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Recipe Cookbooks: Favorites and Duds

Discussion in 'Tilted Food' started by snowy, Jun 27, 2013.

  1. DAKA

    DAKA DOING VERY NICELY, THANK YOU

    Have a look at CHEF JOHN, BING him, great recipes and videos. Every dish I've made has been fantastic.
    And, as far as cookbooks these days....ummm....I find the internet much more convenient, I have given away most of my cookbooks
    just some that I can't part with....
     
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Japchae

    Japchae Very Tilted Donor

    I'm completely in love with My Paleo Patisserie . The photos and instructions are amazing. I actually bought the hard copy, which I never do. Jenny takes the time to describe the science behind cooking with these "alternative" ingredients, and in the back, there's a whole section (including photos) on how to assemble some of the more complex recipes... Like baked Alaska and some of the pastries. As a non-chef, I appreciate that part a lot.

    I'm also using a lot of recipes out of some Paleo cookbooks that I got on the $1.99 kindle sale awhile back. I'm on my phone, so I can't find the names at the moment or format them properly, so I'll update later. But the paleo slow cooker one and all of Danielle Walker's books are invaluable. I also dig Veganomicon for really incredible side dishes with thoughtful ideas on combining flavors, rather than just being vegan or vegetarian dishes.
     
  3. cook books are one thing I always find it hard to understand still sell, because you think you could just get any recipe of the net.

    I tend to find a youtube video of someone cooking a thing if I want a meal I dont know how to do, just cos you can see the actual method rather than just read it.
     
  4. Chris Noyb

    Chris Noyb Get in, buckle up, hang on, & don't criticize. Donor

    Location:
    Large City, TX
    We have Here In America's Test Kitchen. The detailed info and tips are nice, as are the product reviews. The downside is how the recipes are written. My reading comprehension is good, I cook, & I'm used to following recipes. Yet I still have to read the HIATK recipes several times and make notes. They remind me of receiving instructions from someone who has done something so many times they fail to realize that their instructions aren't very clear.

    A small CB that we've used many times and still use is The Art of Wok Cooking from West Bend. The recipes are very straightforward, and nearly all of the ingredients are basic things you need for stir frying, i.e. no weird ingredients that you'll only use once a year. NOTE--Our inexpensive, about $25.00 IIRC, West Bend elec wok lasted for 26+ years before the heating element starting showing signs of burning through the bottom of the wok. We tossed it before that actually happened, & replaced it with another WB elec wok (thift store, $5.00).
    --- merged: Apr 26, 2015 at 12:07 PM ---
    I'm sure that the internet has slowed CB sales considerably. But I've also heard reports that CBs are overall still top sellers even now. We use a lot of recipes from the internet, but also use our CBs. One important consideration is I started cooking when using modems involved placing the phone handset in a modem cradle :eek: :D.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2015
  5. snowy

    snowy so kawaii Staff Member Donor

    Recipes off the Internet often aren't tested the way ones in a cookbook are.
     
  6. Levite

    Levite Levitical Yet Funky

    Location:
    The Windy City
    I don't usually do a lot of cookbooks, though I have a few that I like-- Joan Nathan, Claudia Roden, Yotam Ottolenghi, Cucina Ebraica: Flavors of the Italian Jewish Kitchen, Aromas of Aleppo, The Sephardic Table, Indian-Jewish Cooking, etc.

    But I really like historical cookbooks. Apicius' The Art of Cooking, Curye on Inglische, Libellus De Arte Coquinaria, The Forme of Curye, The Book of Sent Sovi, Taillevent's Le Viandier, etc. It's both interesting culinary adventure and history and cultural exploration. You end up with both fascinating insight into the tastes and habits of other people from long ago, and some really unusual and interesting culinary aesthetics and ideas that don't resemble modern cookery much at all.
     
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  7. Chris Noyb

    Chris Noyb Get in, buckle up, hang on, & don't criticize. Donor

    Location:
    Large City, TX
    We have a CB that I really need to study & use, Not Everything We Eat Is Curry: A Bengali Guide To Indian Cuisine.

    This CB has some history. Our first copy was a gift from my mother who bought it somewhere dirt cheap (hmmm....that sounds familiar :p), which my wife took to one of the schools where she worked because one of the Indian teachers wanted to see it (her grandmother was from the Bengal region). The CB made the rounds among the teachers, but didn't make its way back to my wife. I was seriously POd.

    Fast forward several years. My wife & I were in a thrift store, and amazingly found another copy of it (maybe not so amazingly, it was published in Houston, & I think that the authors lived here). Our second copy is actually better than the first--It includes the Use (spices) For (dishes) fold out chart, & is signed by the main author.

    In researching this CB I was amazed to see that the prices on Am a zon range from $149.99 to $597.24. Seriously?
     
  8. snowy

    snowy so kawaii Staff Member Donor

    I forgot that I checked out David Leibovitz's My Paris Kitchen. If you are looking for French comfort food, this is the book for it. The recipes look amazing, and it is a gorgeous book. Like, the paper feels so good I want to rub my hands all over it; the book itself is a powerful sensual experience. As to Leibovitz's food: well, I've used several of his other recipes, including ones that ultimately ended up in My Paris Kitchen, and he's a fantastic recipe writer. I like the way the cookbook is organized by the typical structure of a French meal. Additionally, I like the stories that accompany the recipes. Leibovitz has a knack for making you feel like his friend. The recipes range from the simple (fresh herb omelet) to the complex (white bean, sausage, duck confit cassoulet). I'm looking forward to exploring some of the recipes in this book.

    And I will leave you with my go-to recipe for gougeres, courtesy of David Leibovitz: Gougères: A Recipe for French Cheese Puffs | David Lebovitz
     
  9. Japchae

    Japchae Very Tilted Donor

  10. snowy

    snowy so kawaii Staff Member Donor

    Here are reviews of three cookbooks I've read recently: two were great, one was an utter dud.

    Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty More is a satisfying follow-up to his earlier works. While I did not cook any recipes out of this book (as I had to return it before I got the chance), it is a beautiful book: well photographed and well-bound. I will be checking it out again in order to spend more time with it, but every recipe looked like a potential show-stopper for family dinners.

    J. Kenji Lopez-Alt's The Food Lab is hands-down one of the best cookbooks I've gotten my hands on in quite a while. Kenji is an approachable, engaging writer, who through his casual tone is able to walk readers through some advanced culinary concepts, all in the name of food science. Even with my culinary knowledge (and having read Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking, among other books), I found it to be a fascinating and informative read. In addition to all of the really great food science writing, there are some fantastic recipes, and that I know for certain: I had cooked several of them prior to finally getting my hands on the book. I recommend the Fancy-Pants Omelet, the Foolproof Hollandaise, the method for grilling steak, the Mexican Street Corn Salad, the best way to cook pasta, the puttanesca (I leave out the anchovies--still great), the Foolproof Homemade Mayonnaise, and the entire section on vinaigrettes. It is definitely going in my collection, and I will be gifting it to many other people, too.

    I picked up Nancy Singleton Hachisu's Preserving the Japanese Way with high hopes. Her book, Japanese Farm Food, was decent, if not my favorite treatise on Japanese cooking (that would be Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art by Shizuo Tsuji), mostly because it seemed to be at least half autobiography/travelogue so much as cookbook. Preserving the Japanese Way suffers from the same affliction. Additionally, there was ample evidence of a weak editor (tsk tsk): I counted five copy errors in the foreword alone, along with a factual error. Plus, she appeared to be shilling for Eden Foods, as they got effusive praise on every page where sourcing ingredients was mentioned. Some of the recipes were ones she hadn't even tried herself! What?! I couldn't believe that. While I understand fermenting is a process, it's generally good to test recipes before publishing them. Readers would be better served by Sandor Katz's The Art of Fermentation or Linda Ziedrich's The Joy of Pickling unless they really want to spend time reading about an artisanal mayonnaise producer in Saitama Prefecture, written in a rambling way with lots of fragments. Ugh.
     
  11. DAKA

    DAKA DOING VERY NICELY, THANK YOU

    Cookbooks, I used to have a shelf full, nw pared down to about 20.... nowadays I get recipes all from the internet.
    There is also a NY Times weekly email with things that sound interesting.
    I made a Chili from a COOKS recipe, dried chilies, etc....lots of spices...turned out eech...Oh well...........sometimes...........
     
  12. Levite

    Levite Levitical Yet Funky

    Location:
    The Windy City
    It might be worth adding, not so much in the realm of cookbooks per se as books about food and cooking and eating:

    MFK Fisher, The Art of Eating
    Ruth Reichl, Tender at the Bone
    Jacques Pepin, The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen
    Bill Buford, Heat
    Gabrielle Hamilton, Blood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef
    Peter Mayle, A Year in Provence and Encore Provence
    Jeffrey Steingarten, The Man Who Ate Everything
    Katherine Wilson, Only In Naples: Lessons in Food and Familglia from my Italian Mother-In-Law
    Robert Capon, Supper of the Lamb

    I tend to very much enjoy beautiful, slow, meandering meditations on food, cooking, and eating. They actually go very well with reading herbals (like the classic English herbals of Turner, Gerard, and their ilk).

    They also go very well with a comfortable chair and a glass of wine.
     
  13. snowy

    snowy so kawaii Staff Member Donor

    I love reading MFK Fisher. It always makes me hungry, though, so I have to be prepared.

    AJ Liebling's Between Meals is another favorite.
     
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  14. POPEYE

    POPEYE Very Tilted Donor

    Location:
    Tulsa
     
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  15. POPEYE

    POPEYE Very Tilted Donor

    Location:
    Tulsa
    The Frugal Gourmet on our immigrant ancestors by Jeff Smith worth the money
     
  16. redux

    redux Very Tilted Donor

    Location:
    Foggy Bottom
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  17. Chris Noyb

    Chris Noyb Get in, buckle up, hang on, & don't criticize. Donor

    Location:
    Large City, TX
    Art of Indian Cooking by Rocky Mohan.

    The good:
    --The book begins, pages 10 thru 25, by going through and explaining the spices that will be required (very informative), gives recipes for the masalas used in the recipes, and includes other useful info & tips. This section of the book could be considered a must-read.
    --Measurements (most) are in metric and standard.
    --The ingredients are in English along with the Indian names, which makes finding the special ingredients easier.
    --The recipes are on one page, no page flipping.
    --The food styling (arrangements) by Pramod Kapoor and photos by Dheeraj Paul make my mouth water.

    The bad:
    --Many of the meat weights are metric only (no big deal).
    --Many of the stove-top burner cook temps (the oven temps are specific) and cook times are general (some experience & common cooking sense required ). This could be problematic since many of the recipes use thick sauces.
    --It's not for novice cooks. Even experienced cooks would benefit from studying pages 10-25.
     
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  18. Chris Noyb

    Chris Noyb Get in, buckle up, hang on, & don't criticize. Donor

    Location:
    Large City, TX
    Yes, I'm necroposting. The following made me laugh because I see similar books at thrift stores & resale shops.


    Funny book titles – Crazy Facts(1).jpg
     

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