Best-of List English-language International Cookbooks

Favourites, and best-of lists can be interesting to look at. A recent list from the website 1000 Cookbooks has been written up in British and American newspapers.

The list, which purports to be a best-of international list in English, is a curious snapshot both of mass interest, but also of remarkable and massive culinary blindspots.

The contributing food experts to the survey appear to be primarily from England and the US. For “European” cookbooks, the focus is almost entirely (~ 95%) on French, British (largely English, with 1 Scottish and 2 Irish books included), and Italian books. A few Spanish books are listed along with 1 Greek, 1 Hungarian, 1 Danish (Noma) cookbook. It appears that almost every English-language book ever published on French cooking is included! The rest of western, central, and eastern Europe (most of Europe) is almost entirely absent. And there is some quite remarkable food in those areas.

In the “Americas” section, the focus is around 80% USA, perhaps15% Mexican, and 5% rest of the hemisphere!

I would have thought that at this point, with all our notions of globalization, our food experts would have a more international scope.

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What do folks think about Fuschia Dunlop’s chinese cookbooks?

If I want to cook a Sichuan dish, it’s Dunlop’s book I pick up.

They’re quite good for home style cooking. The one I use the most is “Every Grain of Rice.”

I love cookbook lists. Unfortunately, I have a very hard time not buying a few whenever I read one… For this reason, I am not even going to open any of these links until I’m feeling stronger and quite certain that I can resist! But I want to give a shout out to the Asian-themed books by Alford and Duguid.
Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet (Southeast Asia) and Mangoes and Curry Leaves (Indian subcontinent) are fabulous.

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The Alford and Duguid books are wonderful productions. They are pioneers in many respects, like Copeland Marks and Sri Owen before them. At some point I’m going to have to cook my way through their books more than I have until now.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold

Market stall in Lima
Credit: TXMX 2