Friday, January 29, 2010

Cookbooks on My Shelf

I love cookbooks! I suppose that makes sense, since I like to cook and bake a lot, but even before I got really serious about cooking, I loved collecting cookbooks. I still do, as a matter of fact. I know that it bothers my sisters so much sometimes because every time I pick up or look at some cookbook, my younger sisters always goes, "Why do you need that?!? You have tons at home!"

Oh, young one.....if you only knew...... :)

I suppose the reason I like cookbooks so much is that I like to just peruse through them, flipping pages liesurely, dissecting pictures and examining recipes. There is always some new to find in cookbooks; always some new recipe to try or inspiration for another recipe.

However, since I could not possibly keep all of my cookbooks here at school, I've chosen a few that I refer to almost all of the time. Here are just a few:

1. Alton Brown! You can never miss out on Alton Brown. He is one of my favorite TV show hosts, and I was lucky
enough to hear hi
m speak at Oakland University in Detroit in October. I was lucky enough to attend with my older sister and my roommate, and it was an absolute
blast. I don't think I've ever laughed so hard...
Anyway, he has some wonderful recipes, all from the first 7 or 8 seasons of the show, Good Eats. He also explains the science of cooking, so
if you're a nerd like me, you'll enjoy it. :)

2. Joy of Cooking: this is also a great resource! It's been around for years, and it's been revised a few times as well. I have the newest edition, but there is no doubt in my mind that they'll come out with another edition soon enough.
But what's really great about this book is the fact that it gives you recipes as well as ba
ckground about whatever you're cooking with.
So, say you want to bake rutabaga. You don't know how to cook one, much less what it is. Go look it up here! It'll tell you what it is exactly (it's a sort of tuber) and many different ways how to cook it and prepare it. This is a really a good go-to book, and great for cooks just starting out.

3. Baking by James Peterson
This is also a great go-to book for bakers. Peterson has written one for cooking as well, so if you prefer to have that, go for it. This book is nice because it covers almost every area of
baking from breads to pastries and custards and it gives you the basics. Say for a cake, it'll give you a few basic recipes, which almost all baked good are based upon. Then, it'll tell you how to make variations of that recipe. Also, he has wonderful, beautiful pict
ures in this book. They are very informative and instructive. That's one thing that can be very difficult about baking, a lot of things you have to learn either from watching someone do it, or perform the task yourself. This is the closest to actually being in a classroom with a chef. I think'll you enjoy it a lot, especially if you a visual learner, like me.

4. Rachael Ray: No Repeats
Honestly, I'm not a big Rachael Ray fan, actually I can't really stand her; nobody, and I mean nobody says "Yummo" in real life, and EVOO is in the dictionary now?!?! What is this world coming to...
Anyway, even though I don't like her, her cookbooks aren't bad. They're good for ideas and f
airly easy to follow. The only downside to these books is that a lot of people don't always have the ingredients sitting immediately in your kitchen, and unless you cook A LOT, you won't necessarily use all of whatever it is you have to buy.
But, nevertheless the recipes are good for ideas and guides and that's what I usually refer to.

5. The Flavor Bible
One of my favorite new books! By the same couple who wrote, The Making of a Chef, which I have read I should mention. Anyway, this is another great reference. There are a few chapters in the beginning which helps cooks to understand how flavors work together and how to pair different types of flavors, textures, and smells to fix great food.
In the last chapter, it's essentially a sort of dictionary which all the different pairings that go well together. For example, say you're cooking with pears, you can look pears up in the this book and see all the different foods and spices and herbs that work well with them.

I hope you'll look up these cookbooks because there are really great books, references, and generally good books. Enjoy!

1 comment:

they spread the word said...

Grandpa Jago's mother, Levina Cardinal (French Canadian), loved to cook and bake as well.

Make sure you include some of her recipes and cookbooks. Better yet, get Grandma to tell you a story about her ;-)