Our 6 Essential Cookbooks For Any Kitchen

A kitchen isn’t complete without stained and highly used cookbooks on a shelf. It may be easy to find great recipes online, but you still need cookbooks! A great cookbook contains more than just recipes – they’re enjoyable to read even when you’re not cooking. We’ve put together our list of essential cookbooks that can fit nicely into any kitchen and get great use. Without further ado, we present the Kitchen Cabinet Kings list of essential cookbooks for any kitchen!

1. How to Cook Everything

How to Cook Everything accomplishes exactly what the title says it does. This cookbook has a little of everything and makes it extremely simple to find what you’re looking for. More than just recipes, this cookbook spends time explaining cooking techniques, tools and more. It’s a fantastic starter cookbook that won’t ever let you down.

Read more on Amazon

2. Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

Italian cuisine is a staple that everybody should be prepared to cook. There is nobody better than Marcella Hazan to bring amazing Italian recipes and techniques into your home. This is truly a classic that will take your food to the next level and teach you what it means to cook Italian food.

Read more on Amazon

3. Joy of Cooking

Joy of Cooking is a book many of us have seen in our parents, grandparents or relatives homes. It’s been an influential cookbook for almost 100 years, and continues to be a classic. Joy of Cooking has taught countless people how to cook with no prior knowledge and is considered by some to be “The Cooking Bible”. If you’re not sure which cookbook to start your collection with, you can’t go wrong with this one!

Read more on Amazon

4. Mastering the Art of French Cooking

This is the definitive book on French cooking that people have turned to since the early 1960’s. While this is the go-to cookbook when it comes to French cuisine, it’s also an incredible instructional guide and great read. Reading this book and following the recipes will elevate your cooking skills like none other. Even if you removed every recipe from this book, we’d still recommend it. Buy this, even if “French cuisine” isn’t your thing!

Read more on Amazon

5. The Taste of Country Cooking

Edna Lewis is a great woman with a great story. The Taste of Country Cooking is written extremely well with great stories and anecdotes. Along with those, you get fantastic country recipes. This book is split into seasons and holidays, making it easy to figure out what you’d like to cook. Any interest in Southern/country cooking should result in you giving The Taste of Country Cooking a read. You’ll love it!

Read more on Amazon

6. Baking: From My Home to Yours

Our essential cookbook list can’t be complete without a book dedicated to baking and sweet treats. Dorie Greenspan, the author of this perfect baking cookbook has written recipes for top chefs across the world. Many bakers, chefs, and home cooks agree that the best baking recipes come from Dorie. This cookbook has 300 recipes, each better than the last, guaranteed to wow you.

Read more on Amazon

No list can ever be perfect or complete. We think that our cookbooks above are the essential picks for any kitchen. We’d love to include additional cuisines, but that’s where you come in! As you learn more about what you want out of a cookbook and see what the essentials lack, you’ll be able to add to your collection. We would recommend adding 2-3 additional cookbooks from other cuisines and 1 “restaurant cookbook” from a chef that interests you.

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Dugout Chair Part 8, The Inner Bark

Today I got smart and worked on this dugout chair before I took a shower – genius. Also, I found an easier way to remove the inner bark – with a chisel. Last night after dinner I went out to look at what one blog commenter has called “about the ugliest thing in woodworking history” and decided to see how easy it would be to chisel the inner bark away […]

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Dugout Chair Part 7, The Bark Flies

Before I could strip the bark off the dugout chair, I needed to shape the chair’s back. The bark had all my layout marks indicating the final shape of the chair. Armed with the TurboPlane, I smoothed out the steps I had cut into the stump earlier with my chainsaw. When I shaped the chair with a chainsaw, I sawed kerfs up and down the back of the chair that […]

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Dugout Chair Part 6, Remove the Rot

My progress on the dugout chair has been stymied by rains from two hurricanes, building two Campaign bookshelves and laying out a forthcoming book on carving by Mary May. But today I fired up my angle grinder to remove the rotted interior of this silver maple. I don’t have a ton of experience with an angle grinder. But if you’ve used an electric router, then you’ll quickly get comfortable with […]

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Sketch Your Way to Better Designs

One of my best woodworking tools is one I don’t write about much: my sketchbook. It’s an inexpensive spiral-bound thing I get at the grocery store, right by the romance novels. It’s always in my bag when I travel, and it’s on my lap when I’m “encouraged” to watch “Project Runway” with my lovely wife. I keep a mechanical pencil clipped to its metal spirals and use it to solve […]

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The Workbench X-Files

During the last decade I’ve amassed hundreds of images of early workbenches as part of my research into pre-industrial woodworking. Inevitably, some of the images don’t make a lot of sense and now populate a folder named: X-Files. These workbenches are from paintings and their features might be the result of a painter who doesn’t know much about woodworking. Or they could be a clue to a simple and neglected […]

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5 Household Chores You Have No Idea You’re Doing Wrong

For most homeowners, maintaining the cleanliness of their home is often one of the most difficult tasks. Depending on the size of your home, your household chores can seem endless. Many people don’t have much extra time on their hands to begin with, so maximizing the time you do have to clean your house is vital to getting chores done. However, there are several household chores many people are doing wrong without knowing!

By doing chores incorrectly, you’re costing yourself extra time and hassle. To get you on the path to an overall cleaner home, here is a list of household chores you might be doing wrong along with the right way to do it:

1. Putting your duvet cover back on

The challenge of putting a duvet cover back on is almost enough to make you not want to wash it in the first place. As if making the bed wasn’t bad enough, you will spend a good 30 minutes just trying to get your duvet cover back in place.

Instead, try the “burrito” method: place the cover inside out on the bed, lay the duvet on top, roll the two up like a burrito, open the duvet cover and put your hand inside, at each end pull the rolled burrito through so it is no longer inside out, then slowly unroll.

2. Organizing your refrigerator

Most people skip this chore because items get brought in and out of the fridge all the time from cooking, eating and grocery shopping. However, there are a few items you might forget about that can really become a stinker in the kitchen.

Start by throwing out any items that are expired or have gone bad. Then, adjust the shelf heights to be more compatible with your refrigerator items and group like items together. Find out more about organizing your refrigerator with our full post on it!

3. Cleaning your oven

This chore is a doozy – the self-cleaning feature on your oven takes hours and can leave your house smelling a tad funky. Instead, take care of spills as soon as they happen by pouring salt on the spill. Let it soak and cool down, then wipe it up.

4. Cleaning shower curtains and doors

If you have shower curtains: add a cup of vinegar to your detergent, then wash the shower curtains with it on hot and include a few towels. Don’t forget to hang the shower curtain afterward to try and avoid wrinkles.

If you have shower doors: sprinkle a dryer sheet with water and scrub the doors to remove soap scum.

5. Clean up your toothpaste for a sparkly sink

We brush our teeth every day – and should be doing so twice daily for squeaky clean teeth. Don’t let your sparkly teeth come with a dirty sink!

To get those annoying toothpaste stains off your sink, wipe them down with a wet microfiber cloth.

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All Hail the Versatile Doe’s Foot

The doe’s foot – a block of wood with a “V” cut into it – is one of the most versatile and cheap appliances for your workbench. I have an article about this little gizmo coming up in the next issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine (look for it in the November 2017 issue, or perhaps subscribe). I work with a lot of odd-shaped parts, especially when I build chairs. These […]

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Getting the Kitchen You Want: 5 Things to Consider Before Remodeling

A kitchen remodel is one of the biggest, yet best investments you can make in your home. Before you begin the process, it is important to map out exactly what kind of kitchen will fit your needs as well as your home’s style. These five essential questions will help you begin the planning process, no matter how large or small the renovation.

1. How well does your kitchen function now?

One important factor to consider is how well your kitchen’s layout works currently. If the kitchen is too small for your needs, it may be worth enlarging it. If expanding the footprint of the kitchen is not possible, you can rearrange the appliances and cabinets to maximize the space you do have to create an open space. Adding a kitchen island will create extra seating and storage space.

2. How much storage do you need?

Everything in your new kitchen should have its own place. Your cabinet design should be able to store all of your cooking and baking essentials easily. For example, large pieces of baking equipment require larger and wider storage spaces.
Those who have a small kitchen area will also want to look for ways to add storage, such as mounting your microwave rather than keeping it on the counter, or choosing cabinets that increase storage capacity. For a family with young children, adding a pantry might be a necessity!

3. What is your budget?

Creating a realistic budget prior to beginning the planning process will ensure that you will not over-spend. Make a list of the most important appliances/features that you would like in the kitchen and those that aren’t as important. This will help you decide areas in which you can save money. Once you set your budget, it is a wise idea to build a cushion into it by a few thousand dollars in case un-expected costs arise.

4. How do you use your kitchen?

If you only cook once a week, high-end appliances are probably not a priority for you. On the other hand, if you have a large family and find yourself preparing a meal most days and nights of the week, you will want appliances that are durable and will last through a lot of use. If you entertain often, people will most likely congregate in the kitchen so create an open space that allows you to cook and interact with your guests at the same time.

5. What style kitchen works for you?

If you are remodeling your kitchen but plan to sell your house within a few years, you will probably get more for your investment if you choose a traditional design. Choose neutral paint colors, granite and backsplash designs, and cabinets. You will get more back for your investment if you design a kitchen that the majority of buyers will find appealing. If you are not planning to sell, then you can choose a design that is more personalized to your style. Either way, your kitchen design should be symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing given the size and shape of the area.

Before you start your renovation, planning your goals for the space will ensure that your kitchen is exactly what you want, and within the budget that you set. Have you recently gone through a kitchen renovation? What were the biggest things that helped you when planning a remodel? Leave them in the comments below!

Planning on remodeling your kitchen in the future? Subscribe to the Kitchen Cabinet Kings email list to get helpful design and remodeling tips every week!

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Dugout Chair Part 5, Ready for Sculpting

After sculpting the backrest of this dugout chair with a chainsaw, I noticed two things. One, the chair is about half the weight when I started. I can move this thing around by myself with some grunting. Two: It’s now a rocking stump. Yup, after removing a lot of waste from the front of the chair, the stump began to tip backward on its own, rocking nicely on the meat […]

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