Every good cook's cookbook "collection" is unique to them. After purchasing and using the essential cookbooks, it's time to branch out into new territory. I leave the decision to you on which book to choose but I have a few hints to help you choose wisely.

Look for books that are written by chef's from established restaurants. These recipes have generally been tested and re-tested at the restaurant under "battle conditions". I've found they are usually quick and contemporary to today's tastes.

Avoid books that call for packaged goods like Velveeta or canned creamed soup. They are old-fashioned and high in fat and calories. Browse through the book and look for recipes using fresh fruits and vegetables.

Ethnic books will call for ingredients not commonly found at the supermarket. Explore your neighborhood ethnic markets, use the yellow pages, or ask a friend where you can buy these ingredients. Many ethnic cookbooks have glossaries containing names and addresses of regional stores stocking ethnic goods. Ethnic food is a fascinating way to learn about a culture; don't be put off by the extra work to stock your pantry or learn something different!

Finally, purchase a book that fits your lifestyle. Honestly estimate how much time you have to devote to cooking and choose a book that you will use.

Another excellent source of recipe ideas are the various food magazines. The illustrations are beautiful and inspiring to any cook and the recipes are usually easy, quick and very current. Many of the magazines are special interest oriented (eg. Vegetarian Times, Cooking Light). One of the nicest qualities about the food magazines is that they follow the seasons. If you see a recipe you want to try, you should have no problem finding the produce at the supermarket. The next time you go shopping, browse through the food magazines and see which one appeals to you!

Recommended Reading:
The Joy of Cooking- Rombauer & Becker
Fannie Farmer's Baking Book- Marion Cunningham
The New Basics Cookbook- Rosso & Lukins

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