What would be in your cookbook “go bag”?

Last week, a friend and I were talking when the subject of “go bags” came up. Go bags contain those carefully chosen items that one would need in an emergency during an evacuation/disaster such as medications, ID cards, insurance cards, and an extra change of clothing.

While, of course, there would be far more important things to worry about than cookbooks during an actual crisis; this subject made me think of what my cookbook “go bag” would look like. Which then led to asking you, our Members, what their top ten cookbooks are or which books would you have in your “go bag”. I know that is a big ask and my list would change every new season but at this moment – here would be my top ten books.

I chose all baking titles and even though these are my 10 ride or die books – there are so many others I adore but if I had to choose at this moment those are the books. But can I throw in my copper canele molds in my favorite Le Creuset pot as a bonus? Good thing my son is 18 and can fend for himself – I would be busy grabbing tart pans and cooking gadgets.

What would your top ten books be?

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  • ellabee  on  December 10, 2022

    As it happens, I have a ’10’ Bookmark I created for just this purpose. If I were really fleeing a fire & had time to get just one book it would be my mother’s 1953 Joy of Cooking, full of her notes. The other nine, if there were time to pack: Victory Garden Cookbook (Marion Morash), Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone (Deborah Madison), Art of Simple Food (Alice Waters), Authentic Mexican (Rick Bayless), Vegetarian Epicure & VE2 (Anna Thomas), Recipes & Remembrances of an Eastern Mediterranean Kitchen (Sonia Uvezian), Key to Chinese Cooking (Irene Kuo), and New Complete Techniques (Jacques Pepin). Some of those are based on how easy it would be to get a replacement; all are books I consult regularly.

  • laureljean  on  December 10, 2022

    Mine might change weekly or monthly, depending on what I currently have by my side of the couch, so I’ll add those, a couple of random favorites and three books I really really want.

    1 – Delectable: Sweet & Savory Baking
    2 – The King Arthur Baking School: Lessons and Recipes for Every Baker
    3 – Savory Baking: Recipes for Breakfast, Dinner, and Everything in Between
    4 – Comfort Baking: Feel Good Food To Savor and Share
    5 – The Harvest Baker (an old favorite)
    6 – Celebrating Herbs: Forty Plus Years in the Herbary (The Arkansas Unit of The Herb Society of America) (my current herb favorite)
    7 – Homage: Recipes and Stories from an Amish Soul Fool Kitchen
    8 – Silver Palate Cookbook (because I will always love it)
    9 – Once Upon a Chef, The Cookbook (recipes I actually will cook)
    10 – Rising: The Book of Challah

  • matag  on  December 10, 2022

    We made a book of my mother in laws recipes. That would be number one. And then my first cookbook The Joy of Cooking. And then if time permitted my Milk Street books.

  • Mrs. L  on  December 11, 2022

    Yeah well my “go bag” is really really big lol

  • Jenny  on  December 11, 2022

    Robin C shared her favorites as she was on her phone and it wouldn’t let her sign in:

    New European Baking, Zoe Bakes Cakes, Dessert Person, Death by Chocolate, Baking for All Occasions, The Pie and Pastry Bible, Baking at The 20th Century Cafe, Jacques Pepin Heart and Soul in the Kitchen, Pie Squared.

  • Jenny  on  December 11, 2022

    Peabody commented on FB:

    If it’s just baking:
    My cookbook 🙂 Holy Sweet!: 60 Indulgent Recipes for Bigger, Better Desserts

    Secrets of Baking by Sherry Yard

    Death by Chocolate: The Last Word on a Consuming Passion by Marcel Desaulniers

    Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson

    Classic German Baking: The Very Best Recipes for Traditional Favorites, from Pfeffernüsse to Streuselkuchen by Luisa Weiss

    The Tivoli Road Baker: Recipes and Notes from a Chef Who Chose Baking by Michael James

    Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth by Jill O’Connor

    First Prize Pies: Shoo-Fly, Candy Apple, and Other Deliciously Inventive Pies for Every Week of the Year by Allison Kave

    Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza by Ken Forkish

    Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding: Sweet and Savoury Recipes from Britain’s Best Baker by Justin Gellatly

  • CapeCodCook  on  December 11, 2022

    What a interesting list to think about:
    Oh no! the river is flooding—we must evacuate! The kids and dogs are safe. What cookbooks should I throw into the car to recreate my kitchen again—the ones that have so many of my hand-written notes and stickies–
    1. Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1, autographed to me by Julia Child and Paul Child
    2. Joy of Cooking, 2019 edition
    3. The New Family Cookbook, America’s Test Kitchen, 2014 edition.
    4. The Cooking of The Eastern Mediterranean, by Paula Wolfert
    5. The Splendid Table; Recipes from Emilia-Romagna, by Lynne Rosetto Kasper
    6. Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees, by Kian Lan Ho
    7. The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, by Deborah Madison
    8. Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian
    9. The Food of Spain, by Claudia Roden
    10. King Arthur Baking School: Lessons and Recipes for Every Baker

  • Kristjudy  on  December 11, 2022

    Midwest Made
    Zoe bakes
    Baking at the 20th century
    Icing on the cake
    Savory baking
    The last course
    Classic German baking
    Set for the holidays
    All the sweet things
    I am baker

  • KatieK1  on  December 11, 2022

    These are my desert island choices:
    1. Trattoria by Patricia Wells
    2. Bittman’s How to Cook Everything
    3. Quick and Easy Recipes form the New York Times by Bittman
    4. the Original NYT Cookbook by Claiborne
    5. Essential Classic Italian Cooking by Hazan
    6. The Book of Middle Eastern Food by Roden
    7. La Technique by Pepin
    8. Gjelina by Lett
    9. The Wok by Lopez-Alt
    10. Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook

  • breakthroughc  on  December 11, 2022

    Great Question. I’m taking several big, comprehensive cookbooks to my desert island because I’m pretty practical.
    1. The Gourmet Cookbook
    2. The Bon Apeptit Cookbook
    3. The Ball Complete guide to canning
    4. The Joy of Cooking
    5. Simply Classic by the Seattle Junior League
    6. Back to Basic by Ina Garten
    7. Six Seasons by Josh McFadden
    8. One Pot, Pan and Planet by Anna Jones
    9. From Oven to Table by Diana Henry
    10. My own cookbook that I put together for Christmas gifts about 15 years ago.

  • SheilaS  on  December 11, 2022

    Interesting question. I’ve already curated my ebook collection, sometimes with duplicated of my paper books, to enable me to cook where I happen to land, whether that’s a vacation cottage or while evacuated from a wildfire. I wouldn’t take anything I can replace so I’d grab my own and my mom’s recipe card file boxes, a late friend’s BH&G cookbook stuffed with newspaper cooking section clippings and recipes that were given to her by other friends that I recognize instantly from their handwriting. If I had time, I’d pick the best of the community cookbooks that my mom and childhood friends contributed to.

  • susankay  on  December 11, 2022

    Small Victories, Now & Again, and Simply Julia, all by Julia Turshen, Food Swings by Jessica Seinfeld, 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer, Milk Street’s Tuesday Nights by Christopher Kimball, Lidia’s Italian American Kitchen by Lidia Bastianich, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten, How to Cook Everything Fast by Mark Bittman, The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen.

  • Jenny  on  December 11, 2022

    Erica J posted:

    Mastering the Art of French Cooking, 2 vols
    The Food Lab
    Antoinette Pope Cooking School Cookbook
    The Fannie Farmer Cookbook
    Craig Claiborne and Virginia Lee Chinese Cookbook
    My mother’s recipe book with her typed and handwritten recipes
    Jamie Oliver 7 ways cookbook
    Ina Garten Barefoot Contessa
    Ina Garten Cooking for Jeffrey

  • Aggie92  on  December 11, 2022

    1. Jerusalem
    2. ATK Complete Mediterranean
    3. Baking with Julia
    4. Around My French Table
    5. Dorie’s Cookies
    6. Essential Emeril
    7. Ottolenghi
    8. Barefoot in Paris
    9. King Arthur Cookie Companion
    10. My great great grandmother’s copy of The Boston Cookbook from 1901

  • ToPieFor  on  December 11, 2022

    These are my top 10’s for today…in no particular order…
    1. Snackable Bakes Jessie Sheehan
    2. Sweet Paris Frank Adrian Barron
    3. The Last Course Claudia Fleming
    4. Dolce Italiano Gina DePalma
    5. Chocolate & Zucchini Clotilde Dusoulier
    6. The Flavor Bible Page & Dornenburg
    7. Paris Sweets Dorie Greenspan
    8. Baking From My Home to Yours Dorie Greenspan
    9. The Family Baker Susan Purdy
    10. Nigella Express. Nigella Lawson

  • Jviney  on  December 11, 2022

    Such a great question. Here are mine as of today…maybe tomorrow too, but probably not as far out as two weeks from now:
    – The Gourmet Cookbook
    – The Gourmet Today Cookbook
    – Smitten Kitchen Keepers
    – Midwest Made
    – 100 Cookies
    – Bread Toast Crumbs
    – Mandy’s Gourmet Salads
    – Let’s Stay In
    – Zingerman’s Bake House
    – Every Grain of Rice

  • darcie_b  on  December 12, 2022

    I’m sure my answer would change if you asked again next month, but currently my top 10 would be Sweet (Ottolenghi/Goh), The Cake Bible (Beranbaum), Cocolat (Medrich), Sweet Miniatures (Braker), The Pastry Chef’s Little Black Book (Zebrowski/Mignano), Simply (Ghayour), Flavors of the Sun (Whelan), Jacques Pepin’s Complete Techniques, The Food Lab (Lopez/Alt), and the tattered 1975 edition of Joy of Cooking, which was the first cookbook I ever used.

  • Jenny  on  December 12, 2022

    DarcieB…..Sweet how could I forget Sweet I’ve baked from that more than anything. Ok now back to deleting a book……to bring Sweet in.

  • Cookbooksgalore  on  December 12, 2022

    It’s paperback-sized, but Madhur Jaffrey’s “100 Weeknight Curries” is the book we go back to, again and again. We’ve given at least three copies away to friends.

  • mharriman  on  December 12, 2022

    Over the years I’ve collected recipes from friends, relatives, online sources, and newspapers and put these in clear sheet protectors in three ring binders. Those four binders would be the first in my bag:
    A) Meats & Fish
    B) Soups & Salads
    C) Everything Else (breakfast foods, vegetables, desserts)
    D) Holiday Foods
    Next would be:
    Joy of Cooking (2006 edition)
    Cooking Light Fresh Food Fast
    Giada’s Feel Good Food
    Julia Child’s Masteting The Art of French Cooking
    Dinner For Two, America’s Test Kitchen

    And if I had room for one more:
    Sally’s Cookie Addiction

  • MarciK  on  December 12, 2022

    I would grab my grandma’s original Betty Crocker cookbook and The White House Cookbook my son gifted me. I’d probably grab my Better Homes & Gardens that my mom gave me when I was a young woman starting out, and probably The Beloit Cookbook which was quite difficult to obtain. If I still have time, there are some old community cookbooks I’d want for memories, but photos and important documents would be priority over those. I would replace what I could of the cookbooks that were most important to me now. Many of these are still available, so I won’t feel a lot of pressure to load up a car with them. I have a similar list for my perfume collection. Since the most likely scenario for having to evacuate is a fire, it is unlikely I’ll be able to grab more than a purse, shoes, and hopefully coat.

  • EskieF  on  December 15, 2022

    My essential books would not include any baking books – I don’t have a sweet tooth at all! I love cheese scones – and I can bake those without any recipe! My 10 ‘grab and go’ books would be:

    Marcus’ Kitchen: My Favourite Recipes to Inspire your Home-Cooking
    by Marcus Wareing

    A Cook’s Book: The Essential Nigel Slater
    by Nigel Slater

    The Pauper’s Cookbook: The Classic Collection of 250 Recipes on a Budget
    by Jocasta Innes

    One Pot Feeds All: 100 Deliciously Simple One-Dish Recipes
    by Darina Allen

    Dishoom: From Bombay with Love
    by Shamil Thakrar and Kavi Thakrar and Naved Nasir

    From the Oven to the Table: Simple Dishes That Look After Themselves
    by Diana Henry

    Completely Perfect: 120 Essential Recipes for Every Cook
    by Felicity Cloake

    The Hairy Bikers’ Chicken & Egg
    by Si King and Dave Myers and Hairy Bikers

    A Simply Delicious Christmas, Revised and Updated 25-Year Anniversary Edition
    by Darina Allen

    The Good Cook
    by Simon Hopkinson

  • LeilaD  on  December 16, 2022

    1) My grandmother’s Good Housekeeping cookbook from 1947
    2) Athena Family Cookbook, since it was a wedding present
    3) Food Made Fast: Asian because it is a life-saver on busy weeknights
    4) Wookie Cookies because childhood nostalgia
    Whatever next six cookbooks came to hand

  • bittrette  on  December 29, 2022

    It would depend not only on how useful they were to me, but how easily they could be replaced.
    My favorite recipes, if they are assembled at all, are probably in binders and storage boxes and not grabbable in an emergency.
    Only one print book stands out for me: The Kitchen Companion, by Polly Clingerman. Very helpful, and o.p.

  • bhasenstab  on  December 30, 2022

    I have solved this problem by purchasing digital copies of my favorite cookbooks from Apple’s Books app, so if I have my phone I have a number of Mark Bittman books, The Frankies Spuntino, James Beard’s American Cookery, and other long-term favorites.

  • bittrette  on  December 31, 2022

    For me, a go-bag book should be helpful and hard to replace. No book of mine fits the description more than The Kitchen Companion, by Polly Clingerman. Brimming with useful advice and mini-recipes, and out of print.

  • yuzucello  on  January 4, 2023

    Some of these “desert island” lists are more like dessert islands…

  • tarae1204  on  January 13, 2023

    Mine is:
    Dinner in an Instant – Melissa Clark
    Comfort in an Instant – Melissa Clark
    Dinner in French – naturally, Melissa Clark
    Salad Freak – Jess Damuck (why wasn’t this on more 2021 best of lists, I don’t know!)
    Midwest Made – Shauna Sever

    Cookbooks with the most personal value are my grandmother’s copies of Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volumes I and II, The Tasajara Break Book ( a copy I found in Rabat, Morocco with many neatly penciled revisions), and Couscous and Other Good Foods from Morocco by Paula Wolfert.

  • MFJ196  on  March 11, 2023

    What an incredibly cool topic, and such fun reading through everyone’s choices! I’m feeling a bit smug in knowing that about half of my ~600+ cookbooks today are on my Kindle as e-cookbooks. So as long as there was an internet connection somewhere (depending on the crisis at hand), I would already have a huge number of great cookbooks on my phone. EatYourBooks got me hooked on those discounted cookbook deals years ago, so it feels almost retro to me now to pull one off the shelf!

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