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Which cookbook do you use the most?
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clotilde
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Joined: 24 Sep 2004
Posts: 443
Location: Paris, France

PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2004 6:28 pm    Post subject: Which cookbook do you use the most? Reply with quote

Among all the cookbooks you have (and I'm sure some of you have loads) which one do you turn to most often, and which one did you make the most recipes out of?
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Judy



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 1196
Location: buried under a pile of books somewhere in Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2004 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're right, Clotilde, I do have loads of cookbooks, but the one I reach for before I look at any other book or website is 'The Cooks Companion' by Stephanie Alexander.

Stephanie had a very popular and successful restaurant in Melbourne, Stephanie's, which closed a few years ago. I guess like most cooks, she collected many recipes over many years and she organised them into this most wonderful book (her former life as a librarian would have been useful). The recipes are categorised by ingredients, in alphabetical order, from anchovies to .... yes, you guessed it, zucchini.

This book is a must-have for everyone and it will be the first cookbook I give my son in a few years when he's old enough to start cooking

Not sure whether it's available outside Australia

Judy
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At Our Table



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 1
Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2004 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are two cookbooks by Mark Bittman that I find extremely helpful. The first is "How to Cook Everything" and the second is "The Minimalist Cooks at Home." Both include straightforward, clear recipes for everything from American classics to a range of world cuisines.

If I had to pick just one that I rely on most, I would have to go with "How to Cook Everything" due to its wide coverage of almost anything I'd want to cook. In addition to recipes, this book also provides wonderful discussion of kitchen gadgets, cooking techniques, food storage techniques, and the basics on selecting and preparing every food group.

It's an excellent resource guide and I can see why it won a Julia Child Cookbook Award and a James Beard Foundation Cookbook Award. I love it.
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Linda
At Our Table
Chicago-based food blog
http://atourtable.blogspot.com
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Albacore



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 8
Location: Montreal

PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2004 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Donna Hay's New Food Fast is a staple for weeknight meals. It's organized into 10 minute, 20 minute, and 30 minute sections, and the recipes really are that quick to prepare. I also have her Modern Classics 1, but I find I use NFF more often.

For more relaxed food reading I like Nigella Lawson's How to Eat. This has good basics, and I find her conversational style very appealing.

Cooks Illustrated magazine is full of useful tips, and my scientific side gets a real kick out of all the permutations they put a recipe through to come up with the best version.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

my favorite cookbook is Italian (no wonder) - La cucina di casa del gambero rosso, by Annalisa Barbagli - and has many (1000) basic Italian recipes very simply and clearly explained. I also buy on an almost regular basis the monthly review La Cucina Italiana, a publication which started in in the 1920s or 30s and is still in full swing. It occasionally publishes very interesting monographic numbers, like "first courses," "vegetables," "quick menus" etc.
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savina



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2
Location: Turin, Italy

PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 12:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sorry, that was me before
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Judy



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 1196
Location: buried under a pile of books somewhere in Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

albacore, I love Donna Hay's recipes, have all her cookbooks and get her bi-monthly magazine. Soon I'll need a bigger house to accomodate all my magazines and cookbooks!

Another excellent monthly magazine which is available in Oz and the UK (not sure about anywhere else) is Delicious. It features regular articles from Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, Curtis Stone and many other favourites. Easy, tasty, interesting recipes and articles.

Judy
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Alisa



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 97
Location: Paris, France

PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Saveur Cooks Authentic French", and "Saveur Cooks Autentic Italian", are equally used and cooked from. Then in the unconventional cookbook catagory, is my Big White Three Ring Binder, of recipes that I have collected over the past (yikes) 30 years.[/i]
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mary g



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 20
Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a lot of cookbooks (40 plus), but probably over the years I've used the Joy of Cooking, an older edition, most (a wedding present from my mother in 1969). It 's a good basic cookbook, with lots of useful information about foods and preserving, weights and measures, etc. I have some favorite, many-times used recipes, including Brownies Cockaigne and Onion Pie. I actually have 4 copies--I now have my mother's copy (she died in 1999), plus a copy I got to replace my own (spine was wearing out), and last year I got the newest, most revised edition (some good new stuff, but they took out some of my favorite sections, including the Cocktails section, and Brunch, Lunch, and Supper Dishes).
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athena



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 3
Location: new jersey, usa

PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to second "How to Cook Everything," and I have "The Minimalist Cooks Dinner," which is great! I'm not a very skilled cook, yet all his recipes come out great for me. And he has just such a great attitude. All the recipes in TMCD include easy variation information, extra tips and info, and sides and wine suggestions. Love it!
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Zuzanna



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 3
Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2004 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Judy wrote:
You're right, Clotilde, I do have loads of cookbooks, but the one I reach for before I look at any other book or website is 'The Cooks Companion' by Stephanie Alexander.

[snip]


I have heard great things about this book and now Stephanie has released a 2nd edition which is retailing at a whopping $125AUS. I'm uncertain whether or not to get this - it's a pretty expensive doorstop Wink Have you seen this edition? Any opinions?

I've got a couple of good cookbooks but they are mostly full of complicated recipes with lots of ingredients - I'm looking for something to give me ideas for weeknight dinners and take-to-work lunches. The last is particularly hard because a lot of things don't survive a microwaving.

Zuzanna.
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Judy



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 1196
Location: buried under a pile of books somewhere in Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2004 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zuzanna

Nice to see another Antipodean on the forum! Wow, the price of the second edition is a lot more than I paid ... well... about 7 years ago. It's a great book, but you'd need to use it an awful lot to get your money's worth. How about in discount booksellers like Big W and Target? How about on Ebay? There is a copy for sale at present - take a look or email me for more info.

For quick meals with not too many ingredients, I use Donna Hay's cookbooks and magazines, and Delicious magazines. Both have websites and Donna Hay gives a few recipes from the current issue. Not sure about Delicious, but it gives info about what's in the current month's mag.

http://www.donnahay.com.au/

http://www.deliciousmagazine.com.au/

cheers!
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Peter
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2004 10:41 pm    Post subject: Cookbooks Reply with quote

I find I go through phases where I cook a lot from a single cookbook. There was a time when I was cooking from Richard Olney's "Simple French Food" and also his "Provence the Beautiful." Sometimes we've gone through a mexican jag, and for that I like Rick Bayless's books, and also "Mexico the Beautiful." Recently we've been doing a lot of spanish food from the Cesar cookbook (from a restaurant in Berkeley, California). I often look at Chez Panisse Vegetables also when I get something from the farmer's market and want some inspiration or advice.

So I guess I don't really have an "old standby." I've been annoyed by Bittman--How to Cook Everything has some recipes that just don't work if you follow them literally. I always look at another book for a second opinion. Joy of Cooking is more reliable.

The book I've probably used more than any other in the last few years is "Lulu's Provencal Table" by Richard Olney.
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brighidsdaughter



Joined: 02 Oct 2004
Posts: 233
Location: Canton, TX USA

PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2004 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My most-used cookbook is Joy of Cooking. Mary, I think you and I probably prefer the same edition. I don't care for the newest as much. One of the reasons I like this cookbook is the information on ingredients and cooking processes. Many of the recipes have served as guidelines for me to develop my own recipes.

I have many cookbooks, lots of ethnic ones, and read them like other people read novels. Two of my favorites are Diana Kennedy's Cuisines of Mexico and Recipes from the Regional Cooks of Mexico. I enjoy cooking from them although most recipes are lengthy. Ingredients can be difficult to find locally for US northern and European cooks. Don't know about Australia or NZ.
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2004 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You guys have named so many good cookbooks. I'd be hardpressed to come up with the name of a single one but something that I think deserves mention is a set that was published as an encyclopedia of cooking many years ago. Oddly, it was one of those one-a-week things that you can sometimes get at American grocery chains.

This one is called The Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery. For folks not in the US, that's a familiar monthly magazine distributed through grocery stores. It was published in 1966.

I got a single volume when we cleaned out my mother-in-law's kitchen after she died. She had one of the 12 volumes. C, if you have to know. Wink I tried a couple recipes and they were terrific. Probably 15-20 years later I found a cookbook store that had the complete set.

What's really interesting about this set (apart from the sentimental value) is that, at the time when there wasn't so much impressive American culinary tradition and what there was was going in the wrong direction toward pre-frozen & pre-digested, this collection identified and celebrated the best that existed at the time.

It's filled with recipes and commentary from people like James Beard and Helen Evans Brown who pre-dated Julia Child but probably helped make her career possible. It focused on ingredients (many more exotic and unknown at the time), on international cooking & regional cooking, and on methods rarely practiced in the average American home. I learned to bake cheesecakes and can preserves from that first volume.

It really was a find and I still treasure it 30 years later. A lot of the photography is highly dated (and sometimes amusing) but I use recipes all the time.
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