Sometimes I like to read cookbooks for fun. One I'm enjoying currently is Jessica Harper's The Crabby Cook Cookbook: Recipes and Rants. I've also enjoyed the Mennonite More-with-Less cookbook and the Sondheim/Sloan collaboration A Dinner a Day, although some of the last cookbook's recipes are really terrible. But for menu-planning ideas, it's a great book!
Anyway! Here are my favorite cookbooks:
Betty Crocker's Cooky Book was published in 1963, and is one of the few cookbooks I remember from my childhood. I loved paging through and looking at the color pictures and illustrations, and reading the "flavor text". For example, the cookie called Joe Froggers starts off with this: "Our adaptation of the famous molasses cookies made long ago by old Uncle Joe of Marblehead, Mass. The cookies are as plump and dark as the little frogs that lived in the pond near Joe's cottage". These texts made cooking seem like a fun activity, and encouraged me to experiment with baking.
When I was a high school student, in the summertime my sister and I took turns doing a lot of the household chores, since by then Mom had taken a job outside the home. It was fun to do the menu planning and shopping, and having control over what we all ate for dinner!Pillsbury's Bake Off Main Dish Cook Book (published in 1968) was one of my go-to books. Cece and I tried quite a few of the casserole recipes during those years. Recipes we especially enjoyed included Hungy Boys' Casserole, Beef Burger Bar-B-Que, and Chicken Almond Party Bake.