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Cookbooks are the foundation of any successful chef or home cook's arsenal, whether you're an amateur or a seasoned pro. If you're just getting started on your cooking journey, we've highlighted our five favorite fundamentals cookbooks to help you get going with the basics. You'll be cooking in no time!
Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten
Our beloved queen Ina hasn't just mastered the art of the coastal grandmother—she's also the mastermind of the Barefoot Contessa cooking show and cookbook series. In Back to Basics, she teaches accessible techniques to boost any meal. Our favorite recipes include chive risotto cakes and lobster corn chowder. Remember, if you don't have homemade lobster stock, store-bought is fine!
Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat
Made famous with her Netflix series by the same name, Samin Nosrat's cookbook offers expert tips for breaking down what makes good food, well, good. Split into four parts, Nosrat—who writes in a super-accessible way—teaches her readers that if they master the four pillars of cooking—salt, fat, acid and heat—they'll be able to cook anything.
How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman
In Bittman's book, he not only teaches you essential cooking techniques like poaching and sautéing, but also how to use your intuition so that you can be flexible in the kitchen. In addition to being thorough, approachable and—at 960 pages—enormous, How to Cook Everything is a visual masterpiece complete with charts, graphs and beautiful illustrations to keep you on track.
The Food Lab by J. Kenji López-Alt
Rooted in food science, The Food Lab is the perfect cookbook for all the STEM nerds out there. Culinary adventurers will learn cooking techniques as well as the science behind why they work. López-Alt's recipes are simple and easy to follow, with information about energy, heat and molecules that will keep your brain and belly satiated.
Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer
No list of fundamentals cookbooks would be complete without the inclusion of Joy of Cooking. Originally written in 1931, this book has been handed down to new cooks for generations. With more than 5,000 recipes, you'll always find something new to try in this kitchen staple.
Dessert Person by Claire Saffitz
Saffitz's debut cookbook demystifies the art of baking by breaking down how and why each recipe works. She teaches that baking doesn't always have to be a precise science and leaves plenty of room for error. Her recipes are broken down into easy-to-follow steps with creative ingredients sure to satisfy everyone. Don't miss her YouTube series, either.