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Which cookbook do you use the most?
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Feste



Joined: 03 Apr 2005
Posts: 32
Location: Berkeley, CA

PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2005 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Definitely "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone" by Deborah Madison. I got my non-cooking, non-vegetarian partner into cooking with this book, and now he tries to brag that he's a better cook than me! (He's not.) If you ever buy some vegetable because it's pretty, or interesting-looking, but you have no idea what to do with it, you turn to that heading in the "Vegetables" section and see info about it, methods of cooking, sauces that go with it, complimentary spices, and several recipes. Absolutely brilliant when I was having a produce box delivered to my house and came across some things I had little experience with.

I have also become quite fond of cooking Indian food, specifically since I got "The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking" by Yamuna Devi. It is about 800 pages long (no pictures!) and has some of the most fascinating flavors I have ever eaten, completely different to anything I have eaten at an Indian restaurant. There is one dish called "charchari" (literally, "char-flavored") where you actually burn the vegetables in the pan, and you would not believe how delicious it is. (I know, it sounds weird, but think of grill marks.) Also some savory dishes made with Cream of Wheat and phenomenal yoghurt dishes. Mmm... I guess I know what I'm making for dinner tonight...

By the way, I'm pretty new on C&Z, and I think it is just great. The writing, the photos, the layout... Thank you.
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the_word_yes



Joined: 20 Jul 2005
Posts: 1
Location: nyc area

PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 4:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i tend to do more baking than cooking, so my list is a reflection of that. these are the books i find myself going back to again and again:

in the sweet kitchen by regan daly (one of those books that inspires me and makes me want to bake everything inside)

baking by flavor by lisa yockelson (chapters and recipes grouped by, you guessed it, flavors. worth the price of admission for the lemon recipes alone, but there's much, much more)

the bread bible by rose levy beranbaum (gets the most use in the fall and winter. indispensable)

the king arthur flour baking companion (every time i make the "zephyr pancakes" for new people they remark about how they are the best pancakes they have ever tasted, and i agree... LOVE them!)

and, most recently, irish puddings, tarts, crumbles and fools by margaret m. johnson (the photography in this book is stunning. if i ever write a food book, i would like to track down this photographer. thankfully, the recipes have all been excellent, as well. in fact, it has been hard to try new recipes at all because everyone has been requesting the chocolate truffle cakes w/ raspberry sauce from this book over and over again)

this has been a fun thread to read! i've developed an addition to my 'wish list' of books to purchase.
-chris
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Lakritz



Joined: 07 Jun 2005
Posts: 120
Location: Birmingham, UK (via Essen, Germany)

PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2005 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh my goodness, most of the books mentioned, don't mean anything to me! (Though I'm getting used to some of the names as they've turned up in other threads, too.)
I'm familiar only with the British TV chefs mentioned but have to admit that I don't own any of their books... I'm 'faithful' to Delia Smith and have most of her books, from the 'How to cook' series, and the Summer/Winter/Christmas collections to the Vegetarian cook book, and I use them a lot. A lot of my other cookery books are more themed, I'd say, such as 'Lebanese cooking', or Low fat/low carb etc cooking (loads and loads of books for losing weight in this house... does it work? Does it heck!!), or specific techniques (baking, pickling, making jams...).

I have only one shelf in the kitchen reserved for my books and I cannot expand (there are at least 10 books permanently living on top of the dishwasher - which ones, varies from craze to craze: gourmet, gourmand, regional, seasonal, WW...)

One of my favourite books for just leafing through is called The Encyclopedia of Creative cooking, and I also like my wholefood cookery book; and there's nothing quite like sitting with a pile of those books and planning what I'm going to cook for my family next week/month. Unfortunately, my experiments are often not greeted with enthusiasm - I get a lot of 'Don't cook that muck again' from the kids. The latter think that Daddy is the better cook anyway (I think he does, too) though his repertoire seems to get smaller and smaller (mainly variations on curry - which the kids love).
And Sarape - he has never used a recipe in his life, and he never writes anything down. He just gets into the kitchen , grabs a few ingredients and 'thinks French' (or Italian, or Indian or whatever...) -- so, you're not alone!

Whereas I love trying out new recipes and techniques - and of course, you adapt and adjust, and like Annie, I always use more garlic than is suggested and add tabasco to a lot of dishes.

The book I actually use most is the Reader's Digest The Cookery Year. Not only does it take you through the year month by month, it starts with 'Buying for quality' with information on ingredients (a bit dated now ... for example, it lists among 'less common vegetables':peppers, aubergines, courgettes and avocado pears Very Happy ), and ends with Basic Cooking Methods.

PS: Dairy Queen, that literati inspired book sounds divine! Also, thanks for reminding us all that ebay is a cheap source for books!
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Deste



Joined: 17 Aug 2005
Posts: 307
Location: Far, far away

PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It depends on the time of year, but I will have to say that Feste (!) beat me to my current preference. Because the vegetarian movement blossomed here in the U.S. when I was in college, coinciding with the period when Alice Waters and others were collaborating with farmers and lawyers were trading in briefcases for milk buckets and goats, for me at least, the most inspiring cookbooks that influenced my first grown-up efforts were those that focus on things you can do with vegetables. Deborah Madison represents the best of the best. Moreover, it a pleasure to see the way she's moved from the complexity of the scrumptious recipes in The Greens Cookbook to the more relaxed, mature style of VC4E.

That said, I have to add that the (1 of 4, really) cookbook that influenced me most was originally published in two volumes: Classic Italian Cooking and More Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan. I bought the second volume first, straight out of college. There is nothing in these books that has disappointed me and much that I still make all the time. The ragu is amazing. For a long time, I turned to the stuffed polenta or osso buco for special dinners. The simple roasted chicken stuffed with two lemons! Escarole pie! At the top of pages I usually write the date I first tried the recipe and make adjustments or simply record opinions. One, next to red cabbage soup: "Marcella must talk directly to God!" (I am not a believer, mind you.)

The revised, reissued book is called Essential Italian Cooking, I think.


Last edited by Deste on Tue Aug 30, 2005 9:38 pm; edited 1 time in total
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VictoriaLH



Joined: 17 May 2005
Posts: 87
Location: Madison WI

PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oops-see below
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Last edited by VictoriaLH on Tue Aug 30, 2005 7:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
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VictoriaLH



Joined: 17 May 2005
Posts: 87
Location: Madison WI

PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The two main books I use are Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and Arthur Schwartz's Naples at Table. I find both very informative and easy to use, and the recipes are not overly complicated or pretentious. And of course, everything always turns out beautifully!
I also use my very well worn copy of Julia Childs Mastering the art of French Cooking, and a host of other smaller books.
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Cynthia



Joined: 27 Aug 2005
Posts: 4
Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My top picks for daily inspiration are:

1. Gourmet - I have a 5 years collection, grouped by month, and reach for the magazine that fits whatever month it is, and scan the index. Great resource if you are interested in foods at their seasonal peak.

2. Zuni Cafe Cookbook - Judy Roger: She is a goddess! Her cookbook is a joy to read and the results I've had are scrumtious. She's also a devotee of buying locally made/grown stuff.

3. Chez Panisse Cookbook & Chez Panisse Desserts: Another goddess. Same as Zuni, slightly more complex, but great if you have a large garden (which I do) and don't always know what to do with the harvest.

4. World Vegetarian - Madhar Jaffrey: Also not a vegetarian, but these receipes phenominal! Where else can you find Iranian, American Indian, and El Salvadorean recipes all in one book?

5. The Greens Cookbook - Deborah Madison: Again, another brilliant Bay Area chef. (It's seems sort of strange for an Angeleno to have such a worship of Bay Area cuisine, but there ya have it!) I love the salad with roasted beets, walnuts, watercress with curry vinaigrette.

And, quite honestly, the internet is playing a greater role for me each year in recipe gathering and inspiration.
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Barbara



Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 899
Location: Gold Coast Australia

PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Zuni Cafe book has been on my "Most wanted list" for some time. I guess I will just have to order it from overseas as I have yet to see it in NZ.
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simona



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 696
Location: israel

PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice to read the posts of this topic, very educational.I do recognize many of the titles mentioned, but I learn even more about books I've never heard of, though I have a library of at least 300 titles ( many of them, food history. not cookbooks).
My preferates:
1. The cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. This lady knocks me off:
her recipes mention e.g.: 72 g of flour, 33 g of sugar, 1 egg ( 69 g) , 46 g of butter , 2 g. of salt, etc etc, At the end of the recipe, there is a chapter called : understanding, meaning explanation about the chemistry of the baking ingredients of that specific recipe!!!! But the results, even when I dare to put 75 g of flour and 35 g of sugar, are exceptional.
2. The Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. Definitely the most useful cookbook I'[ve ever had. It's about 15 years old,... and still young and up to date. A gem.
3. The Cuisine of Hungary, by George Lang. George Lang, an hungarian born jew who fled Europe, is the owner of the Cafe des Artistes in NY. Half of the book is dedicated to the culinary history of Hungary, a fascinating story. The other half, the recipes which are all authentic, clearly written and easy to do. I'm practically in love with this book ( and of course I had lunch at the Cafe des Artistes ), it mixes history and cuisine, culture and senses. Great book!

No more war, more food and culture!
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Deste



Joined: 17 Aug 2005
Posts: 307
Location: Far, far away

PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Judy Rodgers is amazing. I don't know how many times I have reread the introduction to Zuni Cafe Cookbook. However, I tend to use a select few recipes (of course, the roast chicken with bread salad), although I intend to spend more time with it.
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Will



Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 1
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 10:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Which cookbook do you use the most? Reply with quote

clotilde wrote:
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?

When I was 20 years old my mother gave me my first copy of The Joy of Cooking as a moving-in present when I rented my first apartment. 22 years later it's still the one cookbook I turn to most.
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Galley Girl



Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 3
Location: Costa Mesa, CA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I too have The Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cooking. I loaned 3 of the books to a friend who never returned them. Amazingly I found copies at the used book store at my local library and snatched up the missing ones instantly. Very Happy
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Rainey



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

PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WOW! You're the first person in 30 years who's had any idea what I'm taking about! Many of the photo illustrations are not quite candidates for the Gallery of Regrettable Food, but as many of the recipes are really first class!

How lucky you were to find replacements!
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Galley Girl



Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 3
Location: Costa Mesa, CA

PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2005 12:51 am    Post subject: Woman's Day Cookbooks Reply with quote

These cookbooks were sold once a week way back when at the Mayfair Market in my neighborhood in Buena Park, CA. It would be fun to find out which other parts of the country they were sold in. My kids were little then... now my grandkids are big...

I agree that the pictures sure are vintage. Much good information collected in these volumes. I often think of all the work it took to put together 12 volumes. And only occasionally do I find the index indicates a wrong page for a recipe. Good editors back then.
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Rainey



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

PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2005 1:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My mother-in-law who left behind the single volume I built my collection around, got hers in Hyde Park, NY.

I recognized the name Mayfair Market as a SoCal chain right away. Are there still any Mayfair Markets around? The only one that I knew in my part of LA was absorbed into a larger chain many year ago.
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