Best General Cookbooks

Find our top nine picks for the best general cookbooks published in the United States since 1987.

The Essential New York Times Cookbook

2. The Essential New York Times Cookbook 

The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century
By Amanda Hesser, W.W. Norton & Company, 2010. Hardcover. $40; 932 pages

When you have 150 years of recipes at hand (not all the ones that are fit to print, presumably, but a formidable pile), and you’re The New York Times, your book takes on the mantle of historical document. The risk is ponderousness. But Times columnist Amanda Hesser, acting as wry docent and curator, does a brilliant job keeping the musty-dusty feel out and herpaper’s knowing perspective in. This is a great gray book, of course, but  a genuine reading pleasure.

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