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Liza

Coffeetable Cookbooks

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I'm interested in what cook books members like for photography and design - for instance, I just fell for the simple design of the Michel Bras book which has most items shot over semi-milk glass, without plates or distractions.

Are there books that members prefer to just look at?

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I don't have it, but I've drooled over The French Laundry Cookbook. It's a beaut.

Nigella's How to Eat is pretty cool (love the cover...I have the reddish one with four shots), tho very limited in its interior. The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook has some very solid food photography going on.

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Oh, boy, a chance to be a design geek.

One of the best-designed cookbooks I've picked up in the last couple of years is One Potato, Two Potato by Roy Finamore. The photos make me seriously hungry, and the recipes are nicely laid out and easy to use. I don't think a recipe ever starts on a recto and continues to a verso, which is something that always drives me nuts.

Is anybody here (a) a typographer or book designer and (b) familiar with Lynne Rossetto Kasper's The Splendid Table? It contains a typographical in-joke that took me years to notice. The bulk of the book is set in Simoncini Garamond, but the yields are set in Stempel Garamond and the sidenotes in Monotype Garamond. Somehow it looks great.

As far as coffee table books go, I like the Williams-Sonoma Savoring series. Hot Sour Salty Sweet is very pretty but the trim size is annoying and there are other usability problems.

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Thank you, all.

Any chance to be a design geek, for me. Anyone else notice the puzzling and confusing design of Boulud's latest? Zoiks it's hard to read.

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All the Donna Hay books (in fact, most Australian cookbooks/food magazines) are gorgeous. And the food's pretty good, too.

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Oh, boy, a chance to be a design geek.

One of the best-designed cookbooks I've picked up in the last couple of years is One Potato, Two Potato by Roy Finamore.  The photos make me seriously hungry, and the recipes are nicely laid out and easy to use.  I don't think a recipe ever starts on a recto and continues to a verso, which is something that always drives me nuts.

Absolutely, Mamster. A handsome, user-friendly cookbook.

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Monotype Garamond is for tourists. A true design geek would have a custom version of Garamond designed like Apple did (and now sadly appears to be abandoning).

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Monotype Garamond is for tourists. A true design geek would have a custom version of Garamond designed like Apple did (and now sadly appears to be abandoning).

That is sad. The way Apple used typography in their advertising was revolutionary.

Any comments on Alton Brown's book? I like the guy a lot, but I think the book design is a mess.

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"Is anybody here (a) a typographer or book designer and (b) familiar with Lynne Rossetto Kasper's The Splendid Table? It contains a typographical in-joke that took me years to notice. The bulk of the book is set in Simoncini Garamond, but the yields are set in Stempel Garamond and the sidenotes in Monotype Garamond. Somehow it looks great."

i used to think i was a graphic designer. not anymore, as i realize i wouldn't have noticed...still, garamond, though a beautiful thing, was never any good in poster size. too many little "ideosyncratic" caracteristica that work well in small type but tend to be distracting in large type.

anyway, the most beautiful cook book i know is the danish edition of verge's "cuisine de soleil" (and perhaps it's made the same way in the original french edition, i don't know). two colours of text is used with exquisite effect.

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15 minutes ago I was just in the bookstore looking over the Zuni Cafe cookbook. I was going to buy it, but after flipping through it, I find it difficult to navigate. Recipe titles halfway down the page. No clear table of contents so you can't browse. I thought the full page pictures of the food were too flashy.

I will second the nomination for Donna Hay on design and photography. Also--French Laundry. Do not have it either.

For design and layout, I like Sally Scheiders' A New Way to Cook. Great book.

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Are there any books that are so design heavy as to obliterate the recipes? I'm just trying to stretch my eyes around what is considered appropriate - I've got the FL, all the Charlie Trotter books...and yet when I think of food photography that really sends me thinking, I refer to Australian Vogue Entertaining and Travel. They'll use a photo of a plate, with a used fork, and bit of icing and some crumbs to illustrate a dessert article - this image makes me think about the celebratory nature of the dessert, about how two people might have shared a slice, about so many things to accentuate my thoughts about dessert. The food in their photos doesn't look perfect - it looks like it is truly going to be enjoyed.

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I love Australian Vogue Food & Travel also-there's something very luxurious,but light about the look of all the food.Also I'd give credit to M*rtha Stewart,for finding and using some great stylists and photographers in her magazine.When they've done specials on a particular fruit or grain,the photos and layouts were just stunning-I hope that they will be published as a book someday.I also have enjoyed the Saveur Cooks French,Italian,American series-the food shots combined with the pictures of the places and people that they originate from are very appealing.

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I have to agree with Donna Hay books, the pictures are absolutely mouthwatering and there are pictures of absolutely every recipe listed.

I have found this true of most Australian books and of Japanese (in Japanese) books, I buy these just for the pictures.

By the way after reading this thread I went and one clicked the Shunju book, I ahd been wanting it for a while and............ like I need another cookbook!

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15 minutes ago I was just in the bookstore looking over the Zuni Cafe cookbook.  I was going to buy it, but after flipping through it, I find it difficult to navigate.  Recipe titles halfway down the page.  No clear table of contents so you can't browse.  I thought the full page pictures of the food were too flashy.

I will second the nomination for Donna Hay on design and photography.  Also--French Laundry.  Do not have it either. 

For design and layout, I like Sally Scheiders' A New Way to Cook.  Great book.

Nerissa: You make many good points about the irritating layout of the Zuni Cafe Cookbook. They should have known better.

Get it anyway. Cooking substance over good design here. We've been cooking from it since Christmas, and it's been a refreshing..and delicious experience.

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As far as coffee table books go, I like the Williams-Sonoma Savoring series.

I own several of these and they are beautiful. Great reading prior to taking a trip. I haven't had any problem with the recipes either.

I'm not all that impressed with Ina Garten's recipes, but the photography is well done.

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As well as Fl and Trotter's books (back off, awbrig), I like Hot Sour Salty Sweet by Alford and Duguid.

And the _______, The Beautiful (e.g. Provence) series by Collins.

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Quick Pickles by Chris Schlesinger, John Willoughby and Dan George. I pulled out this book from the shelf to look up a recipe and it struck me again what a beautiful little book it is. Photos include ingredients as well as the finished pickles. Nice looking and easy to follow layout as well. (Good recipes too.)

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Anyone else notice the puzzling and confusing design of Boulud's latest? Zoiks it's hard to read.

In what I thought was a bizarre thread earlier on the book, I said--"The typography bugs the s--t out of me," I'm not sure if I explained that it made it hard for me to approach the bood and appreciate the information it contained. Daniel Boulud is a friend and that was not an enjoyable thing to say, as you may imagine.

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The Culinaria for Europe is quite lovely. I also like Desserts by Pierre Hermé for the visuals.

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In what I thought was a bizarre thread earlier on the book, I said--"The typography bugs the s--t out of me," I'm not sure if I explained that it made it hard for me to approach the bood and appreciate the information it contained. Daniel Boulud is a friend and that was not an enjoyable thing to say, as you may imagine.

It also strikes me as odd in that the layout seems to be the antithesis to his approach to plating. Where on the plate his lines are clean and his it's so obvious that he appreciates harmonious presentations - I was particularly amused by the combination of crosnes and spaetle in a squab dish - the pages of this book don't tell your eye where to settle and where to read.

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In what I thought was a bizarre thread earlier on the book, I said--"The typography bugs the s--t out of me," I'm not sure if I explained that it made it hard for me to approach the bood and appreciate the information it contained. Daniel Boulud is a friend and that was not an enjoyable thing to say, as you may imagine.

It also strikes me as odd in that the layout seems to be the antithesis to his approach to plating. Where on the plate his lines are clean and his it's so obvious that he appreciates harmonious presentations - I was particularly amused by the combination of crosnes and spaetle in a squab dish - the pages of this book don't tell your eye where to settle and where to read.

Just to save me the trouble of looking it up, which is Boulud's latest?

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