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Best Cookbooks of All-Time

The Book That Keeps Joanne Chang Baking

© Colin Clark

Getting a chef to pick a favorite cookbook is like asking a parent to choose her most-loved child. But F&W pressed great cooks around the country to reveal their top picks of all-time.

Chef: Joanne Chang of Boston's Flour Bakery

The Book: Baking with Julia by Julia Child, 1996

“I had my first pastry job at Rialto when Julia Child was writing the book and filming the TV series,” says Chang. “Through various Boston and Cambridge restaurant connections I got to witness part of the book being tested in Julia’s kitchen. It was a great opportunity to see Julia, who’s obviously an icon, and to watch behind the scenes. About three years later I decided to open my own bakery. The whole process of opening any restaurant is very long and very hard. I didn’t realize when I first started out how discouraging it could be. You have to deal with so many things that have nothing to do with baking, like attorneys, leases, equipment, regulations, just a bunch of crazy stuff. But that book never failed to re-inspire me. Seriously, I’d pick it up and within about 3 minutes I’d be like, ‘OK, no, this I what I want to do! And this is why I want to do it.’ There are a lot more modern, fancier books out there, but in terms of a book that I go to that brings me a lot of happiness, that book definitely does it.”

Related: Best Books for Food Lovers
Recipes from Julia Child
Joanne Chang's Asian-American Thanksgiving

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