Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

weinoo

Favorite Cookbook to NOT Cook From

Recommended Posts

So, I've got a boatload of cookbooks. Some I cook from, some I cook with, some I read, some I don't.

What cookbooks do you have that you won't be using as recipe guides, but that you like to read and/or look at the pictures?

I'll start with a newer addition to my collection:

NOMA Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine. It's a stunning book, but I think I might have trouble finding many of the ingredients being used.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd have to say Morimoto's book. It is pure food porn, but the recipes are largely unrealistic for the average home cook.

Dan


"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd love that NOMA book, too....

Two for me, and they're very different: Diana Kennedy's Oaxaca al Gusto and Grant Achatz's Alinea cookbook. Ingredient access for Kennedy; time, equipment, ingredients, and a willing audience for Alinea.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I second Noma and Morimoto. Beautiful books but have no access to amost of the ingredients used in Noma and I find the recipes in Morimoto too complex. Sigh. :sad:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The French Laundry Cookbook, since I am sadly lacking a vacuum sealer, immersion circulator, and army of knife wielding sous chefs.


If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry? ~Author Unknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The French Laundry Cookbook, since I am sadly lacking a vacuum sealer, immersion circulator, and army of knife wielding sous chefs.

I'm pretty sure there isn't a single recipe in the French Laundry cookbook that calls for a vacuum sealer or an immersion circulator. Are you maybe thinking of Under Pressure?

I second the Noma book, but since the thread title is favorite cookbook, I think I have to go with the Fat Duck Cookbook, for the sheer volume of useful information, as well as context surrounding the individual recipes. I may never cook a full Fat Duck dish, but I've already used the information provided in the book in my own preparations. It stands out as a model of what a modernist cuisine cookbook should look like.


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me, The French Laundry Cookbook certainly fits that description. I do love looking through it, and reading it, but most of the recipes seem quite complicated and expensive.

I was thinking, however, maybe the croutons...


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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will second Oaxaca al Gusto. It is out on the coffee table now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Second on the Fat Duck. But I have to say, Morimoto's Ma Po Dofu recipe is easy and delicious. It's probably one of the few recipes I make on a fairly regular basis.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nope. I had in the distant past and never liked the food much. Reminded me of grad school. :laugh:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would agree that the French Laundry Cookbook is probably one of my favorite books to look at, yet least favorite to cook from. The photographs are gorgeous and the recipes intriguing, yet I doubt I have the patience to 1) procure the exact products needed, 2) buy any equipment needed for a dish that I don't already own, 3) care to go to the depths and lengths it would take to plate and garnish the dishes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eric Ripert's "On The Line". It was a good read about the inside workings and history of Le Bernardin, and the photography and grapics are stunning. The food *sounds* delicious, but like the Keller books, it's full of multi-step preparations and uncommon ingredients that aren't doable for a home cook. I remember looking a a picture of one of the desserts, and thinking I'd make it for a friend's birthday. Then I read the 5 different sub-recipes (each of which took several hours) to get to the final assembly, and saw the list of ingredients that are probably only available through commercial sources and thought "hmmmmmm, brownies would be good !"


--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ad Hoc. I don't have access to a lot of the ingredients required for the recipes; especially the cuts of meat. I hope to cook from it some day, though.

What!! I love Ad Hoc, it's probably my most used cookbok, and I don't have trouble finding most of the ingredients, even in my small city. Try some of the soups or side dishes if you can't find the meats. Honestly, I find some of the meat preparations a bit underwhelming, but side dishes like the scallion potato cakes, the polenta or the Nantes carrot stew undergo a complete transformation.

I'm surprised that people are also offput by the French Laundry cookbook. For those who have the patience, the recipes are thoroughly well written and verryy rewarding. A bunch ingredients may be hard to find, but rarely is an obscure piece of equipment called for. You could also just take components and use them in your own dishes. The 'quick' sauces and the herb oils are amazing.

My favorite cookbook not to cook from: Under Pressure, and Alinea.

Alinea: Crazy imaginative recipes that are fun to read about. I would cook more of them, but the dishes are all so small. I don't have much interest in cooking a recipe that will be finished in two bites. I would also appreciate a lot more detail in the instructions since all the recipes are so obscure and the photographs are not very helpful. Many of the recipes also use equipment and ingredients that I don't have (yet!)

I have made Beef: Elements of Root Beer, and Pork: Sage, Cornbread and Grapefruit.

The elements of root beer dish was absolutely amazing. The pork was also very good, but a little out there for me.

Under Pressure: I can't really figure out the instructions, and my city is too small to have most of the ingredients. There are some good looking poultry dishes in there though that I'll eventually get through. I've made the Squab with Piquillo Peppers and Date Puree (except I used chicken), that was realllllllllllllllly good.


Edited by andrewk512 (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kitcho - Japan's Ultimate Dining Experience. The only "recipe" is an in-depth description for making dashi. Worth owning if you're into kaiseki cuisine, and a fine companion to Kansha by Elizabeth Andoh.


Monterey Bay area

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The French Laundry Cookbook, since I am sadly lacking a vacuum sealer, immersion circulator, and army of knife wielding sous chefs.

His blini recipe is easy and good if you can find some caviar :wink: And, I have done his skate recipe with a very nice mustard sauce. No special equipment needed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I live in Japan in a very isolated village.

I don't have any trouble finding ingredients for washoku in the near by supermarkets.

My biggest challenge is to cook anything else. I remember watching Julie and Julia and thinking that trying to replicate her stunt would be almost impossible.

For the most difficult book, I would vote for the Fat Duck. Beautiful book, but I simply don't have the kitchen or ingredients.

I guess that living in a big city is easier for the cosmopolitan foodie.


My blog about food in Japan

Foodie Topography

www.foodietopography.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me, it's all the Donna Hay books. They're just lovely. I have friends who cook from them and are happy with the results, but I've just never gotten around to trying anything. Love to curl up and look at all the pretty, tho.


I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The other books I look at all the time but haven't baked anything from are "A Modernest View of Plated Desserts" and "A Neoclassical View of Plated Desserts." Everything is sooo pretty, but lots and lots of little fiddly steps...I have used some of the flavor combinations and plating ideas though...


If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry? ~Author Unknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would say honestly the only book I own that I own that I haven't made something out of was Susur: a culinary life.


Sleep, bike, cook, feed, repeat...

Chef Facebook HQ Menlo Park, CA

My eGullet Foodblog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would say honestly the only book I own that I own that I haven't made something out of was Susur: a culinary life.

I own that book - it's a wonderful book but I have never cooked from it and doubt if I ever will. Unlike you, Susur has some company in my won't cook list- "Noma" as I said in an earlier thread and Heston Blumenthal's beautiful book.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By Burmese Days
      Hello everyone,
       
      This is my first post, so please tell me if I've made any mistakes. I'd like to learn the ropes as soon as possible. 
       
      I first learned of this cookbook from The Mala Market, easily the best online source of high-quality Chinese ingredients in the west. In the About Us page, Taylor Holiday (the founder of Mala Market) talks about the cookbooks that inspired her.
      This piqued my interest and sent me down a long rabbit hole. I'm attempting to categorically share everything I've found about this book so far.
       
      Reading it online
      Early in my search, I found an online preview (Adobe Flash required). It shows you the first 29 pages. I've found people reference an online version you can pay for on the Chinese side of the internet. But to my skills, it's been unattainable.
       
      The Title
      Because this book was never sold in the west, the cover, and thus title, were never translated to English. Because of this, when you search for this book, it'll have several different names. These are just some versions I've found online - typos included.
      Sichuan (China) Cuisine in Both Chinese and English Si Chuan(China) Cuisinein (In English & Chinese) China Sichuan Cuisine (in Chinese and English) Chengdu China: Si Chuan Ke Xue Ji Shu Chu Ban She Si Chuan(China) Cuisinein (Chinese and English bilingual) 中国川菜:中英文标准对照版 For the sake of convenience, I'll be referring to the cookbook as Sichuan Cuisine from now on.

       
      Versions
      There are two versions of Sichuan Cuisine. The first came out in 2010 and the second in 2014. In an interview from Flavor & Fortune, a (now defunct) Chinese cooking
      magazine, the author clarifies the differences.
      That is all of the information I could find on the differences. Nothing besides that offhanded remark. The 2014 edition seems to be harder to source and, when available, more expensive.
       
      Author(s)

      In the last section, I mentioned an interview with the author. That was somewhat incorrect. There are two authors!
      Lu Yi (卢一) President of Sichuan Tourism College, Vice Chairman of Sichuan Nutrition Society, Chairman of Sichuan Food Fermentation Society, Chairman of Sichuan Leisure Sports Management Society Du Li (杜莉) Master of Arts, Professor of Sichuan Institute of Tourism, Director of Sichuan Cultural Development Research Center, Sichuan Humanities and Social Sciences Key Research Base, Sichuan Provincial Department of Education, and member of the International Food Culture Research Association of the World Chinese Culinary Federation Along with the principal authors, two famous chefs checked the English translations.
      Fuchsia Dunlop - of Land of Plenty fame Professor Shirley Cheng - of Hyde Park New York's Culinary Institute of America Fuchsia Dunlop was actually the first (and to my knowledge, only) Western graduate from the school that produced the book.
       

      Recipes
      Here are screenshots of the table of contents.  It has some recipes I'm a big fan of.
       
      ISBN
      ISBN 10: 7536469640   ISBN 13: 9787536469648 As far as I can tell, the first and second edition have the same ISBN #'s. I'm no librarian, so if anyone knows more about how ISBN #'s relate to re-releases and editions, feel free to chime in.
       
      Publisher
      Sichuan Science and Technology Press 四川科学技术出版社  
      Cover
      Okay... so this book has a lot of covers.
      The common cover A red cover A white cover A white version of the common cover An ornate and shiny cover  There may or may not be a "Box set." At first, I thought this was a difference in book editions, but that doesn't seem to be the case. As far as covers go, I'm at a loss. If anybody has more info, I'm all ears.
       
      Buying the book
      Alright, so I've hunted down many sites that used to sell it and a few who still have it in stock. Most of them are priced exorbitantly.
       
      AbeBooks.com ($160 + $15 shipping) Ebay.com - used ($140 + $4 shipping) PurpleCulture.net ($50 + $22 shipping) Amazon.com ($300 + $5 shipping + $19 tax) A few other sites in Chinese  
      I bought a copy off of PurpleCuture.net on April 14th. When I purchased Sichuan Cuisine, it said there was only one copy left. That seems to be a lie to create false urgency for the buyer. My order never updated past processing, but after emailing them, I was given a tracking code. It has since landed in America and is in customs. I'll try to update this thread when (if) it is delivered.
       
      Closing thoughts
      This book is probably not worth all the effort that I've put into finding it. But what is worth effort, is preserving knowledge. It turns my gut to think that this book will never be accessible to chefs that have a passion for learning real Sichuan food. As we get inundated with awful recipes from Simple and quick blogs, it becomes vital to keep these authentic sources available. As the internet chugs along, more and more recipes like these will be lost. 
       
      You'd expect the internet to keep information alive, but in many ways, it does the opposite. In societies search for quick and easy recipes, a type of evolutionary pressure is forming. It's a pressure that mutates recipes to simpler and simpler versions of themselves. They warp and change under consumer pressure till they're a bastardized copy of the original that anyone can cook in 15 minutes. The worse part is that these new, worse recipes wear the same name as the original recipe. Before long, it becomes harder to find the original recipe than the new one. 
       
      In this sense, the internet hides information. 
       
    • By TexasMBA02
      After batting about .500 with my previous approach to macarons, I came across Pierre Herme's base recipe online.  After two flawless batches of macarons, I've been re-energized to continue to work at mastering them.  Specifically, I want to try more of his recipes.  My conundrum is that he has, as far as I can tell, two macaron cookbooks and I don't know which one I should get.  I can't tell if one is just an updated version of the other or a reissue or what the differences really are.  I was hoping somebody had some insight.  I have searched online and haven't seen both books referenced in the same context or contrasted at all.
       
      This one appears to be older.

       
      And this one appears to be the newer of the two.

       
      Any insight would be helpful.
       
      Thanks,
       
    • By K8CanCook
      Update!! --- the sale is still going on at Amazon as of Sunday (11/24) at 11:15am EST
      ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
       
      Did anyone note the sale price on Modernist Cuisine today (maybe yesterday)? Amazon and Target dropped the set of tomes to $379!!!
       
      This price looks like it will change after today...so get it ASAP!!!

      https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/0982761007?pf_rd_p=183f5289-9dc0-416f-942e-e8f213ef368b&pf_rd_r=SRFCHFB5EFTGAA8AZHJX
      -or-
      https://www.target.com/p/modernist-cuisine-by-nathan-myhrvold-chris-young-maxime-bilet-hardcover/-/A-77279948
    • By Bollo
      I need a book on the application of rotavapor machine. I've searched something on web but i can't find something strictly professional for the kitchen please help me. To improve the research. 
    • By Smokeydoke
      After a delightful brunch at Koslow's Sqirl restaurant in Los Angeles, I've decided to attempt to cook through her cookbook. I'll post my results here.
       
      Please follow along and join in, if you're so inclined. Her food is wonderful, but I will surmise that her true deliciousness comes from using the best and freshest ingredients. I'll do my best to recreate the magic I felt at Sqirl.
       
      Here's the link to her book at Eat Your Books.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...