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    Dec 16, 2018

    14 Classic Cookbooks That'll Actually Teach You Something

    Something for everyone — from bread baking to sauce making.

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    When it comes to cookbooks, we often find ourselves coming back to the same few classics time and time again.

    So we rounded up 14 cookbooks we think every serious cook should own — from the French classics to ones that guide you through baking bread — so you can find the perfect gift for every cook on your list.

    1. For the person who wants to master classic recipes: Joy of Cooking

    2. For people looking to add to their go-to recipe repertoire: Small Victories

    3. For people who secretly want to go to culinary school: The Professional Chef

    Wiley

    Why it's a classic: This in-depth cookbook is filled with serious recipes that teach you how to create restaurant quality food at home. The book is used as the main textbook at one of the world's best cooking schools, so expect it to challenge you.

    Promising review: "There is nothing to think about. If you are serious about cooking, regardless of skill level, BUY THIS BOOK. It is easily the most comprehensive book I own."

    kdizzle

    Get it on Amazon for $52.30, Barnes & Noble for $52.30, or from a local bookstore through IndieBound here.

    4. For people who want to learn how to make legit bread at home: Flour Water Salt Yeast

    5. For people who want to learn how to cook better tasting food without relying on recipes: The Flavor Bible

    Little, Brown and Company

    Why it's a classic: The book is a complete guide for pairing thousands of ingredients with complementary flavors. It focuses less on recipes, and more on learning which ingredients go together to help you create your own recipes.

    Promising review: "Highly recommend if you're at the point in your cooking where you're ready to leave recipes behind and start making your own dishes. I use this whenever I see an ingredient is on sale or fresh at the farmer's market. Then I see what flavors pair with it and start building ingredients and dishes from there."

    Jason G.

    Get it on Amazon for $23.42, Barnes & Noble for $32, or from a local bookstore through IndieBound here.

    6. For people looking to master Southern cuisine while learning about its history: The Taste of Country Cooking

    Knopf

    Why it's a classic: The book includes menus for all four seasons and stories about the American country cooking style Lewis grew up with. Not only will the book teach you how to make some amazing Southern Appalachian recipes, it will give you stories to read while you make them.

    Promising review: "This is the original modern cookbook that tells a story and creates an environment while giving you some really good Southern Appalachian recipes. There have been many copycats since, but I really like the way she writes about food. A great sociological read, even if you never tried one of the recipe — but I guarantee you the recipes are good, too!"

    A. Matheny

    Get it on Amazon for $17.46, Barnes & Noble for $21.56, or from a local bookstore through IndieBound here.

    7. For people looking to master Italian cooking at home: Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

    Knopf

    Why it's a classic: The book is filled with Italian recipes that both new and experienced cooks will appreciate, and Hazan herself has even been credited as "introducing Americans to true Italian cooking."

    Promising review: "I must admit I was hesitant to buy another Italian cookbook, but this book is awesome. It's loaded with information and recipes and I'm so glad I took a chance on this one. You won't be disappointed."

    Susan H.

    Get it on Amazon for $19.29, Barnes & Noble for $28, or from a local bookstore through IndieBound here.

    8. For learning how to make the perfect bœuf bourguignon: Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1

    Knopf

    Why it's a classic: It's the definitive book on French cuisine for Americans.

    Promising review: "This book is essentially my cooking bible. As a chef, I can honestly say if you follow the recipes, you'll find there are several opportunities to add your own touch. It's incredibly easy to read and follow, and I would think so even if I weren't a professional chef."

    Erin McGory

    Get it on Amazon for $23.43, Barnes & Noble for $25.78, or from a local bookstore through IndieBound here.

    9. For people who are both food nerds, and science nerds: On Food and Cooking

    10. For the ambitious home cook: Le Guide Culinaire

    11. For people who want to understand what it takes to make a dish taste good: Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

    Simon & Schuster

    Why it's a classic: The book focuses on the four elements of cooking (salt, fat, acid, and heat) and how the combination of the four builds the foundation of flavor.

    Promising review: "So much more than a collection of recipes, it gets to the heart of cooking: Why we want to be better cooks AND how to do that."

    Susan J. Ryhanen

    Get it on Amazon for $21.26, Barnes & Noble for $31.50, or from a local bookstore through IndieBound here.

    12. For people who want to cook vegetarian food that isn't boring: Plenty

    13. For people who literally want to learn how to cook everything: How to Cook Everything

    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

    Why it's a classic: It's filled with 2,000 go-to recipes home cooks will love. The recipes are simple, straight forward, and foolproof.

    Promising review: "The best cookbook I own. I got it for my birthday; I had been using my girlfriend's first edition. Not only are the recipes good, he explains a lot of things either along the way or in dedicated spots in the book."

    Steven Williams

    Get it on Amazon for $19.60, Barnes & Noble for $28, or from a local bookstore through IndieBound here.

    14. For people who want to up their baking game: The Baking Bible

    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

    Why it's a classic: It's the go-to book for cakes, pies, tarts, and all kinds of baking projects written by one of the worlds most respected bakers.

    Promising review: "My go-to book for baking — I am pushing myself to try every recipe in this book! Rose Levy Beranbaum is simply the goddess of baking and her recipes and instructions are clear, concise, and fool proof to follow!"

    LaLa Mom

    Get it on Amazon for $36, Barnes & Noble for $37.80, or from a local bookstore through IndieBound here.

    Reviews have been lightly edited for length/clarity.

    Looking for more holiday shopping ideas? Check out Tasty's Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for all of our favorites!