I may have a reputation for bringing food into every project I'm involved in. So here's my food blog for the library!
If you're looking for the basics with tons of recipes, try The Essential New York Times Cook Book: Classic Recipes for a New Century by Amanda Hesser. When I first saw it published, I worried that the library didn't need to add a basic cookbook with the several shelves of various cooking books we already own. But the reviews were superb and it's a real classic, so it made it to our shelves and was checked out by 15 different library users since October. Grab it when you see it!
A few weeks ago I got a book from a neighboring library: The Baking Answer Book : Solutions to Every Problem You'll Ever Face, Answers to Every Question You'll Ever Ask, by Lauren Chattman. I learned why cooking projects react the way they do--how yeast, baking powder, whipping, eggs, and baking soda all make things rise, and why you use what when. Solutions to probable catastrosphies when you don't have the exact ingredient or equipment are inspired. Better flavor blends are suggested. This little volume is just the behind the scenes report every curious baker needs.
My third selection really peaked my curiosity. I own a really old version of the Fannie Farmer Cookbook, the basis of the Boston Cooking School. The book is dog-earred by my mother and smeared with ingredients as I learned to cook. Chris Kimball, host of America's Test Kitchen on PBS, decided to reenact a twelve course Victorian dinner with recipes from the 1896 Fannie Farmer's. Your mouth will be watering and your head reeling with the preparation and menu he creates with his team. Well, there may be a queasy moment or two when you read what those Victorians tried out. Fascinating!
I'm going home to bake something. Ta-Ta!