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Which Cookbooks DON'T You Use & Why?

Cookbook

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#1 WHS

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 06:53 PM

Okay, there's a thread on the cookbook you couldn't live without--how about the cookbook that's languishing on the shelf?

My vote is "Jeremiah Tower Cooks". I never seem to have a goose liver, a fresh black truffle, fresh chestnuts, chive flowers and Armagnac lying around the house...(Casserole of Whole Foie Gras).

#2 ladyyoung98

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 09:53 PM

hard to say..ive gt several ive not tried yet...but thats nto to say they wont be used at some point
a recipe is merely a suggestion

#3 Chris Amirault

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 10:00 PM

I cannot imagine that I'm alone in submitting The French Laundry Cookbook for consideration.
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#4 Carolyn Tillie

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 10:02 PM

Lorna Sass' The Pressured Cook - I was given this high-falutin pressure cooker and was waiting for an eGCI Pressure Cooking class to teach me how to use it. I've had both pressure cooker and cookbook for almost ten years now, both unused.

Man Eating Bugs - it is on the shelf for occasional picture-looking shock value. I've cooked bugs in the past, but I not since I was... oh.... about ten years old.

Chez Panisse Cookbook - darn pretty. Never cooked a thing out of it.

Great Good Food by Julee Rosso of Silver Palate fame. Same as Chez Panisse...

Those are the biggies for me, although there are probably some others.

#5 MichBill

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 10:05 PM

Love the French Laundry Cookbook but found almost nothing of use in Food and Wine's best of the best. Great idea in sifting out the best recipies from all cookbooks published in a year, but very poor execution.

Won't buy any future editions in the unlikely event they will appear.

#6 torakris

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 10:27 PM

The Martha Stewart Cookbook (the compilation of various books), whenever I find something in there to cook there is always a recipe in another book that just looks better. I only paid $4 for it on e-bay....

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#7 mikeycook

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 11:20 PM

My vote is for Hot Sour Salty Sweet: A Culinary Journey Through Southeast Asia. I pick it up and look through it all the time and one day hope to be able to cook from it, but I am not there yet.

I would recommend buying it just to look at it, though.

Edited by mikeycook, 30 March 2005 - 11:20 PM.

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#8 Jensen

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 11:23 PM

I've never cooked anything out of White Trash Cooking but the pictures made the book worth its purchase price...

#9 Shalmanese

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 03:16 AM

The "cookbook" that came with my microwave. Oh wait, I think I tried scrambled eggs once just to see if you could.
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#10 nckd

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 05:54 AM

I have two that I've never used:

Vegetarian Times Complete Vegetarian Cookbook -- If I'd been more familiar with the magazine when I bought the book, it I probably wouldn't have bought it. It's the kind of vegetarian cookbook which just takes a bunch of meat recipes and uses a lot of subsitutions.

The All-American Cookie Book -- I just seem to prefer the recipes I have from other places. Many of the cookies are gigantic, and I prefer them smaller.

#11 redglass

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 06:22 AM

Sally Schneider's A New Way to Cook . Everytime I look in it for what to cook for dinner I realize that something as straightforward as a chicken dish requires some sort of exotic spice rub/marinade/infused oil that I'm supposed to have made 2 days ago. I just can't find a way to plan that far ahead.

#12 abadoozy

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 06:35 AM

I would venture to say that I don't use most of my cookbooks, the Cook's Illustrated ones being the exception. However, I *do* read them, and I get ideas from them. Often they just are filled with ingredients that I can't get (I live about ten miles past the end of the earth, food-wise) or preparations that I'm not going to do.

That said, I still love them, because I remember what I read, and at some point later it comes bubbling out of my head in some form or another.

Oddly enough, I have made stuff out of "Hot Sour Salty Sweet." Great stuff. Last time I made something I convinced myself I needed Kaffir Lime Leaves and promptly ordered a bag, which now sits forlornly in my freezer, waiting for me to open it.

#13 Mallet

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 06:44 AM

I find that the cookbooks I receive as unsollicited gifts (thanks mom!) inevitably end up unused; one outgrows generic cookbooks surprisingly fast....

On the other hand the cookbooks that I've purchased for myself (Pepin, Bourdain, Henderson, Batali) get heavy usage and prime shelf space!
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#14 Wayne

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 06:57 AM

I'm very picky about my cookbooks and only purchase one after I've read it
and decided it's one I'll use.
Cookbooks I've recieved as gifts are another matter, especially when recieved
from someone who doesn't cook. I've asked not to be given cookbooks unless
I choose the book.
The one cookbook I did buy and have never used, and don't plan to, is The
Roadkill Cookbook. It's hilarious. Found it in a sale bin years ago.
I know it's stew. What KIND of stew?

#15 TongoRad

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 07:16 AM

Chez Panisse Cookbook - darn pretty. Never cooked a thing out of it.

Apparantly, my sister never did either. She's been on her own for about 15 years now and that book has been sitting on her old shelf since then. Just this past weekend I was at my parents' house for Easter Sunday and finally decided to take it. Hopefully I can make more use of it, we'll see. But it sure is darn pretty!
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"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

#16 Moopheus

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 07:34 AM

I have two that I've never used:

Vegetarian Times Complete Vegetarian Cookbook -- If I'd been more familiar with the magazine when I bought the book, it I probably wouldn't have bought it.  It's the kind of vegetarian cookbook which just takes a bunch of meat recipes and uses a lot of subsitutions. 


I used to read Veg Times a long time ago, and it's true--the recipes are mainly super-low-fat versions of traditional dishes, done in not interesting ways. (Low-fat fettuccini Alfredo, anyone?) However, they would print the traditional recipe alongside their conversion, and sometimes that was useful.

I don't think there's any books that I've had for any length of time that I haven't tried at all, though there are more than a few that I only use a couple of recipes out of. I keep thinking, of course, that I should try to get more out of them, but never get around to it.
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#17 ludja

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 07:49 AM

Chez Panisse Cookbook - darn pretty. Never cooked a thing out of it.

Apparantly, my sister never did either. She's been on her own for about 15 years now and that book has been sitting on her old shelf since then. Just this past weekend I was at my parents' house for Easter Sunday and finally decided to take it. Hopefully I can make more use of it, we'll see. But it sure is darn pretty!

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Which one? Chez Panisse Cooking or Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook?

My own books that I have not cooked from (and that I bought for myself awhile back) are Alford and Duguid's "Flatbreads and Flavors" and "The 21 Cookbook". In the latter there are not many recipes that exicte me. I *want* to try the flatbread recipes. Looks like good recipes and interesting accompaniements. For some reason there is some sort of threshhold that I haven't breached. I don't bake breads that often so it is probably some subconscious fear of failure...

A cookbook I received that I haven't cooked from is Corriher's "Cookwise". I have read the 'cooking science' tutorials on variious topics in the book but the recipes themselves just don't seem to be my style...

Edited by ludja, 31 March 2005 - 07:57 AM.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#18 WolfChef

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 07:55 AM

The _Secrets of The M*A*S*H Mess_ cookbook. Written by Igor who played the cook on the tv show. Absolutely worthless as far as a cookbook. Beyond terrible. Pure CRAP. But I am a M*A*S*H fan and couldn't resist when I saw it on ebay. The stories in it about off camera antics are OK at best. It's obvious from reading it that Igor(Jeff Maxwell) wasn't invited to any of the "after parties", there just isn't any real new info. Alan Alda's Foreward was 4 very short paragraphs, in fact one was 1 sentence.

I was started to type in one of recipes chosen at random, but stopped because I remember a post about copyright infringements and recipes awhile back. What is the ruling on posting printed recipes? Bad Idea?
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#19 Rebecca263

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 08:04 AM

Funny you should bring this up, I'm about to put my excess books on ebay this weekend, just finished typing in the auctions... and here is this post! I own too many books, and periodically I decide to trim the fat, so to speak. Besides, we've finally finished unpacking the library and found multiples of huge tomes like the Gourmet books, and even 2 copies of an oop Jacques Pepin book! I've really got to catalogue my collections, it's awful. My suggestion is to get rid of the books you won't use, and spend the proceeds buying those truffles!
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#20 andiesenji

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 08:11 AM

I have actually cooked from very few of the cookbooks in my collection. However, I am an avid collector and it isn't just the recipes that are of interest to me.
I appreciate the cookbooks for the stories, the photography and drawings, the history of foods, the ideas and, especially prior to the advent of the internet, the lists of obscure resources for foods, spices, equipment and etc.
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#21 Maison Rustique

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 08:15 AM

I have actually cooked from very few of the cookbooks in my collection.  However, I am an avid collector and it isn't just the recipes that are of interest to me. 
I appreciate the cookbooks for the stories, the photography and drawings, the history of foods, the ideas and, especially prior to the advent of the internet, the lists of obscure resources for foods, spices, equipment and etc.

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Ditto. I almost never follow a recipe. I read them for inspiration.
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#22 CaliPoutine

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 08:20 AM

I dont think I'll ever make anything from Craft of cooking. Don't know what possesed me to buy it, maybe because it was 1 buck on ebay.

Im willing to send it to someone who would use it though.

Just drop me a PM.

#23 Mabelline

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 08:22 AM

I got the "Sopranos Family Cookbook" from my niece for Christmas a few years ago, when it came out. Nothing but a big hype for the show.

#24 liamsaunt

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 08:25 AM

I own lots of cookbooks that I have never cooked from. I like them anyway though, for the pictures. Three I can think of at the moment are Hot Sour Salty Sweet, Charlie Trotter Vegetables, and Charlie Trotter Seafood.

#25 Tess

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 08:41 AM

I got the "Sopranos Family Cookbook" from my niece for Christmas a few years ago, when it came out. Nothing but a big hype for the show.

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Oh, yes. Three different people have given me that one. It was kind of a fun read, anyway.

The ones I never use are those charity and other group cookbooks. My mother had a bunch of the Junior League type ones from the 70s and 80s. My favorite was called the Forum Cookbook. Almost every recipe seemed to call for a bottle of salad dressing or something, and a lot of them had comments like, "Takes five minutes; your guests will think it took hours." "Soooo easy." Not that I mind easy recipes, but it was funny. Reading those cookbooks always made me feel like I'd had about 5 vodka gimlets.

#26 highchef

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 09:05 AM

I got the "Sopranos Family Cookbook" from my niece for Christmas a few years ago, when it came out. Nothing but a big hype for the show.

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Oh, yes. Three different people have given me that one. It was kind of a fun read, anyway.

The ones I never use are those charity and other group cookbooks. My mother had a bunch of the Junior League type ones from the 70s and 80s. My favorite was called the Forum Cookbook. Almost every recipe seemed to call for a bottle of salad dressing or something, and a lot of them had comments like, "Takes five minutes; your guests will think it took hours." "Soooo easy." Not that I mind easy recipes, but it was funny. Reading those cookbooks always made me feel like I'd had about 5 vodka gimlets.

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I actually learned to cook the regional dishes from the local Junior league cookbook...I love the one's that end with "men love this!"

#27 Ducky

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 09:24 AM

The French Laundry Cookbook. There is virtually nothing in this book you could attempt without the help of at least three sous-chefs and 24 hours lead time.

The triumph of method over ingredients!

#28 TongoRad

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 09:41 AM

Chez Panisse Cookbook - darn pretty. Never cooked a thing out of it.

Apparantly, my sister never did either. She's been on her own for about 15 years now and that book has been sitting on her old shelf since then. Just this past weekend I was at my parents' house for Easter Sunday and finally decided to take it. Hopefully I can make more use of it, we'll see. But it sure is darn pretty!

View Post


Which one? Chez Panisse Cooking or Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook?

View Post


I'll have to verify when I get home, but in looking at the photos on Amazon it seems to be Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook. Their info has a publication date of 1999, though it sure seems like it has been sitting on that shelf for longer than that. Maybe my sister got it as a Christmas present and never took it with her. I wonder- is there a statute of limitations on cookbook abandonment? Oh well, posession is 9/10ths, as they say...
aka Michael

Chi mangia bene, vive bene!

"...And bring us the finest food you've got, stuffed with the second finest."
"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

#29 CtznCane

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 10:54 AM

The Passionate Vegetarian. I have a good number of books here and there are few that I don't use either for general knowledge, ideas or recipes. As much as I like vegetables and would love to eat more of them (their only flaw is they aren't beef) this book doesn't do it.

Finishing a close next to last is The German Cookbook by Mimi Sheraton. I love German food but of all the books I've bought this one most disappointed me. I hope to revisit this book again to see if maybe my fisrt impression was wrong.

I use to have one of the firs Chez Panisse books and found it totally useless. Since I no lnger have it (gone in a past divorce) I didn't consider that one. If I had, it would have one first-worst hands down.
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#30 jgarner53

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 10:55 AM

I have some gooseberry patch type cookbook that someone gave me -- you know, homey recipes from some local women's group or something like that. Not as bad as having things like 7-up cake or the 7-layer salad that sits overnight in the fridge, but bad enough.

I did get Bourdain for Christmas and haven't made anything out of it yet, but that doesn't mean I won't. I'm afraid if I make it wrong he's going to come knocking on the door and grab the skillet out of my hand and bash me about the head with it, spouting a fountain of obscenities excoriating my cooking skills (or lack thereof) :unsure:
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