EYB's favorite cookbook authors


In a recent blog, we posted Food52's top 10 essential cookbooks. The posting inspired us to look at our own site and statistics. However, we ranked cookbooks by authors, looking at how many of our members owned a cookbook by a certain author. Here are the lists and our comments (links are to the authors' pages in the EYB library):

EYB's top 20:

  1. Jamie Oliver
  2. Cook's Illustrated Magazine
  3. Time-Life Books
  4. Julia Child
  5. Ina Garten
  6. Nigella Lawson
  7. Mark Bittman
  8. Donna Hay
  9. Sheila Lukins
  10. Martha Stewart
  11. Julee Rosso
  12. Nigel Slater
  13. Simone Beck 
  14. Delia Smith
  15. Alice Waters
  16. Jacques Pépin
  17. Irma and Marion Rombauer Becker
  18. Deborah Madison
  19. Marcella Hazan
  20. Dorie Greenspan

We've noted that two different approaches were used to achieve our top 20 (some approaches do overlap). First, some authors are represented because they have produced a large number of interesting cookbooks, and our members own several by the author. Among the most productive, Time-Life (199 books), Cook's Illustrated (79), Oliver (23), Hay (47), Stewart (39). Bittman (33), Slater (22), Smith (48)  and Pépin (47). Of course other authors are more prolific than some of this group, but our community doesn't own their books in the same quantity. Rachael Ray, for example, has 25 books represented in our ownership list, but only ranks 29th.

A second approach is to produce a blockbuster that appeals to a savvy audience. Simone Beck is here largely because she's a co-author of Julia Child's The Art of French Cooking, (Julia herself has 25 books represented, but The Art is by far the most-owned). Rombauer Becker is, of course, the author (with her mother on the earlier versions) of The Joy of Cooking. And it seems lots of you own one of the Silver Palate cookbooks (Rosso and Lukins).

Finally, we were pleased that we do have international representation. England is represented by Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, Nigel Slater and Delia Smith while Australia contributes their domestic queen, Donna Hay. 

Comparing our list to Food52's list of 10 essential cookbooks admittedly is a bit like comparing apples to oranges. Food52's list considers book quality, whereas our list reflects authors' popularity, but we still found a few interesting comparative points. Here's Food52's list (links are to the books' pages at EYB):

  1. Joy of Cooking  by Irma S. Rombauer 
  2. Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck
  3. How to Cook Everything  by Mark Bittman
  4. The Silver Palate by Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso
  5. The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters
  6. The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan
  7. The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser
  8. Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London's Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi
  9. Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan
  10. Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

First, it's interesting that the only British author on the Food52 list, Yotam Ottolenghi, isn't represented in our top 20 (he comes in 64th in our list).

Second, our two top authors, Jamie Oliver and Cook's Illustrated aren't represented in this list. Of course, both those authors/author groups have a number of books so members' choices could be spread about, whereas Food 52's top two books, Joy of Cooking and Mastering the Art of French Cooking, are really the one main book by those authors.

We'd love to hear your comments on either list. And also be sure to check out the new mobile version of EYB. The mobile version makes it easier to access your book and recipe search results when you're out and about. And it's so simple to use - next time you access Eat Your Books on your phone, the mobile version will automatically load in a readable format. We're very proud of it, and hope you'll enjoy it. For more information, check out our blog on the subject.



  • Amy | Appetite for Discovery  on  7/6/2012 at 1:17 PM

    Thanks for this interesting post. I find that the more my cook book collection grows, the more selective I am about what I add to it (space issues!) and it's great to see what's popular on everyone else's bookshelf!

  • FeastsandFestivals  on  7/6/2012 at 3:32 PM

    I think you'll find that Nigel Slater is British too!

  • Eurydice  on  7/6/2012 at 6:48 PM

    Am surprised that Stephanie Alexander didn't make this list since 3 of the top four Australian books on EYB by bookshelf numbers are hers and she has several other popular books.

  • k8eberle  on  9/3/2012 at 3:17 AM

    Am also surprised about the ubiquitous Stephanie. I don't know a cook who doesn't have her Cooks Companion. I've got the Ottolenghi books, and strongly recommend them to everyone!!!

  • Jane  on  9/3/2012 at 9:13 PM

    Stephanie was number 23 and although she is undoubtedly popular with our Australian members - the two editions of Companion are 1 and 2 in the Australian books on EYB - she is not so widely known outside Australia.

  • RaySadler  on  9/29/2012 at 7:46 AM

    One thing is clear - that the Americans dominate - I suppose because a) there are more of them and b) as a result there are more US than British/Australian members of EYB? Relatively few authors make it to international status - from the States I have Julia Childs and Gayle Ortiz, from Oz 3 by Stephanie Alexander. Only since joining EYB have I been aware how much our tastes differ. National lists would be more relevant. There is also the translation problem - more for measurements with US books than for ingredients - I can cope with cilantro, rutabaga and heavy cream, but what is the English equivalent for hoop cheese - is there one? This leads to the availability question, of course. Non-English language books are even more fun, of course!

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