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.