50 Books, Day 13

Of course it’s Thanksgiving that gave me the idea for today’s book pick:

The Fannie Farmer Cookbook by Marion Cunningham

My constant companion.  I have never found a cookbook I like better.  It taught me all the basics — how to make pie crust and rolls, stock, gravy, meatballs, muffins, and so on (with suggested variations);  how to carve a chicken, how to tell when eggs and different types of produce are fresh, how to measure various types of food, what to substitute when you’re out of a certain ingredient, how to tell when food is done cooking, how to fix a recipe gone awry, and when you can and cannot get away with cutting corners.   It also has a truly useful index, which not all cookbooks do.

You never get halfway through a recipe and think, “Wait, wait, what do you MEAN?” or “Why didn’t you warn me?” or “Who the hell has one of those in their kitchen?”  Marion Cunningham gives just the right amount of instruction, never springs anything on you, and obviously enjoys eating.   It’s kind of amazing how many cookbooks are written by people who clearly have a problem with food.  But Marion Cunningham is like a patient aunt who likes being in the kitchen and is happy to help, but doesn’t think her skills are the be-all and end-all of life, either.

I still consult this cookbook several times a week.  A great gift for anyone just starting out, or for someone who has a shelf full of fancy, specialized cookbooks, but needs an anchor book.

  • http://www.middlesexvillagetrading.com Wendy Plunkett

    Simcha,

    Marion Cunningham! LOL! That’s the mother on Happy Days! Who knew that she was Fannie Farmer?! LOL!

  • Kate

    Fannie Farmer is my kitchen bible. The only complaint I have is that every hardcover copy I’ve had has fallen apart. Every time I grab it off the shelf, pages flutter out and I waste precious cooking minutes looking for missing page numbers. I hope the binding has improved since my 1965 edition!

  • Dianna

    I just used mine today for pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie! I love that cookbook & have an older edition. I love my edition so much that I went to ABE to order a used copy for my sister-in-law who is cooking-challenged…sometimes it’s just fun to peruse the simple, old-fashioned recipes that you’ll never find anywhere in the en vogue magazines like Rachael Ray, etc.

  • Pingback: Getting the food right: Cooking the way my characters would | bostonwriters


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