the baking side, I'd have to say my favorites are any of Carole Walter's four volumes, anything from the friendly folks at King Arthur Flour, and anything published by the superb staff at Cook's Illustrated (America's Test Kitchen) – especially Baking Illustrated and The New Best Recipe.– Laura Stokes-Gray, Wheaton, Ill.
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