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A passion for food often stems from a well-loved cookbook. Here are some of The Sainsbury's Magazine team's favourites that first got us cooking...

Delia's Complete Cookery Course by Delia Smith, chosen by Helena Lang, editor-in-chief

‘My beloved Grandma Henry gave me a copy of this when I was 16, and I’ve since updated it twice as it got so tatty. I still go back to some of the recipes, and love the fact the recipes always work. Every kitchen should have a copy.’

Mastering The Art Of French Cooking by Simone Beck, Louisette Bertholle & Julia Child, chosen by Anna Glover, creative food editor

 

‘I carried this around with me for about a year, dipping into it whenever I could. It inspired me to be so much more experimental after I’d mastered the traditional sauces and styles.’

The Winnie The Pooh Cookbook by Katie Stewart, chosen by Leah Hyslop, food director

‘When I turned nine, my mum gifted me her old copy of this, which she’d been given on exactly the same birthday. You can tell the recipes we loved best – the pages are welded together by clumps of biscuit dough!’

My Fun to Cook Book by Ursula Sedgwick, chosen by Tamsin Burnett-Hall, managing food editor

‘I started cooking from this typical 1970s children’s title. It was appealingly easy to use, and included recipes for actual meals like cheesy stuffed baked potatoes. It gave me a great sense of achievement to know I’d cooked for my family.’

The Kitchen Diaries by Nigel Slater, chosen by Ailsa Brown, food assistant 

‘I’ve never been a fan of overcomplicated food, and these recipes are everything I want to eat and more, and have really pushed me to try new things. My mum’s copy has now become my own, and is rarely out of my kitchen.’

 

Food For Thought by William Scott & Marilyn King, chosen by Corrie Heale, art editor

‘My family is vegetarian, and this has been my mum’s bible since the 1970s. The focus is on seasonal food that feeds the body and mind. When she bought me my own copy, it inspired me to become the creative cook I am today.’

Delia Smith's Summer Collection, chosen by Cassie Eade, art director

‘My mother-in-law bought me this when we first met, and one day I opened it and made the chicken Basque. It was easy, delicious and healthy, and I was hooked! I have her – and Delia – to thank for building my confidence in the kitchen.’

Jamie's Ministry Of Food by Jamie Oliver, chosen by Charlotte Davidson, editorial assistant

‘I was given this by my grandpa when I went off to uni. I’d dabbled in cooking with my mum before that, but once I was left to fend for myself, I really got into trying new things, and Jamie’s recipes are so easy but delicious.’

Ottolenghi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi, chosen by Tracy Muller-King, freelance sub editor

‘This is the book that first got me cooking Middle Eastern food. It helped me take veg to a new level and introduced me to new storecupboard staples such as zaatar and pomegranate molasses.’

Nigella Express by Nigella Lawson, chosen by Hananh Sherwood, digital content producer

‘Nigella’s no-nonsense attitude made cooking seem appealing and achievable. My two favourites from this book are spaghettini with prawns and chilli, and chocolate cloud cake – a crowd-pleaser I bake for birthdays.’

 

About the author

Sainsbury's magazine
Our team of trained chefs and skilled food writers love cooking for friends and readers alike