My Favorite Cookbooks

Before we dive into the meat of this post (harhar), it must be acknowledged that many people visiting this site will assume that this is a blog about food. Like the word stoic, epicurean has been twisted in English usage. It was first wrongly associated with blind hedonism, and then the pure enjoyment of food and drink (do a Google search of epicurean, and far more food sites than philosophy sites show up).

It’s true that epicureanism is a hedonistic school of philosophy, but only inasmuch that it states that pleasure (or, to translate the ancient Greek more accurately, happiness) is the greatest aim in life. However, epicureans believed that the carnal pleasures provide a very temporary happiness and could dangerously lead one down a path where one’s threshold for carnal pleasure had to be continually raised in order to receive any enjoyment from it at all, until one becomes totally overcome with dissipation. Only virtue can provide the means of “the good life” with real happiness and tranquility. But that’s another post. Webster’s Dictionary will give you two different definitions of epicurean: 1. a student of the Greek philosopher Epicurus; 2. a person devoted to sensual enjoyment, especially that derived from fine food and drink. I do enjoy food and drink, but this blog is devoted to the older meaning of the word.

Now that I’ve clarified that this isn’t a blog about food, let’s have a post about food!

keepers-808x1024Keepers

Just as the title suggests, these recipes are unadorned, simple and delicious. Several of these dishes have become regulars in our house. The food photography is beautiful and the dishes aren’t fussy.

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I’m Just Here for the Food

Oh, Alton, how do I love thee? Let me cook the ways. Alton Brown’s ability to combine something as seemingly mundane as cooking with the wonders of history and science is what gave me the confidence to tackle more complex recipes. And I’m forever indebted to him for teaching me that a brine is essential to cooking a good bird.

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The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Good ole PW. You either love her or you hate her. Considering that she’s a homeschooler with an unapologetic love for bacon, it should come as no surprise that I’m firmly in the Team PW camp. As far as I’m concerned, too many celebrity chefs these days are about style over substance and fad over flavor. Give me food in all its glory, without a side of pretentiousness, please. (P.S. Did you know the Pioneer Woman is now on Netflix Instant?)

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The Smitten Kitchen

This is as fancy as I get, people. I actually liked the recipes in the book more than from the website of the same title.

What are your go-to cookbooks when you’re feeling adventurous in the kitchen? I’d love to hear recommendations!

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