I have the Larousse from the early '60s and a reprint of the first English edition that was also done in the 60s.
I have the Oxford book of food and drink in America from serveral years ago.
also the Encyclopedia of Food and Culture by J. Katz, (3 volume set) couple of years old.
The Encyclopedia of Food by Artemus Ward, published in the 20s. Huge book! Needs a book stand for reading - Think of the old library dictionary and plus. Not something to carry around, but interesting.
The New York Times Food Encyclopedia by Craig Claiborne 1985 on a shelf next to my desk.
The Wise Encyclopedia of Cookery by William Wise - about 30 years old, very interesting reading.
It includes thousands of recipes for just about everything you can imagine. (1978)
I also have the 1949 edition and the reason I bought the newer one was that I enjoyed the first one so much. He explains everything well - if there is a term in a recipe one does not understand, it can be looked up in this book, so it is great for novice cooks.
The 12-volume set of Mary McBride's Encyclopedia of Cooking - I received it as a wedding gift in 1959.
McGee's On Food and Cooking, first edition and the new one, also his Curious Cook.
I haven't read all of them the all the way through but I do refer to them at one time or another when I am looking for ideas and/or unusual ingredients or recipes or just ideas.
I often begin looking for something and then get interested and spend some time reading through something totally unrelated, just because it is interesting and well written.
The Artemus Ward book is interesting, if you can find a reasonably-priced copy because it reflects the way things were in the first couple of decades of the 20th century and also has a lot of references to the late 19th. I have read a lot of it because it is interesting to me.
Edited by andiesenji, 20 December 2005 - 09:27 AM.