Thursday, October 2, 2008

Our Favorite Cookbooks

Not too long ago, we got to discussing our favorite cookbooks. As much as we invent and create, we still enjoy collecting and using cookbooks. We even have our Wednesday Night Dinners, where we randomly choose a recipe from one of our cookbooks. (Of course, we always seem to add, subtract, spice differently, or adapt almost any recipe we try. Truly, as I type this, Francesca is making a zucchini risotto that was originally a carrot risotto in the cookbook.)

Ken’s Favorites
(Next week, look for Francesca’s reviews of her favorite cookbooks.)

The Complete Asian Cookbook
If you want just one cookbook covering just about everything Asian – Thai, Japanese, Burmese, Indian, you name it – this should be on your shelf. Authentic recipes, often requiring hard-to-find Asian ingredients that may not be available outside larger cities. Nonetheless, a great book.

Great Dinners from Life
Life magazine used to run a feature on Great Dinners, where the entire meal was presented – appetizer, soup, main, dessert, as appropriate. The recipes were compiled into this book in 1969. I can’t think of another cookbook that has so many successful recipes. Plus, the photos are gorgeous and inspiring.

Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers
The Moosewood cooperative has been running a successful restaurant for decades, and producing cookbooks for nearly as long. The food is mostly vegetarian, but the newer cookbooks (such as this) include some fish and seafood recipes. We own several Moosewood cookbooks, but this is my favorite.

Woman’s Day Encyclopedia of Cookery
Old. This 12-volume series was published in 1966, and despite its age is still an incredible reference. If you want to know the history of asparagus, or the basics of how to make a hollandaise sauce, this is great. Probably only available in used book stores or thrift shops.

Horn of the Moon Cookbook
This was a cookbook I resisted actually liking. I found several recipes that sounded good, but they always seemed full of Tofu or earth-hugger grains; or the spicing seemed just too wimpy. Well, consider myself chastised. As we always do in the kitchen, we modify a lot, but the recipes in Horn of the Moon have consistently been excellent.