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Cookbooks: I think I might be done.


Chris Amirault
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I think I am pretty much done with cookbooks that cover a broad range of foods, but I can always be tempted by specialty books. I love Southeast Asian cuisine and do not feel I have a handle on making much from that part of the world, so a good cookbook from that region that includes substitutions that I can find locally would be tempting.

Also, whenever I "discover" a new project or interest, I usually end up picking up a book or two. For instance, I am trying to improve my chocolates and candy, and just decided to learn to make macarons, so got a few books on those subjects recently.

I do find that I have become much more selective about buying cookbooks in recent years though. So done? I doubt I ever will be, but I buy many fewer per year than I have in the past.

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I dunno, I want one more.

Maybe this one...maybe just one more...

I' m with Kouign Aman on this one myself, I only need one cookbook... One more.

The other day on Twitter someone hit the nail on the head when he joked (I assume) that his favorite cookbook store should just garnish his wages to make life simpler for all involved.

That's what ink fans say aboout tattoos, "I only want one more tattoo; the NEXT one!" :raz: (Yes, I know whereof I speak, having collected both.)

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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Not 2012 and not strictly a cookbook but have you read The crackling is superb by members of the Royal Society. The other would be have you read all of Simon Hopkinson's books he writes so wonderfully about food even if you don't cook a single recipe (bet you will though) they are worth a purchase.

Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

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Not 2012 and not strictly a cookbook but have you read The crackling is superb by members of the Royal Society. The other would be have you read all of Simon Hopkinson's books he writes so wonderfully about food even if you don't cook a single recipe (bet you will though) they are worth a purchase.

Oh yes! I got this some twenty years ago and it is in my "not-just-cookbook food books" collection along with the books by M.F.K. Fisher, Elizabeth David, etc.

Fun to read and really stimulates the appetite, both for food and for reading about food.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I have also reached the near saturation point on buying books. Although I love to bake, I feel no need to buy another book on bread. I have enough books on making dinner that I do not feel the need to buy another unless it meets two criteria; it's by a chef I like and the recipes are practical for everyday cooking.

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

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Like many others above, I tend to go in phases: in particular, if I get a couple disappointing ones in a row I start to wonder what the point is. Maybe I should just stick to Modernist Cuisine and Fiesta at Rick's. Of course, then I get suckered into another one, it turns out well, and I'm back buying them left and right.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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  • 2 weeks later...

same boat, haven't bought one in many months. I have somewhere around 250 cook books, covering just about anything I'd ever want to try. And I haven't seen anything lately that made me want to order it. Seems like a lot of the wannabe chefs on TV are throwing piles of books around nowadays (I'm sure they wrote them too. Yeah, right).

I might get Heston's at home book eventually, but considering the thousands of recipes on my bookshelf I really don't need anything new. For a decade or two at least...

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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Like many others above, I tend to go in phases: in particular, if I get a couple disappointing ones in a row I start to wonder what the point is. Maybe I should just stick to Modernist Cuisine and Fiesta at Rick's. Of course, then I get suckered into another one, it turns out well, and I'm back buying them left and right.

Same here. Just this week I got an email from Amazon.uk advertising the new Pierre Herme book "Pastries by...) and I'm trying to convince myself that I do not need it but not sure how long that will last.

Another exception is the older books that I want but do not have. Most recently I bought Thai Street Food by David Thompson and I do not regret it. I doubt this particular cycle will ever end.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Apparently I'm not done as I just ordered a half a dozen more this morning. I don't expect to do any extensive cooking or baking from any of them but look for new ideas and just enjoy relaxing with them when I have the time. I buy most at a substantial discount and dispose of those that don't do anything for me when they start stacking up at places other than the bookshelves.

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  • 3 weeks later...

THIS article, 'I Was a Cookbook Ghostwriter' just appeared in the New York Times today. I think it explains some of my lack of interest in most modern cookbooks. The chefs whose names are on them didn't write them after years of work on the recipes, heck the recipes are often barely tested. The prose isn't by the actual chef, there's virtually nothing genuine in them at all.

My current favorite books are theme cookbooks from the 1960s like The Pyromaniacs Cookbook or Scheherazade Cooks! -these are books by non-chefs, but the recipes are well tested and represent a labor of love by the author.

My other obsession is older (pre-WW2) pastry books showing techniques rarely used nowadays. Pastillage hats anyone?

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  • 1 month later...

My cooking career began only a very few years ago and for the first couple of years I bought a LOT of cookbooks, especially when we were in the States and Amazon.com is so simple and so cheap. Our past visit to the USA, I bought only a few cookbooks, ones which I was actually looking forward to buying. That's about it for me for a good long while I think.

I really do have all the chocolate books I can imagine buying. ...for my level of non-expertise anyway...

I borrow all the interesting cookbooks which our two libraries hold. I can order books on ILL.

I find a lot of good recipes online from the various blogs I subscribe to, particularly the more non-western ones, the Mexican, African, Middle Eastern, etc. I use eGullet recipes.

I really thinking my collecting drive is waning... :raz: ...maybe...

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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  • 1 month later...

Hey there!

A lot of new cookbooks which appear today are electronic. It has really became a tendency, so I'm thinking now about buying Kindle or smthng like that for being able to read all of them. I'm not sure I like that way of reading, but

So what about you? Do you usually buy eBooks or paper ones, especially culinary ones?

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Hey there!

A lot of new cookbooks which appear today are electronic. It has really became a tendency, so I'm thinking now about buying Kindle or smthng like that for being able to read all of them. I'm not sure I like that way of reading, but

So what about you? Do you usually buy eBooks or paper ones, especially culinary ones?

I thought the Kindle route was the way to go - but watch out - the books are often not easily searchable, they have become extraordinarily expensive - some more than the hardcover! Look at the Kindle editions of Grace Young's books on Amazon.com to see what I mean - Stir-frying to the Sky's Edge and Breath of a Wok.

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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When it comes to cookbooks, I have a strong preference for paper. E-cookbooks are harder to make notes in, harder to print recipes from (at least with the Kindle variety), and far more expensive when you take them into the kitchen and spill something. My Kindle is also the old-fashioned e-ink variety, which is great for text, but leaves a lot to be desired for photos and other pictures.

For other books, I like my Kindle.

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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I doubt I'll ever buy an electronic cook book, the idea of having any kind of expensive reader/ipad/laptop in the kitchen is not appealing at all. Until they make one you can put in the dishwasher (and maybe use as cutting board and plate warmer too?) I'll stick to books. Which I of course treat as if they were $800 gadgets, and keep them far away from spills and stove, on the far end of the kitchen, LOL.

I did however just buy 4 more (cough):

Vegetables from an italian garden - very nice book partitioned by season with little "booklets" (shorter pages) at each season's start talking about the veggies in season, followed by great recipes also sorted by veggie (Asparagus, Artichoke, etc) Handy and tasty.

Charred and Scruffed, a great bbq book that tells you to throw the meat straight on the coals! Some other great ideas in there too that I already applied very successfully.

Spilling the Beans, a nice book about beans and grains and a whole bunch of great recipes to combine the two. Made a wonderful beet humus and plan on several of their bean dishes.

Eat with your Hands, an other of the unusual cuts and ideas books that seem popular lately, I find it a lot of fun to read and there are quite some things in there that I'll be making soon.

As I mentioned above, I don't need any more cookbooks. Well, maybe a couple. Or three........

;-)

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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Oh I have just fallen to the call of Ottolenghi, having got to the age when I donate most of the cookery books I lusted after a few years ago, this one really tickled my fancy. Am I overjoyed with it? Not as much as I had hoped, but my expectations were high. His are books for City dwellers I think.

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  • 6 months later...

My main problem is, I buy them and then rarely crack them open...

That is why I stopped buying them.

I have thought about this more during the year. I definitely don't think I'm a great cook who couldn't learn anything more.

I used to read cookbooks the way some people read novels. When it comes to buying new cook books I think I've just realized that the subject matter of a new one will look interesting to me, I'll buy the book, then I never make any time to actually try the recipes and techniques. Also my wife and I don't have people over to dinner very often - a major change from once or twice a month twenty years ago. And for my sweet wife's part in this: except for certain tried-and-true recipes when she wants to find a new (to us) recipe she uses the internet instead of our collection of cook books. We have a lot of the standards: Fannie Farmer, The French Chef and maybe 5 other Julia Child books, several of Jeff Smiths, probably 18-24 ethnic-specific books, etc... We just don't seem to look at them for new things.

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

;

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  • 7 years later...
  • 9 months later...
On 2/13/2012 at 1:35 AM, ScottyBoy said:

My main problem is, I buy them and then rarely crack them open...

I have this problem, or I’ll flick through them and then never open them again. 
 

im trying to change that and crack open a good to browse but it’s slow going.

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Posted (edited)

Having moved many times over last 15 years I have let some go at garage sales or to friends. Ones I never connected with. I did re-purchase just a few as they were more narrative not recipe driven. I purchased "The Rise (Marcus Samuelsson) and "Falastin" (Sami Tamimi) somewhat recently. I am not "done". I now recognize what matters to me in the long run. Recipes alone can be freely accessed on the internet. I fall in love with the stories, culture, passion in the words. I am not a recipe cook anyway so it is all about inspiration to me. Well and you will never wrest my Time Life Foods of the World series from me - such writing by great food people. And I never cook from Madeleine Kamman's "When French Women Cook", or Diana Kennedy's "Oaxaca Al Gusto" but they inspire me. Dang we were close on a Q & A with her via @rancho_gordo but she had a bad interview elsewhere. Things happen.

Edited by heidih (log)
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3 hours ago, heidih said:

Having moved many times over last 15 years I have let some go at garage sales or to friends. Ones I never connected with. I did re-purchase just a few as they were more narrative not recipe driven. I purchased "The Rise (Marcus Samuelsson) and "Falastin" (Sami Tamimi) somewhat recently. I am not "done". I now recognize what matters to me in the long run. Recipes alone can be freely accessed on the internet. I fall in love with the stories, culture, passion in the words. I am not a recipe cook anyway so it is all about inspiration to me. Well and you will never wrest my Time Life Foods of the World series from me - such writing by great food people. And I never cook from Madeleine Kamman's "When French Women Cook", or Diana Kennedy's "Oaxaca Al Gusto" but they inspire me. Dang we were close on a Q & A with her via @rancho_gordo but she had a bad interview elsewhere. Things happen.

The Time Life Series "Foods of the World" is where I started cooking.  Weekly "international dinners" for the family.  I recall how magical Japan night was - chawan mushi?  Somewhere else - in the series, I thought, but that was 50 years ago now - orange mousse, inside an orange?

 

I feel much the same way, Heidi.  It's the stories that keep me reading.  For me, especially, biographies.  Also, very fond of books that tie a history and place, an almost evolutionary assessment, to foods we take as "given."  Even some of the more arcane stuff (e.g., Raymond Oliver's Gastronomy of France.  Starts with "paleolithic gastronomy" and conjectures on "flat stones, the first infra-red cookers," ends with "aphrodisiac cookery."  "This one's gonna' be a trip...").

 

I really wish I could, but I can't read recipes anymore.  My eyes glaze over.

 

 

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-Paul

 

Remplis ton verre vuide; Vuide ton verre plein. Je ne puis suffrir dans ta main...un verre ni vuide ni plein. ~ Rabelais

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