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Your Essential Baking-/Cookbooks


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Say you were rounded up with a group of folks and either had a skill to offer in exchange for a comfy room and some other niceties or were sent off to a slag heap to toil away in the hot sun every day for 16 hours, what 3 books would you want to take with you to enable you to cook and bake such fabulous foodstuffs that your kidnappers would keep you over some poor schlub who could cook only beans and rice and the occasional dry biscuit?

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I have a couple hundred cook and baking books, and a lot of them are professional books, but I think in this circumstance I would have to say Betty Crocker-my old falling apart one from 1964, any of Wolfgang Pucks books, they have really great food in them and Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. These selections would give recipes from homey to fine cooking, from basics to elegant and extravagant.

check out my baking and pastry books at the Pastrymama1 shop on www.Half.ebay.com

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Since this is the P&B forum, I would say Cake Bible by RLB and Village Baker by Joe Ortiz. The list is missing a definitive book for patisserie recipes, but I don't own PH10, so in lieu of that I would probably take Bo Friberg's Professional Pastry Chef for its breadth of recipes, even though I have yet to work through my copy.

Maybe the Bo Friberg book will push out the Cake Bible because of its sheer breadth, but we'll have to see.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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On Food and Cooking...

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...yeah, that should cover it. If I have the how and the why covered I can handle the rest myself. Recipe books are fun but limit you to the ingredients/equipment they require. A book full of knowledge will help me make the best of what I'm given to work with.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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On Food and Cooking...

...

...

...

...

...yeah, that should cover it. If I have the how and the why covered I can handle the rest myself. Recipe books are fun but limit you to the ingredients/equipment they require. A book full of knowledge will help me make the best of what I'm given to work with.

Alrighty then.... On the other hand, I was asking about books, not your experience.

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Alrighty then.... On the other hand, I was asking about books, not your experience.

Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking is a book. I wish I could claim everything that book encompasses as "my experience".

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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On Food and Cooking...

That's probably my #1 also.

Then, the Cake Bible, by Barenbaum,

and the Breadbaker's Apprentice, by Reinhart.

I don't do a whole lot of cake or bread, but I like those books for the same reason I like McGee: they teach me what's going on. With that kind of knowledge (and with a little help from my friends) I can ween myself from the tyranny of recipes. If I want to make brownies, I decide how i want them to be, and then figure out how to do it. Much more fun for me than the endless recipe hunt.

The internet is also a priceless resource. Both for the articles you can find, and for the communties of people who already know what you're trying to find out (like this one!)

Notes from the underbelly

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devlin, On Food and Cooking is the second edition of Harold McGee's opus on food science and cooking. I think that Tri2Cook is suggesting that the depth of information in the book (it covers just about every food ingredient you can imagine) would allow him to figure out what to do on Fantasy Island, and he could come up with the step-by-step instructions for any given recipe.

At least that's what I'm thinking. I'd want McGee, Herme's Desserts (I'm a baking dumbass), and David Thompson's Thai Food, both for the recipes and to have a like-minded pal around when I'm lonely.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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devlin, On Food and Cooking is the second edition of Harold McGee's opus on food science and cooking. I think that Tri2Cook is suggesting that the depth of information in the book (it covers just about every food ingredient you can imagine) would allow him to figure out what to do on Fantasy Island, and he could come up with the step-by-step instructions for any given recipe.

At least that's what I'm thinking. I'd want McGee, Herme's Desserts (I'm a baking dumbass), and David Thompson's Thai Food, both for the recipes and to have a like-minded pal around when I'm lonely.

Um, yes, okay.... I actually missed the first line of that message, and subsequently didn't immediately recognize "On Food and Cooking" as McGee's text (especially as it was typed in there, looking as it did more as an intro to the message instead of an actual book or text and without the clarifying author to identify it). So, yes, anyway, of course McGee would fall into that category. I have McGee's text myself.

But for a little clarification, maybe, I'm not asking because I want book recommendations. I'm not scouting for recipes, I was mostly wondering the sorts of books folks here have used in their lives or careers that taught them something, that they learned from, that they loved to have. Even Rose Levy Beranbaum has talked about the influence of Julia Child's books on her own career.

For me, as an artisan bread baker, I don't use books any more either (or anyway not in the way most casual bakers and cooks use them). I've developed my own formulas and I go from there. But there are a lot of influences behind that.

So if I were to be kidnapped tomorrow, the one bread-baking tome I'd want to carry with me would be my own binders of breads, and also my kitchen binder of essential ideas I use for cooking. Together with Beranbaum's "Cake Bible."

Edited by devlin (log)
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But for a little clarification, maybe, I'm not asking because I want book recommendations. I'm not scouting for recipes, I was mostly wondering the sorts of books folks here have used in their lives or careers that taught them something, that they learned from, that they loved to have.

I understood that, my answer remains the same.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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