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Spain & Portugal culinary library.

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Language will be an issue here, since I guess most of the titles considered as must have won't be available in English.

Nevertheless, I think it could be interesting to find which books covering Spanish and Portuguese food at large (any topic ranging from history to recipes) do you think should be present in every serious library on the topic.

Suggestions, please?

PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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My choice:

- Recipes:

· El Practicón, Angel Muro

· Técnicas de cocina, M.J. Gil de Antuñano

· La Cocina Mediterranea, Lourdes March

· La joven cocina vasca, Martín Berasategui

· Cocinar en 10 minutos, Ferran Adrià

- Gastronomy, History, Filosofy...

· La Casa de Lúculo, Julio Camba

· La cocina cristiana de occidente, Alvaro Cunqueiro

· Carnet de ruta, Las Recetas de Picwick, Nestor Luján

· Parada y Fonda, Punto y Coma

· Las recetas de Carvalho, Vazquez Montalbán

I've got more and there are loads that should be in my library, like Abraham Garcia's or Santi Santamaría's, but above are the ones that I kepp using and reading all the time.

Rogelio Enríquez aka "Rogelio"
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I think Pla's Ho que hem menjat (Lo que hemos comido) should be in that list. And including Simone Ortega with her 1080 recipes is a matter of justice.

Writing of which, I'm curious if anyone has skimmed through Subijana's La cocina doméstica (Home cooking), aiming to play a similar role as Ortega's for the new generation.

PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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Writing of which, I'm curious if anyone has skimmed through Subijana's  La cocina doméstica (Home cooking), aiming to play a similar role as Ortega's for the new generation.

I skimmed through it in Vitoria in April, tempted by my Basque friend's comments that Subijana was the "big chef" for whom he had most respect as a general all round chef/educator etc.

I was tempted, but the price (which isn't that high, I don't think) didn't quite match my tender budget at the time.

On the Portuguese side, I am happy to start with Culinária Portuguesa by Olleboma (António Maria de Oliveira Bello) and, for essays, José Quitério's two books Livro de Bem Comer and Histórias e Curiosidades Gastronómicas.


Ponte de Lima

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Being English obviously my range is fairly limited but I would have to include El Gusto de la Diversidad by Santi Santamaria, the 2 Bulli volumes and Adria's Secretos which gives such a good background to his philosophy. I also love Entre Mar i Muntanya by Xavier Sagrista and this probably gets used more than any in my collection.

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One of the most evocative, simple and beautifully written food books I've enjoyed in recent years is 'Bread and Oil: Majorcan Culture's Last Stand' by Tomás Graves, originally published by Prospect Books here in Devon. Tomás, a typographer and book designer, is the son of the great British poet and classicist Robert Graves. Tom Jaine, the publisher, commissions and produces a list of fascinating small press titles covering world cuisines and food history. Prospect Books deserves the support of everyone who loves food and words about food.

Here's the Amazon link for Bread and Oil.

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  • 2 weeks later...

There is a great book on Portuguese cooking called "Gastronomia e Vinho Verde" by Helio Loureiro, a famous chef based in Porto. (in Portuguese)

Also, the new Arzak book (I have lonly leafed through it at the book shop, but it looks great). (in Spanish, but if it's not available in English now I am sure it will be soon)

There is a book in English, by no means "cutting edge", called "Cooking in Spain" by Janet Mendel. I like it a sit has a good Spanish-English food glossary and plenty of traditional recipes with a bit of history behind them. A good starter book on simple, solid dishes.

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Glad I noticed this thread, I have been on the computer for hours looking for some good Spanish and Portuguese cookbooks as I have discovered my collection is really lacking in this area.

Unfortunately I don't read much Spanish or Portuguese so are there any recommendations for books in English as well? Any authors to look out for?

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"


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In addition to Janet Mendel's excellent book My Kitchen in Spain: 225 Authentic Regional Recipes (which I'm afraid is out of print), these would be good books in English, some of them also out print but findable through Amazon:

The Basque Table

Passionate Home Cooking from one of Europe's Great Regional Cuisines

By Teresa Barrenechea with Mary Goodbody

Foods and Wines of Spain

By Penelope Casas

The Catalan country kitchen: Food and wine from the Pyrenees to the Mediterranean seacoast of Barcelona

By Marimar Torres

Paella!: Spectacular Rice Dishes from Spain

By Penelope Casas

Also useful is this dictionary published in Spain:

Diccionario de Gastronomía y Hostelería Español-Inglés

By Ignacio Méndez-Trelles Díaz

Ed. Paraninfo

(this can be purchased here.)

Victor de la Serna


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Thank you!

I am glad to hear that about the first book, I actually placed it into my shopping cart at amazon last night. :biggrin:


This is the other I put in my cart, Food of Portugal by Jean Anderson


I am going to check out the others you have suggested.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"


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Tapas by Penelope Casas is a great cookbook and very accessible for those making them outside of Spain.

Dessert Cuisine by Oriol Balaguer is a scrumptiously beautiful book available in English.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I'll second the Penelope Casas recommendations (her The Foods and Wines of Spain is the best primer in English I know of for the Spanish cooking novice) and mention what is perhaps my favorite of hers, Delicioso!, which focuses on regional dishes.

It seems to me the basic reference book for Portuguese cooking must be Cozinha Tradicional Portuguesa by Maria de Lourdes Modesto. This is also available in English under the title Traditional Portuguese Cooking--both versions are published by Verbo in Portugal. If there's a book (or even four) that covers as wide a range of basic information, regional cooking styles, and sheer number of Portuguese dishes, I don't know about it (and that's the sort of thing I would know about!). It's also a great looking book, with a lot of gorgeous pictures.

On the subject of "comprehensive compendia of basic and essential information", I consider El Arte de Cocinar by Maria Luisa Garcia to be the best I've run across when it comes to Spanish cookery. It's in two parts, the second part being even more encyclopedic than the first. It seems to me it must be the Spanish equivalent of The Joy of Cooking. Sra. Garcia, is Asturiana, naturally! :wink:

My restaurant blog: Mahlzeit!

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I consider El Arte de Cocinar by Maria Luisa Garcia to be the best I've run across when it comes to Spanish cookery.

I think María Luisa García Sánchez, a regional food writer, is only well-known in her native Asturias. This is really an old book now - the first edition was published about 35 years ago. The national, decisively important equivalent over the past generation has been '1080 recetas de cocina', by Simone Ortega - the best-selling Spanish language cookbook in history, and one that is present in almost every household in this country. More important from a historic and literary viewpoint, and first published in 1970, was 'El libro de la cocina española' (Ed. Danae), by Néstor Luján and Joan Perucho, two of our greatest 20th century food writers.

Edited by vserna (log)

Victor de la Serna


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On my recent trip to El Bulli I was asked by my father in California to pick up a copy of El Bulli 1998-2002. I paid the hefty €150 price tag and lugged that bad boy out of there. Wow, what a beautiful book! Completely amazing and comes with a CD-Rom as well. Only bad part was having to lug thing halfway across the world to deliver it to my father!

Stephanie - The Nerdgirl


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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Had to laugh to find Torakris here before me! My Spain/Portugal cookbooks are either English or Japanese, and as son#2 gets more and more into classical guitar, our family encounters other types of Spanish culture more frequently.

And apart from that, Spanish food tastes so good, and so un-Japanese! Since I grew up in a fishing area, so far I've enjoyed recipes for mullet and other strong-flavored fish especially - are any of the books in the "recommended reading in English" list strong on ways of cooking fish?

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Certainly any of the Penelope Casas or Marimar Torres books are very good on fish.

BTW, one of these days I'll have to stop at the Japan board to give some details of my culinary experiences during my recent (wine-selling) trip there. What I can already point out since you live in Japan is that two of our meals there were at very good Spanish restaurants, Japanese-run but quite in line with current trends in Spain's cuisine: El Poniente in Osaka and Sol Poniente in Ube City near Yamaguchi. El Poniente has an 'asador'-type branch (i.e., they specialize in grilled meats), El Poniente Carbón. Nice places!

Victor de la Serna


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I'll have to stop at the Japan board to give some details of my culinary experiences during my recent (wine-selling) trip there

Please do!

Very occasionally Spanish wine is available here, but I find it hard to choose - some Spanish reds have a "fortified wine" taste which I don't care for, but I don't know enough about Spanish wine styles to understand the labels and choose a bottle which I can expect to enjoy!

I live east of Tokyo, near the cheaper parts of Tokyo where "Spanish" restaurants feature more central and south American cooking than Spanish.

I often hear that Japanese short-grained rice is a good choice for paella...but I'd be curious to know what non-Japanese people think of that idea.

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  • 2 months later...

A little while ago I picked up The Food of Portugal (Jean Anderson) and Tapas (Penelope Casas), I have been using and enjoying both books.

Just last week, I bought Catlan Cuisine by Colman Andrews, I have yet to try it though.....


funny running into you here! :biggrin:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"


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  • 11 months later...

I've had Penelope Casas' "Tapas" book for a long time and have enjoyed it as well.

A friend just loaned me a copy of Penelope Casas' new book, "La Cocina de Mama: The Great Home Cooking of Spain" (1995).

It looks quite good just reading the recipes in the sense that there are a lot of recipes I would like to try. While the flavor of the cookbook is homecooking, there are a bunch of slightly updated recipes of classic dishes by chefs.

There are some interesting recipes that call for a soft semi-cured chorizo, many use piquillo peppers, Spanish cheeses and ham, and bacalao. Some dishes will have substitutions for ingredients more easily available in the US, BUT, she seems to make a point in describing the use of the source ingredient available in Spain as well. That is, the recipes do not appear to be 'dumbed down' too much by available ingredients--of which many are accessible in the US with mail order in any case.

The dessert section looks interesting as well-- Orange Cake, Segovia's Custard and Marzipan Cake, an interesting cheesecake made with Torte de la Serena cheese, Felix Duran's Almond and Egg Yolk Tart, Meringue Wafers with Almond Butter, Walnut Flan with a custard sauce, Almond Soup. I love almonds so that is probably why they appeal to me so much!

Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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I think a really good resource book for Spanish cuisine is the Culinaria Series from Konneman publishers. They break down the country into regions i.e. Valencia, Pais Vasco, Catalunya, Castilla la-mancha etc etc. Lots of photos, Lots of information, Not all the recipes are that accurate, but they definitely give you plenty of ideas to work from. I also think the book is printed in several languages(the english one is a translation).

A question for egulleters located in Spain. I was in Toledo last year and heard that there was a cookbook being produced to celebrate the 500th year of Don Quijote. Chefs collaborating on the book included Ruscalleda, Berasetegui, Arola, and chefs from the la mancha region such as Manolo de la Osa. The restaurant that I was at hosted the food photography session for all the chefs, and told me that the book would be published in 2005. I have no idea of the title of the book, but has anybody seen anything resembling what I am describing in the bookstores yet?

you never know, it could happen...

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  • 1 month later...

There's a book I'll recomend to you all, which happened to be my very first cookbook - offered by my mother on my 19's or 20's Christmas - which is like a huge Bible, published in 1957 and revised many times after its 1st edition.


It's divided on to huge sections, each one taking half of the book. The first one dedicated to food in general and the second one only to deserts and pastry. Most of it are portuguese recipes, but it also includes international recipes and tips on many cooking techniques, etc

Guess there isn't any english edition....

Filipe A S

pastry student, food lover & food blogger

there's allways room for some more weight

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