What Is Your Criteria for a Good Cookbook?

Recently one of my sisters was out shopping and called me from the store. She was trying to decide on one of two cookbooks by Rachel Ray and wanted my input. My advice probably only applies to me. I told her when I evaluate a cookbook to use for my daily cooking, I look in the index, find how many chicken recipes, then read them and see if I like the ingredients. If they sound reasonable, relatively simple and tasty, I will consider that cookbook. I’m always in the search of new ideas for chicken. And finding recipes that I can use is even narrower choices than most, since I need to stay away from wheat, eggs and dairy for my son’s food allergies.

Another area in which I decide on a cookbook is different ideas with ground beef. That darn hamburger meat is hard to come up with lots of options that aren’t tired and boring.

One final thing that will be a sure fire purchase is if any recipes that can be used for the liturgical year, as in feast days, saints days, name days, or regional food for religious festivals, especially European recipes. My groaning cookbook shelves are testament to that fact.

Question: What are your criteria for buying or checking out a cookbook? What new type of recipes are you always open to find?

And when you do find these recipes, do you try them out? What area are you most adventurous in cooking: breakfast, lunch, dinner, main meals, meats, desserts, appetizers? For me, I like to change up my main course at dinner. I know, it’s boring and practical.

Speaking of chicken recipes…I found two that I can’t wait to try from Dom and Melanie’s new food blog In the Kitchen with Bella.

Both of the these recipes fit my requirements (I can substitute the butter with safe margarine) and and I can replace the flour (since it’s used as thickener) with corn starch or sweet rice flour (1 1/2 teaspoons corn starch with 1 Tablespoon of flour, make sure mix with cold water first before adding to the hot mixture), or other thickeners, like potato starch, tapioca, arrowroot or even sassasfras root. These recipes are the style cooking I like to do, on the stove, with wine, different chicken parts (organic thighs are so much cheaper than breasts) and ANYTHING with artichokes!

Lemon Chicken and Artichokes

Chicken Leg Quarters Braised in White Wine

My mouth is already watering thinking about those artichokes!

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