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Cookbooks That Never Fail


OnigiriFB
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Deal Delights, the NEW edition! PamR was just asking in another thread about kosher cookbooks, and although this IS a kosher cookbook, because it was written by a woman who keeps a kosher home, it is my all time favorite cookbook. I own literally hundreds of cookbooks. Seriously, because I am a book fiend! I use Jim Fobel's baking book a bit, I use a mid forties' edition of The Farm Journal cook book often, A 1960 edition of The NYT book, and I go to James Beards' books as well (he got me started with my first batch of whole wheat bread, a lifetime ago!), but THIS book, Deal Delights, has been opened more often than any other book in my homes. It's a compendium of real Syrian Jewish home cooking, and every recipe is authentic to my childhood, and DELICIOUS. I only keep about 40 cookbooks out for regular usage, BTW, the others are in my nightstands and my bedroom closet, for easy bedtime access!

edited by me to add: I don't own the Joy of Cooking, Fanny Farmer, Betty Crocker, or the BHG books! I DO have a few copies of Escoffier, but have used them VERY rarely, in fact, not in ten years! I DO love anything touched by Julia Child, though. Oh, dear, I'd better stop now.

Edited by Rebecca263 (log)

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Carrot Top, if it's any consolation, I probably *did* pay about $87 for my copy of the New Settlement Cookbook! When I moved to Japan, I had a broken floppy disk drive, and couldn't write anything to disk...as soon as I arrived, the hard disk collapsed too, and there went all my non-Japanese recipes, in those pre-Internet days.

In a fine fit of temper, I went to the big English bookstore and paid a mountain of gold for The New Settlement Cookbook and Rose Levy Berenbaum's Christmas Cookies book, and consequently had to sleep on the floor on a sheepskin for a month until I got my first Japanese pay-packet!

They were practically my first US cookbooks, and since I was forced to use them, I came across all sorts of fascinating dishes I had never heard of before :raz: .

Up until then, I'd rarely strayed from the apron strings of Elizabeth David and Jane Grigson.

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Up until then, I'd rarely strayed from the apron strings of Elizabeth David and Jane Grigson.

And some fine apron-strings they are. . .Elizabeth David's recipes are mostly firmly ingrained upon my memory - there's something about the form that remains in my mind "just as written" :smile: and Jane Grigson, well. . .I'd like to see her and Fergus Henderson together some day. That would be fun. :laugh:

I am curious though, since Onigiri had asked for cookbooks that dealt with "normal" cuisine i.e. mostly American (for Americans, anyway :biggrin: ) since you live in Japan, is there a *normal* Japanese cookbook that you "keep going back to"?

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Mine is the Better Homes and Garden cookbook I was given as a wedding shower gift. I've looked at the newest version and it's interesting to see how the types of appetizers (especially) have changed, but the basics are still there. Whereas I used to use mine for almost everything, now I refer to it most often for pie recipes, to remember what internal temp various cuts of meat should reach, and to when I can't remember how long to bake potatoes at different temps.

~ Lori in PA

My blog: http://inmykitcheninmylife.blogspot.com/

My egullet blog: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=89647&hl=

"Cooking is not a chore, it is a joy."

- Julia Child

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When I want a no fail knock-'em out of the park dish, I turn to Bouchon . It has never failed me (maybe because whenever I cook from it I have this weird feeling that Thomas Keller is breathing down my neck behind me and will get angry if I screw it up :huh: )

Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

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First I check epicurious.com.  Then I check Bittman's "How to cook Everything".  Then I check "The Best Recipe".  I compare and contrast all three and usually make a variation.  Anal but it works!

Same process, but I use google, Joy of Cooking, and The Best Recipe.

Oh, and for Thai: Real Thai. Cajun: Paul Prudhomme's Lousiana Kitchen.

Edited by pork (log)
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I have well over a hundred cookbooks, and the last one I would part with is: Escoffier. A chef I used to work for called it "the bible", I concur. As jackal10 said, it's all in there.

A island in a lake, on a island in a lake, is where my house would be if I won the lottery.

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Wow so glad to know I'm not alone.... I love eGullet! :wub:

Pork - what do you think of real thai? I've thought of picking that up but I'm leary of thai cookbooks as they never seem authentic or if they are they are waaaay to nitpicky. I want more homestyle or street stall food. That's the stuff I lived on in Thailand.

Wolfchef, Jackal, et al - Escoffier always seems so... so.. big! :raz:

Mallet - *kowtows* I'm not worthy .. I'm not worthy. Bouchon is probably WAY above my level of cooking.

Lori in PA - yeah I like looking at the updated version too. I have a really old one and the things in there are quite interesting since it's stuff before the whole low-fat, low-carb, low-might-as-well-quit-eating stuff. :rolleyes:

CarrotTop and HelenJP - I'm really interesting in knowing the answer to that too. I LOVE Japanese food and would love to find a good basic japanese cookbook.

Rebecca - I'm not really familiar with Kosher cooking. I understand a little bit behind it but not much. Looks like a book I should take a look at. Thanks.

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I'm learning to cook starting with the Les Halles Cookbook, even though it explicitly states in the opening lines of the book that "This is not a cookbook, not really." I have started with easy recipies like roast chicken, I must have done that recipie at least five times before I moved onto anything else. I am now fixated on the porc secition. Mmm, tenderloins. I also have a copy of Mastering the Arts of French Cooking, but have not used it yet. I want to get a hold of some pancreas or thymus to try my hand at sweet breads, but havn't asked the butcher I frequent if they even have such items.

"No butter... What the hell do they think bernaise is? It's like, egg yolks and butter!" -- Anthony Bourdain

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Wow so glad to know I'm not alone.... I love eGullet!  :wub:

Pork - what do you think of real thai? I've thought of picking that up but I'm leary of thai cookbooks as they never seem authentic or if they are they are waaaay to nitpicky. I want more homestyle or street stall food. That's the stuff I lived on in Thailand.

Wolfchef, Jackal, et al - Escoffier always seems so... so.. big!  :raz:

Mallet - *kowtows* I'm not worthy .. I'm not worthy. Bouchon is probably WAY above my level of cooking.

Lori in PA - yeah I like looking at the updated version too. I have a really old one and the things in there are quite interesting since it's stuff before the whole low-fat, low-carb, low-might-as-well-quit-eating stuff.  :rolleyes:

CarrotTop and HelenJP - I'm really interesting in knowing the answer to that too. I LOVE Japanese food and would love to find a good basic japanese cookbook.

Rebecca - I'm not really familiar with Kosher cooking. I understand a little bit behind it but not much. Looks like a book I should take a look at. Thanks.

For Japanese cooking, I really believe Japanese Cooking, a Simple Art is the very best. Homestyle Japanese Cooking by Tokiko Susuki is very good at explaining things but many recipes call for things that aren't available in Americn markets and doesn't make suggestions for substitutions.

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Pork - what do you think of real thai? I've thought of picking that up but I'm leary of thai cookbooks as they never seem authentic or if they are they are waaaay to nitpicky. I want more homestyle or street stall food. That's the stuff I lived on in Thailand.

I think it's excellent. I have several books on thai food and always wind up using this one. You can read the introduction and a few recipes on Amazon, and also see the index.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0811800172...341#reader-page

Seems authentic as hell to me. I wouldn't say it was nitpicky, but I do some substitutions to make the recipes fast and easy for me (storebought chile paste, chile/garlic sauce, and I almost always omit the rice powder.)

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For me it is the Joy of Cooking. My copy is falling apart, split seams in a few places, some pages have come completely detached, but it has all the basinc information I need if I am cooking something new or if I just need to check a basic temperature for something.

Plus, my Joy of Cooking is also stuffed with photographs and homemade cards, so I get to relive happy life memories along with food memories when I open it.

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My copy is falling apart, split seams in a few places...stuffed with photographs and homemade cards

Much as I appreciate the sentiment, and it may be worth buying a new edition now and again for it, I suspect these two things are related. :smile:

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OK, guys, I got the Joy of Cooking, 1943 printing. Normally, I sell these off, but this one, I'll keep for awhile!

edited to add: We'll be making the French Bread recipe on pg 471, tomorrow!

Edited by Rebecca263 (log)

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The All New Fannie Farmer Boston Cooking School Cookbook: Complete and Unabridged.

my mom bought me this when i went off to college. i actually have two copies - my working one missing the covers and the first and last 10 pages and one i bought back in 1985 and had rebound.

this has my favorite banana cake recipe (p 497) and the base for blueberry cake - with extra notes (p495), french chocolate mousse (p 395), the entire sauce section, and tetrazzini (p234).

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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I think I am at the point now of having too many cookbooks to have a fallback. In fact, I have several, but only because I several large compendium-type cookbooks now.

I used to rely heavily on Julia's MAFC 1 and 2, but I have made a couple of recipes recently that didn't work out and I am starting to become a little disilliusioned by it.

I would say no book is perfect, but if I had to choose one, it would be from the following:

- Larousse Gastronomique (great, but usually very rough with quantities)

- Escoffier (great for sauces and basic braised meats, etc, but not for a lot of American desserts)

- Paul Bocuse's Regional French Cooking (huge variety of recipes that covers most every fish, meat, and vegetable dish I need)

- New Professional Cook (CIA cookbook) - Excellent and probably the most complete, but I still can't get used to cooking by weight instead of volume

- The Cook's Book - Just got this one for Christmas, so haven't had time to evaluate fully, but seems promising.

"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."

~ Fernand Point

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