Cookbook Memories

For National Cookbook Month we are focusing on the importance of these books in our lives. There are cookbooks that are irreplaceable, like Grandma’s stained and annotated Joy of Cooking, or the treasured recipes that the family historian had printed and distributed to the clan. These books connect us to the past, to the knowledge of the cooks before us. For a great  perspective on the power of the cookbook read this moving NY Times article.

Cooking alone quote.jpg


We  asked the D’Artagnan staff to share stories about cookbooks that made a difference in their lives.

There is a cookbook I can tell you about that had tremendous impact on me. My first real job was washing dishes at Jerry’s Seafood in Sparta, NJ. I worked for a woman named Elizabeth McGee, and in the small kitchen there, if I was caught up on dishes, she’d walk me through the recipes in her binder. It was sticky; stained yellow from w
hat I imagine was decades of fry oil and cigarettes. She passed some time ago, but I think of her often when I need good advice. I wish I had a copy…there was some great stuff in there.   – Joe, Retail Sales

Another story from the kitchen came from Greg, who treasures a cookbook that was given to him by his mentor.


After a few years honing my cooking techniques in the kitchen, my chef gave me Alfred Portale Simple Pleasures from his personal collection. It was the first book that sparked the creative juices in my head and got me thinking about how I could express my own cooking styles. It became my go to when I hit a mental block.

– Greg, Inside Sales

Tell us about a cookbook that has personal meaning to you. Leave a comment and explain why, or tag @dartagnanfoods on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Featured photo: Maria Paloa cookbook, from Special Collections at Virginia Tech blog.



3 Comments Add yours

  1. Suzanne Douglass says:

    I have a number of ethnic cookbooks I like to draw from, but my favorite cookbook is the 1981 edition, well-thumbed through, of “The New James Beard”, given to me by my Mom. He cooked everything! I also like another one she gave me, “Paul Bocuse’s French Cooking”. I made my first cassoulet using his recipe – and I was hooked!

    1. D'Artagnan says:

      Thanks for sharing that Suzanne! Those are great cookbooks – especially if they hooked you on cassoulet.

      1. Suzanne Douglass says:

        I make my cassoulet in an old romertopf clay pot. Comes out delicious! I’ve got to order more of your duck confit. Cassoulet season is upon us.

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