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Cookbook discussion: Help me find a couple . . .

Cookbook discussion: Help me find a couple . . .
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  • Cookbook discussion: Help me find a couple . . .

    Post #1 - November 1st, 2006, 11:34 am
    Post #1 - November 1st, 2006, 11:34 am Post #1 - November 1st, 2006, 11:34 am
    Hello all - Happy post-Halloween!

    Long-time lurker, finally broke down and joined the posting community.

    Wanted to get some input on some cookbooks. After reading countless posts about different books I am overwhelmed by the different books I want to buy. Indian, Italian, French, Thai, literally could go in every direction....

    My question for you all is this, what are the books you cook the most from? I look at my shelf and have a growing variety of fun books, but some of them I only find myself cooking from once in a blue moon due to the complexity of the recipes. Are there books that you all cook from multiple times a week?

    BTW, it should be noted I am a single male and it is not always the best option (financially) to cook the big meals for myself and the girlfriend.

    Side note: I am about to buy Joy of Cooking (this should have been my first, but alas I am just getting to it), any tips on what edition to buy? Or should I just stick to any of the older version?

    Thanks and look forward to your comments!
    J.R.
  • Post #2 - November 1st, 2006, 11:50 am
    Post #2 - November 1st, 2006, 11:50 am Post #2 - November 1st, 2006, 11:50 am
    I would highly (highly) recommend anything written by, well the women I call Roger Gray, that's Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray, of London's River Cafe. They have a few books in print and a few more that can be found if diligent. They cook mostly in the Italian idiom, but there's a bit of English in 'em too (they are, after all English).

    What I like about them is two things. First, they project a style of eating and cooking, simple, robust, interesting, that I tend to mimic. Second, they have a system they follow, and then just present variations on a theme. Read the books and you will be eating bruschetta a lot more often or seeing what you can do with mozzeralla; your arugula budget increases. It's just very delicious. On top of all that, the books are easy to read and the pictures, food porn. The best thing I can say about the boooks is that regardless of using one of their recipes, I often try to cook like them. We have well over 1,000 cookbooks in our bungalow, and if I had to ( :cry: :cry: ) rid ourselves of them, I would throw out Roger Gray last.

    Other favorites:

    Silver Spoon for Italian
    James Peterson on French
    Zuni for terribly complicated but delicious recipes
    Bittman's How to Cook Everything, our go to reference
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #3 - November 1st, 2006, 11:58 am
    Post #3 - November 1st, 2006, 11:58 am Post #3 - November 1st, 2006, 11:58 am
    This seems to be a slightly different request from the other cookbook thread currently active. One that's both basic and can lead to more sophisticated stuff, The Way To Cook by Julia Child is excellent.
  • Post #4 - November 1st, 2006, 12:08 pm
    Post #4 - November 1st, 2006, 12:08 pm Post #4 - November 1st, 2006, 12:08 pm
    I have to say that the Silver Spoon Italian cookbook VI mentions is something which I had to buy for research purposes but it's not a book I like all that much. It has its strengths but I find it soulless. Italian cookery is still -- even more than most others -- very much regional and regional cooking is handled poorly in that book.

    Antonius
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #5 - November 1st, 2006, 12:27 pm
    Post #5 - November 1st, 2006, 12:27 pm Post #5 - November 1st, 2006, 12:27 pm
    Welcome to LTHForum, jpeac2.

    This must be cookbook day. There is a similar thread today in Shopping & Cooking.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #6 - November 1st, 2006, 12:37 pm
    Post #6 - November 1st, 2006, 12:37 pm Post #6 - November 1st, 2006, 12:37 pm
    Well, to steer this one in a what-are-the-basics direction, here's four I consider indispensable:

    1) Fannie Farmer. For the classic American stuff-- when you just want to make brownies or something. (The other book often mentioned in this regard is The Joy of Cooking, but it has issues.)

    2) The Way to Cook, Julia Child. I suppose any of her books would do, they cover similar territory-- how to make upscale, French-ish food not covered in Fannie Farmer, and in this case, some of the same things as Fannie, made a little more precisely and skillfully (e.g. Thanksgiving turkey).

    3) The Balthazar Cookbook, as recommended in the other thread. The best of its type? Maybe not. But I'm in a good groove with it and like everything I make from it.

    4) The Splendid Table, also The New Italian Table, Lynne Rosetto Kasper. I happen to have her books rather than Marcella Hazan's, I'm sure either would be very good for a learned and varied introduction to many new aspects of Italian cooking.
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  • Post #7 - November 1st, 2006, 12:52 pm
    Post #7 - November 1st, 2006, 12:52 pm Post #7 - November 1st, 2006, 12:52 pm
    Also, the perennial classic "The Joy of Cooking" has reference and recipes for practically everything. From mother sauces to quick breads to marshmallows to roasts, it's got a good base recipe for practically everything. It was the first cookbook I ever owned and it is well-worn today.

    There's an article about the new version in today's NYTimes.

    Best,
    Michael

    EDIT: I just realized I missed your last sentence in the original post. I kinda like the 1997 version although it was much criticized. The NYT article I linked to reviews the new version.
  • Post #8 - November 1st, 2006, 12:58 pm
    Post #8 - November 1st, 2006, 12:58 pm Post #8 - November 1st, 2006, 12:58 pm
    Mike G wrote:3) The Balthazar Cookbook, as recommended in the other thread. The best of its type? Maybe not. But I'm in a good groove with it and like everything I make from it.


    If nothing else, worth it for the pictures (but a great book nonetheless).
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #9 - November 1st, 2006, 11:25 pm
    Post #9 - November 1st, 2006, 11:25 pm Post #9 - November 1st, 2006, 11:25 pm
    My culinary bible remains The New Doubleday Cookbook. If you're only going to get one big, fat omnibus volume, consider this one over any of the editions of Joy of Cooking. It has more heart than the later Joys, and the recipes are easier to follow than the older ones. Lots of good reference material, too. It might not serve all your recipe needs, but it's definitely a reliable resource for all the basics and then some.
  • Post #10 - November 2nd, 2006, 4:17 pm
    Post #10 - November 2nd, 2006, 4:17 pm Post #10 - November 2nd, 2006, 4:17 pm
    Indian: 1000 Indian recipes by Neelam Batra. She has an excellent recipe for any Indian dish you could possibly want to make. Every once in a while something is not to my taste, but the vast majority have been great. The book has taught me enough Indian cooking technique that I can improvise with some success.

    Mexican: Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless. I also own Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen and use it for special occasions and weekend meals. Everyday Mexican is much more practical, and it appears that you are looking for practicality. Most of the dishes take under an hour to make.

    Italian: Anything by Marcella Hazan. I have Marcella Says, which is not one of her better known books, but everything I have made from it has been delicious. Some dishes can be made quickly; others are hours long extravaganzas.

    Chinese: Martin Yan's Chinatown Cooking. I bought this book on a whim a few years back, and it has turned out to be wonderful. I cook from it at least four times a month, if not more.
  • Post #11 - November 2nd, 2006, 6:55 pm
    Post #11 - November 2nd, 2006, 6:55 pm Post #11 - November 2nd, 2006, 6:55 pm
    I wholeheartedly second the recommendation for Mexican Everyday.

    While his other books may be more authentic, this one sure gets a meal on the table quickly. This is the first of Bayless' books that I have owned and nearly everything is tasty.

    I probably have made two dozen recipes out of here and I would make nearly every one again.

    I very happily cooked from this book all summer long.

    Image

    Grilled roadside whole chicken with knob onions and roasted tomatillo salsa

    Edited to fix photo
    Last edited by gastro gnome on January 1st, 2007, 11:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #12 - November 3rd, 2006, 8:41 am
    Post #12 - November 3rd, 2006, 8:41 am Post #12 - November 3rd, 2006, 8:41 am
    1) Fannie Farmer. For the classic American stuff-- when you just want to make brownies or something. (The other book often mentioned in this regard is The Joy of Cooking, but it has issues.)


    Let me add James Beard's American Cookery to this duo. He's my turn-to guy whenever I'm looking for a basic American recipe. Lots of interesting commentary, too.
    "The fork with two prongs is in use in northern Europe. In England, they’re armed with a steel trident, a fork with three prongs. In France we have a fork with four prongs; it’s the height of civilization." Eugene Briffault (1846)
  • Post #13 - December 29th, 2006, 8:11 pm
    Post #13 - December 29th, 2006, 8:11 pm Post #13 - December 29th, 2006, 8:11 pm
    For anyone interested in buying The Silver Spoon, it's currently at Costco for $21.95. (List price $39.99.) There were about a dozen copies at 4 pm. I'm guessing it will go quickly, as most cookbooks do there. Also there at the moment: The Gourmet Cookbook, The Bon Apetit Cookbook, The Joy of Cooking, all in fairly significant numbers, and, a couple of hours ago, two copies of Culinaria Spain and one of Culinaria Germany. This is the Costco at Randhurst (Rand Road and 83/Elmhurst). I'd imagine others would have at least a few of these. There were a handful of others, but these were the most noteworthy. Thought that, in case you didn't get everything you wanted for Christmas, you might want to check.

    (And if you go to a different Costco and notice any other of the Culinary books, let me know -- especially if they have France.)
  • Post #14 - December 29th, 2006, 11:20 pm
    Post #14 - December 29th, 2006, 11:20 pm Post #14 - December 29th, 2006, 11:20 pm
    Vital Information wrote:Other favorites:

    Silver Spoon for Italian
    I received this for Christmas last year, but I haven't felt inspired to cook anything from it yet. Can you recommend any personal favorites? It's such an overwhelming reference book - I just don't know where to start. I have to admit, I'm a sucker of beautiful visuals that whet my appetite.
  • Post #15 - December 30th, 2006, 12:03 am
    Post #15 - December 30th, 2006, 12:03 am Post #15 - December 30th, 2006, 12:03 am
    In terms of baking, I've found the King Arthur Flour Cookbook to be a really excellent resource. I tend to collect cookbooks obsessively and compulsively, but this book has sung to me a lot. I made two of the quick breads in it for Christmas presents and they were very well received.

    I can say that I really see no reason to buy the Bon Appetit cookbook (which I already have) because every single recipe in it is on the Epicurious website, as opposed to the Gourmet Cookbook, which I prefer and which, i believe, does have recipes not posted online.

    I also put a vote in for Julia Child's The Way To Cook -- it was one of the first cookbooks that my mother gave to me -- she thinks it's the ultimate in basic reference and I can't argue with that much.

    I also really like Sally Schneider's A New Way to Cook, which focuses on healthy AND flavorful cooking -- her techniques are great for the intermediate cook -- someone who is familiar with basics and wants to enhance flavor and cut calories. It's not really diet oriented as much as "healther eating" oriented and still has a few splurges here and there. I hate diet cookbooks that ignore the FOOD.

    A personal favorite of mine is David Rosengarten's It's All American Food, which is a sort of a culinary journey through the melting pot of America and its regional specialties. If you want one general "ethnic" cookbook, with a little bit of this and a little bit of that, it might do for you.

    What I need to do is cull all my cookbooks...but I just can't bring myself to do it!
  • Post #16 - January 4th, 2007, 10:27 am
    Post #16 - January 4th, 2007, 10:27 am Post #16 - January 4th, 2007, 10:27 am
    My reference book is The Best Recipe from Cook's Illustrated. I have many cookbooks, but this is the one I go back to again and again for technique. They cover the hows and whys of cooking, which appeals me. Once you understand the method for cooking a chicken or prime rib, or a pork tenderloin, you can apply that method to recipes from anywhere, regardless of cuisine.
  • Post #17 - October 27th, 2010, 1:54 am
    Post #17 - October 27th, 2010, 1:54 am Post #17 - October 27th, 2010, 1:54 am
    So i think i am going to go on a cookbook internet shopping spree. I don't want coffee table cookbooks, i want books that will actually help me do my job better.
    My list so far is:
    The River Cottage Meat Book by Heidi Swanson, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
    Food Lovers Companion (Can't believe i don't already own this, but it always seemed to be around until now)
    White Heat by Marco Pierre White
    A three volume set of Elizabeth David
    Any other recommendations? Anything you guys couldn't imagine not having stuffed behind the "magic box", or keeping you up at night?
    "the pleasantest of all emotions is to know that I, I with my brain and my hands, have nourished my beloved few, that I have concocted a stew or a story, a rarity or a plain dish, to sustain them truly against the hungers of the world" -M.F.K Fisher
  • Post #18 - October 27th, 2010, 10:12 am
    Post #18 - October 27th, 2010, 10:12 am Post #18 - October 27th, 2010, 10:12 am
    My personal favorite "basic" cookbook is the old red plaid Better Homes and Gardens
    it has recipes for just about everythign,
    and helpful tables for how long to roast things, etc.
    When I get tired of searching thru other things I always find the basics there.
    It's also a lovely shower gift for a new couple.
    And I beleive it was just updated for the first time in a long time.
    "If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home."
    ~James Michener
  • Post #19 - December 18th, 2016, 4:28 pm
    Post #19 - December 18th, 2016, 4:28 pm Post #19 - December 18th, 2016, 4:28 pm
    Thought I'd bump this thread in time for the holidays. Any recent-ish cookbooks (the last couple years or so) you'd recommend? Any type of cuisine is under consideration, but I'm looking for books without a super-high degree of difficulty – think capable and curious but not expert home cooks. I've gotten a ton of good recommendation from past posts so I'm hoping to find some recent entrants that might have passed under my radar. Thanks in advance!
  • Post #20 - December 18th, 2016, 9:17 pm
    Post #20 - December 18th, 2016, 9:17 pm Post #20 - December 18th, 2016, 9:17 pm
    Food Lab - Kenji's the man!!! It might be a bit much for the novice cook, but he's got so many wonderful tips that I wonder if his lessons wouldn't turn the beginning/less serious cook into something more. I almost always find his recipes enlightening.
  • Post #21 - December 19th, 2016, 7:37 am
    Post #21 - December 19th, 2016, 7:37 am Post #21 - December 19th, 2016, 7:37 am
    + 1 on The Food lab--this book is fantastic--so interesting and, I would think, perfect for someone without a ton of cooking experience, since ever recipe is so carefully tested and broken down to explain every detail. And for us cooking geeks, it's fascinating to have a bound version of Kenji obsessiveness :)

    My most-used books are Plenty, Plenty More and Jerusalem by Ottolenghi, Charleston Kitchen by the Lee Brothers, Flour + Water from McNaughton, and GWiv's Low & Slows (great for more than just smoking and 'cue). And a special shoutout to the new magazine, Spoonful, which is quickly becoming a Go-To and really feels like a cookbook to me in a way that no other cooking mags do. And I'm not just saying that because it happens to feature incite's photography which, while stunning, wouldn't make the recipes cook better. But each installment has been instantly motivating and all recipes I've cooked so far have been excellent...
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #22 - December 19th, 2016, 7:51 am
    Post #22 - December 19th, 2016, 7:51 am Post #22 - December 19th, 2016, 7:51 am
    BR wrote:Food Lab - Kenji's the man!!! It might be a bit much for the novice cook, but he's got so many wonderful tips that I wonder if his lessons wouldn't turn the beginning/less serious cook into something more. I almost always find his recipes enlightening.


    I saw that one in Costco last week (in Kentucky, but I assume they would have them up here as well) for $29.99, just slightly more than Amazon charges.
    Cookingblahg.blogspot.com
  • Post #23 - December 19th, 2016, 8:13 am
    Post #23 - December 19th, 2016, 8:13 am Post #23 - December 19th, 2016, 8:13 am
    To Jen's recommendation of Ottolenghi's bibliography, add NOPI. Some interesting fusions of Mediterranean and Asian ingredients (Pork belly roasted over lemongrass, ginger, garlic and thyme served with a crushed butternut squash with miso, and a salsa including apple, walnuts (fresh and pickled), tarragon and yuzu). Never seems pretentious, just great flavors.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #24 - December 19th, 2016, 10:11 am
    Post #24 - December 19th, 2016, 10:11 am Post #24 - December 19th, 2016, 10:11 am
    And, for a traditional treatment of southern ingredients (with a twist, as they like to say), I've been obsessing over Deep Run Roots, Vivian Howard's recently released tome to Eastern North Carolina foodways and ingredients.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #25 - December 19th, 2016, 10:51 am
    Post #25 - December 19th, 2016, 10:51 am Post #25 - December 19th, 2016, 10:51 am
    Not necessarily in direct response to the OP's request but as long as we're building a reference here, I highly recommend the late Sasha Petraske's Regarding Cocktails, completed and released posthumously by his surviving wife, Georgette Moger-Petraske. It's one of the finest cocktail books I've read.

    Yes, there are great recipes -- and the proper construction of cocktails, from glass to garnish, is laid out beautifully -- but there's so much more to it. If you really want to understand and emulate the mindset of a great bar owner and host, this is just a tremendous reference.

    I've read dozens of cocktail and bar books over the years and more than just about any other I can remember, this one really gets it.

    =R=
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #26 - December 19th, 2016, 11:01 am
    Post #26 - December 19th, 2016, 11:01 am Post #26 - December 19th, 2016, 11:01 am
    Wow, thanks, guys. Ottolenghi is a fave of mine – I've gifted several of his books before and "Jerusalem" and "Plenty" are well-worn fixtures in my own kitchen. The idea of a magazine subscription is interesting – Spoonful looks great. As do the other suggestions. I might buy Kenji's book for myself. I'm surprised I didn't know about it.
  • Post #27 - December 19th, 2016, 11:41 am
    Post #27 - December 19th, 2016, 11:41 am Post #27 - December 19th, 2016, 11:41 am
    All Under Heaven-Carolyn Phillips
    Appetites: A Cookbook-Anthony Bourdain
    A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches-Kord & Wegman(!)
    The Spice Companion(A Guide to the World of Spices)-Lior Lev Sercaz
    Tokyo Cult Recipes-Maori Murota

    and Kenji's tome
    Being gauche rocks, stun the bourgeoisie
  • Post #28 - December 19th, 2016, 11:52 am
    Post #28 - December 19th, 2016, 11:52 am Post #28 - December 19th, 2016, 11:52 am
    I am all over Plenty as well.

    But I am looking through Alton Brown's new book Everdaycook and think it is worth it if for nothing more than his equipment list and methods lists. You could even gift something (big or small from his equipment list).
    My new favorites for the project enthusiast include: ( not so new) Jeni Britton Bauer's Jeni's Splendid ice cream ( add a good ice cream machine and or spade or good cream), ATK's Fool-proof preserving (include canning jars or supplies or a good jar of preserves,pickles, etc.) For newlyweds and new home owners ATK's Cook It in Cast-Iron Skillet book with a pre-seasoned skillet, and ATK's Bread Illustrated ( give an interesting pan like a pullman or good yeast like SAF) and The Hoosier Mama Pie Cookbook as well as the New York Times Cookbook.

    Magazines? I second Spoonful and would also suggest Milk Street and Garden and Gun( add seeds, worm bin, earthbox, red wiggler worms, or ammo/trip to the range if you know they lean either way).

    Good luck
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #29 - December 21st, 2016, 7:38 am
    Post #29 - December 21st, 2016, 7:38 am Post #29 - December 21st, 2016, 7:38 am
    Just wanted to say thanks for the advice. Many of these titles will be under the tree, mine included (I don't shop during the year so the holidays end up being a "one for you, one for me" kind of thing). Kenji's tome was the top vote getter but I bought a bunch from the other suggestions. Much appreciated.
  • Post #30 - December 21st, 2016, 8:33 am
    Post #30 - December 21st, 2016, 8:33 am Post #30 - December 21st, 2016, 8:33 am
    JoelF wrote:To Jen's recommendation of Ottolenghi's bibliography, add NOPI. Some interesting fusions of Mediterranean and Asian ingredients (Pork belly roasted over lemongrass, ginger, garlic and thyme served with a crushed butternut squash with miso, and a salsa including apple, walnuts (fresh and pickled), tarragon and yuzu). Never seems pretentious, just great flavors.


    Didn't even know about this one--thanks!!
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington

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