Books for Cooks

Discussion in 'Food and Drink' started by Cspirou, Dec 16, 2017.

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  1. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Originating from the Massdrop Focal thread, here is where we talk about cookbooks. What are the good ones and what are the bad ones?

    Something I've noticed lately is that they are becoming more like autobiographies with recipes included. A good example is David Chang's Momofuku Cookbook and Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles cookbook.
     
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  2. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    Joy of Cooking= almost how to make everything
     
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  3. FallingObjects

    FallingObjects Pay It Forward

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    The Food Lab (J. Kenji López-Alt) is pretty good, in my opinion. While the recipes themselves aren't anything special or outstanding (they are still pretty tasty), he really does a great job of breaking down the science behind a lot of the things that make foods what they are.

    He's also a bit opinionated about tools but I think most chefs are anyways.
     
  4. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    FWIW - a bunch of Kenji's recipes are on seriouseats.com

    Just did his sous vide carrots last night - barely a recipe, but the bath temp was perfect.

    Here's three good ones:

    The Pro Chef

    Phaidon Silver Spoon (This one's great because it's broken down by ingredient, not dish type and is pretty massively uni-cuisine)

    Not a cook book per se, but every cook should have the Oxford Companion
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2017
  5. Ziva

    Ziva Friend

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  6. Ringingears

    Ringingears Honorary BFF

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    Mastering the Art of French Cooking. By Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, Simon Beck. Teaches you how to cook as well as fantastic recipes. Not for the causal cook. Once you finish this one you can really challenge yourself with Volume II. The Beef Wellington in this volume is incredible. And takes two days.

    Two book set for $60. https://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Ar...&keywords=mastering+the+art+of+french+cooking
     
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  7. dBel84

    dBel84 Friend

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    would this be akin to headphones for a mastering engineer or rather headphones for audiophools. I am a serious phool when it comes to food but I don't take myself seriously enough to be a chef/cook ( a few years ago my wife and I trimmed the cookbooks down to about 50, we are back over 100 again )

    ..dB
     
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  8. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Look what I just got for 50 cents from a used bookstore.

    AC4F3726-4072-41FE-9C59-46E4C085E474.jpeg

    Also got a near mint condition Steve Raichlin BBQ cookbook for the same price
     

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  9. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    I think I have 60% of the books mentioned so far. I'm a big fan of Kenji although he can get a little NWAVGuy sometimes. He comes up with some great ways to cook without the need for lab grade equipment.

    The Silver Spoon book is an encyclopedia of classic Italian recipes and its the first book I go for when I want something close to authentic.

    As annoying as Emeril is on TV i managed to get conned into buying one of his books. I was in the cookbook section at a used book store and started flipping through this one cajun book. I found the recipes to be exactly what I like. Then I finally looked at the front cover and saw "Emeril" in big letters. Gah! After getting over the inner conflict I bought the book. It wasn't until after I purchased the book that I saw the inner cover was signed by Emeril along with "Happy Birthday to Jessica". Which makes me wonder how it ended up at the book store in the first place. Was there a divorce and everything was sold? Did someone die? Maybe the book is cursed? Ill never know.

    I think most books tend to blur the lines a bit. While something by Giada Delaurentis is clearly for home cooks, there are other books that are complicated enough for professionals, but care enough about layout and presentation where it isn't out of place at home.

    The best examples of books I can think of that are really meant for pros are the Modernist Cuisine series by Nathan Myhrvold and the El Bulli books by Ferran Adria. Each individual book is north of $100. Which sounds like a lot but these books should be thought of as references or closer to college textbooks which are the same price.
     
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  10. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    Yes, when the CIA is requiring these types of books for course work, I think we can safely say they're reference quality. The volumes you listed above are references, when learning modern (read: molecular gastronomy) techniques. I think it's safe to say learning the classic techniques is a good start before turning into a "foam spit and essence of mushroom farts" plating freak.

    Also, not defending any of Emeril's recipes, but prior to FNTV and BAM!, he was a pretty solid cook. I think a lot of folks in TV land misunderstood Emeril trying to convince home cooks to properly season food. Remember, he kind of got his start on TV during the anti-sodium freakout (late 90's). Go to a "fancy" restaurant and most folks will think the food is too salty...
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2017
  11. Ringingears

    Ringingears Honorary BFF

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    One of the first time Emeril was on T.V. was in 1993 on Julia’s “Cooking with Master Chiefs” series. He cooked Shimp etouffee. His persona was very different from the Emeril we all are familiar with. At the time he was the owner of one restaurant.
     
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  12. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    After Emeril left the Food Network it became clear that he was the last real chef on that channel. He might have been annoying but he didn't hold back on what he cooked either. I remember an episode where he made goat and he wasn't scared of butter either.

    Now we get garbage like this:

     
  13. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Anyone have recommendations for good cocktail books?
     
  14. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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  15. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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  16. deafdoorknob

    deafdoorknob Wow, I made it this far without being a friend?

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    quite liked mark bittman's How to Cook Everything, it's more results oriented than process oriented, which for a casual cook like myself, find rather useful.

    https://www.amazon.com/How-Cook-Eve...JB0_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1513497541&sr=1-2

    i have also inherited my grandmother's time-life set of illustrated cook books which are a pleasure to read while remaining useful tho somewhat dated (regarding foodstyling) and eurocentric.
     
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  17. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    Yup, I've used Bitmann's book for years to get a simple baseline for recipes.
     
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  18. Purastikku

    Purastikku Rando

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    Giorgio Locatelli's books (and videos on the tube) are all pretty good, I still have to cook something else than pasta from his stuff though.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. aufmerksam

    aufmerksam Friend

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    I got my wife Bittman's Everything years ago and we both use it so often we have had it rebound.

    Lots of text, almost no pictures. Great starter book for learning basics of, well everything, and then common tweaks and their explanations. I don't think he has quite as good of a handle on baking/pastry type recipes, but everything else is excellent for a starter.

    After we had kids we got How To Cook Everything Fast, which is also great. Openly admits the compromises in fast cooking, but minimizes the failures involved.
     
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  20. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    I must confess I own a couple of seasons of Good Eats. I really enjoy the scientific explanations of what's going on underneath the cooking process.
     

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