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-   -   Got my first two reference/cookbooks, recommendations for more? (http://www.discusscooking.com/forums/f87/got-my-first-two-reference-cookbooks-recommendations-for-more-22936.html)

Silver 05-29-2006 01:59 AM

Got my first two reference/cookbooks, recommendations for more?
So I picked up my first two full-on reference books - excellent prices at a local independent bookstore.

Le Cordon Blue Complete Cook - Home Collection (part cookbook, part reference book from what I can tell)


Herbs and Spices: The Cook's Reference (I find herbs and spices intriguing and the price was right for a h/c book!)

Now, I would love recommendations for others to add to the "collection." Thinks that I've come up with by looking around here and the bookstore so far are:

Culinary Artistry (based on a recommendation from ironchef)

The Joy of Cooking
The New Joy of Cooking
Any of the “Cook’s Illustrated…” books (I think they’re by Good Housekeeping…?)
Cookwise by Shirley Corriher
What Einstein Told his Cook by Robert Wolke
On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee
Anything by Alton Brown
How to Cook Anything by Mark Brittman
Complete Techniques by Jacques Pepin
The Professional Chef by the Culinary Institute of America
The Food Lover’s Companion by Sharon Herbst (it’s more like a dictionary – I have the wine one and it’s excellent)
Jamie’s Kitchen by Jamie Oliver
Anything by Julia Child is probably a safe bet

Any other fantastic reco's?

marmalady 05-29-2006 07:24 AM

I'm gonna go hide under a rock after I say this, but IMVHO, don't buy AB's books; I've seen so many posts about his recipes not working, and I think he just gets a little too 'scientific' for my own tastes!

You absolutely can't go wrong w/Jacque Pepin, Julia Child, or the CIA textbooks, although those can be a little bit intimidating.

GB 05-29-2006 11:00 AM

Marm I would agree with you if you are talking about recipes. Altons recipes are very hit or miss. I made made many of his things and I would say I have had a 50% success rate with any of his recipes.

For food science though he is great. His books are not cookbooks thankfully. They do contain a few recipes (maybe 10-15 or so), but they are there to demonstrate certain techniques or principles. They are worth checking out if you want to learn about the science behind cooking.

What Einstein Told his Cook is my favorite one though. I could read that book 100 times and still learn something new. It is a bit more technical in the science than the AB books, but don't let that scare you. He does a great job of putting things in terms that anyone can understand.

Robt 05-29-2006 12:19 PM

My wife swears the AB's brownie recipe is the best shes made or had but; she then follows to say that the secret is in the TV show. I don't know what the particular morsel of info that made it work for her is but I think it was one of his off the wall science dittys.

GB is right about the merciful lack of recipes in his books.

I think the Bittman 'everything' book is the best starting point. Wish I had had it 30+ years ago. I did give it to both my kids when they went to college. Oh yeah, $12.99 at Costco -in paper last Thur.

Andy M. 05-29-2006 05:40 PM

Cookwise is an excellent reference book eith recipes.

Jacques Pepin's is a text book for classic French cookin with recipes.

On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee

Mastering the Art of French Cooking and Julia's Kitchen Wisdom by Julia Child

These books will teach you how and why and provide recipes to prove it.

Silver 05-29-2006 06:02 PM

Thanks for the tips, guys. I am actually interested in the Einstein and AB books purely out of interest in HOW food cooks and what different things happen to food when prepared differently and so on. I'm a nerd :lol:

I just checked Costco here and they don't have it so looks like it'll be $20 to buy it at the store or online. Oh well, that's life.

I'll definitely look at the rest - I'm very interested in knowing how and why rather than just what. That's of greater interest to me than simply in how something turns out.

Piccolina 05-30-2006 11:24 AM

While it is not per se a recipe book, you'll be hard pressed to find a better kitchen science encyclopedia than "McGee on Food & Cooking" by Harold McGee (which Andy also mentioned). I own a copy (the 2004 edition) and have read it thoroughly, many parts several times. It's an excellent reference guide that covers a myraid of things relating to food science, history and cooking. As well it really delves into the "hows" and "whys" behind tons and tons of foods and cooking terms/techniques.

marmalady 05-30-2006 11:30 AM

Silver, check www.amazon.com as well as Jessica's Biscuit, www.ecookbooks.com for great prices, if you don't already know about them!

Elf 05-30-2006 12:43 PM

My basic cook boooks are The good House Kepping, Joy of Cooking , Better Home and Garden. They are the basic reference books I end up using. Paula Deen and Natthalle Dupree are good southern styles, AB's Gear is a good equipment book, American Teat Kitchen for a New England style, I also like Souther Living, ans yes I like cook books too much Elf

Silver 05-30-2006 12:51 PM

McGee definitely comes highly recommended, he's on the "soon to buy" list for sure! Thanks Picco and everyone else!

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