Originally Posted by CollegeCook
What do you like in a cookbook? What don't you like?
I don't generally buy "cookbooks" per se, but books about regional cuisine, spices, ingredients and techniques. So, as such, I like a wide selection of tastes and textures to choose from. I enjoy good writing on utilization of the flavors in experimentation as well.
In the case of, say, Francis Mayes' Bringing Tuscany Home: Sensuous Style from the Heart of Italy
, Mrs Mayes only has 25 "recipes" in her book. Instead of the endless droning of recipes, she writes about wines and their interaction with the cuisine of Tuscany, Italy. She talks about the ways the Tuscan people utilize zucchini, pastas, tomatoes (roma and otherwise) in their cooking. She discusses the herbs and spices that grow in the hills there, and the history of their use in Tuscan cuisine.
These are the "cookbooks" that I enjoy. I dislike cooking from recipes, and am more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants cook than anything. I want to know ratios, I want to know general practices, so that when I'm cooking, I can experiment effectively