The Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book was my first and still my favorite of all my cook books over the years.
I bet most people have seen the familiar red and white checked cover of this book. It has been a kitchen staple of many homes for what seems like forever. They update it and come out with a new version every few years and there is even a pink covered edition of it to support breast cancer awareness.
I highly recommend this as a great first or basic cookbook to have. It is full of wonderful, easy to prepare recipes that are completely accessible to even the most novice home cook. I know when my daughter is ready to go out on her own, I will be getting her a copy of this book. The recipes are more common type foods that are tried and true classics and they have very simple and easy to understand instructions. Each chapter begins with a nutritional analysis chart of all the recipes that are in it. Some sections of the book such as the canning and freezing chapter, take you through the process of the canning method and the how to's of doing it as well as giving you yummy recipes, making it an instruction manual as well as a cook book. The last chapter is called the special helps section. This section takes you through steps from meal planning all the way to making garnishes.
This book is a hardback 3 ring binder type book although there are actually 5 rings in it. The advantage to having a 3 ring binder book over a bound spine book is that the book lays flat when it is open to a page and stays that way making it easy to read when it is laying on the counter. In the almost 20 years that I have had this book, I have only lost one of the pages due to the holes tearing on it so I am pleased with it's construction. I also really like that each chapter is defined by a staggered tabbed label so finding a particular chapter is quick and easy. If I were to change anything about this book, I would add more pictures to it. There are some pictures and illustrations though out the book but I would really like them to add some more so you have a better idea of what the recipe should look like when it is done.