Joy the Baker’s 5 Essential Cookbooks

Wilson has an incredible knack for making anyone believe they can cook with her recipes. Photo courtesy of Joy Wilson.

Do you know Joy the Baker, a.k.a. Joy Wilson? She’s the delightful writer behind her super-popular, eponymous website and the author of three cookbooks (so far):  Joy the Baker Cookbook: 100 Simple and Comforting RecipesHomemade Decadence: Irresistibly Sweet, Salty, Gooey, Sticky, Fluffy, Creamy, Crunchy Treats, and the brand-new Over Easy: Sweet and Savory Recipes for Leisurely Days. You can meet her on Monday, March 20, at Rizzoli Bookstore, where she’ll be doing a Q&A with Smitten Kitchen‘s Deb Perelman—and nab a copy of Over Easy a day early while sipping wine and snacking on bites from the cookbook.

Wilson has an incredible knack for making anyone believe they can cook with her recipes, so we wanted to find out which cookbooks inspire her. Here, her essentials—including the one she used to copy into her notebook before she could afford it.

Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
Dorie Greenspan’s Baking was my first adult cookbook. Nearly every page is marked with notes and stained with butter. Dorie’s recipes are workhorses, and I’m sure by now I’ve just about scribbled her fool-proof baking proportions inside my heart.

The Gourmet Cookbook: More Than 1,000 Recipes by Ruth Reichl
Ruth Reichl’s The Gourmet Cookbook is the cookbook I used to sit with in the bookstore and scribble recipes from into my notebook because the book itself was way out of my budget. There’s a recipe for everything. I’m sure if anyone checked we’d actually find that the book itself is infinite… That’s how many recipes I think are there. (I’ve bought the book by now. I’m done bootlegging it.)

The Perfect Start to Your Day: Delicious Recipes for Breakfast and Brunch by Tonia George
Tonia George’s The Perfect Start to Your Day is my cookbook collection’s feel-good breakfast book. The pancakes are inspiring, and Tonia makes very vegetable-forward breakfasts that feel unexpected and satisfying.

The Yellow Table: A Celebration of Everyday Gatherings: 110 Simple & Seasonal Recipes by Anna Watson Carl
Anna Watson Carl’s The Yellow Table is the book I reach for when I have more than four close friends coming over for dinner. It’s homey and approachable and inspires the kind of meal that I’m still comfortably preparing as my guests arrives. It’s a slow dice-and-enjoy-your-wine kind of cookbook.

Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch by Nigel Slater
Nigel Slater’s Tender is my vegetable bible. Written like a love story to every vegetable under the sun and inside the ground. Nigel Slater’s recipe writing feels more like an invitation and an opportunity more than it does a list of steps and tasks—it always inspires me to get in the kitchen, sometimes with a rutabaga.