Every now and again, while at work, I'll come across a customer sitting in the cookbook section copying down a recipe from one of our books. Some may take issue with that, but I've never really seen the harm in it. Who wants to buy a cookbook for just one recipe anyway? Oh wait, I would.
I've got tons of cookbooks and I'm constantly talking myself out of buying more. I don't even use cookbooks for 95% of my cooking, but I love the inspiration. I'd be lost without baking books, because although I can make a yummy dinner from a seemingly empty fridge, I can't bake to save my life. The thing about having the whole book, is that if you know one recipe is good, chances are, you'll like most of the others as well.
I've got several cookbooks that I bought, mostly because I love one specific recipe. Vegan Brunch is the biggest offender; I use the Perfect Pancake recipe every week for Pancake Saturdays, a weekly tradition in my home. After purchasing it, I discovered other fantastic recipes in there like English muffins, cocoa raspberry muffins, and Tofu Omelets (trust me) , but oh, man those pancakes turn out perfectly every time. You don't even need any fancy vegan things. I often substitute water for non-dairy milk and you'd never know the difference.
Vegan Soul Kitchen is another one. Well, actually, I use two recipes from that one with regularity. The coconut oil pie crust will come out perfectly no matter what and without tears. My co-workers don't believe me, but I copied down the recipe for some of them, so someday maybe they'll get over the fear of "strange vegan ingredients" and try it out. Truth be told, there are no "strange vegan ingredients" in anything I cook, but I guess even coconut oil is not a regular occurrence in non-vegan pantries. The other favorite from this book is the red rice. Bryant Terry does the most amazing and tasty things with rice, that I would never have thought of on my own. His book can be loved by vegans and non-vegans alike for his whole-food ingredients and his talent for re-thinking the mundane (like rice).
Jo Stepanik's The Uncheese Cookbook is a staple in my kitchen. I originally bought it years ago to help a non-vegan boyfriend come to terms with the loss of cheese whenever I cooked. I don't usually use vegan substitutes for animal products, because they're weird and icky. These are homemade sauces, dips, and blocks that are 100% all natural, because they are home made. You won't find any wacky, hard-to-pronounce ingredients in this book. Best of all, everything in the book can be ready to eat in a pinch. My favorite is the Gooey Grilled Cheese Sandwich or the Macaroni and Cheese Sauce. But the recipe I use most often is actually not a cheese alternative at all, since I still tend to make those only by request of dinner guests, but a pizza dough recipe. The book naturally falls open to that page when I pull it out monthly to make a yummy vegetable pizza.
I'm guilty of writing down recipes from a book I didn't think I'd want later, but my shelves then become cluttered with bits and scraps of paper, and I know I'll never find that awesome recipe for Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes again because I think my cat probably chewed it up while trying to get my attention. And if I can find the recipe again, I won't know what book it came from and which author to trust with my cupcake needs, because I wasn't smart enough to write that information down. I better stop now, because I've made myself hungry. So if you're in the market for a new cookbook, or a new recipe, you could get out a pen and paper in your local bookstore, but you might be missing out on so many other fantastic recipes that you might have found if you brought the book home.