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Old 09-09-2009, 02:07 PM   #1
hallali
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Your favourite cookbook?

I love cookbooks and collect them. Right now I have about 500 in German and English.

So my question for those who share my hobby (or not): What is your favourite cookbook and why?

My favourite cookbook is Marcella Hazan´s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
(Die klassische italienische Küche).

It has no pictures (a lot of the older american cookbooks don´t have), but if you want to buy just one italian cookbook it HAS to be this one. Everything I did was great and tasted like being in Italy. Marcella has quite a mandatory tone in her very exact recipes but just trust her. She just wants the things to come out as if she would do it herself. OK some things need time to prepare (I never managed to do the Canelloni in less than 4 hours ) but the outcome - just yummy! This is definetly the top choice of my collection so far.

So what is yours?
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Old 09-09-2009, 02:27 PM   #2
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My favourite is Bread Matters - Andrew Whitley (info here)- only available as a physical book (hard and paper back). It's part a manifesto for real bread, part recipe book.

My two next joint favourites are Nigella Lawson's Domestic Goddess (it's no real surpise that two of my three favourites are to do with baking!) and Madhur Jaffrey's Eastern Vegetarian Cooking
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Old 09-09-2009, 02:30 PM   #3
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I don't have as many cookbooks as you (500? Wow!) but I do have probably about 20 or so.

For me, I always prefer ones where the recipes are quite simple in terms of the number of ingredients involved and the availability of those ingredients (nothing worse than opening a cookbook and seeing; "First take your Morroccan swamp grass and combine it with the yellow ends of your West Samoan green bellied snake fillets"!) .

Not sure I have an absolute favourite, but I do like most of Rick Stein's books and Antonio Carlucci is pretty good too. I would have to say, though, that Delia Smith's 'Complete Illustrated Cookery Course' is the most used cookbook I have. It really is very good as a source of basic information (How do I make a cheese sauce? How long do I cook a leg of lamb for? etc) and also includes a lot of decent recipes.

When are you inviting us all over for a meal by the way?
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Old 09-09-2009, 02:33 PM   #4
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By the way, have you seen this thread on this site?

Lots of recipes there!
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Old 09-09-2009, 05:48 PM   #5
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Not strictly a cookbook, but I love Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking, by Michael Ruhlman. There's an e-book version at Books on Board. It doesn't have a lot of recipes, but shows you how to be a very flexible cook, once you know the ratios for basic foods (breads, cakes, sauces, broths, etc.).
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Old 09-09-2009, 05:56 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by bookfiend View Post
Not strictly a cookbook, but I love Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking, by Michael Ruhlman. There's an e-book version at Books on Board. It doesn't have a lot of recipes, but shows you how to be a very flexible cook, once you know the ratios for basic foods (breads, cakes, sauces, broths, etc.).
Now that sounds interesting - just need to try and justify the cost...
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Old 09-09-2009, 06:12 PM   #7
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I know she's not terribly fashionable but Delia Smith's Complete Cookery Course has an achievable recipe for every occasion and so I guess that my vote has to go to that. From a fun perspective, though, I love Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook (and if you haven't read it, his 'Cook's Tour' is a fantastic food-not-cooking read) and also the hard to find French Tarts by Linda Dannenberg. Each tart is presented with a slightly saucy description of an accompanying lady and always brings a smile when looking up a recipe.
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Old 09-09-2009, 06:50 PM   #8
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Now that sounds interesting - just need to try and justify the cost...
Well, once you discover the magic of ratios, you'll be able to create a million recipes!

It's actually come in very handy around our house, and is always out on the counter. It demystifies the basics of cooking (why butter and not oil for that pie crust?), and gives control and a lot of freedom from having to follow recipes to the letter for fear of messing up.
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Old 09-09-2009, 06:56 PM   #9
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My Fanny Farmer Cookbook, circa 1970. When all else fails, it's there for me. Nuthin' fancy.

However, I'm planning on retiring & selling all my worldly goods. I've got a collection of 100+ cookbooks & won't be taking them. So...I decided to see what I could come up with in the eBook world of cookbooks. I've acquired over 200 so far...electing to not include those which had no index. There's a real wealth of free, good, cookbooks available with a little digging. That way, I can keep collecting, without taking up all that space I won't have in the future!!!
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Old 09-09-2009, 07:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bookfiend View Post
Well, once you discover the magic of ratios, you'll be able to create a million recipes!

It's actually come in very handy around our house, and is always out on the counter. It demystifies the basics of cooking (why butter and not oil for that pie crust?), and gives control and a lot of freedom from having to follow recipes to the letter for fear of messing up.
And as one of the things I really liked about nigella's book was that she gave the ratio for shortcrust pastry and not just the quantities for each recipe (and as a result I make a really really good shortcrust pastry), it's looking ever more appealing
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Old 09-09-2009, 07:38 PM   #11
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Another post for Fanny Farmer... Love that book. It's a complete and utter idiot's guide for the kitchen.

I'm also enjoying the internet for recipes.
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Old 09-09-2009, 07:56 PM   #12
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Although he went out of favor for alleged criminal activities, Jeff Smith's "Frugal Gourmet" books are at the top of my list. I have the entire series and use them often. His jambalaya recipe is the best I've ever eaten!


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Old 09-10-2009, 02:14 AM   #13
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My favourites are:
  • The Cook's Companion (Stephanie Alexander) - primarily a reference of ingredients replete with recipes. A heavy tome.

  • Best Ever Slow-Cooker One Pot & Casserole Cookbook (Catherine Atkinson & Jenni Fleetwood) - I like it mostly for its slow-cooker/crockpot recipes

  • Simple Chinese Cooking (Kylie Kwong) - my favourite, TV-chef, "monograph" cookbook. Beautiful-tasting, simple, traditional and Aussie-evolved recipes, well-explained and detailed, from a wonderful (and likably unpretentious) chef.

  • Any title by Bill Granger - another TV chef, and one that annoys the crap out of me. His recipes, however, are simple, light and homely - the kind of thing you happily just whip up for dinner or breakfast or brunch or... You probably just need to buy one book though, as there's some repetition

Cheers,
Marc
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Old 09-10-2009, 02:32 AM   #14
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I really like the Moosewood cookbooks.
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Old 09-10-2009, 02:46 AM   #15
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I've been going to look for an unabridged PD version (preferably early English translation) of Escoffier's Le Guide Culinaire, if only for curiosity value. It'd probably be a nice thing ("things" if in more than one language) to add to the MR ebooks section.

Aside from that, any opinions here on Larousse Gastronomique?
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