Friday, October 14, 2011

Wanting: Cookbooks

Oh, cookbooks. I should really not buy cookbooks. Generally, I look through them, find a handful of things that sound good and (most importantly) doable, copy them out into a notebook, and then never glance at them again. But someday I'll have my Very Own Kitchen and they'll look great on a shelf!

I suppose I ought to write about the cookbooks I have and like (or don't) (or maybe that doesn't fit with the rest of the blog), but instead I have picked through my Amazon wish list and chosen a few really promising titles for this list.

The Silver Spoon Pasta.
Vegetables from an Italian Garden.
Who doesn't love Italian food? Phaedon has been translating and publishing cookbooks from around the world, and The Silver Spoon is the Italian entry, supposedly the best-loved standard cookbook in Italian kitchens. Being an American, though, my eye's on the shorter version, Silver Spoon Pasta. I also like the look of this veggie book; I don't know if it's as "authentic" as Silver Spoon, but it goes through the vegetables by seasons. Vegetables are where my imagination tends to run short, so this sort of thing is appealing.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks, by Ree Drummond.
The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion.
The Pioneer Woman's blog and the King Arthur website are two of my favorite online sources for recipes, which is probably why I want both their cookbooks but haven't actually bought either of them. (Oops. Yes, I'm part of the problem.) Both Ree Drummond and the good people at King Arthur are real cheerleaders; they provide lots of step-by-step photos, suggest substitutions, describe techniques, and generally make you feel like you can do it too. Plus King Arthur has a drool-worthy baker's catalog.

At Elizabeth David's Table.
Elizabeth David is maybe like the Julia Childs of Britain, in that she's very famous for introducing foreign cooking in a way that ordinary people could grasp. At least, that's my impression. This is maybe not so much a book I would cook from, but something that would be interesting and educational.

Ratio: The Simple Codes behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking, by Michael Ruhlman.
The Flavor Bible, by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg.
I consider myself able to cook in that I can and do produce edible, tasty food on a regular basis, and I can read and follow a recipe. Being able to cook without a recipe, though, is what separates the chefs from the cooks. I don't have any ambition of appearing on the Food Network or writing a cookbook, but just as it's nicer to be able to speak a language beyond your phrasebook, it would be nicer to have a little more fluency with flavors and ingredients. I don't know how much I could learn from these two books, practically speaking, but I think they'd make for interesting reading and maybe I could pick up a tip or two.

Perfect One-Dish Dinners, by Pam Anderson.
I love "one dish". How satisfying is it to have your whole dinner in one dish? The answer is very, both physically and emotionally. I saw a recipe from this book on a blog with step-by-step photos, and I'm quite sure that there are many good things to eat in here for me.

The Pure Joy of Monastery Cooking, by Br. Victor-Antoine d'Avila-Latourrette.
This guy is a monk, and look how awesome his name is! End of story. Ok, so there's more to it than that. I checked out Twelve Months of Monastery Soups from the library, and ended up writing out about 10 recipes that sounded good, which is a really high ratio for me. I am a meat eater, but not all that frequently, so I appreciate having good meatless recipes around. And: monk.

Mmmm. I think I'll have to start making dinner now, but more importantly I suppose I need to print out this list and run it by the library. If I spend all my money on cookbooks, I'll never have a nice kitchen to display them in! That's called having grown-up priorities, kids.

1 comment:

  1. I kind of always forget that Pioneer Woman has a cookbook. But I totally want it now. Since I only bake and never cook proper food, I basically just have a load of cupcake/cookie/other sweet stuff recipe books, which is great but I do kind of wish I could cook real food too. I don't know if you've ever been on Bake and Destroy, but the author of that is writing a cookbook, which makes me very very excited :).

    To sum up: Yay cookbooks! And baking! And blogs! *bows*