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James Beard's American Cookery

Top 10 Cookbooks

James Beard's American Cookery, one of GAYOT's Top 10 Cookbooks, is a classic tome that delves deep into America's culinary roots

James Beard's American Cookery
By James Beard
(Little, Brown, 1972)

James Beard has been called "the father of American cuisine," and he put everything he knew into his classic cookbook, James Beard’s American Cookery. Originally published in 1972, the illustrated, encyclopedic volume features more than 1,500 of his favorite recipes. Although Beard wrote more than 20 cookbooks, American Cookery is considered his chef d'oeuvre. The tome’s enduring popularity is due to the fact that it does more than deliver superb recipes, it digs deep into the history of American cuisine. Beard takes the time to explain the origins of such dishes as the 1940s-sounding “Mrs. Harland’s Fricassee of Lamb Tongues.” The book also includes advice on dozens of cooking questions, from how to choose the best produce to how to make an authentic cheeseburger. The 2010 edition features the original text and color illustrations, and a new foreword by Tom Colicchio.


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From Alice Waters to Julia Child to James Beard, the classic cookbooks on GAYOT's list have shaped our culinary landscape.