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Among the notable:   Asian Sauces and Marinades - nice book with a quite a few of interesting ideas.   Asian Cook by Terry Tan - his Shiok! on Singaporean food is pretty good, but this one is mus

I decided my cocktail library needed some growth. Cocktail Codex and Dale DeGroff's New Craft of the Cocktail arrived yesterday.

Isn't an Italian cookbook like expecting to buy a comprehensive American cookbook? Am I being naive here? Watching Molto Mario reruns on the Fine Living network reminds me of how much I enjoy him describing the different regions of Italy. Kinda like describing the different wine regions of France. There's the cultural influences of local weather and waters. My personal favorite is still Sophia Loren's which is basically Naples cooking just like my first mother-in-law. The older I get, the more I feel guilty about not appreciating her more, what with her handmade fusilli spread to dry over the clean sheets on the bed and the hard breads she requested mailed to her from Connecticut for "proper" bread crumbs. That French cooking in ten minutes sounds really interesting, though, but how would it improve on Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking"?

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My Christmas haul:

 

A Platter of Figs

Bittersweet (Alice Medrich)

Pure Dessert (ditto)

Bakewise

The Flavor Bible (Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg) I'm not sure about this one. I haven't had a chance to look through it much yet, seems kinda pretentious if not uppity at first glance though. I never read any of their other books either.

Grank, give The Flavor Bible a chance. It's a great book for when you're playing around - and you just need help with flavor combinations. For example, in the fall I had a huge stash of lemon verbena and I was looking for things that work with it. Opened up the book and voila - I was inspired to make damson plum lemon verbena jam.

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if i were to buy just one italian cookbook by batali, which should it be? (so far all my italian cooking has come out of ma hazan's "essentials".)

 

come to think of it you should look at one of Rogers/Gray books (their recent Vegetables pocket book is amazing - i probably made pretty much everything from it).

And Lidia's Italy.

 

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Given that we have a limited mount of storage space,my trick is to learn from,and then prune,one's cookbook collection.I find that recipes are good for technique and proportion in baking and such,and I've developed a flavor combination library from years of reading, cooking and tasting...and after that,unless a book has a lot of history,technical or personal value;to the Strand!,for a little cash to spend at the Greenmarket,or for another cookbook.Works for me,and keeps clutter at bay...

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I had to go to Borders today for some office stuff -- and ended up with three of their cheapo cookbooks. :blush: One is Australian: Cooking--A Commonsense Guide. Sort of an all-purpose book to take the fear out of cooking, with lots of pictures and glossaries, all of which can come in handy. I didn't even look at the recipes, I don't care about them. Similar situation with the other two -- both British, one about fish and shellfish, the other Spanish, African, and Middle Eastern food. It's the pictures of product I especially want, and the histories in the case of the latter.

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How do you like Big Fat Duck?

It is the most gorgeous book I have ever laid my eyes on. I've read a bit of the first section and it's pretty interesting. And the recipes are fascinating. There are a couple of savory ice creams I would like to attempt.

 

Warning: the book is massive and weighs about 16 pounds.

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  • 2 weeks later...
I proofed that Batali/Paltrow one. It's the companion book for a TV series. The two of them, plus Mark Bittman and Spanish actress Claudia Bassols toured around Spain (although not all four together all the time). The recipes are okay; the rest of the book is dreck. Find a Batali lover to give it to; it's not worth keeping.

Some lovely photos though (got it out from the library)

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While browsing at the Strand this afternoon, I stumbled upon a copy of Munich foodblogger Nicole Stich's new-ish cookbook Delicious Days. While there are a number of appealing recipes accompanied by winsome background stories, what really impressed me was the book's excellent, eye-catching design and incredible photographs (most of which are the author's) -- enough so that I bought it. Look forward to giving this a spin in the kitchen.

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The Exotic Fruit and Vegetable Handbook by Oona van den Berg.

 

I first clipped a notice about it in April 2001. I finally got it through alibris. In the intervening time, a lot on the entries are far less exotic. Still, it's nice to see the Brit-speak for when I need to reverse-engineer.

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  • 4 weeks later...
In other news, just got Tanis's Figs.

 

I dunno, I am getting tired of the whole "perfect pear and artfully slivered parmesan on a distressed pewter platter = dessert" thing. Not that I'm not on board or anything, but do I need to pay for this advice? When my Martha Stewart book has the same kind of idea from like, ten years ago?

 

Pretty pictures though.

 

I don't think that's really fair to the book. Granted, I'd rather have a plate of figs than your average dessert, but the savory dishes are very good to excellent and the menus are solid without being clever. I think Martha is fine but she's full of recipes. I think books like this, and Zuni, actually teach you something.

 

Americans worst offense in the kitchen is this compulsive need for "recipes" without understanding the basics of cooking or demanding good ingredients. I think we've got a long way to go.

 

I don't think I'm the typical "american looking for recipes" -- I mean, epicurious is much better for that sort of thing anyway. I bought the book (as I buy all cookbooks) to inspire some new dinner party ideas, and so far the book hasn't done it for me the way Sunday Suppers did. If you've never heard of Richard Olney, Paula Wolfert, etc. etc. then this book would be a great place to start, but I think for the average mouthfuls member there not much that's new here. I learned a lot from Goin's book and with this one I'm just left kind of...meh. It's not a bad book, and the recipes I tried so far (duck liver toasts, celeriac remoulade w/ creme fraiche instead of mayo) were tasty, it just wasn't anything I didn't know before.

 

I'm not saying its a bad book, I'm just saying we might not be the ideal audience.

 

i got reminded of this post while leafing through the Jeremiah Tower Cooks book yesterday. To me this one is in the same category of books that Behemoth's mentioned above.

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