Chef Bill Smith calls this book "absolutely elemental." 

By F&W Editors
Updated May 23, 2017
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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.

The Chef: Bill Smith

The Book: The Joy of Cooking, by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker and Ethan Becker (1931)

“It’s absolutely elemental,” Smith says. “It has features like know your ingredients and measurements and conversions, but also directions on how to boil water, make ice cream, and clean a fish. Whenever a friend gets married, I always try to find a copy of it.”