Grocery Bag FAQ: What’s your favourite cookbook?

Friday, 1 March 2013 | Tags: , , , , , ,

Many of you have asked us this question over the years since we started filming Anna & Kristina's Grocery Bag. Here are our recommendations for cookbooks that'll never let you down!


My Father’s Daughter

by Gwyneth Paltrow

We have to hand it to Gwyneth. She’s definitely a triple threat! This is not just a cookbook that’s endorsed by a celebrity, it’s Gwyneth Paltrow’s personal collection of family favourites. We definitely think My Father’s Daughter is worth your money.


Available in Canada at:


Available in the USA at:
Barnes & Noble 




The Joy of Cooking (75th Anniversary Edition)

By Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker

Joy of Cooking is a must-have cookbook and reference guide for anyone who cooks. If you already have an earlier edition, you may want to stick with it. But if you don’t have Joy of Cooking yet, you should!


Available in Canada at:



Available in the USA at:
Barnes & Noble



Cook with Jamie

by Jamie Oliver

Cook With Jamie unquestionably gets our A&K Stamp of Approval. Jamie’s cooking and food philosophies, as well as his instructional lessons, make this book a definite buy for a wide range of skill levels. 


Available in Canada at: Buy from

Available in the USA at:
Barnes & Noble


Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

by Ina Garten

This is one cookbook we strongly recommend for beginners and advanced cooks alike. We are in love with this book!


Available in Canada at:


Available in the USA at: 
Barnes & Noble



Plus, another Barefoot Contessa cookbook is

our Favourite Product for March!




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  • GTA_John

    But … but … but what about “Bon Appetite, Y’All”?

    • annaandkristina

      Oh it’s a good one too, for sure! The original question we get asked all the time is what ONE cookbook do you recommend. Honestly, we had a hard time narrowing it down to just four. Bon Appetit, Y’all is definitely on our full A&K-approved cookbook list

  • Nicolb

    For the visual learners, I’ve found Jane Hornby’s What To Cook and How To Cook It is super useful:

    • annaandkristina

      Thanks for the tip, Nicolb!

  • Chef Mike Benninger

    You can’t go wrong with any of those, even though I found Paltrow’s book a bit fluffy for my personal tastes, but I’m sure it has a huge auduence. My 3 “go to’s” are Jamie Olivers first book, “The Naked Chef”, “The Essential Asian Cookbook” and “The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook (2001-2010)”. I cook professionally in 80+ different kitchens a year, and thus I need proven, tested recipes, 99% of the time, these 3 books deliver tasty results…

    • annaandkristina

      Thanks for these, Chef Mike Benninger! We’ve had a number of people mention they love the America’s Test Kitchen. And Naked Chef is a classic. We’ll keep an eye out for the Asian one!

      • Chef Mike Benninger

        I’ll sent you a photo of the cover if you want

  • Karen Bailey

    I can’t possibly narrow it down to just one cookbook. Although I don’t have Gwyneth Paltrow’s book, I have the others you mention and they are fantastic. I also bought Ina Gartner’s Foolproof recently and will be trying it soon. Right now, my main go-to books are two by Bonnie Stern: Friday Night Dinners and Essentials of Home Cooking. Everything in these have turned out great for me (such as yummy buckwheat blinis with smoked trout, roast cauliflower with tahina sauce, couscous with dates, and a variation of chicken tagine). Among light cooking books, two favourites are Bonnie Stern’s HeartSmart Cooking for Family and Friends and Rose Reisman’s The Art of Living Well. Although I’ve only tried a few recipes from the latter, it has a honey nut-coated salmon recipe that gets rave reviews from family and friends. Among dessert books, I love The Cake Bible. The one cake I’ve tried, an apricot cake with a decorative sugar-based cage over it, was fabulous (although complicated) and the chapters about ingredients and techniques are really interesting.

  • Sophie Côté

    La Dolce Vegan! by Sarah Kramer. It saved my life when I switched to a vegan diet. 🙂

    • Anna & Kristina

      Thanks for the recommendation, Sophie!

  • tanya parker

    I have three of the 4 your recommend, with the addition of the rest of Ina’s books! She is most certainly my weekday go to. I also have my mother’s first cookbook she bought when she moved to Canada in 1956, the Purity cookbook. It no longer has a cover, and I have to be gentle with it, but I use it for a lot of my baking.

    • annaandkristina

      Great to hear! A couple of her dishes are on our go-to list too!

  • Laurel McBrine

    Recently started watching your show – fun! You should review one of the many vegan cookbooks on the market!

    • annaandkristina

      Thanks for the tip, Laurel! We have tested a couple of vegetarian cookbooks, and one flexitarian cookbook, but no vegan yet. We’ll put it on our suggestion list. Thanks!

  • Yvonne Bennett

    I love all of your shows, have been watching for a few years now, although lately it’s hard to find them. Are you still doing shows? I wanted to recommend the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Cookbook. Everything in it is easy and delicious and a great cookbook for those who ‘think’ they can’t cook. I’ve been teaching my sons (age 15 and 12) how to cook and we use this cookbook a lot! They love all the recipes in it! Keep up the great work!

    • annaandkristina

      Thanks Yvonne! We’re still on OWN Canada right now but the times seem to change frequently. Here is the schedule page for our show on the OWN Canada website:

      We’ve done TWO Jamie Oliver books, but not this one, but we agree, it’s great! So many easy fast dishes with regular ingredients.

  • JYC

    The New and Complete Encyclopedia of Cooking, by Madame Benoit was the first cookbook I bought for my wife many years ago. It is her go to book. She has dozens of others, but if you want to know how to do something this book will rarely let you down.

  • Randall Swarts

    Here is a cookbook to add to your list – ‘Cook”s Illustrated Cookbook’ from America’s Test Kitchen. All of these recipes are tested by their staff for the tv show and they discuss why the recipe ‘works’. My only criticism is the lack of photos of the final recipes but there are illustrations of the techniques. I know Anna loves pizza- who doesn’t!- and their Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza is simply the best pizza I have ever tasted anywhere and easy to prepare at home!

    • Erica Brundin

      he is right the do have lots of great recipes.

    • Marilyn


      I’m all over “The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook-2002-2014”. I’m so impressed with it after trying several different recipes that I bought extra copies for my daughter as well as for nephew & nieces who also love preparing & eating good food. They refer to it either as their “Bible” or the “New Testament” from one who is already an experienced cook with natural talents. These books are strong in a wide range of recipes from all over the world. Just try the “Hot & Sour Soup” recipe & if you’ve had a version of this soup that you’ve thought was The Real Deal- you will love their version. I also love their recommended substitutions for rare ingredients. Their Test Kitchen is also great when it comes to kitchen appliances, ingredients, & tools. You won’t regret ordering any of their cookbooks. There’s something for the beginner to the more advanced home cook.

  • Erica Brundin

    Hey there ladies. I love everything you do, on a typical day your shows are on 4, 5,or 6 different times. I hate (love) to admit I watch everyone. Over the last year or so your show has really inspired me to cook more, go out side the box, which I will say is hard b/c my guy is a meat and potato man (although thought the son of a bitch stew was not so appealing). A magazine you should really check out and test yourselves is “The Food Network Magazine”, they have many recipes that have been a pleaser in my home, maybe in yours too. keep up the amazing work. 🙂

  • Maggie Hamel

    I’m a new vegetarian and love Paul McCartney a Meatless Mondays.. But I would love to find and other great book where the receptors are delicious as Paul McCartney. Will you be doing vegetarian books? Any to suggest?

  • annaandkristina

    Hi Maggie! A go to book we like for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike is any Moosewood cookbook by Mollie Katzen. Enjoy!

  • local421

    Are you producing any new shows? The last new episodes of Grocery Bag I recall watching were from Season 4, which was over a year ago. Please tell me there’s more to come!

    • Anna & Kristina

      We have a 1-hour special airing on the W Network this Sunday, January 19!

  • CanadianErin

    I can’t narrow it to just one, either, but I can say that any Canadian Living Cookbook I have ever read is AWESOME. I’m currently going through The Slow Cooker Collection and The One Dish Collection. Their recipes are ALWAYS easy to follow, and they have lots of pictures — there is nothing I *HATE* more than a cookbook with no pictures! (Gardening books, too, especially the ones that are along the lines of “100 Best Plants for the ___” … I want to see what it LOOKS like, darnit!) — and are printed on nice glossy pages (’cause you know I’m going to splatter something on it!)

    I’m not a big baker, but I picked up (many years ago, in the early 1990’s) one of Canadian Living BEST series of books called “Muffins and More”, and I ADORE it! In addition to lots of individual recipes, they have 2 recipes for Master Mixes — one being a basic muffin mix, the other being an oatmeal cookie mix. Each master mix makes about 4 batches, and each has themini-recipes, the things you can add to make the item differently (ie banana chocolate chip muffins or chocolate chip oatmeal cookies), using 2.75 cups of the master mix. I thought it was a BRILLIANT idea and I have referred to that book MANY times through the years! Neighbours have LOVED getting warm muffins or cookies when I’ve popped by to give them some as a welcome or a thank you for snowblowing my walks through the winter.
    Speaking of winter — I hope it will be over soon! I’m looking forward to A & K’s April articles! 🙂

  • Michele Wells

    Coconut Every Day. I have tried about 20 recipes and all have been fabulous…and most are gluten free. Love your show, BTW 🙂

  • jordanhughes64

    love your show hope you make some new ones. But can’t believe when is Paltrow is your favorite cookbook can’t stand her. Wish you had selected another cookbook is your favorite. However I’ll continue to like you anyway, you are a great team and very engaging to watch.

  • Shannon Brown

    I have a few faves but the one that comes to mind is Made in the Shade: A Collection of Recipes by the Junior League of Greater Ft. Lauderdale. I’m a huge fan of a cookbook with lots of pictures so I was surprised I liked this one. I always like a picture to compare my finished product.
    My favorite food is Seafood. Maine Lobster is number one on my list. A few other faves on my list are books by Paula Deen, Barefoot Contessa and Mario Batali. Cookbooks are my addiction (okay, one of many). I try a new cookbook and pinterest recipe every week.

  • Ree

    Lol, in regards to your favourite cookbooks, I have and are also my go to’s 3 out of the 4. Have to have a look a Gweneth’s.

  • Sandy

    So…..I have a lot of food sensitivities (dairy, gluten, soy, nuts, eggs). Sigh. Do you have a cookbook you’d recommend that would take minimal tweaking for me to use it? I’m pretty good at subbing things in and out, but it’s always a treat not to have to change anything!

  • Ellen

    Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi It is the best that I have ever cooked from! Delicious! Enjoy Israel!

  • Payattention

    I just watched two episodes of Grocery Bag back to back. Are these two competent at anything? They way they screwed up REALLY basic things is either an “act” that I find offensive, or if not, shows they are worse than two teens failing Home Ec. Seriously, they can’t even read and follow simple recipes. I feel like I lost I.Q. points after the Betty Crocker episode. I can’t imagine anyone actually watching these two regularly and I know I won’t watch again. My mother still has, and uses, the B C cookbook she was given when my parents married in 1955. It is the cookbook we all learned to cook with and there’s nothing wrong with it as a learning tool. I hate to think what these two would do with Julia Child’s original cookbook.

  • KelseyT

    I would love to see another Christmas episode 🙂 you ladies are amazing! You’ve managed to give me some confidence in the kitchen which I thought was near impossible! You relate to the average home chef and you do it with such authenticity and style. You don’t fake it just to make
    It! Even my boyfriend likes watching your show with me! I’ve never attempted any kind of Christmas recipe before and I think you could inspire me to start. I’ve already exhausted all of your previous Christmas episodes and I’m dying for another haha. Any suggestions for good traditional Christmas recipes?