Whilst browsing in Borders the other day, it occurred to me the cookery book section seemed to be growing. Fast. Cookbooks are getting bigger, more colourful, more specialised, more expensive – it occurred to me that in this current ‘foodie-friendly’ market, Cookbooks are big business.
And why not? After all, us amateurs love to write; even better to write about food. Call me picky; elitist even, but I think a really special cookbook should go above and beyond the mere nut-and-bolts (pots and pans?) of how to make a meal. I want humour, context, history – and, most of all – what makes this meal special.
So, to illustrate, I present to you my current faves. All should be pretty much available at your friendly high-street bookstore or internet site. Some are expensive, but again, as with food, sometimes you get what you pay for.
Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries; A Year in The Kitchen – Simply astounding; a captivating read as well as looking awesome and containing seasonal recipes, one for each day, that you actually would cook. The best cookbook I have seen since:
The Silver Spoon – To put it simply, you don’t need another Italian cookbook. It may be big, it may be rough, but it’s a godsend. Indispensable.
Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halle Cookbook – Not for vegetarians – if you like you meat and like it bistro style, this is for you. Everything is covered from basic knifework to planning a menu. All done in Anthony’s witty style.
Floyd’s American Pie – a great read and worth trawling the second-hand shops for. Some great stories and some great recipes, all classic American dishes from Po’Boys to Ceviche to Gumbo.
As for drinks, well, i'm yet to find a wine guide that isn't too dry (no pun intended) - but i can wholeheartedly reccommend 300 Beers To Try Before You Die!!! by Roger Protz. Colourful, info-packed and interesting. A vital reference.
Those are my main one at the moment. Keep your eyes out, especially in second hand stores. Let me know of any that are keeping you in the kitchen these days…