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Your 10 Favorite Cookbooks

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The Professional Chef from the CIA.

Joy of Cooking - Both the new edition and my mother's old copy from 1962 - now held together with duct tape.

Two three ring notebooks with recipes typed out on card stock by my mother with a manual typewriter - with handwritten notes and comments.

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i've read a lot of appreciation of the fuschia dunlop (land of plenty - sichuan cuisine) book on this thread.

on the thai/chinese/korean thread, i've heard similar praise of the corinne trang (essentials of asain cuisine) book.

i know they are probably slightly different in focus but if i had to buy one, which one would it be?

any suggestions?

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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

do you find these recipes, especially the ones from FL, terribly arduous and time consuming with difficult to find ingredients or do you use it as a guide/inspiration...

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En ce moment

Glorious French Food - Peterson

The Best Recipe - Cooks Illustrated people

Cuisine Actuelle - Patricia Wells/Joel Robuchon

Passion for Flavour - Gordon Ramsay

Culinary Artistry - Dornenburg/Page (though not cooking directly from)

J


More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!

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Hi,

After perusing the cookbook thread, I am curious to see how many cookbooks people actually use.

Using the admittedly arbitrary - and low - standard of using a cookbook more than once (so, minimum two different items), I figure I've only used maybe two thirds to three quarters of my cookbooks even to that little extent. And I don't own all that many cookbooks compared to many of you - I'm well under a hundred.

On the other hand, I'd also be curious to know how many of you have cooked your way through all or most of a cookbook - and what that book was. In my collection, I think the only one that would qualify would be the Young Thailand cookbook. No idea if it is authentic, but the recipes are simple and end up tasting pretty close if not exactly like what you'd be served at the restaurant.

Cheers,

Geoff Ruby

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Less and less of them less and less often. As I think has been observed before on eGullet, you tend to internalize recipes and methods. But I did use The Complete Asian Cookbook yesterday in making a curry.


Edited by fresco (log)

Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"

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Of 110 or so, probably use 2 dozen regularly - if only to compare recipes. Frequently use:

How to Cook Everything, Bittman

Olives, English

Figs, English

Wildwood, Schrieber (?)

Greens, Sommerville

Baking with Julia

The Baker's Wife (pastry & deserts)

Simple Italian Cooking, Hazen

Batali's books (well, 2 of the 3)

Tom Douglas's Kitchen

and another baker's dozen that I'd have to write down at home.

I've probably cooked one or two recipes from 90% of the books I own. Try not to buy a new one until I've accomplished that - unless the book turned out to be a dud - or was a gift that I didn't find palatable.

I don't think I ever worked my way through a whole book.

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I have 50-60 cookbooks. I use maybe 6 or 7 of them regularly.

Cooking Light 2001 is my favorite so far

Followed closely by a basic cookbook I bought in Germany (I have fun translating the recipes -- gets particularly interesting when I misinterpret something)

I pull out the old Betty Crocker book every now and again when I just want to get the jist of how to prepare something, or find the cooking time/temp for a particular type of dish.

I have a few Moosewood books that I like to cook from


Sherri A. Jackson

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Less and less  of them less and less often. As I think has been observed before on eGullet, you tend to internalize recipes and methods.

Ditto

What I will often do is to use several cookbooks as a reference for a dish I want to make, then wing it to suit my own taste.

The last recipes I followed exactly were from Vongerichten and Kunz. Paula Wolfert's Catalan Stew is another recipe I have followed exactly several times as it was sooo good.

The exception is baking cakes, where I always follow a recipe. (Most recently Herme's chocolate/ginger/apricot pound cake and a rose geranium pound cake from the web.)


"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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Many I've never used, except to read. Some I've used a lot: a NY Times CB I've had for maybe 35 years has gotten a lot of use, as has something called the Spice Cookbook I've had almost as long, and a Doubleday cookbook, huge, complete a-z recipes I won when I was very young in a Baskin-Robbins recipe contest. that's great for basic, and I used it many times as I learned to cook over the years. I refer pretty frequently to the Greens and the Fields of Greens books, but usually find myself improvising as I go. The others give me inspiration and I go from there, except for baked goods where I still need proportions to be right. I think recipes I really use I get from magazines more and more frequently.


Edited by mpav (log)

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I would say that we use 5% of our cooksbooks all the time, make or have made one or two recipes from 70%, and have never cooked from the remaining 25%.

It's embarrassing to admit how many books I buy knowing I will never use them. :wacko:


Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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Of my estimated 160, I would say there are about 10 then have never been used and maybe about 10 to 20 that have been used only once (they have all been read!)

I have about 30 that I use on a fairly regular basis, others get pulled off the shelf to compare recipes or to look for an ingredient nad some I pull down because they are just a great read!


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Because I have purposely limited my cookbooks to only whatever will fit on the two to three feet of countertop to the left of my refrigerator, I have had to buy only cookbooks I really believe I will cook from and to give away any that I find that I do not cook from. Of the approximately 30 cookbooks I own, I probably cook regularly from 25 of them, whether it be using recipes straight from the book or using the recipe as a reference regarding seasonings, cooking method, timing, etc. I like to have cookbooks that have recipes for the same dishes, so that I can do some comparative studies before cooking.

Edit: I forgot to say, I just plain like to read cookbooks, too.


Edited by browniebaker (log)

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I am a complete sucker for cookbooks and find it hard to resist a nicely presented volume with lots of pretty pictures. This means I have a fair few books, all of which I have read cover to cover that I can refer to for ideas, inspiration, or on the odd occasion an exact recipe, mostly for baked goods.

Books I return to again and again are those by Shaun Hill, The Roux Brothers, Simon Hopkinson, Gary Rhodes, Alastair Little, Henry Harris and Pierre Koffmann.

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I have used all of them enough to get my money's worth, but I apply the same standard to a cookbook as I do for any other book. When I get a new cookbook, I read through it, just like a novel. It's rare I read a best-selling novel more than once, or visit every place in a travel guide, but I don't view them as a waste of money because of it. So, even if I never cook a single recipe from it, as long as I've enjoyed reading it, I feel I've gotten my money's worth.

I have gleaned ideas from just all of my cookbooks. As the years go by, I find fewer totally new recipes and techniques, but it still occasionally happens. In any given book, I usually spot some technique or flavor combination that's an improvement on my existing tried & true recipe-so there's another way I feel that my money's been well-spent.

Like several others have said, I consult four or five cookbooks and combine recipes. It is very rare that I follow a recipe exactly. (Well, actually, that would be never.)

Last but certainly not least, I like having a reference library. I belong to a CSA, so I have a section of vegetable cookbooks. I like my collection of ethnic cookbooks to refer to when trying to understand the authentic version that a fusion and/or quick recipe is based on. An example of this would be that wonderful Hot and Sour Soup recipe of Mamster's. How did Tom Douglas change it from the classic? What would I keep, what would I add back from the classic, and what would I add to make it my own? I usually buy the cookbook from any restaurant I frequent. I like reading how chefs do things; they are usually too time-consuming for me to want to duplicate, but I like learning how they make my favorite dishes.

To answer your final question, the only cookbook that I feel like I've almost cooked my way through is Bruce Aidell's Complete Meat Cookbook. I learned a lot about cooking today's lean meat from that book.

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Simple Italian Cooking, Hazen

Batali's books (well, 2 of the 3)

Oops - too late to edit.

Simple Italian Cooking, by Batali

Marcella Cucina, by Hazan

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The only one I am scared to cook from is "The French Laundry Cookbook" for obvious reasons :wacko: ...otherwise I cook from all of 57 of them.

pjackso


"You like Thai?"

"Yea, you like shirt?" -Trent Steele & Max Power (From The Simpsons Episode No. 216)

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I am trying to work my way through Paula Wolfert's The Cooking of South-West France. I am about 1/3 of the way through so far. I probably use about 1/2 of my cookbooks regularly.


"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."

~ Fernand Point

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I think the only book I completely worked my way through is Beard's "Theory and Practice of Good Cooking". I gave my copy to my son and daughter in law when they got married. The son didn't need it much as he helped with college expenses by working as a line cook. I had hopes for my DIL but I think he still does most of the cooking. Can I ask for it back? I spent a lot of time with Pepin's "La Technique" and "La Methode". Before any of them, my first serious book was one from CIA whose name I don't remember and which I haven't run across in a while.

Jim

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There are probably about 12 books that I use constantly. This is about 10% of the cookbook collection. The rest I use primarily as inspiration or if I'm trying to learn a new technique.


"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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I tend to look up a recipe in 5 or 6 different ones even before I start.

ditto. I glom over all relevant indices, then cook from the same six books.

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Me too. Have over 30 books, but tend to look at a few versions of same dish before starting it. (Of course when baking I follow exact recipes.)

Joy of C

Julia C

Bittman

Anna Thomas' Veg. Cooking 1 and 2

Madhur Jaffreys Veg. Indian (great books and I'm not a vegetarian).

I also like to read cookbooks and fantasize!

Also love to collect really OLD cookbooks and wacky plastic spiral "women's League" or "Church Group" cookbooks.

My mother recently snagged the original Alice B Toklas cookbook for about a buck at a flea market! She joked to the person selling it that she was going home to bake brownies.

No brownie recipe, damn!


JANE

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