Here's the first thing I look for in a cookbook:  A clean layout, with the entire recipe on one well-spaced page and opposite a gorgeous photo of the finished product.  And yet the cookbook I use more than any other--the one I turn to when contemplating a new recipe or mixing up an old favorite, the one that answers pretty much all my culinary questions--has none of that.  Which proves that if the content is as stellar and writing as clear as Joy of Cooking, pretty pictures don't matter.

How about you?  What's your favorite cookbook, the one you take down from the shelf more than any other, the one splattered and stained with evidence of well-loved recipes enjoyed over and over again?  Please share it here.  I'll then add your selections to a new Readers' Choice list in the Style Maniac Amazon Boutique. Looking forward to your delicious choices.

My most loved, most used cookbook: the 1997 edition of Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker and Ethan Becker.  Photo: Doreen Creede.

"Use the good china for breakfast."