Your post is important because it highlights one of the pitfalls of cookbooks. IMHO, once you have an understanding of a half dozen cooking processes, you can (should?) use a recipe as a suggestion, an inspiration, to use the products in your pantry or that are easily available in your market. Sure, many ethnic recipes that depend heavily on spices can send one on a buying spree, but even more rely on simple ingredients. Ir’s better to cook simpler dishes that you can easily pull off than become hostage to complex ones that defeat you.
Certainly I would prefer not to be a hostage to a complex recipe But that isn’t the reason I collected the cookbooks, and not the reason that I don’t actually cook from them. I buy the ones that sound or look good at the time, or that have a lot of positive buzz, or that are written by chefs I admire. And in an ideal world, I would actually cook from those, at least one recipe a week, etc. What actually happens - I go to the grocery or farm stand. I buy what looks good and is on sale. And then I google - swiss chard recipe or ground pork asian recipe, or similar. I don’t have the patience to do manually and with books what I can do in 3 minutes on my computer. Which I use for work all day, and so it is always out and powered on. That doesn’t mean there wouldn’t be joy and discoveries with the books. Just that I haven’t really figured out yet how to incorporate that style of doing things into my pretty full life…
Amazing that you had found the time to create a list of 83 cookbooks !
A pleasure post and passion surely …
I could have written your post! I couldn’t agree more. I LOVE my cookbooks, and I LOVE coming across esoteric recipes that I will probably never use. They and HO inspire me, and/but I usually just do a quick web search to double check on technique and ingredients.
At a dinner party tomorrow night, we will serve an internet recipe from Stephen Harris that is super simple yet brilliant. My kind of dish.
We are both dangerous in book shops. Can never just go into FNAC or a tiny book retailer and look about.
A large majority are “coffee table” photographic authored works. However, a large number are also alphabetised by Spanish Region or Country. Most are in Spanish or Catalan followed by English and Italian, and a few in French too and we separate them by language as well. So when, we need a book, it is easier to locate.
I find them highly inspirational …
One of my favourites for Italian Regional is:
Italia, Recetas y Costumbres de Sus Regiones
Author: The Late Antonio Caluccio
Another Italian Cookbook that I found at the main Flea Market in the Madrid Capital is:
Italia, La Cocina Mediterránea
Publishers: Fabien Bellahsen & Daniel Rouche
Another Series I adore is:
Culinaria - Italia
Culinaria - Grecia
Culinaria - España
Culinaria - France
Culinaria - Morocco
Classic, Iconoclastic, Kerasmal
Author: The Hellenic Foreign Trade Board, S.A. (Hepo)
Aimed at food professionals and has 75 regional Greek Recipes from the classics to the contemporary.
For Simple yet totally classic is:
Basque Chef Karlos Arguiñano
A total marvel … I have approximately 15 of his books …
Los Secretos de El Bulli
Author: Ferràn Adrià.
I can easily go to a market and pull together a dish without a recipe, or can look up something based on a pretty recipe… I’m decently versed in most cuisines at this point, but really, I often stare at my wife, with no clue what to cook.
I like this exercise as it forces me to try new things constantly.
My collection covers American/California, Latin America, Greek, Indian, middle East, a shelf on Italy and 3 shelves on French, about half in French. It’s been my experience that a good way to approach a foreign language is through subject matter that is familiar to you. It has been rather easy to pick up a working understanding of French through food, menus, recipes, restaurant reviews and food writing. As husband tells people, “my wife has excellent menu French!”
Assuming the same guy, one of my favourite British chefs. Been to his restaurant three times. When we’ve been over to France on the ferry, we’ve added another day to the trip to eat there.
Yep, that’s him. First time we went to the restaurant, we had the tasting menu. Quite often, it was Harris who came out with the dishes and explained them. A man with a real passion for his ingredients.
From his YouTube interview persona, also a very simple pragmatic man. No overthink or pompous frou frou. Fresh ingredients, minimum intervention, ingenious combinations.
@Ohhello In the meantime, come hang out on the What’s For Dinner thread and share your meals along the way!
Great collection of impressions and recipes along with part one, thanks for sharing!
Very impressive. Especially compiling orderly into a list. Thanks for sharing.
I’ve several of your books, will gladly check out the dishes. I agree with @Saregama, you should check out our What’s for Dinner monthly thread, it will be fun to see you around. Our WFD’s archive is here.
On pho, I’ve made chicken pho a few times, usually when I’ve some chicken carcasses lying around from other meals, will try to make the “geletin” stock, that I can decide later whether to use that as pho, ramen or other noodle soup. Personally, I like beef pho more. Yes! Like you, when we eat pho, it will last at least a few meals with the big pot of stock. It’s also great to serve a lot of people with a big dinner.
I’ve Charles Phan’s Slanted Door. For Vietnamese cooking I usually use the books of Andrea Nguyen, which are excellent.
Will do! Thanks for the tip!
I’ve meant to purchase one of her books, but tend to try recipes from her site. I’ve made her recipe for lemongrass pork for years now! She’s amazing.
Thanks! When you are trapped at home with little kids, something like this is a welcome distraction.
Yes I know …
We had a fairly long lockdown too in Spain (13 / 03 / 2020 - 31 / 05 2020 ) however, there are regions in Spain that continued curfews and no travel outside the autonomous region of residency due to high Covid rates.
Barcelona was a disaster. Madrid Capital opened up much
faster. Economic reasons obviously.