My Favorite, Most Influential Cookbooks

I tend to use the same few cookbooks over and over, mixing and matching recipes and ideas to meet whatever baking idea I have at the time.  While we definitely have the world of cooking and baking at our fingertips with zillions of recipe sites and blogs, there’s still importance in having a great cookbook collection.
I’d say cookbook purchases are divided into two types: art, and those with recipes I use often. I definitely have more of the latter, but I LOVE my artsy cookbooks. Those are books that I look at because they have beautiful photography, huge cultural or scientific interest, or a mix of both. Listed below are my faves from each type.
Art Cookbooks
·      Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine  – I probably won’t be making hay-smoked ice cream too often, and I don’t have the opportunity to scavenge for sea beans in landlocked Nebraska but, damn, this is a beautiful book.
·      The French Laundry Cookbook – Before I bought this book, I sat in Barnes & Noble for hours copying down the recipes. I was doing this at least 10 years ago, when I still lived with my parents. I remember specifically being up all night making Thomas Keller’s peanut butter truffles and grape jelly pate de fruits. Russell uses the French onion soup recipe from this book. I think this book represents The French Laundry’s best and most exciting years and I can still get lost in it.
·      The Soul Of A New Cuisine: A discovery of the foods and flavors of Africa – This is an oldie but another goodie. Marcus Samuelsson  was born in Ethiopia but grew up in Sweden. This book is a great mix of African recipes with some Swedish flair. I have only made the sweet potato fritters from this book, but I love looking through it.
·      A Day at el Bulli – There aren’t even any recipes in here. It’s a gigantic book that takes you through 24 hours at this amazing, now-closed restaurant. It’s fascinating.
·      Demolition Desserts – Elizabeth Falkner is an artist. She is a chef, but foremost, I consider her an artist. Before my trip to San Francisco last month, I was bummed to learn that her SF bakery, Citizen Cake, is no longer open. She made her pastries into pieces of art and architecture and., sometimes, political statements. 
My Favorite Cookbooks for the Recipes
·      The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts – I might be biased (was written by my alma mater, International Culinary Center), but this is a great book. All of the basic recipes for classic French pastries are in here. From dacquoise, to butter cake, to apple tarts, and beyond – this is a must-have book for anyone interested in French pastry
·      Dessert Fourplay – This is a great book by Johnny Iuzzini, formerly of Jean Georges in NYC. I worked for him while studying there, and actually helped to do recipe testing for this book. Many of the recipes are not useful for everyday desserts, but the basics are there (love the devil’s food recipe) and you can be sure they were all tested extensively!
·      Desserts by Pierre Herme – This straddles the line of art and useful. It is an insanely beautiful book. I have attempted a few of the recipes from here and they have been fabulous. They are expensive and time-consuming to make, but so so so worth it.
·      The Oh She Glows Cookbook – Written by blogger and nutritionist Angela Liddon, this is a great collection of vegan, wholesome recipes to warm your body and mind. I love the Glo Bars and smoothies from this book.
·      Momofuku Milk Bar – Christina Tosi’s sugar bible is amazing. It definitely does not represent my aesthetic perfectly, but I love some of her techniques. There is a great section in the beginning of the book about the ingredients and techniques she recommends. I think it’s a very well thought out book that is definitely not for the faint of heart.
·      Wild Fermentation – This is a phenomenal book for anyone interested in the art of fermentation. I use the kimchi recipe in here as the base for what I choose to make. Sandor Katz has this shit on lock.
·      How To Be A Domestic Goddess – My brother bought this for me when I was 18 or so. It’s a decadent, awesome book – just like the woman who wrote it, Nigella Lawson. Love the brownies from this book.
I haven’t prepared anything from the highly revered Cookin’ With Coolio, but the chapter “How to Become a Kitchen Pimp” truly res