I have a problem. I’m finally at the stage where I am admitting it out loud. I love cookbooks. I read them, I scour them, I love reading the introductions and looking at all the recipes. I keep adding more and more to my collection each year. In my defense, I cook from many of them, but I’m at the point where there’s no way I can cook from all of them regularly. The shelf in my kitchen is full, so now there’s an annex in the living room. That just became full yesterday as I added my newest book Roast Chicken and Other Stories by Simon Hopkinson. All the papers are printing they’re gift guides for cookbooks and food lovers right now, so I thought I would mention a few that I’ve loved from this year.
First, there’s Country Cooking of France by Anne Willan. This is a thick, beautiful cookbook detailing rustic French cooking. With such great pictures, you’d think it would just be a coffee table cookbook, but the recipes actually seem simple and doable. Creole by Babette de Rozieres is a lovely book from Phaidon. Traditionally an art publisher, they’ve gotten into cookbooks in the last few years. They’re very well designed. This one has a lovely plaid cover and they carry the theme throughout the book. Also, I don’t think there are many Creole cuisine cookbooks out there.
I read Bill Buford’s article in the New Yorker on meat and of course had to try and get all of the books he wrote about. I got my hands on a copy of Roast Chicken & Other Stories as mentioned above. I also got Beyond Nose to Tail by Fergus Henderson. Both are small with less emphasis on the pictures as on the writing and recipes. Mr. Bookdwarf just made some pork jowls and the next book came in handy. I was smart enough to have bought Pork & Sons by Stephane Reynaud as soon as it came out last Spring. Another well designed Phaidon book, this one details cooking with pork. The author’s father was a butcher and his father was a butcher. They bring back a time when slaughtering the pig was a family ritual. We’ve got a freezer full of meat—Mr. Bookdwarf loves buying odd selections and these are the kind of books we need.
The only book I can’t get my hands on is The River Cottage Meat Book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. He’s a celebrity chef in England who writes about the importance of sustainably raised meat. I saw a copy on the shelf of a small store in San Francisco this past weekend and am kicking myself for not buying it. My store has sold our last copy and it’s tough to find. Of course, Amazon not only has it but is offering a 40% discount! How unfair. They’re basically dumping this lovely book and meanwhile we can’t get our hands on any. I can’t bring myself to order it from them. Anyway, from what I saw this weekend, it’s a lovely book that I can’t wait to read and cook from.
What are your thoughts on some of the bestselling cookbooks out right now? The cookbooks that goes with Skinny Bitch? Deceptively Delicious? Biggest Loser?
Do you own the Cake Mix Doctor? That’s a good one!
Wow. It’s good to know I’m not alone. I too, am a cookbook junkie.
I’ve not seen the Cake Mix Doctor. I have looked at Deceptively Delicious and the Skinny Bitch series. I love veggies and don’t have kids so I don’t need to disguise them. And I’m not a fan of the Skinny Bitch series for a variety of reasons. I’ll have to check out the Cake Mix one however. Sounds interesting!
WOW! I thought I was a cookbook junkie until I read this! I just bought myself Rick Stein’s Meditterannean Escapes – I love it when cookbooks are about more than cooking.
But I have a question, why won’t you buy from Amazon?
Mediterranean Escapes looks great. Have you cooked anything from it yet?
I won’t buy from Amazon because I work at an independent bookstore. They represent the opposite of what my store is about and while they have advantages for consumers in their prices, they come at a cost to other people, namely us, the small businesses. So I don’t like to give them any of my money.
You know, as soon as I posted the question I kinda figured out the answer, durr!
It’s funny, I try to be a conscientious consumer – only seasonal groceries, organic meat and toiletries, watch my food miles, etc – and then I find a great big area of my life (ie, buying books) that I have never applied the same principles to. You never stop learning lessons huh.
I haven’t even looked at the Rick Stein book yet. It was a christmas present to myself so I am abstaining until at least the 25th!
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