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I am a SAHM and "aspiring" cook. OK, after 20 yrs of cooking, I finally feel like I can have a dinner party :) My favorite 2 cookbooks by far are The Silver Palate Cookbooks http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0894803417/sr=8-2/qid=1141589152/ref=pd_bbs_2/104-1671160-4626359?%5Fencoding=UTF8 and Cooking Light http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0848730615/qid=1141589235/sr=2-2/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_2/104-1671160-4626359?s=books&v=glance&n=283155 I have never made anything bad out of either book and they are for the most part very simple but elegant recipes. My Husband has a motto that goes like this: "You make it, I eat it" meaning, since he appreciates that I put forth the effort in cooking great meals for our family of five he won't complain, lol :) In otherwords, I am free to explore and experiment.