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Your 10 Favorite Cookbooks


HubUK
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"Cafe Beaujolais" by Margaret Fox - The recipes are great, but I just love reading her stories about Mendocino and the cafe. So sad to hear she and her husband split and sold the restaurant.

"Chez Panisse Desserts" by Lindsey Shere - still the best approach to fruit desserts. I agree 22tango!

"Nantucket Open-House Cookbook" and "Cold Weather Cooking" by Sarah Leah Chase - she cooks the way I like savory food: bold flavors and lavish ingredients.

"The Cake Bible" by Rose Levy Beranbaum - I've made almost every recipe in the book.

"Desserts by Pierre Herme" - It's all about flavors and ballance.

The "Plated Dessert" series by Tish Boyle and Timothy Moriarty - XXX food porn.

"Martha Stewart's Pies and Tarts" - early Martha, before the empire.

"The Complete Book of Pastry Sweet and Savory" by Bernard Clayton - my copy is falling apart. Wish I could find a new hardbound version.

These are my old favorites, but I keep getting new books which may get promoted to the list when I get around to cooking from them.

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  • 5 months later...
I know I've brought it up earlier in this thread, but I REALLY have to recommend Fuschia Dunlop's Sichuan Cookery book again.

Never let it be said I don't listen to Miss J. Amazon delivered my copy of Dunlop yesterday, along with 100th Window and some other bits.

Um, wow.

You only have to flick through the book for a minute to see how serious it is. It has 'standard reference' all over it. I'm terribly excited.

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Egullet has done it again! I have gone and ordered a book because everyone can not stop talking about it.

My copy of Sichuan Cookery should be here in a week! :biggrin:

Although my favorites change weekly, these are the books that have been sitting out on my coffee table for the past week:

Anything by Jamie Oliver

Anything by Donna Hay

Shunju: new Japanese cuisine (I am making 2 dishes from this tonight)

Biba's Taste of Italy by Biba Caggiano

various Fine Cooking magazines

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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This is really difficult for me because I can't even begin to count how many cookbooks I have in my collection.

And at any given time, at least twenty of them are lying in various states of perusal upon my kitchen table.

Right now, lying there open, are several well-known Italian ones, including Leone's Italian Cookbook.

And one I bought in Hong Kong years ago: "Chow - Secrets of Chinese Cooking" by Dolly Chow - with recipes given in both Chinese and English.

"Can't do withouts" include:

Mexican Family Favorites

Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Larousse

Joy of Cooking

The Best Damn Cookbook (You Ever Found)

And also, my large collection of Junior League-type cookbooks. When I decide to prepare a regional specialty, the first thing I do is get two or three of these "recipe collection" books from that particular region and leaf through them. Then, I take four or five of the most-promising recipes and combine them.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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FWIW - the one's I seem to use the most are, in no particular order:

Sauces - James Peterson

The Art of French Cooking - Julia Child and pals

Larousse

Escoffier

Pepin - Complete Techniques

Dean and DeLuca (Rosengarten)

Cake Bible - Rose Levy Beranbaum

Pie and Pastry Bible - also RLB

Hors d'ouevres - Martha Stewart

Joy of Cooking

Custards, Mousses and Puddings - James McNair

Ice Creams and Frozen Desserts and Cakes and Pastries both from the California Culinary Academy

I also keep the New Professional Chef and The Professional Pastry Chef around for reference. I have more cookbooks than I'll probably EVER be able to use.

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I have many cookbooks, but these are the ones I wouldn't do without:

Fannie Farmer, either the 1965 or 1986 edition

Asian Noodles Nina Simonds

Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Quick and Easy Indian Cooking Mahdur Jaffrey

Tapas Penelope Casas

Cookwise Shirley Corriher

True Thai Victor Sodsook

Home Cooking and More Home Cooking Laurie Colwin

and

My 20 year collection of clippings and handwritten recipes, wich will get organized someday. :smile:

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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And at any given time, at least twenty of them are lying in various states of perusal upon my kitchen table.

:biggrin: Ah yes! And on the coffee table :(Moulton and Kitchen Sessions) the office: ("Amish Cooking", various Edna Lewis) the bedstand ("Supper of the Lamb", Grigson's "Food with the Famous") No wonder we can never find the book we're looking for.

The most battered and loved:

"Mastering the Art of French Cooking"

"Larousse Gastronomique"

"Les Recettes Faciles" Francoise Bernard...(given to me as a shower present by a French friend. This book rocks, and seems terribley quaint simultaneously)

"La Technique" Pepin

"Classic Italian Cooking" Hazan

"From Simple to Spectacular" Bittman/Vongerichten

"Vegetarian Cooking" Madhur Jaffrey

"French Cooking in Ten Minutes" de Pomiane. How I love this quirky book!

"Middle Eastern Cooking" Time/Life "Foods of the World"

"Joy"

Edited by maggiethecat (log)

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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In no particular order.

Leith's cookery bible

La Répertiore de la cuisine

Babu's notebook

Chinese cookery secrets by Deh-Ta Hsiung

Practical and advanced practical cookery by Cesarani and his pals

Dr Atkins new diet revolution. You want serious? For diabetics these recipes are life savers.

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As my husband's a chef and we inherited my late mother in law's vast collection (except for the stuff she willed to Radcliffe), we have a huge amount of books, pamplets, torn-out and downloaded papers but I find that we use these over and over and over again:

Cake Bible - Rose Levy Beranbaum

Pie and Pastry Bible - also RLB

Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone--Deborah Madison

Chez Panisse Desserts

The Italian Baker--Carol Field

Land o' Lakes Butter Cookie Cookbook

The Art of Mexican Cookery & The Cuisines of Mexico--Diana Kennedy

Talk About Good!

American Charcuterie : Recipes from Pig-by-the-Tail

The Hong Kong Gas Company Cookbook

Edited by ideefixe (log)
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Madhur Jaffrey seems to be on almost everyone's list. She has demystified Indian cooking for me. I am taking baby steps with it, and I feel confident.

Last year I bought How to Read a French Fry by our own Russ Parsons, and I found it very interesting. It's food science, which actually helps me more than reading recipes--although nothing helps me more in the kitchen than actual trial and error, of course. How fascinaiting to learn that not all potatoes mash up the same, that some onions are better raw, some better cooked, what happens to oil during deep frying. Maybe this says something about my analytical brain--I find it very engaging reading.

My most used cookbooks right now are three 3-ring binders which are slowly filling with pages from magazines, web print-outs, xeroxes, and my own notes. One of the binders is devoted solely to egullet gleanings. These are some of the best recipes I have. :wub:

EDIOT TO ADD: Also the stuff from egullet is so descriptive. I love the fact that I ahve pages that begin, "So, last night I...." or "Yeah, well..." And I want to stress that in my little egullet binder everyone gets credit!

Great thread, BTW.

Edited by stellabella (log)
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scottish chef - what's babu's notebook?

When I was being trained by Babu we worked on a notebook so I could remember all the detail, ingredients and method to create the Indian cuisine he made. Asian cuisine! Babu will never forgive my laziness by always referring to it as Indian :smile:

I call it Babu's notebook as, although it is filled with my writing, it's all of his work. The wee book is battered and bruised nowadays, but worth more to me than gold.

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...Last year I bought How to Read a French Fry by our own Russ Parsons, and I found it very interesting.  It's food science, which actually helps me more than reading recipes--although nothing helps me more in the kitchen than actual trial and error, of course.  How fascinaiting to learn that not all potatoes mash up the same, that some onions are better raw, some better cooked, what happens to oil during deep frying.  Maybe this says something about my analytical brain--I find it very engaging reading....

I recently borrowed this book from my library and learned so many things that are never, ever mentioned in recipes! It's this basic kitchen science that can make such a difference to one's understanding of the hows and whys of cooking. Even something as basic as that baking soda begins working immediately! It answered my question about whether I could make a banana bread batter early in the day and cook it later - if I understand the book right, the answer is NO. But such facts rarely appear in a recipe. Things can so often fail because we don't understand the science behind the recipe.

Anna N

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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ScottishChef - that sounds awesome.

A million questions pop in my mind -

What kind of gems of wisdom does it have?

And who is Babu?

And where and how did he train you?

Of course, don't answer anything you don't feel like.

I have posted answers to some of the things you ask in another thread in response to similar questions from Suvir :smile:

Click for more on Babu

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In no particular order, these seem to be getting the most use right now:

Daniel Boulard Cooking in New York City

Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 1 and 2; Julia Child

The French Laundry Cookbook

Glorious French Food; James Peterson

And misc. editions of Art Culinaire

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This is a tough one. I have several hundred cook books and tend to go through phases, using one batch for a few weeks and then relinquishing them for another batch. I use cook books to get ideas and learn techniques more than to follow entire recipes and love chefs' books. My current favorites include:

Keller's "The French Laundry Cookbook"; Charlie Palmer's "Great American Food" (a permanent favorite); Judy Rodgers' "Zuni Café"; Hira Sone's "Terra";"Testsuya"; Jean-Georges' "Cooking at Home with a Four Star chef" and "Simple to Spectacular"; Ken Hom's "Fragrant Harbour Taste" and Ming Tsai's "Blue Ginger", a favorite since publication. I also love to use recipes from Art Culinaire, Saveur and, yes, Cook's Illustrated, because everything they publish is so well tested. If anyone were to ask me to name my most disappointing cookbook it would be Gray Kunz's "The Elements of Taste". I don't know what happened to him.

Ruth Friedman

Ruth Friedman

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In no particular order:

Paula Wolfert – Couscous and Other Good Foods from Morocco [no, I haven’t tried the recipe for majoun (hash candy)!]

Madhur Jaffrey - World Vegetarian

Claudia Roden – New Book of Middle Eastern Food

Najmieh Batmanglij - New Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies

Anya Von Bremzen/John Welchman - Please to the Table: The Russian Cookbook

Shizuo Tsjuji - Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art

Hiroko Shimbo-Beitchman - The Japanese Kitchen

Patricia Wells – Bistro Cooking

Andre Soltner – The Lutece Cookbook

Maurice & Jean-Jacques Bernachon/Rose Levy Beranbaum – A Passion for Chocolate

Some of my "fun" books:

Anya Von Bremzen/John Welchman: Terrific Pacific Cookbook

Bradley Ogden – Bradley Ogden’s Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

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Anything by Rick Bayless, Diana Kennedy and Zarela Martinez.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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(oops, hit the wrong key... to continue...)

Peterson's Glorious French Food just arrived and I am amazed. This will definitely be a favorite.

Emeril's Real and Rustic. OK, all you Emiril bashers. So he acts like a clown on TV. But if you get a chance to eat in one of his New Orleans restaurants, prepare to be amazed. Real and Rustic is one of the few books that I actually follow the recipes time after time. Beef Fricassee is... well, words fail me.

True Thai by what's-his-name. (Just bought Thai Food by David Thompson. Looks good but I haven't tried it yet.)

CI's Best Recipe. A workhorse. Mostly good if not always the best.

Bourdain's writing is amazing. I have to list it even though not a cookbook. (BTW. I picked up his Typhoid Mary. This may hurt his feelings but the guy is a friggin' scholar!)

I love Harold McGee. He taught me how to make ices and sorbets that always work. (I will add for project... I think I read somewhere that he is a chemist of some kind. I was an organic/biochemist in a previous life and I can tell you he knows what he is talking about.)

In the same vain, Jeffrey Steingarten taught me a wonderful potato gratin dauphinois. And he makes me laugh.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Most of my favorites have been mentioned already - Cake Bible, The Way To Cook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone.

Two favorites which haven't been mentioned yet are The New Making of a Cook by Madeleine Kamman (intimidating but educational) and Death By Chocolate by Marcel Desaulniers. DBC is my standard dessert book, and my friends expect to see the Espresso Fudge cake at any party I attend. His chocolate chip cookie recipe (from Death By Chocolate Cookies) is another "please bring them or we'll cry" recipe. :smile:

Now I've got to try out some of the cookbooks y'all have listed!

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I've been putting off posting here for a while. I'm no believer in the concept of 'favourites' - I have no favourite food/cookbook/music/whatever. But of course there are cookbooks/authors that have been important to me over the years, that have had an real influence on me.

It has been very interesting looking at the posts on the thread - checking out which titles have mattered to people. I feel the greatest sympathy with cherrypi's choices.

When thinking about cookbooks I realised that there were different categories - some books are all about cultural education, while others are about the recipes. But when I tried then to list according to these categories, somehow it didn't work. The following list of authors is in no particular order. Also, I may not have used certain of these books for 15 years or more. But at some point they have been key to me:

Madhur Jaffrey

Ken Hom (his recipes really work, he has two categories of book - the no-brainer popular stuff and the more serious, personal)

Edouard de Pomiane

Marcella Hazan

Elizabeth David

Jane Grigson

Mark Miller

Madeleine Kamman

Anton Mosimann (the first chef recipes I ever used - a revelation - pistachio icecream comes to mind in particular)

Diana Kennedy

Maria de Lourdes Modesto (Portuguese)

Elizabeth Lambert Ortiz

Sri Owen

Jacques Pepin's La Technique (if only for the instructions on how to chop onions)

Claudia Roden

San Francisco Symphony: Taste of San Francisco

Janet Searl - Cooking in Spain (wonderful source of info on Spanish ingredients)

Alan Davidson

Yan-Kit So

Meera Taneja (many years since I've seen her books in print - I learnt a lot about Indian food from her)

Paula Wolfert (personally I think her recipes are no good. But the culture side is wonderful)

David Thompson (I've only cooked from his first book, but my perception of Thai tastes has changed forever)

Barbara Tropp

A French trio that were very influential in early years: Roger Verge, the Troisgros brothers, Michel Guerard

Ann Willan

Ingle & Kramis: Northwest Bounty

Lynne Rossetto Kasper

George Lang

Rose Levy Beranbaum

Deborah Madison

Robin Weir & Caroline Liddell: Ices (you will never need another book on icecream)

Julia Child

If I thought about it much more this list would just carry on to infinity.

v

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