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Steve Plotnicki

Classic Cookbooks

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Classic, or Most-Used?  Definite differences!

I would like to put a word in (as CathyL has already) for Madeleine Kamman, whose books are filled with useful information and history.  I rely upon The Making of a Cook (the original version, although I do also have the updated one), but find something important in all her books.  She's especially good at demonstrating how European cuisines relate to each other, ARE related to each other.

Also Craig Claiborne, in particular his collected NYT columns (C.C.'s Favorites, four volumes), which give a very good, journalistic, feeling for how fast American cuisine began to move in the 1970s, and his Southern cookbook, a good companion to his autobiography.  I think Claiborne's influence--positive influence--cannot be underestimated.

Most often consulted, I suppose, besides Madeleine Kamman, is Elizabeth David, but I certainly also depend upon Marcella Hazan, (whose influence on contemporary American cuisine in general is undeniable).  Time-Life's The Good Cook series is very useful, surprisingly so, and is beautifully bound, to boot.

And this is not even to address particularities, whole categories, really:  Japanese, UK, Russian, baking, Middle Eastern--which are just mine.  Everyone will have his or her own, with its attendant cookbook needs.

Priscilla

(Edit:  Yvonne, The Good Cook volumes each have two place-holding ribbons, too, part of the surprising usefulness, I have thought.)


Priscilla

Writer, cook, & c. ● #TacoFriday observant ●  Twitter    Instagram

 

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Priscilla,

What's your favorite Russian cookbook? I have Anya von Bremzen's "Please to the table", which is broad enough in scope to cover the most popular dishes of former soviet republics.

For my beloved Georgian cuisine there is a gem of Darra Goldstein "The Georgian Feast : The Vibrant Culture and Savory Food of the Republic of Georgia". Additional bonus: reproductions of Niko Pirosmani:

kali-ludit.jpg

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Priscilla, Your question, "Classic, or Most-Used?"  is a good one, and it was at the back of my mind as I compiled my list.  I see my list as including what I deem classics (they'll stand the test of time) which also happen to be well used in our kitchen. As for other very well-used books, I often use Sainsbury's (UK supermarket cookery) books--little, nicely designed paperbacks that went for 85 UK pennies years ago.  I didn't include them despite one being written by Anton Mosimann, because there'll never be classic cookbooks.)

I'm going to look out for the Good Cook.  Thanks.

In error I omitted Hazan from my list, but from her Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking one can learn a lot.

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Helena, are you familiar with The Art of Russian Cuisine, by Anna Volokh?  The book jacket says that she was the Sunday food writer for Izvestia for seven years before emigrating to the U.S.  I don't know if that would constitute good credentials or bad. :smile: The book has 500 recipes and many descriptive essays about food history and culture.  My volume was copyrighted in 1983 and I haven't used it in quite a while, but I made quite a few things from it when I was cooking more than I do now and liked reading and using it.  The recipes are adapted for the American kitchen, so I can't vouch for the authenticity.

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Priscilla,

What's your favorite Russian cookbooks? I have Anya von Bremzen's "Please to the table", which is broad enough in scope to cover the most popular dishes of former soviet republics.

For my beloved Georgian cuisine there is a gem of Darra Goldstein "The Georgian Feast : The Vibrant Culture and Savory Food of the Republic of Georgia". Additional bonus: reproductions of Niko Pirosmani:

kali-ludit.jpg

Helena, I have Please to the Table and The Georgian Feast...I like the color plate you provided!  Do you have Darra Goldstein's great first book, originally called A La Russe, later reissued as A Taste of Russia, (I believe)?

Tremendously useful, historically and cooking-wise, is Anne Volokh's The Art of Russian Cuisine, probably my favorite, almost certainly out of print but shouldn't be.  Of historical interest, Classic Russian Cooking, translated by Joyce Toomre, originally published way pre-Soviet (1800s) as A Gift to Young Housewives.  And somewhat uneven but not without value, (plus typically great photography), the Time-Life Foods of the World volume Russian Cooking.  (There is a bit on Romanian and Bulgarian in T-L's FotW Quintet of Cuisines, too.)  A few others...!

Priscilla


Priscilla

Writer, cook, & c. ● #TacoFriday observant ●  Twitter    Instagram

 

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Sandra and Priscilla,

i must admit i'm not familiar with all of these titles. I didn't even know that "Izvestya" had a food editor; at least i don't remember them printing recipes or restaurant reviews.Back then the recipes were mostly published in Rabotnytsa (Woman-worker) and Krestyanka (Woman-peasant)...

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Jaybee, do you mean the Anne Willan book?

I will look for the author next weekend.

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Posted: June 11 2002,08:13   

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jaybee - Most of my cooking is grilling in the Hamptons. I make the world's best hamburger (no joking) and I can make barbeque that rivals what comes out of BBQ pits in the south. I have developed a sort of half grilling/half smoking style of cooking meat and fish that gets rave reviews, and fits the Hamptons well. Since most of the condiments and sauces that go with that style of cooking are mostly based on salsas and other "raw" sauces, it fits both the lifestyle and the type of ingredients that you find out there. My wife does the more serious cooking, which also stays pretty simple. Mostly bistro food, or big platters of steamed shellfish in a variety of broths.

Come over my house someday and I will make you a big pot of steamed shellfish with a hint of curry using curry powder from Israel in Paris along with a chilled Sancerre or Riesling of repute and then half-smoked and grilled double cut lamb chops served with a fresh peach and red pepper relish, corn on the cob that has been cooked by wrapping it in tinfoil along with a few pats of butter, sea salt and a pinch of cumin and tossing it directly on the coals, and shredded Brussel Sprouts that have been cooked in hot oil for 30 second just until they crisp, and then dressed with a large pat of butter and salt, along with a perfectly mature bottle of Cote Rotie. I promise you will want to spend the night.

Did I make you hungry?

I'll settle for a hamburger and a glass of Romanee Conti 1969!

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I'd agree with Priscilla that there's a big difference between "classic" & "most used".  In the latter category I'd punt in further suggestions such as the Patricia Wells/Joel Robuchon book or Gordon Ramsays Passion for Flavour.  However I wouldn't necessarily count these as classic books.

For classic's I'm looking for books which have stood the test of time, or innovated in some way, or made some significant contribution to the genre. Not that this doesn't necessarily have to be an excellent cookbook! (and conversely, many excellent cookbooks are not classics).

anyhow, would also suggest the first Charlie Trotter book and/or Marco Pierre White's White Heat - both pioneers in the big, bold gastropornographic style which is now commonplace ie one recipe per page, big full-page close-up colour illustrations, glossy, cheffy, coffee table rather then kitchen table. Plus the MPW perfectly captures all that was wrong about 80's excess - not an excellent cookbook but nonetheless a classic.

cheerio

J


More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!

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Jaybee - 1969 was a bad year for DRC. I'm not sure why because it is one of the classic years in Burgundy? Wines like '69 Clair-Dau Bonnes Mares are still fantastic to drink. How about 1964 DRC Grands-Echezeaux instead, or 1966 Richebourg? I'm sure we'll find something.

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I've had the '66 Richebourg DRC, It was very good!  I liked a '59 Echezeaux even more. Now where can I find a case of '99 Nuits St. George Blanc for less than $48 a bottle?

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Adam - I checked for the Turkish cookbook yesterday but the shop was out of them. They are trying to get more. But I will look through the recipes for you when I get out to the Hamptons. But a book you will probably be interested in is called "A Drizzle of Honey" which is a collection of Jewish, pre Spanish Inquisition recipes. It was just released in the U.S. in paperback. I'm not sure if it was released in the U.K. But you can call Matt at Kitchen Arts & Letters in NYC at 212-876-5550. They have the book and will put it in the post to you. And he also can be a great resource in helping you with other books on the topic.

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That's very kind of you Steve, I will get onto that book at once. Sounds like just the thing that I am interested in at the moment. Weirdly, at least some of my interest in this subject was due to the topic-that-dare-no-speak-its-name (I was trying to determine which facts were true and which were not), so some good came out of it. :confused:

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I am quite interested in that period as well. That Jews, Christians and Muslims lived in peace and harmony, and shared a cuisine is a fascinating topic. I don't know much about that era, but one would think that with that social dynamic, and a somewhat benevolent monarchy (?), which was willing to fund exploration, it was ripe for democracy to take hold. But the forced expulsion of non-Catholics ended up costing that country anywhere from 300-500 years until democracy established a foothold. For Jews, the moment is of great importance because one of the two routes taken by those expelled was into Provence and up the Rhone River and eventually into  Alsace before ending up in Northern and Eastern Germany and Eastern Europe, and the other into Turkey. But nobody ever writes about what happened to the Muslims who were expelled from Spain, where they ended up and how it affected their cuisine? Maybe you can post about it sometime if you are developing a specialty on the topic.

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Many of the Muslims went to what is now Morocco (as did some of the Jews as well) and other parts of North Africa. Some stayed behind and converted faiths. Hence, some of the Spanish dishes of today are old Muslim/Jewish dishes which have been "Christianised", by the addition of pork (the converts were forced to add this ingredient as I sign of their true conversion).  I have been meaning post a thread on this topic, but just haven't had the time to give it the attention that it deserves.  Maybe when I go on holiday next month

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...at least some of my interest in this subject was due to the topic-that-dare-no-speak-its-name (I was trying to determine which facts were true and which were not), so some good came out of it. :confused:

Mm, I spent the weekend reading a book about identity, borders, colonialism and language by a French-Maghrebian/Algerian Jew, name of Jacques Derrida, for much the same reason.  Sadly, nothing about food in it... :sad:

"Monolingualism of the Other" was the title.

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• Joy of Cooking is my number one favorite cookbook, not necessarily the new one, maybe the     one before this. It has all your basic information included on how to cook just about anything. Gives room for the creative as well.

• Greens is my favorite veggie cookbook, because evevn though the recipes are difficult, they taste good, and I['ve never had anything in that book come out lousy.

• Joyce Chen... great Classic Chinese cookbook.

• Myra Breckenridge Cookbook, now out of printi, but is very classic, and also has a wonderful section on how to cook for a large groups.

• Jewish Cooking in America, for sentimental reasons, and for some out of this world, and different than my mom's cooking.

• And, this is a cheat, but the whole TIME/LIFE series of cookbooks that came out so very long ago.. wonderful, wonderful books.

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For Indian Cuisine, I refer to The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking by Yamuna Devi at least once per month.  Who needs meat when you can have all of these breads, soups and veggies?  It must have 1,000 recipes, all of them glorious.  The books by Julie Sahni introduced me to Indian cuisine 20 years ago and are still relevant.  

For Italian:  Celebrating Italy by Carol Field, and all of Marcella Hazan.  Also, Italian Cooking in the Grand Tradition by the Cornettos is fabulous -- an unsung classic.

For Veggies only:  Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison; World Vegetarian by Julie Sahni, and, if truth be told, I still go to some of my Moosewood books now and then.

Bread:  English Bread and Yeast Cookery by Elizabeth David and Flatbreads and Flavors by Alford and Duguin.  The first is classic, no-nonsense history and preparation of classic loaves; the second is a fun book for many unyeasted breads and regional food to accompany.

Everything from John Thorne: Simple Cooking, Outlaw Cook, Serious Pig and Pot On Fire.  If he writes about it, I want to cook it.

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Mm, I spent the weekend reading a book about identity, borders, colonialism and language by a French-Maghrebian/Algerian Jew, name of Jacques Derrida, for much the same reason.  Sadly, nothing about food in it... :sad:

"Monolingualism of the Other" was the title.

In translation?

Lightweight.

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Mm, I spent the weekend reading a book about identity, borders, colonialism and language by a French-Maghrebian/Algerian Jew, name of Jacques Derrida, for much the same reason.  Sadly, nothing about food in it... :sad:

"Monolingualism of the Other" was the title.

Vive la differerance.

(The a is silent, the "is" is crossed out and the "crossing out" is crossed out as well.)


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Sandra - Yes I was in there yesterday afternoon. They told me that they have sent someone to Turkey to look for it. Let's see what happens. But if not, I will write the name of the old age home down including their address and we can write to them. I have a real live Turkish person who can help us with it too.

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If this cussed man did not ruin the site, we could have had more people joining in this topic.

Shame he is so hateful and angry, that many seem to shy away or not want an active participation.

Maybe you will harm yourself with high anxiety from all the hate you cause and stir and create that you will stop very soon.

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troll.jpg

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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