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When the New York Times asked a selection of cookbook users, from chefs to store owners to bloggers, to name their favorite sources of inspiration, a few key cookbooks were cited multiple times. One can only imagine the blotched, dog-eared, well-used pages of the books deemed The Most-Stained Cookbooks—the ones selected by at least four different food professionals as an essential reference.

The list includes classics such as Irma S. Rombauer's The Joy of Cooking, and Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck, in addition to more modern resources like Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking.

How about you, serious eaters? What are your most loved cookbooks? And just how batter- or soup-stained are their pages?

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