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Old 10-13-2011, 10:42 AM   #1
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What is your favourite cookbook?

Does anyone have a foolproof cookbook that has always given great results? I'm always looking at new cookbooks and I have to say that I love Rachael Ray's collection but sometimes the ingredients she uses are very expensive and not good for multiple recipes. I'd love to hear about any that you guys love and would recommend!

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Old 10-18-2011, 09:41 AM   #2
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I like going to the food network website and just browsing through their recipes and picking one. I usually only have to go out to the store for one or two things, and get creative with my substitutions. I often just get the main gist of the recipe and take creative liberties with it to make it my own.
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Old 10-18-2011, 12:53 PM   #3
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Jaques and Julia's Cooking At home has always produced good recipes for me. It is great to get two different perspectives on the same recipe too.

I have too many to pick a favorite though.
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Old 10-28-2011, 02:26 PM   #4
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Years ago, I had some favorite cookbooks that I followed closely, hoping to reproduce what was presumably a very good dish. Now, if someone asked which kitchen books I would be last to give up, those would be more theory and practice books. One of the keepers would be The Flavor Bible. This one gives you good and acceptable flavor combinations that helps when thinking about trying something new.

The weightiest one is Larousse Gastronomique, the English version of the French encyclopedic illustrated dictionary of food and cooking. Waaaaay more than you really need, but really interesting and occasionally inspiring. Can usually be found used around $20. (Very large, heavy book.)

I've also come to appreciate a couple of books on condiments. There are many different ones around that cover making your own, something that I don't find instinctive yet, so I still want recipes.

Finally, Clayton's "Breads of France: How to Bake Them in Your Own Kitchen" and "New Complete Book of Breads." I'm not at the freestyle level of bread making, yet, and I need instruction on the variations and their effects.

But the original question was about cookbooks. Back when I depended on them, I seemed to make the most use of Simply Delicious Cooking by Ron Kalenuik. Big book, about 800 pages and 1200 recipes. Seems like this was on of those itinerant book sellers used to come around hawking. Best of all, you can pick it up today for as little as 0.01 plus shipping. (See Amazon.) Actually, the one I have is Simply Delicious 2, but I've never seen number 1. It turns up in a 400 page edition, also, so maybe that's number 1, but I suspect there's only one 800-page edition.
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Old 11-04-2011, 04:29 PM   #5
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I really like Aromas of Aleppo. It's ethnic but everything is amazing! It's my go to cookbook. Her baklava is a show stopper.
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Old 11-14-2011, 11:42 AM   #6
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Some good books

Depends on what you want.

A tried and true is Joy of Cooking.

I LOVE anything by America's Test Kitchen. They have a new book coming out (or it's already out) that looks like a beast, but I'm sure it's amazing. Really - probably all you really need!

I love Marcella Hazan's "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking" book for Italian food.

Just some food for thought.
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Old 11-14-2011, 12:11 PM   #7
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The Fanny Farmer Cookbook, either the original 1896 Boston Cooking School version, or any of the Marion Cunningham (NO! Not Richie and Joanie's mother!) edited version. Everything you've ever wanted to make, including classic recipes and modern ones, is in there, and over the last 115 years or so, they've all been TNTed to death!
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Old 11-15-2011, 05:39 PM   #8
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When I first got married in 1957, my new husband had a copy of the original Joy of Cooking. I came to the marriage with the Fannie Farmer Boston School of Cooking book. It was given to me when I was in junior high school. I now just use the "Good Housekeeping Cookbook" printed in 1973. I use it mainly for ideas. But there are some recipes that I follow faithfully. It has become the kind of book that your kids want when you are gone. Notes on the side of the pages. Slips of paper all through it with notations. Sections of the book that have come completely loose. You get the idea. My oldest granddaughter has asked me for it many times. I think it is about time I let her have it. I pretty much have most of the recipes that I have used out of the book memorized. Time to pass it on to the next generation.
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Old 11-16-2011, 08:10 AM   #9
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Are you looking for a good basic cookbook or my favorite. Right now, my favorite is "Around my French Table," Dorie Greenspan.

A good basic cookbook is the Better Homes and Gardens, the red and white plaid one, is a great starter book, constantly updated. A lot of good cooks started with that one.
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Old 11-16-2011, 08:28 AM   #10
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My favorite is an Italian (obviously...) cookbook, by Anna Gosetti della Salda: «Le ricette regionali italiane» (Italian regional recipes).
It is a BIG cookbook, with hundreds of traditional, classic recipes across Italy. Every Italian region has its chapter, and the final indexes are very well conceived, so it's easy to find the recipe you want.
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Old 11-16-2011, 04:42 PM   #11
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My go-to is usually the Joy of Cooking. But, I also use BH&Gardens, Betty Crocker, and other ones when I start researching the basic recipe for something. And, the Internet is also a great resource.
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Old 11-16-2011, 05:03 PM   #12
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THis may be a dumb question.....but nobody better say so, lol (j/k)


What distinguishes "french" cooking?
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Old 11-17-2011, 04:56 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jusnikki View Post
What distinguishes "french" cooking?
Avvogance?

No offence intended, my dear French friends. Allez les bleus!
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Old 11-17-2011, 08:01 AM   #14
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Betty crocker since I was a kid but now the internet.
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Old 11-17-2011, 11:55 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luca Lazzari View Post
Avvogance?

No offence intended, my dear French friends. Allez les bleus!
LOL
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Old 11-17-2011, 12:16 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jusnikki View Post
THis may be a dumb question.....but nobody better say so, lol (j/k)


What distinguishes "french" cooking?
No, it's an interesting question and one that can easily start a lively debate, one of which has been running over in the Ethnic Recipes forum. But I'll assume the question is in reference to what's in Julia Child's classic book. You have to remember that when the book came out, the techniques and many of the raw materials common in classic French cooking were largely unknown in the US, outside of some elite restaurants. And I think you have to consider that it's not that "French cooking" has much that could only be done in France but that the French were doing these things when other were not. But one of the things that Julia had to consider was that Americans didn't have the tradition of plentiful local markets and specialty butchers, greengrocers, etc. for the cook to call upon. She had to work out how to do what was possible from an American grocery store, something that did not exist in France.

Much of what makes the topic of the book "French cooking" is the detailed instructions and specific techniques. This includes many sauces that, while not absolutely unique to France, were very distinct, standardized, and well-defined. Construction of many of these sauces required techniques unfamiliar to American home cooks.

So, yours is not an easy question to answer, because it can be answered so many ways. I think part of why French cuisine was considered distinct and special is that, so far as Europe was concerned, the essential idea of there being a cuisine associated with a nation more or less began in France. Prior to the 17th century, western cooking was largely a matter of choosing between spit roasting or boiling, and that produced a pretty limited range of final products. Desired variety was provided by variations on heavy sauces and choice of fruits that were, at that time, frequently part of a meat dish. But by the end of the 17th century, we see the first true cookbooks in France and the evolution of lighter dishes and new techniques. So began the tradition of evolved cooking emanating from France. But it's well to remember, too, that the spark really came from Italy when Catherine de Medicci moved in a the new queen of France and brought her Italian cooks along.

Much has changed since Julia wrote. Americans home cooks are far more adventurous and less meat and potatoes. She, of course, was responsible for a lot of making Americans aware of what they could do in the kitchen. Just like anywhere, including the US, there are distinct French regional styles, but the "French cooking" that we used to view as more elaborate and intricate is now practiced more widely and has lost some of it's special association with France. But the part of "French cooking" that has always meant ingredients of the utmost freshness, very preferably locally produced, is only now beginning to spread in the US.
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Old 11-17-2011, 12:34 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GLC View Post
No, it's an interesting question and one that can easily start a lively debate, one of which has been running over in the Ethnic Recipes forum. But I'll assume the question is in reference to what's in Julia Child's classic book. You have to remember that when the book came out, the techniques and many of the raw materials common in classic French cooking were largely unknown in the US, outside of some elite restaurants. And I think you have to consider that it's not that "French cooking" has much that could only be done in France but that the French were doing these things when other were not. But one of the things that Julia had to consider was that Americans didn't have the tradition of plentiful local markets and specialty butchers, greengrocers, etc. for the cook to call upon. She had to work out how to do what was possible from an American grocery store, something that did not exist in France.

Much of what makes the topic of the book "French cooking" is the detailed instructions and specific techniques. This includes many sauces that, while not absolutely unique to France, were very distinct, standardized, and well-defined. Construction of many of these sauces required techniques unfamiliar to American home cooks.

So, yours is not an easy question to answer, because it can be answered so many ways. I think part of why French cuisine was considered distinct and special is that, so far as Europe was concerned, the essential idea of there being a cuisine associated with a nation more or less began in France. Prior to the 17th century, western cooking was largely a matter of choosing between spit roasting or boiling, and that produced a pretty limited range of final products. Desired variety was provided by variations on heavy sauces and choice of fruits that were, at that time, frequently part of a meat dish. But by the end of the 17th century, we see the first true cookbooks in France and the evolution of lighter dishes and new techniques. So began the tradition of evolved cooking emanating from France. But it's well to remember, too, that the spark really came from Italy when Catherine de Medicci moved in a the new queen of France and brought her Italian cooks along.

Much has changed since Julia wrote. Americans home cooks are far more adventurous and less meat and potatoes. She, of course, was responsible for a lot of making Americans aware of what they could do in the kitchen. Just like anywhere, including the US, there are distinct French regional styles, but the "French cooking" that we used to view as more elaborate and intricate is now practiced more widely and has lost some of it's special association with France. But the part of "French cooking" that has always meant ingredients of the utmost freshness, very preferably locally produced, is only now beginning to spread in the US.
Thanks GLC,

I often the the term "French cooking" and wondered about it but not enough to really pick up a cookbook lol. When I think of French cooking my mind quickly goes to escargot (which is a turn off).. I know that's not all it's about, lol, it's just a mind thing I guess. But thanks for taking the time to elaborate.
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Old 11-17-2011, 02:56 PM   #18
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"Around My French Table" is a book with very simple, flavorful recipes. My fabulous MIL once told me that if you get one or two good recipes out of a cookbook, you are lucky. I have made many of these, and they are pretty much no-fail, and worth repeating.
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Old 11-17-2011, 03:21 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luca Lazzari View Post
Avvogance?

No offence intended, my dear French friends. Allez les bleus!
NOT Funny.
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Old 11-17-2011, 03:23 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jusnikki View Post
THis may be a dumb question.....but nobody better say so, lol (j/k)


What distinguishes "french" cooking?
Nikki, if you REALLY are asking that question, it will take a lot longer than a post in this thread.

I'd suggest a good book (NOT a cookbook) about the food of France: either 1. Waverly Root's "The Food of France," or 2. Richard Olney's "Simple French Food."
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