Much more interesting to me was “Joy of Cooking,” a book I heard of when I got my first apartment in New York after college. I bought a copy and was thrilled with the huge variety of recipes, although many of the dishes I picked out to cook were on the bland side. That was probably my fault because I was afraid of seasonings.
That changed when my mother bought me “The Spice Cookbook.” Here were recipes with major flavor. During my four years of cooking for myself and my roommate, I toggled between “Joy” and “Spice.” They’re still in a prominent place in my kitchen, and whenever I pick them up I remember my young and fun days in The Big Apple.