Today’s afternoon chat is a reader request, and I think it’s going to be fun. There is nothing I love more than a cookbook — I like to read them like novels, sometimes, because it’s fun to imagine a day when you have nine hours to make Martha’s Hand-Rolled Baklava Wreaths or whatever.

Would you disobey this women? I would not. (In fact, I briefly interviewed Martha once, and she was humorously superior and detached to me — just as you want and expect Martha to be; it was the platonic ideal of an interaction with Martha Stewart. She also told me everyone needs to know how to roast a chicken, a statement with which I agree. With the exception of vegetarians, I suppose.)

Anyway! Regular readers know that I personally am OFTEN singing the praises of Gwyneth’s first two cookbooks (My Father’s Daughter, and It’s All Good, respectively); I have to admit that I use them perhaps more than any other cookbook I own. I LOVE them. (I also have the new one, It’s All Easy and just so you know, it’s VERY basic; it’s beautiful, but many of the recipes are for people who don’t know how to make scrambled eggs. Literally, there is a recipe for scrambled eggs. But I would recommend it for beginning cooks, because it actually IS all easy.) I also use everything Ina has ever published, The Big Fat Red New York Times Cookbook (not the real title), The Big Fat Blue Martha one (ditto; and I especially turn to this one when I want to doublecheck the 100% for sure correct way to make something, even if I don’t plan to actually do it that way); SEVERAL random old local cookbooks, including a great one that the LA Times put out like ten years ago; and occasionally Bittman. I also have and love a LOT of cookbooks for Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine because I love it, but I don’t use them as much on a daily basis, simply because the recipes from them that I whip up most often (salads, generally) I don’t need a recipe for anymore. I’m sure I am forgetting several of my faves — I really do love a cookbook — but I want to add to my list. Tell me, what’s your favorite cookbook? Which one do you actually use the most?