Readers share their picks.
My favorite, can't-live-without cookbook is The Cake Mix Doctor by Anne Byrn (1999). It has more than 150 recipes for cakes that use a box mix as their base – but the magic Byrn has injected into each recipe completely disguises any blah "cake mix" taste. I have made about 60 of these cakes (often two or three a week), and they have all been foolproof. Friends and neighbors think I'm a scratch-cake baker! And the chocolate Bundt cake is a classic among Little Leaguers in our small town, who have renamed it "Cindy's All-Star Cake."– Cindy Yoshimura, Hood River, Ore.
Almost all of my favorite things to read are cookbooks, and I have many. But a few of my favs are Vegetables by James Peterson (1998), The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters (2007), and The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins (1989). It's a book I always give for a wedding gift. If cooks can't find something to fix in one of these, then they really aren't interested in cooking. The books are stained and threadbare from use. But that's what makes a great cookbook. Yum. – Carol Wells, Dallas
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